Claims management has undergone major changes since Schadenspiegel first appeared 60 years ago. Nowadays, it is not just about the purely technical aspect of processing claims but about providing a wide spectrum of services, ranging from loss prevention to digital claims analysis. Nevertheless, solid claims processing remains as indispensable as it ever was.
Today, new technologies support claims management in a variety of ways. Sensors can identify risks at an early stage, thereby helping to minimise losses or prevent them entirely. In the aftermath of natural disasters, drones can help to quickly determine the scale of damage. Digital collection and analysis of data makes it possible to take quick, dependable decisions instead of having to rely on subjective estimates, as was frequently the case in the past. Consolidated, central databases ensure greater transparency and highlight loss trends. Robust risk and loss forecasts are now possible much earlier. Not only does this make it easier to identify errors, but also to learn from losses and prevent such errors in the future. Last but not least, claims processing is becoming faster and in many cases less expensive, something that should go a long way to increasing insurance client satisfaction.
Needless to say, these new aspects of claims management also present new kinds of challenges for the people working in this area. Apart from claims managers in the traditional sense of the word, a whole range of other experts, such as data analysts, will increasingly be involved. Most of all, aspects such as interdisciplinary cooperation, transparent communication and effective coordination of the different activities will continue to grow in importance. This is also – or even especially – true when it comes to cooperation with actors from outside the insurance industry, like competent authorities or those involved in the rescue services at the site of the loss.
Yet despite all the enthusiasm for the many different possibilities emerging from the use of big data and new technologies, three things should not be forgotten: firstly, the volume of data available for analysis has already assumed immense proportions. It is therefore critical to maintain an overview and to develop appropriate methods for filtering the relevant data as effectively as possible from the enormous quantity available. Secondly, in today’s networked world, the ever-present issues of data security and data protection are clearly highly relevant for claims management. Solutions need to be found which allow the data to be used, while ensuring the highest possible level of data security and full compliance with data protection requirements on the part of everyone involved. This may well prove one of the biggest challenges over the next few years. Finally, and most importantly, use of these new technologies must only ever be seen as a way of improving, but never replacing, the sound, tried-and-tested practice of claims processing. This is true today, and is unlikely to be any different in 60 years’ time.