Digitisation has transformed customer experiences across all sectors. In travel, almost every customer experience takes place digitally, apart from the actual act of travelling. Whether it be researching and booking your trip, accessing a virtual ticket on your device, checking into a hotel, or even writing a post-trip review, customers expect a seamless, tailored experience throughout their entire journey – including the insurance product purchase and filing of any necessary claims.
Claims can often be the most important part of a customer’s insurance journey. Consumers who take the extra step of purchasing travel insurance while booking their trip expect that they will be protected if their travel is interrupted by injury, mishap or delay. However, customers needing to file a claim are often faced with confusing requirements, mixed messages and delays when they contact their insurance provider. A timely example of this was seen at the start of the pandemic, when travellers were denied reimbursement as coverage for Covid-related events was unclear, even to claims professionals.
While most aspects of travel insurance have been digitised, there are trends emerging that can improve claims processes, including the use of embedded technologies, artificial intelligence (AI), and natural language processing (NLP). Through automation in the claims process, brands can streamline the flow of claim information resulting in improved customer journeys, faster settlement and reduced handling expenses.
Optimising claims efficiency
Historically, insurance claims can take anywhere from 30 to 90 days to settle. But, with advanced technologies, brands can change this standard by fully integrating claims platforms into their online experience to facilitate a quicker claims process. For example, at the start of Covid-19, travel vendors were flooded with airline shutdowns, customer illnesses and trip cancellation claims. Skyscanner, the leading global travel marketplace, leveraged Cover Genius platform technologies that allowed for such claims to be processed instantly. Instead of having to wait a month or more to be reimbursed, travellers were able to immediately receive their money back for travel disruption or sickness relating to Covid-19, giving them the confidence and the peace of mind needed when booking a trip in today’s uncertain times.
Artificial intelligence and natural language processing can improve processes
In addition to creating a quicker process, AI and NLP can be used to identify patterns using customer data, including customer email and telephone number, time and date of loss, type of loss, and length of policy purchased. These patterns can be applied to large numbers of claims without human touch. Technologies can return a risk score, create a smart rule around the data, and then assign it to a dedicated claims handler.
The difficulty of combatting insurance fraud
Unfortunately, increased insurance fraud is a reality in these economic times. And digitally purchased products can be a definite target for fraudsters who believe that automation won't catch false or inflated claims. Fortunately, AI and NLP technologies can be integrated and used for fraud minimisation. These technologies can assess online evidence provided and determine when fraudulent activity might be happening, eliminating the time and expense of manual claim investigation on suspect claims. While technologies can help catch bad actors and even potentially automatically deny a claim, a human touch is often still needed to manage this complexity and ensure that it doesn’t happen again.
Claim handling has traditionally remained a very manual part of the insurance product life cycle. However, with the technologies available today that can guide process changes, service reengineering, and forecasting methodologies, claims processes can become greatly improved, more efficient and customer friendly. Using these methods, Cover Genius has experienced a Net Promoter Score increase from 38 to 65 and a claim resolution reduction from 22 to six days. Results like this can definitely help distinguish partners in the travel landscape and build customer loyalty and retention.