3 Ways Plymouth Rock Uses Digital Communication to Bolster Its Business
An interview with Aaron Wheaton, Vice President and Chief Claims Office, Plymouth Rock Assurance
Digital innovation has shaken up a number of consumer sectors, and the insurance industry is no exception. But by maintaining a customer-first mindset, focusing on efficiency and making strategic investments in modern technology, insurance industry leaders can survive the waves of disruption.
Plymouth Rock Assurance is one of those leaders. By implementing digital communication tools like Hi Marley, a communication platform built for the insurance industry, Plymouth Rock caters to the growing digital demands of its customers, reduces cycle times within its claims department and paves the way for future success, even as new market entrants threaten the landscape.
Hi Marley recently spoke with Plymouth Rock’s Vice President and Chief Claims Officer Aaron Wheaton about some of the benefits the company has realized so far. Here’s what he had to say.
Meeting Demand and Improving the Customer Experience
Plymouth Rock needed to add digital communication solutions to its customer support toolkit to meet its customers’ shifting preferences to manage their claims via text, not the telephone. The goal behind this investment, said Wheaton, was to “think less like an insurance company and more like any consumer-facing company,” especially those considered digital trailblazers, such as Amazon, that have played a role in reshaping how consumers want and expect to interact with brands.
As a result of this shift in expectations, be it from Gen Z’s digital native consumers or smartphone-savvy Baby Boomers, Plymouth Rock recognized the value in providing its customer base with an omni-channel approach to handling their insurance claims. This gave customers the ability to interact with its representatives in the way they wanted—either via phone, email, text messaging or an online portal.
Wheaton said, “You want to be able to engage in the manner that suits the need at the time. For the individual who has had their first accident, they might want to speak to somebody on the phone, where we’d handle their first notice of loss. If it’s somebody who has familiarity with the process or has been through the experience before, they might feel comfortable reporting it online.”
Communicating via text has also allowed for more transparency between Plymouth Rock and its customers during an often difficult time. After an accident, life is disrupted, and people just want their cars back.
“They want to go through the claims process as quickly as possible, and they want to feel that they’re being treated fairly,” Wheaton said. “The best way to do that is to present as much transparency as you can. It’s a lot easier to do that when both parties have a digital record of the communication that has transpired. When the customer is engaged in the process and they feel like they’re part of the resolution, that’s a huge difference maker.”
Boosting the Efficiency of Its Claims Department
Providing digital communication tools to customers who don’t want to pick up the phone has led Plymouth Rock to realize another benefit: improved operational efficiency.
Wheaton noted that “phone tag is an efficiency killer” for his nearly 400-person claims department. So, giving policyholders the option to handle their claims digitally opens up the phone lines for others who feel they need that level of service, either due to inexperience with the process or a particularly complex claim.
At a recent virtual event hosted by the Intelligent Insurer, Wheaton said that, by implementing an intelligent text messaging solution like Hi Marley, Plymouth Rock was able to cut upwards of 35% of inbound/outbound calls and voicemails. Hi Marley’s texting platform also allows claimants to send photos of their vehicles, which helps Plymouth Rock segment and process claims faster and more effectively, as well as reduce the number of fraudulent claims.
“If the vehicle’s a total loss, we can quickly identify that and set the claimant or policyholder on the right path to resolve their claim as quickly and accurately as possible, and with as little disruption to their lives as we can,” Wheaton said.
Keeping Pace With—and Beating—the Competition Now and in the Future
Mindful of the growing number of newer and perhaps more nimble entrants to the market, Plymouth Rock recognizes that offering policyholders modern communication tools is imperative to staying relevant. This is especially important when newer competition already has the latest digital solutions at their fingertips.
But the use of these tools is not only important to maintaining Plymouth Rock’s market standing—it’s also essential to the company’s continued success. Having entered New York State in 2018, Plymouth Rock saw that investments in digital tools were necessary to quickly scale its business. An additional benefit was the ability to increase its number of policies and premiums without adding staff.
“If we want to grow at the clip that we intend to in an industry as competitive as auto insurance, then we have to keep our eyes on our expense line at all points,” added Wheaton. “But we don’t want to compromise our service or sacrifice our innovative spirit in the process. Leveraging digital communication tools has helped us scale quickly and efficiently, while allowing us to continue delivering exceptional service.”