How Westfield Insurance Drives 5-Star Claims Experiences
Westfield Insurance strives to always provide a frictionless, positive claims experience for policyholders while streamlining the process for its claims professionals.
“Not only is providing excellent customer service the right thing to do, but there’s also a genuine business impact,” said Robert Bowers, National Claims and Customer Service Leader at Westfield Insurance. “We know when our policyholders are satisfied, we’re more likely to retain them.”
Attitude Adjuster and Approach Drives 5-Star Reviews
Hi Marley’s analysis of 25,000 customer satisfaction surveys included 3,061 5-star surveys and 140 1-star surveys from Westfield. Taking a closer look, the Hi Marley team found that positive or empathetic adjuster attitude and approach had the greatest impact on customer satisfaction, driving 45 percent of all 5-star responses for Westfield.
“Good customer service is in our DNA and in our culture,” said Bowers. “We have a family of claims professionals who care about their customers and care about each other, and that translates into this culture of empathy. It’s built in.”
“Westfield Claims has a pillar, ‘commitment to caring,’ it’s top of everybody’s mind when dealing with the customer,” said Jason Bidinger, Claims Strategy Technology and Process Leader at Westfield Insurance. “Customer service is at the forefront of everything we do.”
Text Messaging Improves Customer Satisfaction
Westfield excels at creating lovable policyholder experiences. Hi Marley’s analysis revealed additional top drivers of 5-star survey responses, including timeliness of service and resolution (20 percent), claims communication effectiveness (16 percent) and process effectiveness (12 percent).
Westfield has rolled out technologies to help improve the customer experience and claims process, like digital payments solutions, e-signature capabilities of the electronic claim file, text messaging and more. “All of these tools and technologies have improved our processes,” said Bowers. “But the one we’ve been able to measure the service differentiation most has been text messaging.”
Westfield customer opt-in rates for text messaging have been around 72 to 75 percent since the beginning of 2021, and the Westfield team continues to look for ways to increase adoption and engagement.
“Our NPS overall is very high but ranges five to ten points higher on claims that involve some form of texting,” said Bidinger. “Text messaging allows the customer to communicate in a way that they’re familiar with, and we see the benefit of interacting with customers in their preferred channel.”
When asked about their claims experience, one customer wrote in their survey response, “It was EASY. No one argued with me, no one tried to lowball anything… they communicated by text, and the process was QUICK! Everyone was super nice and eager to listen. In fact, outside of knowing I made a claim, I hardly knew the process was happening.”
Another said, “From filing the claim, approving the claim, rental car, payment to the body shop…it was all stress-free and done promptly! I don’t use our insurance often, but this was a great reminder of why we use Westfield for our insurance needs!”
Westfield continues to raise the bar in customer service and look for more ways to improve the policyholder experience. “Texting is one of the easy tools we can use to continue to make the claims experience better, and it doesn’t require much effort,” said Bowers.
Survey Data Provides Actionable, Real-Time Feedback
Westfield has a 40+ percent return rate for its customer surveys, giving the carrier tons of actionable data and real-time feedback for the claims professionals.
The unit leaders review their team’s performance each month. “Our frontline people have the toughest roles, and they do a fantastic job. The surveys give us a true view of their performance and how the claims process is going,” said Bowers. “I review every survey comment and send notes to our claims reps and unit leaders, mostly about recognition and reward—each month, we really try to reinforce the great work our teams are doing.”
When comparing the ratio of 1-and 5-star surveys, it’s clear that most Westfield customers are satisfied with their claims experience. However, Westfield takes the opportunity to use survey data to look for trends, uncover potential issues they may need to address and identify areas for improvement.
“When we dig into their survey data, we found that communication ineffectiveness is the top driver of a sub-optimal claims experience, with ‘the ability to keep me informed,’ as a potential area for improvement,” said Bidinger. “We understand the importance of keeping people in the loop as their claims age. One easy way we can address this area is by using text messaging to provide more updates through the claims process.”
Unlike the insurance industry as a whole—where 40 percent of policyholders switch their carrier after a single claim—Westfield policyholders are more likely to stay after a claim experience because of the excellent service they receive.
Furthermore, many independent agents, who have plenty of options for where they can place their customers, often put themselves with Westfield because of claims service. One policyholder said, “I love Westfield! I’ve had so many other companies in the last 25 years, and my agent suggested you because of your no confrontational style.”
“Our ultimate goal is to make everybody happy,” said Bowers. “If you hire the right people with the right hearts and treat them fairly, customers will get the service that they want.”