December 16, 2021 | Ujjval Patel, Director of Solutions and Consulting, Hi Marley

Taking an InsurTech Solution For a Test Drive Part I: Designing a Successful Pilot

Insurance is evolving, and carriers of all sizes must innovate to respond to their customer and employees’ needs. When properly implemented, many technology solutions provide significant value, with capabilities that deliver a modern end-to-end claims experience by improving policyholder satisfaction, operational efficiency and loss cost management. For carriers starting their digital transformation, taking the time to find the right solution is a worthwhile investment.

The key to determining whether a product creates real value for their organizations is to fully test it before committing to implementation. It’s like buying a new automobile. Most people do a lot of research but then only drive the car around the block with the high-pressure salesperson in the passenger seat. It’s easy to fall in love with a new car. The real test, though, is driving the car for a few days; it’s then that you’ll truly know if it’s the right one for you. The same holds true for an InsurTech solution, and that’s why running a pilot is so effective. The most successful pilots are designed and implemented with careful forethought, including identifying the scope, approach, objectives and measures of success.

What Are We Trying to Achieve?

The strategic objective of a pilot is to understand if the solution will create or enhance capabilities that improve claim outcomes.

When designing the pilot’s scope, approach, objectives and measures of success, the carrier should consider these questions:

  • What capabilities and outcomes do we seek to improve and why?
  • What are the risks if we don’t improve these capabilities and outcomes?
  • Where should we pilot the solution, and why? Ex. line of business, handling segments or areas of specialization
  • Is there any potential disruption the pilot may cause?
  • Do we have historical benchmarks for comparison to understand the solution’s potential organizational impact?
    • These metrics might include customer retention, claim cycle time, average severity, the relationship between cycle time and average severity, customer satisfaction, net promoter score, preferred vendor penetration rates, average rental days or storage charges, etc.
  • What process will we use to manage the pilot?
  • How long will it take to assess the solution? Should we take a phased pilot approach across multiple organizational dimensions?
  • Who should be on the pilot team, what role(s) should they play and why?
  • What is the best approach to train pilot users and communicate the reasons for the pilot to the broader organization?

Answering these questions is the vital first step in designing a pilot program that aligns with business goals and objectives and allows users and decision-makers to evaluate the product’s viability.

Design the Pilot

There are three main factors to consider when designing a pilot.

  1. An area of focus — When considering the scope and approach, carriers will determine a line of business, segment or area of specialization that has a need and one that is critical to the organization’s long-term success.
  2. Selecting a pilot team Once an area of focus is chosen, select a mix of 10-20 product testers. These users should represent a cross-segment of the function area. When selecting pilot personnel, carriers should balance tenure, experience, technical understanding and willingness to take risks.
  3. Timing and geography — Don’t pick a time that is too busy or too slow or a geography with unique circumstances or challenges. Ultimately, the goal is for testers to use the product in their normal work environment to see if the solution delivers on the organization’s objectives outlined in the pilot measures of success.

Simplifying the Pilot Design

A great InsurTech partner can help design and facilitate a baseline survey of the pilot team’s current state satisfaction and experience before the pilot starts.

For example, when Ohio Mutual initiated a pilot with Hi Marley, its primary focus was enhancing the policyholder claims experience. After a few weeks into the pilot, the insured customer response was overwhelmingly positive, with nine out of ten policyholders giving Ohio Mutual five-star ratings. At the same time, the platform also increased satisfaction for claims associates, many reported increased efficiencies and reduced frustration.

“Hi Marley promised an easy deployment of their intuitive system with fast results, and they delivered,” said John DeLucia, Vice President of Claims for Ohio Mutual. “Once we began using Hi Marley, our Claims team had fewer voicemails to return, were able to move claims to resolution faster and our customers were happier. Being able to effectively meet our customers’ growing demand to text with us puts Ohio Mutual at the forefront of the InsurTech movement and has created immediate benefits for both our Claims team and our customers.”

We also collaborate with our clients to simplify pilot design and implementation processes to minimize risk and operational disruption. Our pilot solution environment doesn’t need to be integrated into your systems to fully assess the solution’s efficacy.

For Plymouth Rock Assurance, adoption of Hi Marley came at an impressive speed. “We piloted Hi Marley a couple of years ago,” said Aaron Wheaton, Vice President and Chief Claims Officer. “On day two or day three, I was walking through our claims floor and asking people how it was going. Every response I got was, ‘You can’t take this away now.’ That’s what you want to hear from the team because then you think you have a winner on your hands.”

Hi Marley also provides Technical and Customer Success teams with deep insurance knowledge to train personnel and provide guidance throughout the process to avoid over-burdening normal operations with pilot issues.

Electric Insurance, for example, teamed up with Hi Marley and worked with the pilot group of policyholders to elicit feedback and establish best practices when it first launched the platform. It then used that information to train teams for the larger product rollout. As Elizabeth Fitzgerald, Senior Auto Damage Team Lead, noted, “While there was some initial hesitation, it didn’t last long.” After training—including role-playing exercises on how to launch at FNOL and promote the benefits of text messaging—the company saw speedy adoption.

Designing a pilot is the first step carriers must take to ensure their teams have the tools and technology in place to feel empowered to make a difference and improve the claims experience. In Part II: Implementing a Successful Pilot, we’ll drill down to the details of implementing and learning from the pilot before you make the final decision.

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