August 04, 2022 | Hugh Allen, Principal Product Research Manager

The Value of Digital for the Policyholder

No matter the severity, car accidents are stressful, and filing a claim often adds to the stress. There’s so much to handle—arranging for the repair, getting a rental, communicating with the claims representative and adjuster. And then there’s the paperwork. That’s why carriers today do anything they can to streamline the process and make it easier for the policyholder.

A major part of any claim process is communication. Working with the insurance professionals and coordinating with everyone involved can be dizzying. The customer struggles with keeping track of important information and the process. But with SMS communications – or text messaging – policyholders can communicate with all parties on one platform. And the benefits are many.

The Policyholder Interacts According to Their Schedule

First, let’s compare communicating with the customer via phone versus text. When it’s a phone call, the customer often thinks that there’s more to the interaction than the process at hand. For instance, the customer may wonder why their carrier is calling or assume they missed a payment, or it’s sales-related. But when customers receive a text with a specific aim clearly noted, they’re more apt to see It and respond.

Voicemail is a whole other story. Customers sometimes view voicemail as a fishing exercise. Call back the number, go through the menu, wait on hold and cross your fingers you connect to the right person. There’s also not as much urgency in a voicemail. These days, people won’t answer their phones if they don’t recognize the number. And then, they must listen to that voicemail and make time to call back. It’s a longer process and often more frustrating for the policyholder. But with a texting platform, the message goes directly to the appropriate individual at the insurance carrier – no fumbling through voicemail prompts. The customer can also text a response on their schedule based on the message’s content.

Text messaging offers an easy way to reach out and set up an appointment if a real-time discussion about a specific issue is necessary.

Text Messaging Creates a Visible Record of The Claim History

With a phone conversation, you can lose many details unless you have a pen and paper handy. But SMS texting provides the customer with a record of every discussion concerning the claim. The details are all there if they have a question, let’s say, about the payments. The policyholder can also copy and paste the conversation for their records. And all these transcripts go back to the insurance carrier’s Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, so if there are changes on the claim rep side, anyone new working on the claim can see the texting conversation history. As a result, the customer doesn’t require repeating their claim story, which is very frustrating. With text messaging, the conversations with the policyholder go back to the CRM without issue. But with phone calls, this doesn’t always happen. Maybe the carrier doesn’t allow other individuals to listen to the previously recorded calls, or transcribing the voice calls just takes too much time.

Brings Everyone in the Ecosystem into One Conversation

Text messaging can also bring together individuals within the carrier organization supporting a claim. The customer can speak with multiple parties in the same conversation. For example, the representative needs more information for a windshield claim because the glass has a sensor and isn’t sure if the part is available in the region. So, the representative reaches out to ask the glass vendor relationship manager, all within the customer’s texting conversation. The vendor manager responds, saying the part is available and provides a phone number to set up the appointment the following week. The policyholder can view this entire interaction with everyone labeled, so they know who communicated what. This feature delivers a great customer experience within team adjuster support models, especially if there is an interruption in the processing of an insurance claim. This feature delivers a great customer experience From field reps to rental extensions, this great customer experience extends to many use cases.

Easily Upload Media to Document the Claim

A huge boon to the claim process is the ability to take photos at the scene of the accident. Hi Marley’s texting solution makes it easy for customers to share this visual data and make it part of the whole claim conversation. The policyholder can snap pictures of the other driver’s registration and license plate, for example, or even the weather conditions. And this doesn’t require downloading an app; the customer uses a channel that they’re already comfortable with, and that’s key.

Capture And Store Key Information

Using SMS, when the insurance carrier communicates key contact information, the policyholder can easily save that information in their contacts and use that moving forward. So, whether the carrier has an app or not, the texting platform can form a foundation for claim communications. It enables insured customers to participate more in self-service without downloading another mobile app, which so many people resist today.

Address Pins Help Customers Easily Find Where to Go to Get Their Claim Handled

While the insurance carrier can’t tell the policyholder which shop to use for repairs, they can suggest preferred vendors who do quality work. But what if the customer is in the vehicle and can’t write down this information? Via text messaging, the claim rep can send address pins with a map app like Google Maps or Waze will automatically open. And with a click that requires no additional typing, the customer can locate the shop that’s most convenient. If the customer is on the road, this can really move claims quicker.

When Will I See Money?

Claimants also often call their insurance carrier to find out when they’ll receive payment. Again, communicating via phone and voicemail involves more time and more steps than a simple text. And with all information in the texting log, a customer can always go back through the conversation to answer their own questions. (“Oh right. I’m not supposed to get paid until July 16.”) With text messaging, policyholders can quickly ask the claim representative or other involved parties questions, such as, “What are the next steps? Where are we in the process? When can I expect this to be finished?”

What Can I Tell My Parents?

Here’s the scenario: a 20-year-old has their first fender bender. Their parent, the primary driver on the policy, says, “Well, it’s your responsibility. It’s time to learn how to deal with this kind of thing.” What could be easier for a 20-year-old than text messaging? Text messaging reduces friction, it’s easier and faster to get the information that their mom, dad or guardian wants to know. And when they ask follow-up questions – like, “when will the repair be completed?” – the driver can shoot a text to the claims rep and get a reply within minutes (whew!).

Streamlines Internal Processes That Ultimately Benefit the Policyholder

We all know that behind the curtain, many processes can delay efficient customer service. For example, when an adjuster makes a phone call, that adjuster is no longer in queue at a carrier. Basically, they’re disconnected from everything that could happen during that two-minute timeframe. That disconnect could mean they miss an important call from the customer’s lawyer, for instance. But by communicating with the policyholder via text, their phone line remains open. The same holds true for other third-party ecosystem providers. Text messaging provides a parallel communication avenue that leaves the phone lines open for conversations that policyholders must handle in real-time.

Text Messaging Engenders Trust

On average, validating a policyholder over the phone takes a carrier 90 seconds. But through text, authentication is easier and faster, mostly because the claims rep has already established a secure communications channel with the insured customer. With Hi Marley’s texting platform, that conversation is event-specific, not general communication with the carrier.

Text messaging has another, more subtle aspect. Historically, texting has been used between family and friends. There is a certain intimacy and trust in a text message. After the claims rep establishes a relationship with the policyholder, the customer sees that text as a source of truth and something they can trust. Unlike a phone conversation, seeing the information in writing is more powerful and, really, is an informal contract between the policyholder and the insurer. When the customer receives an update via text, it’s a confirmation with more weight than a verbal, “Oh yeah. We’ll send that by next Tuesday.” They can return to the information to clarify, answer questions and stay on top of the claim.

What was once a casual mode of communication between friends has become a powerful tool for businesses. Text messaging can create a stronger relationship between the insurer and policyholder and streamline the entire claim process.

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