Thursday, 27 August 2020 22:06

Paying Claims in a COVID-19 World

Written by Elisa Logan, PropertyCasualty360
Aligning with an evolving “new normal” will require insurers to audit existing processes and consider new options. Aligning with an evolving “new normal” will require insurers to audit existing processes and consider new options. J. Disney/ALM


Digitization proved a game-changer for insurers when the pandemic made its way into the U.S.

Amid stay-at-home orders, carriers with systems in place to support remote operations found themselves at a distinct advantage.


Now, in the thick of the pandemic, insurers that have not yet adopted a highly digital approach must determine how best to meet policyholders’ demands for business continuity and an optimal claim experience, including faster, safer claim payments.


While it may sound cliché, aligning with an evolving “new normal” will require today’s insurers to closely audit existing processes and redefine their priorities going forward.


Safety and business continuity are two of the immediate challenges insurers faced during the COVID-19 outbreak, a March 2020 Deloitte Insights analysis found.


During the first months of the pandemic, achieving an optimal level of safety meant employees needed a way to complete claim processes securely from home. For insurers still operating largely in a paper-based environment, this dynamic presented a significant challenge around the last mile of claims adjudication---payment---when paper checks remained the payment of choice. It also threatened policyholder satisfaction when payment delays ensued.


Safety concerns related to paper-based payment systems extended not just to insurers, but also policyholders. Policyholders needed ways of accessing funds without having to leave home and enter financial institutions---a necessity that often accompanies a paper check. Ensuring adequate protection for all stakeholders demanded that insurers adopt digital options.


Business continuity also remained top of mind for insurers during the pandemic, given efforts by insurers to improve their disaster response to help policyholders get back on their feet faster. To boost their disaster response, some of the largest carriers have embraced advanced technology to improve turnaround times for claim payment.

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