Blog | Mar 23, 2022

How to manage the most common motor insurance claims complaints using intelligent automation

How to manage the most common motor insurance claims complaints using intelligent automation

The UK Financial Ombudsman Service receives thousands of insurance complaints from motorists every year. In the 2020/2021 annual period they received over 44 thousand complaints – an increase of 36% on the previous year. Data from the US National Association of Insurance Commissioners revealed that 68% of insurance complaints relate to filing a claim.

Motor insurance providers are therefore no stranger to complaints. Many are the result of customers not fully understanding the terms of their policy or how the motor claims process works.

According to Ombudsman Leah Nagle, “Many complaints could be prevented by insurers providing clearer guidance about the information that consumers need to disclose during the sales process. Some people we hear from just haven’t understood how serious the consequences can be.”

But the insurance industry’s reputation is fragile; the general public has a consistently low perception of its motivations and its approach to customer care. Claims management, which has the greatest impact on customer satisfaction, is a critical success factor.

To help rebuild the industry’s reputation, the FCA regularly updates regulations to help insurers be more consumer-centric in their approach. Examples include requiring complaints to be resolved within three days and making renewal premiums fairer for loyal customers with the review of pricing regulations in the UK.

In the US, regulation varies from state to state, and an insurance provider must ensure they adhere to these standards or risk legal exposure.

However, meeting ever-changing regulation is challenging and costly, and waiting for the financial authorities to resolve issues isn’t a solution. Instead, insurance providers can look to technology to help mitigate some of the more common motor insurance complaints.

In fact, a little innovative thinking and a few tweaks to your claims process could yield some very positive results. With that in mind, here are some of the common motor insurance complaints identified by the Financial Ombudsman along with how we believe intelligent automation can help to transform your customers’ experience.

Quality of repairs

When a motor insurance claim involves repairing the vehicle, often an insurer will want to use their own repair supply chain. This means that if the policyholder isn’t happy with the repairs made, the cost of the repairs, or the time it takes to get their vehicle back, they are likely to make a complaint.

  • Use a digital worker to get quotes from approved repairers quickly. Quotes could be sent to the customer to offer them a choice — they can either use an insurer-approved repairer or find their own at equal or lower cost.
  • Send automated alert communications to customers during the claims process about their responsibility and warranty on repair work if they’ve chosen to use their own repairer.
  • Deliver SMS updates on repair status and expected completion date, so the customer knows when they can get back on the road.
  • If the customer has a rental replacement, the digital worker can take on parts of the process, and ensure all arrangements are communicated clearly and in a timely fashion.

Valuations on total loss

A significant proportion of claims complaints arise from customers who are disappointed with the settlement offered in the case of a total loss. They may believe their car is worth more than the market value or, if they purchased their vehicle new, that they should receive the amount vehicle originally cost back in settlement.

  • Digital workers can search the market for cars equivalent in age, make, model, etc. and send these to the customer as a proof point for the valuation given. Often, the customer will do their own research to contest a valuation, so why not beat them to it?
  • You can also use the same process for valuing the car at the point of policy purchase, populating the car value field in the quote-and-buy form so the customer is aware of the estimated value of their vehicle from the start.
  • Transparency on valuation always benefits the customer and sets expectations.

Claims rejected for non-disclosure

Sometimes a claim gets rejected because the customer’s vehicle has had modifications not covered under the insurance policy. While this may be a deliberate deception due to the difficulty of getting the vehicle insured, some customers simply don’t know which modifications are covered or what constitutes a modification at all.

  • An intelligent digital worker enabled with AI skills for analyzing photography could identify vehicle modifications from a customer photo as part of the online quote application. Any modifications would be flagged to the customer, who could then choose to complete the quote via chatbot or phone.
  • The digital worker could also verify the photo’s authenticity if its metadata is available.

Besides modifications, there may be other instances of non-disclosure that could void a claim, such as the customer not reporting earlier claims accurately (or at all), omitting details of previous convictions or providing incorrect address information.

  • A digital worker can be deployed to check the relevant databases and verify the information while the customer is progressing through the quote-and-bind form. It can also determine whether a user has submitted several forms using different information to change the quote outcome.

Confirming information accuracy at the start of the policy ensures that a claim has the best chance of being approved, which then reduces the likelihood of complaints.

Renewal

Often, the terms of an automatic policy renewal are based on there being no changes to the customer’s situation. However, even if no claims have been made, other undisclosed changes such as moving to a new address could impact the validity of a future claim. Customers may not be aware that they need to disclose changes in their status in order to accept a renewal premium, especially if the policy is set to auto-renew.

  • A digital worker could send verification questions to the customer before renewal via the customer’s preferred communication channel or several channels.
  • Once the customer verifies the information, a digital worker can initiate the renewal process. Or, if there are changes to be made, a digital worker can facilitate this in the smoothest possible way for the customer and the insurer.

Following a claim, a customer may have the option to take out a new policy with the insurer or to renew it, considering any resulting changes in the vehicle or circumstances. This is often the point in the process when an insurer loses the customer to a competitor, especially if there is a gap while they are purchasing a replacement vehicle. A digital worker could help here in several ways.

  • Firstly, in the case of a total loss, it could shop around on behalf of the customer to quickly find — and even facilitate — the purchase of an equivalent replacement vehicle.
  • It could also shop around for quotes from other insurers to offer a fast comparison and the opportunity for you to price match.

No claims bonus

Miscommunication with your customers about your rules on no claims bonuses (NCB) can lead to complaints if the customer’s NCB isn’t worth what they expect.

Managing expectations at the start of a transaction is important for maintaining trust and mitigating complaints later on. You might have this information on your website, in your quote form and even in your policy documents. But passively sharing it isn’t a fool-proof method for ensuring customers understand what they are signing up for.

So how can a digital workforce help?

  • A digital worker can quickly identify whether a customer’s previous no-claims bonus meets your policy requirements, then make the customer aware well within the cooling-off period.
  • If you have a portal that customers use to manage their policies, you can add a dynamic form to collect proof of no claims. A digital worker can pick up these form submissions and quickly process them for a speedier outcome.
  • If the customer has taken out NCB protection cover, the digital worker can assist with this part of the claims process, ensuring the customer is protected and assured of this when making their claim.

Poor customer service

No insurance provider sets out to provide a poor service. However, there may be times when your contact center is busy, agents aren’t able to spend enough time with customers, or claims managers can’t immediately respond to queries. In some cases, customer service agents aren’t ready or equipped to answer claims queries because they don’t have the customer’s claim information at hand, since it’s handled by a completely different team.

  • Digital workers can access multiple systems quickly to ensure that whomever a customer connects with to query their claim has the necessary data at hand.
  • A digital workforce can facilitate an omnichannel approach to customer service, ensuring the customer can use the channel most convenient to them and the query will be handled in the fastest, most efficient way.
  • A digital workforce supporting a contact center ensures that agents aren’t spending time on manual tasks and that they have a single source of truth for customer data, which means they can focus more time on the customer.
  • Freeing up agents’ time in this way also motivates them to provide a better, more engaging service.
  • Creating connections between systems and people to handle customer queries — especially claims — is crucial but challenging. A digital workforce helps to break down those silos.

Thinking creatively with intelligent automation

Intelligent automation can play a significant role in customer experience. This means customers can have queries and requests answered quickly and efficiently, and you can put effective communication measures in place to ensure your customers are always clear on where they stand. You’ll never be able to eliminate complaints completely, but by using smart technologies, you can figure out ways to reduce them.

Our intelligent automation platform has been proven to improve NPS scores in a range of companies and industries. What could it do for yours?