From red/green lights to revolutionising insurance claim handling
Written by Phil Van Tenac
When I first started in a career selling telephone systems, BT had recently been privatised. Systems were very basic operating on analogue lines with mainly analogue handsets and I remember the time when one manufacturer introduced a red/green light on a line button and considered this to be a revolutionary feature. I sold systems on the ability to differentiate the clear advantages of our system compared to competitors using this as a feature.
Digital signalling lines soon followed allowing thirty lines to be sent down a single cable. This was considered to be such a technological advance at the time. I then noticed technology step changes became more frequent.
The time I realised the telecoms industry had taken a monumental leap was soon after installing a new phone system where the new system sat in a small section of a data cabinet taking no more room than a microwave oven. Alongside sat the old system, a five cabinet iSDX system with further cabinets for backup batteries and generating enough heat to warm an average three bedroom house.
It was at this moment that I realised the advancement and potential of what this new technology could deliver and decided to enter the hosted telephony sector. I noticed the new technology advanced rapidly as data and voice merged into one system. Companies that would have previously required a substantial in house IT team to be regularly trained and updated on technology were able to focus more of their time on applying this technology to improve the operation and efficiency of their business whilst outsourcing routine work to the hosted operator.
Today advances I would have found unthinkable when I first started in the industry, are introduced so frequently you consider it unusual if they do not occur with regularity.
As an individual focussed on innovation, I find the new hosted technology offers so many opportunities to change business models and practices. The art is to bring proven working technologies together, build them in a solid, secure and reliable cloud based environment and then design a simple uncomplicated user interface that knits all these clever technologies together.
Recently I have been working on bringing a group of technologies together able to revolutionise the insurance industry. Starting with a motor insurance app that allows an individual involved in a vehicle accident to capture all the detail at the scene of an accident. Images of the accident, details of vehicles and individuals involved are captured by the app together with the requirement for a hire/recovery vehicle. Weather, road surface conditions and vehicle registration are also collected and then sent immediately via a pdf report to the insurance provider, all time, date and location mapped with a complete audit log.
Once the report is received by the claims handling centre, workflow technology determines the location of the accident and is able to automatically provision a recovery and/or hire vehicle relevant to the accident location. An instant lookup of the registration of vehicles against the insured database can be carried out and inform the claim handling agent or police of non-insured drivers. All these processes can take place in an instant so when the agent is presented with a call to the policy holder they are able to inform the estimated time of arrival of the recovery vehicle, confirm a hire vehicle has been booked and ask if they wish to inform the police of a potential non-insured driver.
Further advances include capturing telematic and dash-cam data from the scene of the accident and running fraud detection software/compliance based software at the claims handling centre to identify fraudulent claims and minimise compliance issues.
The end result is a win win for the Insurance provider and their customers. The insurance company benefits from reduced costs, reduced risk, guaranteed supply chains and improved customer service. Whilst the end user benefits from vastly improved claims handling, less time reporting and instant notification/regular updates as to the progress of their claim.
Being involved in applying such innovative technology to improve existing practices is both exciting and satisfying. To do it properly needs the right combination of skills, technology, development, innovation and most importantly the right team. It is incredible to see how processes that have been in place for decades can be so dramatically improved once this combination is right.
Now I look back with amusement at how I once thought a red/green flashing button on a phone was revolutionary.