Enhancing the Experience: How Carriers are Changing Contents Inventory Creation for Policyholders

Our recent Product Advisory Group session prompted a lively debate from our carrier customers on the best way to incent policyholders to create their own contents inventory – and preferably pre-loss.

While most of our customers utilize a variety of online tools to help their insureds recreate inventories in both pre- and post-loss scenarios, the usage has been light, with adoption slower than anticipated. Despite warnings to video your home and contents, and lodge the video in a safe deposit box, or to store footage in the cloud, it’s human nature to ignore this step, thinking it won’t happen to you. (Full disclosure – I have not taken this step myself although in writing this, I’m hoping to shame myself into completing my own contents inventory this coming weekend).

Several carriers mentioned that part of the issue is the insured still has the expectation that the adjuster will help create the inventory post-loss, despite language to the contrary in many policies. As a further complication, many adjusters still struggle with contents inventory and valuation and find it a particularly tedious and complex aspect of the claims process. For my own inventory project, I’m looking forward to trying Enservio’s Contents ITV software that will predict an actual contents inventory as well as specific values based on my address and zip code. The tool utilizes an algorithm that takes various parameters such as number of children, whether you own pets and other demographics in order to give a more accurate indication of your contents value.

With the average demographic for Facebook users at age 40.5 (Pingdom) and growing, it’s hard to fall back on the argument that older insureds don’t use computers. That said, the more typing involved, the more you risk losing a segment of the insured population. There was general agreement among our carriers that voice recognition technologies will go far in helping accelerate usage. One carrier offers its policyholders the option of either filling out a spreadsheet or using an online Web form, and has found that usage of said form jumped considerably when presented this way. Others talked about utilization of a template that makes it easy for the insured to mentally walk through their home and check off standard items rather than typing long lists of items. Requesting past credit card receipts for big ticket items helps preclude the potential for fraud, or creating “wish lists.”

Mobile applications that make it easy to snap photos and match model numbers, bar codes, and specific brands have real potential in spurring adoption as well. Enservio is currently working on its first mobile application targeted to large loss adjusters and sees a pre-loss application as a viable step in the value chain.

Either way, both Enservio and its carrier customers are looking for innovative ways to improve the customer experience. Ensuring the claims process is more collaborative with each side understanding expectations and next steps will go a long way in enhancing the process.

How about you? What are your thoughts as a policyholder or as an insurance professional in delivering a better customer experience?