Why Combining Software with Services is Good Business

Jim FiniManaging risk is what insurance is all about. Unpredictability rules the roost. Tornados touch down in unexpected places, super storms are drifting further up the northeast coast. Western U.S. droughts are unprecedented. Trends point to more disasters to come. Unpredictability is not just the nature of the business, it’s the nature of nature itself. Having the flexibility to choose among options – such as deciding whether to outsource or insource your claims services, or whether to deploy software or request services– is key to survival.

A sudden surge in demand for field adjusters can leave most insurers in a lurch, prompting the need to tap outside resources. For carriers who can ramp up services as needed and maintain local staffing, there is always the option of using web-based applications.

Having a choice to use either software or services or a combination of both on-demand positively impacts the bottom line and improves overall customer experience. A superior customer experience paves the road to retention.

Prior to founding Enservio, I was a Product Manager at Marshall Swift & Boehck (now Corelogic NYSE: CLGX) where I was responsible for building a Contents Estimating application that could sit alongside their structural estimating claim platform. While we received some interest, we learned that many property carriers preferred to outsource the entire contents claim estimating process. With so many different strategies available today for handling personal and commercial contents claims, the software-only strategy may not be enough to tackle the entire challenge.

To really scale up in a broad and effective way, both software and services need to come into play. Having the option of using either or both will achieve the right balance, and the kind of flexibility carriers need for optimum performance.

Years ago I drew this simple diagram to illustrate this strategy:

Services Software
Insource Outsource

Using this construct we can learn to think in a more consultative way that puts needs and capabilities well ahead of pushing products that don’t fit. We can then fill the grid with products and services that make the most sense to meet particular requirements, as in the example below.

Insource:

  • Adjuster does field inventories for claims < 200 lines for HO3 claims where Coverage A < $1.5 million.
  • Carrier central adjusting unit does valuation for all non-Jewelry Theft Claims using software
Outsource:

  • Field inventories for HO3 claims =>200 lines AND ALL HO3 claims where Coverage A > $1.5 million
  • Valuation for all non-Theft claims
  • Valuation of all Jewelry & Specialty claims
  • Provide carrier overflow for CAT
  • Provide Fraud Detection analytics for all Theft Claims

The goal is to offer a compelling blend of services and software to address a variety contents claim regardless of type, complexity and business rules.

Whether it’s inventory and valuation services for Main Street, high-net worth or commercial; software to power carrier call centers; or analytics to cover all processes, carriers have the flexibility to put together the right mix of tools for most contingencies, achieving productivity gains.

James Fini is founder of Enservio and its Vice President of Research & Development.

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