Throughout the insurance industry, quite often the loss control department is the last segment of the company to obtain contemporary technology. Millions of dollars are invested in large-scale policy administration, claims, billing, and other core systems projects, sometimes in pursuit of a marginal productivity gain or business enablement.
Many insurers do not realize that in a forgotten corner of their building, there is a risk control team begging for technology; and even a minimal investment in technology for this team could result in a huge organizational impact.
This reality has created some noteworthy, industry-wide issues that loss control executives are forced to deal with.
The 6 technology-centric issues that keep Loss Control Management up at night:
1. Business Intelligence – what does this all mean?
Data collection and the understanding of this data is a fundamental backbone of the risk control function, yet ask many loss control leaders a pointed, data-centric question and they simply do not have the tools in place to give you an answer.
Although loss control consultants by nature spend a majority of their time collecting detailed data and analyzing it (and often far more accurate data than what is received from a producer) in the field, in many cases this data simply cannot be aggregated for the benefit of the business as it doesn't reside in a single loss control system. Whether the data resides in Word documents, Excel sheets, PDFs or is actually in a database with no business intelligence capabilities, the lack of analytical abilities places serious restrictions on loss control executives when it comes to predictive analytics and loss control targeting. The result is a sense that although you may feel like your field team is being effective in its day-to-day activities, there is a lingering feeling that there are accounts out there that really need more attention but may not be receiving it.
2. Account Management – am I missing something?
When a risk management consultant arrives at a client site to meet with an insured, it is imperative that they have all of the information they need to do what they do best – consult.
Without a centralized hub for account information – including up-to-date policy, claims and loss control details – consultants are forced to sift through multiple systems, files, emails and lower desk drawers to obtain a holistic view of the account. This may not only result in a consultant missing a key piece of information which would impact their service delivery, it simply wastes time.
3. Vendor Management – can I have it my way?
Many insurers choose to outsource some or all field consulting work to third party firms. Although a number of these firms have technology in place to provide the insurer with detailed data in addition to the consultant report through an automated approach, in most instances all that is received is a ‘single-use’ document for the reading pleasure of the underwriter.
Due to geographic or specialization constraints, most insurers also utilize multiple third-party firms, resulting in additional challenges around consistency of the reports (and the data…if available at all). With no industry standard in place for loss control data exchange, it is easy to understand why these inconsistencies exist, but the solution is not simply forcing the third-party firm to adhere to the carrier solution, it needs to be a collaboration in which a common technical language can be used to facilitate the “carrier-vendor handshake”.
4. Recommendation Management – the loss control abyss…
Most insurers provide insureds with risk improvement recommendations based on the findings of on site visits. In the absence of a mechanism to ensure these improvements are completed, these recommendations are worth little more than the paper they are written on (or the electronic document they are contained in).
Let me be clear, this mechanism need not be technology-driven in nature, just having one at all is key (we have found that some carriers do not even have a documented manual process in place for recommendation follow-up and management). It is simply naïve to assume that insureds will receive a single recommendation notice and hop-to-it to resolve the identified issues; a diligent follow-up process is key. If you can automate this, all the better.
An added benefit of vigilance around the recommendation management function is the ability to communicate further value to the organization when it comes to the outcomes provided by loss control. After all, it is easy to place a high value on bringing in new business as a key to the success of an insurer, but reducing losses is a powerful way of improving the bottom line.
5. Staffing – where have all my experts gone?
If there is one thing that literally keeps any business leader up at night, it is human resources. For loss control leaders, this issue is exacerbated by the current make-up of most loss control teams which are anchored by seasoned industry veterans with staggering levels of knowledge in their heads.
Unfortunately, the fact that this knowledge is between the ears of these veterans will eventually lead to a major knowledge gap once these senior consultants retire and it is left up to the up-and-coming consultants to fill the gap.
It is incumbent upon loss control leaders to ensure that they have the right technology tools in place, not only because these younger tech savvy consultants will demand it, but also because the knowledge of the senior team members can be harnessed within a technology solution. Whether it be standardization of forms, recommendation verbiage, hazard identification techniques or consulting best practices contained in a loss control management system, the time is now to leverage this knowledge and embed it into your technology to ensure future success.
6. Customer Service – it's what keeps them coming back.
The fact is, whether we put it in the job description or not, customer service is a vital component of the risk control function, as they are often the only front line of face-to-face interactions with existing clients, with the exception of claims. Well beyond the antiquated view of simply completing inspections, today’s loss control consultant is responsible for offering value-added services to their clients to further solidify the insurer-insured relationship. With all of these pain points working against you, your role as a loss control leader is seriously challenged by not having the right technology in place.
To learn more about the solution to these issues, do not hesitate to connect with one of our experts.