Ease of interactions, clear expectations, responsiveness plus full and fair resolution contribute to a customer being satisfied with their claim experience. Their journey begins with their first outreach to their insurance company to report a loss, injury or other covered event. Referred to as filing a claim, claim intake or First Notice of Loss (FNOL), that initial interaction can set the tone for the customer’s experience through investigation, settlement and payment for their loss. As the expression goes, there is no second chance to create a great first impression.
Whether it be for an auto accident, submitting a parental leave claim, or a building fire, both the information gathered and process involved at claim intake is crucial to ensure a smooth and empathetic claims experience. If you have ever reported a claim, you may have found that the initial call into your insurance company was frustrating, potentially adding to the stress of the loss itself. You may have had to hold for an available service representative for what felt like a lifetime. And then the breadth and depth of questions you needed to answer, could have felt more like an interrogation than a conversation. Automation solutions can improve customer satisfaction while meeting the increasing demand for self-service options.
Multiple claim intake channels
The First Notice of Loss is the beginning of a customer’s claim journey when the initial report is communicated to their insurance carrier after a loss or covered life event, injury or illness has occurred. The overall goal of the FNOL process is to gather the information needed to take the appropriate next steps to resolve the claim accurately and as quickly as possible. Insurance companies need to support multiple claim intake channels. This includes telephonic, often through centralized call centers that provide 24 x 7 x 365 availability.
Paper reports can be received through traditional mail, including state-specific accident and workplace injury forms, and ACORD documents completed by insurance agents on behalf of their customers. New claim reports can also be received as email attachments or through inbound fax transmissions. Some insurance carriers have created web-based customer portals, mobile applications and/or chatbots to facilitate customer interactions including FNOL.
The FNOL process
The FNOL process needs to optimize getting enough information from the customer at the first point of interaction, provide the customer with insight on what to expect next and when, and with empathy.
Identifying the customer during the claim intake process is important. The insurance policy is a contract, and can have customer-specific terms on what is covered. Some customers may have special services they have purchased, that can include dedicated claims adjuster teams, customized service provider networks or the types of losses when emergency resources are dispatched to the scene of an accident.
During the FNOL process, the insurance company needs to know not only the extent of the loss, if possible, the cause. The extent of the loss enables the insurance company to apply its expertise in terms of guidance on next steps. If a delivery truck filled with perishables isn’t driveable, a salvage company may be in order to avoid a total loss of the product.
How the loss occurred positions the claims adjuster to rule out any insurance policy exclusions, or begin looking into other responsible parties involved.
The nature and extent of the loss can influence which claims office or claims adjuster will be assigned a newly reported claim. Some insurance companies have specialized teams based on customer, industry or types of events.
Customer experience first
While facilitating the capture of the needed information and offering guidance on next steps, any claim intake process needs to remember the customer is not a claims professional. This loss could be their first experience reporting a claim. Regardless of its actual severity, assume it is of great significance to the customer, not to mention a source of distress. Hence the importance of the FNOL experience being an empathic one.
Testing to balance customer experience with FNOL process needs It’s essential for insurance companies to adopt an “outside-in” approach to their FNOL process. Consider some experiments where you test out your company’s various claim intake channels across several dimensions:
Technology impact on FNOL
Technology continues to influence customer expectations for the claim intake process. Gartner predicts that customers expect to manage 85% of their relationships with enterprises without interacting with a human. And that by 2025, 80% of customer service organizations will have abandoned native mobile apps in favor of messaging for a better customer experience. According to AARP Research, the generation gap on smartphone usage and texting is narrowing. Smartphone adoption is 86% among Americans age 50-59, 81% percent for those 60-69, and 62% of those 70 and older. And 95% of seniors age 65+ send text messages weekly.
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