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Pandemic is an opportunity for insurers to improve business methods

By Susan Yellin | May 28 2020 03:11PM

Photo: Freepik

Many insurers are using the lessons learned during COVID-19 to push forward with everything from robotics to telematics once the pandemic air clears.

Many insurers like American Modern had planning initiatives on the books when the pandemic hit in the spring, but rather than toss those ideas out the window they now see how COVID-driven issues like remote working will actually work to their advantage, said Christine Willard, the company’s vice president, Customer Service.

Willard told a U.S. AI insurance forum on Wednesday that her firm, a Munich Re Company, was already dabbling in robotics and desktop automation before COVID and now sees some clear opportunities for them once the pandemic is over.

“We have a consulting group in our organization that is helping us and we are identifying what’s needed based on customer experience,” said Willard. “We are listening to our customers and then we’re taking that into the processes we have in our organization and partnering with [an operations firm that can] execute on these ideas very quickly.”

About 25 per cent of the work force at Cincinnati-based American Modern has always been off-site. But now that the company sees that it can operate, train and upscale 100 per cent remotely, it can look outside the city and hire experts to cover more time zones without paying extra for those working night shifts.

Scott Steele, chief marketing officer at Church Mutual said the industry has gone through disruptions in the past in the U.S. and everyone believed there would be great changes – only to discover a year or two later that they had gone back to the old ways.

But Steele said while there have been changes during COVID-19 there needs to be more meaningful analysis to determine how issues will end up.

“These are things that we aren’t quite ready with yet because we don’t know the full impact.”

Andy Mudra, vice president of Amica Life, agreed that it’s important to determine what will really happen when COVID-19 is over. But he also said he’s in line with the approach that insurers “not reopen the way they closed.”

“Let’s not fall into the trap that when the pandemic is over that we bring everybody back and just do things the way you’ve always done them. This is an opportunity to change and improve for the better.”

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