Many of us hope that we’ll never have to make an insurance claim. We pay our insurance premiums as a precaution; they give us peace of mind. But, if the worst-case scenario were to happen – say your bathroom pipes burst or your home was burgled – then it’s good to know your insurance will cover it.
Making a claim can be stressful but thanks to improvements in technology it’s also easier than ever before. We spoke with Jon Rookledge, Technical Claims and Supplier Relationship Manager at UIA, about how systems are being improved while still keeping our memebers at the heart of the business.
Why has UIA decided to update its claims system?
Over the last two years, we’ve been busy carrying out a business transformation programme. Our first major achievement was revamping our website to make it faster and easier to navigate. We then spent the past year focusing on improving the claims experience, tailoring all of our member communications and investing in new technology to make the claims process smoother, both for our members and for our colleagues and suppliers.
How has the UIA claims system been improved?
We’ve changed the IT system that we use to manage members’ claims. We’ve moved onto a far more modern and user-friendly system and this will give us the opportunity, over time, to open up access to the various parties involved in the claims process, including the member and the suppliers appointed. This will take us some time to develop, but in the meantime, we’re working on how the system helps our people to manage the claim more actively and transparently.
In the future, we’re expecting that the system will allow more open access between those involved. The result will be better communication and coordination of the various parties involved. For example, if there’s an escape of water claim and we first need a drying company to do some work followed by a building company, the system will enable communication between the two. The building company will know when the drying company is heading towards completion, so it can prepare its contractors to go in as soon as the drying is complete. Without an integrated communications system, it’s very much reliant on individuals remembering to tell the other companies what they’re up to, which can slow things down.
This integration is a little way away because it will involve a lot of development both for us and our suppliers. But ultimately, it will make the whole process smoother and more efficient.
What impact will the new system have on members?
On the face of it, members won’t see a huge difference in how their claims are handled. They’ll see small improvements, such as quicker processing times throughout their claim and a more efficient service, but they’ll continue to have the same high-level service they’ve come to expect from UIA. It’s not about change, it’s about refinement, development and evolution.
Will the new system make it easier for members to make a claim?
As a business, we’re already known for our good customer service but we have many new things on our radar that could have a significant impact on the claim management process.
We’re hoping to introduce some self-service, so members can access their claims and information online. This means they won’t necessarily have to speak with us during the working day, they’ll be able to deal with their claim when it’s convenient for them, at home, digitally, in their own time. We can send a link and they can upload the relevant information, including videos of any property damage, from their smartphones.
We’re currently trialling the video technology and hope to roll it out to members soon. We’re also looking at systems that allow us to have a live feed with a member, where they can use their smartphone in real-time to show us any damage, while we’re talking to them.
Is the intention to eventually take the whole process of making a claim online?
No, not at all. At UIA, we understand the importance of having a human point of contact, particularly during what can be a really distressing time. We want to give members the confidence that they can speak to our claims handlers, who have their best interests at heart. We pride ourselves on our communications and putting our members at the forefront of what we do, the systems won’t replace that.
Also, I think it’s important to highlight that while we are looking at all these technologies, we understand that not everyone has access to them. We’ll carry on processing claims without the digital side if a member doesn’t want to, or doesn’t have the means. We’re flexible; we’re not driving everyone down one path. We handle each claim on an individual basis.