There was a time when we only associated flooding with the depths of winter. Milder, wetter summers gave way to inclement winters with the risk of flooding after sustained rainfall. However, recent summers have been drier than normal but with a higher degree of flash flooding due to sudden extremely heavy bursts of rainfall onto drier surfaces, which cannot absorb the amount of water falling in such a short space of time.
The summer of 2019 has been typical. Record-breaking heatwaves across Europe, extending into the UK have resulted in very hard dry ground. When this has been followed by heavy thundershowers, the ground has been too hard to absorb it, resulting in major run-off into rivers that have then exceeded their normal flow rate and burst their banks or even put dams under pressure.
Research by the Met Office and Newcastle University predicts that this is likely to continue, with a direct link being found between climate change and the increase in summer rainstorms. It predicted that future summers would be hotter but would be punctuated by more frequent and heavier downpours than in the past.
The potential for damage is now very high during summer months whereas before it was restricted to the seasonal floods during winter. This is likely to have a dramatic effect on the pattern of claims being handled by insurers as damage is being done during what was normally the quieter months for flood damage in the general insurance industry. Whatever the reason for the changes in the climate, there is no doubt that insurers are going to be put to the pin of their collar to try to cope with the resulting deluge of claims that will flow from these extreme weather events.
What the public seek from insurers is that sense of protection that comes from being able to access their insurer and process their claims as rapidly as possible, during what is for most people one of the most traumatic events of their lives. They are looking for high-tech solutions that are always available to them. When they are seeking to make claims, they are looking for their insurer to be in a position to respond on a 24x7 basis across a multi-platform environment, allowing them to make their claims wherever and whenever they can, rather than imposing bureaucratic procedures upon them.
Insurers need to use high-tech integrated solutions that can adapt to modern claims technologies and utilise the benefits of modern technology in order to provide an efficient service. The use of drones for damage assessment and IOT devices will lead to more rapid assessment of the claims and enable insurers to provide their customers with the reassurance of a rapid response that they need.
At the heart of these new technologies lie the cloud-based core systems that deploy modern technologies to seamlessly integrate with these new devices, and which can collate and analyse the resulting data, meaning that claims can be quickly and accurately settled without the insurers being exposed to fraud. Innovation in this area can also dramatically shorten claim times, reducing the costs involved for the insurer whilst enabling their customers to repair the damage and get back on with living their lives as rapidly as possible.
By putting their claims processing in the cloud, insurers make it easier to form partnerships with other high-tech providers to gather key information, enable assessors to connect using smartphones and upload data directly from the scene of the disaster and allowing customers to follow the progress of their claim in real time.
Insurers who keep this focus on the customer and make their claims process more efficient and accessible will have a big advantage in terms of developing their customer relationships and excelling at customer service. It also helps to make the information available for assessment in terms of future business, allowing more accurate assessment of risk and ensuring better pricing for the customer based on the likely risks involved.
Claims remains a key touchpoint for a customer’s interaction with insurers and business reputations can be badly damaged by a poor service to customers at their greatest hour of need. Bereft claimants complaining are like a magnet for reporters and insurers who don’t perform often find themselves on the receiving end of some very bad publicity.
Modern adaptive cloud-based systems are the key to ensuring that problems that emerge from the cloud are handled efficiently in a customer-centric way to the benefit of both customer and insurer.