Three recent digital claims announcements raised answers and questions about home insurance digital claims goals, strategy, innovation, transformation, and technology.

One a complete transformation of the whole claims process from eFNOL to settlement and the other two tackling specific aspects of claims. One strategic and two tactical.

First, the AA partnering with Synergy Cloud to develop and deploy a next-gen digital claims platform meeting not just its needs but those of all insurers, brokers and MGAs. Working back from the customer, including the needs of the repair, replacement and engineering supply chain and not forgetting the requirements of claims adjusters, fraud teams and inhouse specialists.

Second, AXA UK has rolled out a new machine learning tool to help streamline and accelerate complex property claims. BETSIE (Buildings Enhanced Triage Steering Intelligence Engine) increases the speed and accuracy of claims resolution by capturing essential data points and simplifying the claims triaging process.

The tool, which was built inhouse by AXA, uses data, analytics and machine learning to accelerate and improve decision making and triage management. This enhances customer experience as fewer questions need to be asked and the potential for rework, delays and further costs are reduced.

Third, Zurich cut property claims settlement times to under 24 hours with its latest state-of-the-art industry-first AI solution. During a pilot between December 2020 and February 2021, the technology created in collaboration with delivered automated policy checking through the use of Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Knowledge Graphs to deliver a brand-new capability to the market, Automated Policy Checking.

We will examine these home claims transformation projects to review: -

  • Benchmarking digital maturity across the whole business and across end-to-end claims management to better plan transformation
  • Why most innovation is at the FNOL stage rather than across the whole value chain
  • To build or buy/license platforms and software
  • Choosing the optimal technology partners
  • Whether you may be too silo focussed rather than customer process centric.
  • Sources of actionable intelligence.

These topics impact the decision making facing all leaders in claims and the C-Suite of insurers

Benchmarking digital maturity

Everyone comments on how the enforced move to “work-from-home” WFH and the increasing reliance of customers on virtual and digital engagement has speeded up innovation and transformation. But claims remain the poor cousin to innovation at the Quote & Bind, MTAs, Renewals and omni-channel distribution stages.

Altus Consulting’s Digital Dashboard

of UK insurers shows this.

Quote & Buy scores over three times higher than claims. Remember 70% of more of an insurers cashflow is in claims. 

Altus intercompany comparison further shows that most of this claims innovation is just at the very front end of FNOL rather than the ‘serious’ processes of inspections & surveys, evidence gathering, supply chain triage & management and claims tracking, recoveries and subrogation , payments and reserving. and so on.

The AA

has taken a strategic view that it must compete with the best whether incumbent carriers, upstart full stack insurtechs or other disrupters. 

Gary Barker, Claims Director at The AA commented: ‘It’s a rare thing in business for two organisations to find each other at a time when they have completely aligned mutual objectives, but that is what happened with this partnership with the AA and Synergy Cloud.  Both teams have taken on a truly collaborative approach to the project and it has genuinely felt like we are part of one team, in fact, at times it has felt like one family! The product we have created between us creates a first in the UK home claims market, a system that provides a completely common platform for customers, suppliers and claims handlers alike, digitally-enabled incorporating the latest video technology and cloud-based but which is not ruinously expensive. Synergy Cloud is a first-rate provider and we are very excited to be working with them and proud of what we have produced together.”

AXA and Zurich have taken specific issues and solved those.


using expertise to build this inhouse leveraging data, analytics, and historical learning to accelerate decision-making and support claims handlers in identifying the most suitable triage route.

Waseem Malik, Executive Managing Director of Claims at AXA UK commented, “At AXA, we are always working on improving our claims processes and to utilise data to optimise claims outcomes. BETSIE provides us with a fantastic opportunity to make quicker, more advanced decisions for customers. which brings world class data scientists, data mastery and AI/machine learning to bear on the challenge of policy checking and triage. 

with insurtech partner

Amy Brettell, Head of Customer, UK Claims at Zurich, said: “At Zurich we have been working hard to deliver claims enhancements and innovations that positively impact on our customers’ experience. Our research shows that our customers want speed, clarity and transparency when it comes to making decisions on their claims.

So, back to my thoughts surfacing at the beginning of this article.

What drives claims leaders innovation and transformation strategy? What do they use as a benchmark and where do they find the expertise to achieve competitive advantage?

The AA dived in the deep-end to transform everything whilst AXA and Zurich tacked important yet more tactical issues.

Benchmarking can come from the Altus DigitalBar, J D Power surveys, consultants like Gartner, Celent, Deloitte, KPMG, Acord et al.  and explicit research. The DigitalBar is a good place to start for UK insurers.

Take the company it ranks at No.1 for digital claims maturity- Aviva

Note: This is for motor and home claims.

You get all this information for 40 insurers (some being branded affiliates) with historic data  trends and the 2020 data. 

With the strategic innovation deployed by the AA you will see a lot of the 2020 red changing to green for 2021.

The AXA digital maturity rating shows why it possibly took a smaller bite of claims transformation having already achieved some amber scores.

With the rapid acceleration in customer expectations of virtual and digital engagement you wonder if a complete strategic transformation is not the priority. Not just because customers will measure all insurers against the new kids on the block and the top-rated insurers but also because there are so many new competitors included embedded insurance.

Home sensors and the connected house are changing the pace of innovation. In China and Asia banking, insurance and eCommerce are spurred by Ping AN, Tencent, Alibaba et al. That will happen in Europe and North America as well and one reason that embedded insurance is on an upward trend.

To build inhouse or buy/license?

Do you build inhouse or buy/license world-class technology- or combine a hybrid model. Where can you find the best advice?

Gartner is a traditional stopping place as is Celent. Many will go the SI’s and Insurance Practices that helped install current core systems like Guidewire, Duck Creek, Majesco, Sapiens et al.

Increasingly insurers are impatient of the time and money it takes to upgrade these and look for those apps and platforms that can wrap digital excellence around inflexible core systems.

Many insurers look to Sonr which tracks incumbents, insurtechs, start-ups, investments, and M&A. When there are so many technology partners which can help this process of transformation and innovation how can you be sure that you are not missing out?

SIs and Major Consultancies may have just too much skin in the game with current technology partners. It’s always wise to have an overview of all potential technology partners to choose the optimal ones.

Sonr has impressive global reach, in depth monitoring and whilst focussed on insurance and banking also covers other verticals,

When looking for potential partners to help in claims digital transformation it covers the ones you might know about.

  • Major core platforms Guidewire, Duck Creek, Pega, Majesco, IDIT, ICE, and so on.
  • Quote & Buy, MTA & Renewals platforms like HUGHUB
  • Digital Claims Platforms Synergy Cloud, RightIndem, Snapsheet, ClaimsGenius, 360Globalnet, etc
  • Property Ecosystems Core Logic, Verisk,
  • Combined claims services and technology providers Crawford & Company, Sedgwick, Davies Group, Claims Consortium Group. Control€xpert etc.
  • No-Code/Low-Code app building platforms from Unqork, Netcall,
  • Point Solutions Tractable, Solera, Shift, Friss and, Solera/Audatex etc

And a whole lot more that you might miss like embedded insurance platform Qover partnering with digital claims platform Five Sigma

Access to the width and depth of such intelligence is vital if you are too chose the optimal partners and when looking for digital claims technology partners I ended up with a profiled list five times greater than expected with all the tools to collaborate across the company.

Which brings me to the last major theme in this blog.

Digital transformation in silos or by cross-business processes?

Are insurers, brokers, and MGAs too blinkered in when planning innovation and transformation strategies?

Frederik Bisbjerg believes so and he has worked at and for insurers large and small from Qatar Insurance Company (QIC) to Gulf Insurer Noor Takaful.

He proposes that digital transformation needs to focus on processes rather than business unit silos e.g. do not just plan the transformation of Quote and Buy but consider all the buying and service journeys and touch points by which a customer experiences the values and products/services of your company. He describes it in his practical guide to innovation In his book ‘Insurance_Next’. Really good reading for any leader in claims or member of the C-Suite to challenge strategy, structure, organisation, processes, - the whole gamut of being successful.

Bisbjerg also emphasises how technology being important across the whole insurance value chain it is best to take the big picture rather than focus on just point solutions. In that way you can be sure of getting greens across all the DigitalBar processes.

That makes integration  a vital matter. Not just an API architecture but experience from the platform providers as many point solutions customise their APIs for each major customer which can complicate matters.

Reminds me of when I was charged with building and deploying a digital hospitality reservation system for a chain of over 600 hotels. Requited integration with online travel agents (OTAs) , legacy reservation systems, content management and publishing systems, property management systems... an endless list. If your platform partner has mastered that they will be well on the way of integrating third party apps 

When 70% to 80% of an insurers cash flow is attributable to claims it cannot be the poor analogue cousin nor can innovation just be focussed on the front end FNOL. It must be end-to-end. You might prioritise where you start but you should avoid tactical innovation and work to a clear strategy to achieve business plans and avoid unexpected competition from new entrants, service providers or emerging threats like decentralised finance (DeFi).

In summary.

  • Use intercompany comparisons to benchmark your digital maturity against competitors
  • Have a clear business plan, strategy, resourcing and skilled team & partners to get greens across all areas
  • Relook at the value chain from a customer's view
  • Move from silo to process management
  • Make everything virtual, digital, automated except where human empathy & intuition is needed
  • Choose the right technology partners from the lag even diagram of platforms, software and data providers.

In case you missed it you can enjoy 14 day free trials of the Altus DigitalBar here and the Sonr technology partner scouting platform here.

And please feel free to contact me if you seek advice on any of these topics