Hancock Claims Consultants was thrilled to be back in live attendance at the 2023 PLRB Claims Conference held in March in Orlando, Florida. While we were there, we hosted a birthday party for our company’s 20th anniversary. We were honored to have nearly 1,000 industry leaders, colleagues and customers join us to connect and celebrate.
The PLRB Claims Conference is a great place to see how the property insurance claims industry is evolving. We spoke with John Hatcher after this year’s event and asked him what takeaways he thought were most important. He shared the issues that are top of mind for industry leaders right now.
Meet Our Expert
Name: John Hatcher
What He Does: HCC Chief Revenue Officer
Claims Experience: John has over 20 years of experience in the insurance claims industry. He has served in past roles such as Lead Client Partner, SVP-Insurance, Insurance General Manager and COO. His overall mission is to serve HCC’s partners in the property insurance industry while enhancing policyholder experiences.
- Expect Adjuster Staffing Challenges to Continue
Reflective of the entire U.S. workforce, experienced adjusters are leaving the industry and retiring faster than new adjusters can be recruited. John explains further, “Carriers are experiencing an acute staffing challenge, especially in the adjuster area. It was already happening before COVID, but COVID really accelerated it.”
Recruiting new adjusters has been challenging, John confirms, as newer employees tend to have an expectation for a work-from-home or hybrid work environment. This is creating an entire industry shift from the long-standing field adjuster model to a more desk-oriented model.
John shared an example of just how dramatic the shift has been in adjuster experience. “We had a leader from one of the larger carriers recently say that their average tenure in their adjuster workforce before
COVID was 13 years. Currently, it’s four years. . . . We’ve also been hearing that there are thousands of positions that will have to be filled in the very near term by this industry.”
- Carriers Want to Do More With Fewer Partners
Many carriers work with an overwhelming number of partners and vendors to handle the full spectrum of claims lifecycle management. For a large carrier, their vendor panel could include up to 500 third-party firms. That adds a lot of complexity, time and administrative cost to their claims process.
“I’m hearing that many carriers aim to reduce that number by 80% to 90%, if possible,” John said.
The reasons for consolidation are many. Some of the most common goals for carriers include:
- Reduce costs by consolidating buying power.
- Reduce the administrative costs of vendor management.
- Simplify processes for staff and insureds.
- Reduce cycle time by eliminating touchpoints between stages of a claim.
- Create greater consistency in the overall claims experience for staff and insureds.
- Technology Is an Opportunity, but Adopt With Care
The claims technology landscape is vast and ever-changing. Technologies have brought many improvements to a carrier’s ability to handle claims efficiently while also improving the customer experience. But, it’s crucial that carriers leverage technologies where they make sense, in ways that fit their business needs and adapt as those needs change. Technologies, people and processes have to all work in harmony.
John said, “In some cases, carriers may look to use technology for technology’s sake. Oftentimes, technology actually can introduce more complexity, more cost and make less economic sense in the overall process. So, it’s important to be thoughtful. Don’t rush into technology. You need to do a proper evaluation and really think about the three legs of the stool: technology, people and processes.”
Insights for Keeping Up With Change
- Empower Adjusters to Focus on Processes and Policyholders
Carriers must find ways to enable less-experienced adjusters to handle a higher volume of high-severity claims. Carriers need to build a support structure around these adjusters that offload a lot of the field “legwork” while allowing the adjuster to focus on the policyholder relationship and overall claims process. This will help with adjuster job satisfaction and retention while also creating a better system for responding to surging claims workloads.
- Find a Partner That Can Optimize the Entire Claims Lifecycle
At Hancock, we provide a full suite of claims lifecycle services Under One Roof. We are capable of supporting adjusters from the first notice of loss to full restoration. Our pre-adjudication services enable a timely and accurate claims decision to be made by the adjuster. From there, our network of contractors can be called on quickly for repairs, restoration or mitigation to bring the insured’s property to its pre-event state.
We still leave the claims decision in the hands of the adjuster while providing reliable nationwide support to help resolve claims faster.
- Look for Claims Solutions Tailored to Your Company’s Existing Systems
Hancock makes extensive use of third-party and, when necessary, homegrown technologies. We have built tight integrations so these technologies can be incorporated seamlessly with the systems of our carrier partners. We also deliberately remain somewhat technology-agnostic so we can be flexible to each carrier’s unique needs and preferences. From scheduling to reporting to invoicing, we aim to integrate with your internal systems to help process claims faster, improve customer experience and reduce claims lifecycle costs.