Insurance carriers have not had it easy with the onset of COVID-19. Not only are they faced with massive customer support queries and requests, but they are also struggling with the move to a remote workforce. To make matters worse, security breaches and fraud has only been rising in the industry, leaving many insurers wondering what to do next to simply survive the times.
Outsourcing insurance back-office processes has always been one solution to the problem however, it has never been more promising given the current times. Not only can outsourcing partners alleviate the need to move your entire workforce to remote work and face rising operational costs, but they can also automate critical processes like insurance eligibility.
To add to that, they already have a highly trained workforce ready to answer your customer’s queries and carry out insurance back-office processes like claims processing without a hitch. To truly understand just how outsourcing partners can be of help to insurance carriers, let’s take a look at what challenges they currently face.
Operational Challenges for Insurers
Shifting to Remote Working
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues unabated, carriers are increasingly looking to have their workforce work from home to keep the business running. Remote work itself poses some operational challenges for carriers as not all workers can be sent home because of the systems they are using.
Workers whose occupations require tight security or are highly regulated cannot always work remotely. This is because the average home networking infrastructure is not designed for corporate work.
Even if there is enough bandwidth for an employee to do their work effectively, there may be security issues that might arise from poor passwords and targeted data breaches. Even using the cloud can result in new leaks, security risks, breaches, and full-fledged hacks.
Some studies have found that a third of organizations admit to having experienced data breaches or data loss as a result of mobile working. This is because the security protocols you find in the office cannot be replicated from the home. Because workers cannot work from the office, they do not have access to office infrastructure either.
Carriers are finding it hard to provide workers with new devices that can be accessed from home while at the same time upholding compliance and security protocols. Insurers were already struggling with the cybersecurity skills gap before the COVID-19 pandemic took over.
With a dramatic increase in operational changes, carriers are now asking their already limited cyber security teams to work additional hours to meet the sudden demand in IT support.
Dealing with Rising Volumes of Customer Support Requests
One of the biggest operational challenges that carriers are facing involve dealing with the massive rise in customer support requests. Customers are overwhelming insurers with queries over their travel insurance, business interruption, critical illness, and health cover to see what they might or might not be covered for so that they can make a claim.
Some insurers have witnessed a staggering 1000% increase in customer inquiries, complaints, and claims related to all kinds of insurance products. Not only are these queries time-consuming to assist with, they are also labour-intensive as an automated machine is not the one handling all the incoming calls.
Most insurers do not have the manpower to handle the rise in customer support call volumes, so their existing call center agents are the ones that have to deal with the onslaught. Not only are the current agents unprepared to deal with the massive call volumes, they are seriously overwhelmed by the demand for assistance at this time.
Insurers that are looking to stay in business need to continue to provide around the clock assistance to their customers, which has resulted in overworked employees all round. This significant lack of trained resources poses quite the challenge for insurers of all kinds as their existing customers are finding it hard to get their assistance when they need it most.
Claims Are Becoming More Difficult to Adjust
With the move to remote work, insurance claims are becoming more and more difficult to adjust. High value claims that require an extensive evaluation of physical evidence and detailed reports from the experts are particularly challenging to process at this time because they require on-site visits.
If motor claims involve an accident, in these times, there is no one that can be sent in person to assess the damage and properly adjust the loss, making it difficult for such insurers to operate at all. Not only can experts are finding it difficult to arrive at the scene, they must also take the policyholder’s version of events as the truth.
This makes it exceedingly hard for insurers to operate as blind faith is not a good idea where thousands of dollars’ worth of damages may be at stake.
State and Federal Regulations Are Making the Situation More Complex
Another challenge that insurers are facing is that state and federal regulations do not accommodate digital alternatives to current policies that are in place. Which many insurers are waiving certain requirements to simplify the paperwork involved in processing claims, there are many instances where regulations are hindering digital working.
For example, in the US, over a dozen states do not accommodate virtual notaries. So while insurers can relax their own internal policies and procedures to cater to unprecedented times, federal and state laws remain unchanged. This acts as an obstacle to conducting business for carriers as these laws are getting in the way of their day-to-day operations.
Fraud Risk Mounting
This pandemic has undoubtedly led to an increase in the possibility of fraud as more and more people find themselves unemployed or facing financial difficulties. For example, there has been a rise in fraudulent claims attempts in the travel insurance domain as customers are fabricating illnesses or conditions to try secure compensation for cancelled flights. While this is unfortunate, it puts insurers on high alert as the slightest mistakes could lead to massive financial losses for a carrier.
Fraud is not limited to customers, however. Because of the vulnerabilities that remote working poses, there has been a rise in individuals seeking to cash in on these vulnerabilities during these troubled times. Not only have hacking attempts been on the rise, any means by which an outside agent can get a hold of sensitive financial information, obtain customer data, or disrupt services has also been noted to have risen in number.
Data distribution and file-sharing requires better remote connectivity protocols and best practices to keep the hackers at bay. IT, cyber, and forensic teams all have to work overtime on a second-by-second basis to keep system stresses from increasing and monitoring for any unusual activity that could compromise the entire system.
Now that we have a greater understand of what challenges insurance carriers have been dealing with, let’s explore the different ways in which outsourcing insurance back-office services companies can help them battle and rise above these unprecedented times.
How Outsourcing Is Helping Carriers Deal with COVID-19
Changed Workforce and Processes
One of the ways in which outsourcing has helped carriers with their back-office processes is that it has enabled them to transition to remote working environments. If their in-house teams were facing difficulties with intense workloads and rising claims volumes, outsourcing has helped them better accommodate this increase in demand.
Outsourced insurance back-office services providers tend to have a large talent pool of skilled resources available at all times to take up new projects. Not only are they very well-versed in handling large customer support call volumes, they are also professionals in providing their services from remote locations. This is because the talent pool for outsourcing companies is not limited to that particular geographic location.
Outsourcing companies hire the best talent from all backgrounds, with varying and diverse skillsets, and from across all continents as this allows them to work with only the best in the business. These third-party service providers have delivery centers across all time zones so that they can work on their client’s projects at all hours of the day or night and deliver the results that were promised in the least amount of time possible.
These companies also study a carrier’s existing processes to find a way to integrate their solutions into existing infrastructure so that the transition from their processes to ones that facilitate remote working arrangements is seamless.
Improved Remote Working by Using the Right Tools
Carriers have never had to resort to a purely work from home culture. However, with the onset of COVID-19 came the need to move operations back to the home, instead of the office. Outsourcing partners in insurance back-office processes can help carriers with this transition.
Highly specialized outsourcing companies in India and the Philippines already have the right tools at their disposal to pull off remote work as that is what they have been doing for many years on end. Not only do they have access to critical hardware like laptops, but these laptops have been equipped with the latest software and security to help them do their jobs effectively.
Outsourcing partners also have the right internet connectivity in place to work on corporate work requirements. Additionally, outsourcing insurance back-office services companies have resources that are well-versed in video conferencing so that it becomes easy to keep a tab on everyone’s progress and keep all teams on the same page when it comes to collaborative projects.
Boosted Digital Communications with Customers
Insurance BPO companies also specialize in digital communications. They have an entire workforce available to effortlessly take on large call volumes and address customer complaints and queries in no time at all.
Because their services are highly scalable, carriers could not be in better hands when they themselves are suffering from a limited supply of call center agents who are overworked because of the pandemic. Not only are outsourced back-office service providers efficient when it comes to handling customer support queries, they also deliver when it comes to the quality of services they provide.
This is because they are highly trained in customer service activities and work to keep every customer more than just satisfied with their help. Not only do they handle incoming calls, they can also take care of your chat and email support services as well. Outsourcing customer support to the experts will not only help carriers retain more customers in the long run, it will also help them drive greater revenues through a greater customer experience all round.
Digitized Claims Eligibility and Processing
Many insurers often struggle with claims eligibility and processing, especially if it is still manually conducted. When carriers use an outsourcing partner, however, they can bet that they will be benefitting from digitized claims eligibility instead.
This is because outsourcing partners worth their salt have gone to great lengths to use only the best technologies and most sophisticated claims processing tools available in the market to cater to their client’s needs. If a carrier is suffering from a lack of process integrations, sluggish claims resolutions, and poor customer communications, outsourcing partners will help them automatically capture claims and supporting documents and enjoy greater data accuracy.
Implemented Low-Cost, High-Power Analytics to Optimize and Innovate
Outsourcing insurance back-office services companies can also help insurers battle COVID-19 by implementing high-power, low-cost analytics in their processes. These analytics solutions will help insurers gain better insight into which processes are working effectively and which ones are redundant and need greater efficiencies.
By incorporating analytics into their systems and processes, outsourcing partners can help carriers measure different KPIs. By doing so, they can set a benchmark for where they have been and where they would like to see themselves going in the future.
By measuring different performance metrics, insurers now have a highly practical way to establish where they are in their current operations and find ways to improve it for the better. High powered analytics gives carriers a way to support their decisions with data, not gut feelings, leading to more effective decision-making and more optimal outcomes.
Analytics can also assist carriers in innovating to develop better processes to base their operations off of so that they can see more revenue coming in.
The COVID-19 pandemic has been causing waves across all industries, but especially the insurance industry. This is because carriers often rely on their own capabilities to carry out operations, instead of looking to more efficient outsourcing partners to help them.
While outsourcing has always been a good option, it has never been the most attractive alternative until the COVID-19 virus took over the business. Not only can outsourcing companies help carriers deal with rising volumes of customer complaints and queries with ease, but they can also automate critical processes to improve their turnaround times and claims processing quality standards like no one else.
To add to that, they are well-known for their low-cost and high-power analytics solutions that help carriers reassess their processes to develop more innovative systems instead.
Who We Are and What Makes Us A Trusted Partner in Covid 19 Times
Insurance Back Office Pro is an end-to-end insurance back-office support service provider with extensive expertise in a host of critical processes ranging from claims administration, loss run processing, COIs and renewal summaries. With over a decade of experience in this field, we understand just what it takes to bring about greater efficiencies, drive greater revenue, and develop more sustainable business processes.
During these difficult times, our teams have been enabled with tools for remote collaboration and our IT teams have set up remote access via VPNs to support our remote workforce and ensure business continuity. This has helped us continue our operations without a break and serve our customers with equal ease and confidence.