Touchless Claims and Virtual Claims—Where to Start?
Touchless experiences offer multiple benefits, ranging from reduced long-term costs for businesses to increased customer loyalty, but insurers are often left asking: Where to start?
Customer expectations are changing quickly. The hands-on, personalized experiences businesses have been focusing on for years are being supplemented or even replaced by low effort virtual and self-service options. These touchless experiences offer multiple benefits, ranging from reduced long-term costs to increased customer loyalty—in fact, according to Gartner, the amount of effort consumers are asked to expend is 40% more accurate at predicting loyalty than customer satisfaction scores. 
For insurers, however, transitioning into virtual or touchless claims can be a complex undertaking, leaving business leadership questioning where to start.
In LexisNexis’s recent Future of Claims 2021 Report , they outline three areas on which insurers should focus as foundational priorities in transitioning to virtual or fully touchless claims:
- Transform first notice of loss (FNOL) by bringing in real-time data and analytics to simplify the report process
- Streamline the claims process to provide a faster and more efficient customer claims experience
- Digitize claim payments to meet customer expectations, both in terms of security and speed of delivery
For most consumers, a transformation in FNOL comes largely from mobile apps enabling them to notify insurers of claims. Users are able to verify coverage, submit claim details quickly using built-in voice-to-text capabilities, and share photos and videos of the event. As AI and machine learning engines grow, these apps will automatically ask for additional input from claimants, providing clarification where needed.
Over the next decade, smart cars will push FNOL automation even further. Vehicles will automatically track driver behavior, weather conditions, and other factors relevant to an incident. When incidents occur, vehicles will automatically notify both first responders and insurers. And built-in cameras and sensors will capture damage and event specifics, reducing the need for policyholders to provide any information at all.
Streamline the Claims Process
Once insurers have specifics, machine learning algorithms trained on large volumes of previously verified estimate data will be able to automatically triage incidents—even adjudicating claims completely then initiating payment or denying claims in straightforward cases.
In more complex cases, drones can be used for onsite analysis. Video feeds from drones can be inspected as-is, but augmented reality 360° views or virtual reality 3D-models can also be created from the data, offering adjusters an experience more akin to an in-person inspection without requiring any travel.
Throughout this process, claimants demand transparency into claims. The same mobile apps used for FNOL can grant insight into the claims process, updating them on the status via push notifications and enabling bot-based chat interactions to answer questions.
Digitize Claim Payments
When claims are finalized and payment is approved, it’s important policyholders are paid as quickly as possible.
Claimants can automatically receive electronic notifications via text, email, or mobile push notification, letting them know a claim is complete. From these notifications, web-based or mobile applications enable claimants to easily and securely choose their preferred payment method and track payment status. And newer digital payment methods—including same day ACH, push-to-debit, and virtual wallets like Venmo and Zelle—reduce the time for payments to arrive from days to hours or less.
While many of the processes described here may seem a decade or more away, LexisNexis’s report predicts that by 2025 these technologies will be partially or fully implemented, and “more than 80% of auto insurance claims will be processed virtually, with up to 50% of non-injury claims being fully touchless.” 
For digital payment transformation, Optum Financial can already automate the process for insurers with minimal impact to their existing systems and people. We integrate directly with insurers existing systems, then handle approved payments completely.