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The future of marine claims is digital

October 23rd 2018 eFNOLCustomer ExperienceCommercial InsuranceInsurance Claims

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At first glance, a lost shipping container and a motor collision don’t have much in common. But when it comes to making a claim, marine and car insurance are surprisingly alike: the need to immediately capture as much detail as possible for validation and repair or settlement.

As a white-label SaaS platform, RightIndem’s eFNOL platform works for both these types of customers. We pull in the best technology into our ecosystem and have designed our platform to be something customers want to use because it’s quick and intuitive.

In April we were delighted to partner with AXA XL to bring the technology to market and allow marine clients and brokers to submit claims notification digitally. For AXA XL, online reporting was a key pillar to support its growing Marine client base.

“The cliché of ‘a picture paints a thousand words’ is true,” says AXA XL digital leader at XL Catlin Services SE Hélène Stanway. “For us, it has the potential to speed up the process for our clients because we have sight of what happens more quickly.

“We can also use native functions of a smartphone, such as tracking where the loss was exactly, so we know exactly where our client is and how to help them.”

Being able to digitally pinpoint the location of claim is not to be underestimated in an insurance class where fax machines are still routinely used to pass information back and forth.

The key to implementing a digital initiative such as this is to work collaboratively with customers to test demand and perfect execution, says Hélène.

“We tested it with brokers and clients because we wanted to make sure that what we think is a good idea is validated by the people who will use it,” she explains. “We collaborated with them to make sure the way in which they’d log a commercial claim made sense. It’s now live and working well.”

Ditching the fax machine

It’s important to note that claims are only part of the journey to modernise marine insurance.

The sector as a whole is under commercial pressure to improve profitability, delivering a strong imperative for improvement and change. The good news is that the common themes of technology and collaboration firmly point towards a plethora of solutions.

Take the sensors. Marine insurers inherently face ever-changing risk exposure as cargo moves around vessels and within ports.

Some shipping firms are starting to put sensors on specific cargo and shipping containers. This extra level of data helps not just with tracking around the world, but also with risk mitigation when insurers work with clients to plan the best use of the technology. “You can see if losses occur with one particular type of handler, location or type of vessels,” explains Hélène. “That’s relevant for facilitating world trade, never mind potentially reducing claims ratios.”

And then there’s Blockchain. While there is an ongoing debate about the practical application of the technology to Insurance, the impacts possible for heavily transactional marine contracts are staggering.

The InsurWave platform enables all parties in an insurance contract to have access to the same data at near real-time. Launched in May, it will support more than half a million transactions in the first year and help to manage risk for more than 1,000 commercial vessels.

The constant back-and-forth, change tracking and version controlling of sending spreadsheets with several data fields such as vessel age, contents, owner and location, is eliminated. It is replaced by a live secure distributed ledge and a SMART contract which is enabled by a full audit trail of changes to data fields and actions.

Having a real-time register of assets has further implications for mid-term adjustments. Premiums can be flexed automatically as shipments change and vessels move around more or less dangerous routes.

What was a game-changer was that no one party of the eight companies that developed InsurWave — EY, Guardtime, A.P. Møller-Maersk, Microsoft, Willis Towers Watson, AXA XL, MS Amlin and ACORD — could have done so in isolation. “It’s a massive innovation for the industry because we collaboratively worked with organisations up and down the value chain and reimagined the insurance transaction enabled by new technology capabilities with Blockchain,” says Hélène.

There are huge implications on cost and time saving for those who participate. It may also change underwriting, as carriers can price with real-time data instead of claims history.

It might seem like common sense to an outsider but changing a paper-based centuries-old way of doing things is quietly revolutionary. We couldn’t be more excited about the future of Claims.