Andrew Chandler discusses the significant role of FNOL for both insurers and outsource providers
Publish date: 23/09/2019
What is it that we need, but hope to never use?
The answer? Insurance.
We all know the importance of being protected in the event of the unexpected occurring, that’s why we purchase insurance policies: to safeguard ourselves and be put back in the position we were in if things hadn’t gone wrong. At the same time, however, we hope to never make use of such policies. Should we need to, we want the experience to be as simple, straightforward and positive as possible.
In the case of motor insurance, when a vehicle is damaged, written-off or stolen, the initial report is the first step that takes place in the claim lifecycle. Whether an insurer or outsource provider, the First Notification of Loss (FNOL) is likely to be the first direct contact with a policyholder, and one of the most important processes in the claims resolution cycle. It is the highest value customer touch-point and remains a critical ‘moment of truth’ in the journey - presenting the single-best opportunity to deliver on the promise of a differentiated claim service.
This first touch point can significantly impact both the customer experience, and the costs associated with the incident.
Primarily with motor claims, when policyholders come to make a claim, they want to pick up the phone, engage with a real person, be listened to, empathised with and reassured; they want that individual at the other end of the phone to understand their situation and take control of putting things right.
As an outsource provider, we are perhaps more aware of all the nuances in the handling of the FNOL process. We work with a myriad of customers, all of whom want us to deliver a customer journey based on their philosophy, brand values and in-line with their committed levels of service. It’s important that the experience their customers have when liaising with a trusted partner seamlessly reflects the way they do business.
Our dedicated FNOL department is made up of a team of people with outstanding customer service skills; having the right individuals with the right attitudes and behaviors at the start of the journey is paramount. We know we can build on our peoples’ skills and expertise of the FNOL and system processes through our dedicated claims training and learning modules; we also look to instill behaviours in our people to show genuine care and empathy during what is, for most, an unknown and anxious situation.
In addition to having the right people at the start of our claims process, our focus is placed on two integral elements: speed, and accuracy of information recorded.
In terms of speed of reporting, this is an area which can provide the biggest advantage, yet all too often becomes the catalyst for claims inflation. Research has shown that the average cost of a claim when reported within 2 hours is £1,250 compared with over £5,000 when there is a delay (Source: Zurich Global Corporate UK). Delays in reporting the incident also drastically reduce the opportunity to capture and control the thirdparty costs.
While the timing of reporting an incident is critical, so too is the information gathered at the scene. Quality of information captured at FNOL is essential to the speed and success of the incident management process. Poor management of incidents leads to delayed validation, claims leakage, delays in authorising repairs, lengthy and protracted repairs and lengthy liability decisions.
The nature of our FNOL claims process enables the detailed capture of the incident circumstances, allowing us to allocate and progress the claim with minimal further effort from the policyholder.
Our in-house developed software, Ingenium, has built-in capability to guide customer service representatives through the loss reporting process. Our FNOL solution uses step by step questioning to guide the call, with the answers provided determining the next set of questions or options. The prompts are based on pre-set rules which are unique for each customer, whether this be an insurer, broker or fleet etc. The Ingenium system also identifies and allocates the anticipated work to the most appropriate repair/recovery solution utilising the information captured, including location, vehicle type and damage sustained.
The accuracy of information, which we collect during the initial call, determines the course of best action for each individual claim, including liability, third party involvement, loss recovery, and hire/courtesy car solutions. A mistake at this stage can result in claim mis-direction, with potential implications of delays, complaints and additional costs incurred.
Good practice should highlight the importance to drivers involved in incidents of reporting their claim as instantaneously as possible - as long as it is safe to do so. A driver’s first step following an incident should be to phone through to the relevant insurer or support provider.
Drivers need to understand how FNOL impacts on the lifecycle of the claims journey, and be continually educated on the importance of good practice, most importantly, prompt and accurate reporting.
There are many ways a refined FNOL process will bring benefit to a business; customer experience will be amplified, claims processing cycle times will be reduced, claim mitigation efforts will be improved and resources will be optimised.