Claims: A Leader’s Perspective – Martin Milliner, LV= General Insurance (Part 2)
The Claims sector continues to evolve and adapt in the ever-changing Insurance landscape.
I have recently interviewed a number of Claims Directors from Leading Insurance Companies, together with the leaders of several Claims Management and Supply Chain organisations, to discuss their views on various topics impacting the claims market today and potentially in the future.
Following on from Part 1, today’s interview is with Martin Milliner, Claims Director – LV= General Insurance
- Martin has over 30 years’ experience in General Insurance in various operational and technical roles, predominantly with LV= and Churchill Insurance. During that time he was involved in a variety of issues including being heavily involved in the creation of the Credit Hire GTA.
- In 2003 he became Claims Fraud Manager at RBS Insurance and was involved in the formation of the Insurance Fraud Bureau.
- In 2006 he joined LV = and is now Claims Director, managing personal lines claims across the range of LV= General Insurance(LV= GI). He is a part of the Exec Team at LV= GI as well as a member of the CII claims society, Thatcham and Insurance Fraud Bureau Boards.
Q16. What impact do you think technology is going to have on claims in the future?
It will undoubtedly mean they’ll be fewer people in claims in the future, that’s for sure. A lot of the routine and some of the more technical tasks may well be done by machines, machine learning or automation. I think a lot of opportunities also exist for people to actually be working with or on those technologies as well. It’s not just a stand-alone bit of kit that sits there. You’ve got to treat that like it’s somebody that works in your team or in your management structure. You’ve got to curate that working technology almost like a piece of human capital.
All of those things will drive efficiencies but it will provide a slicker, more effortless service to our customers and make it equally efficient for our supplier partners as well. All of the bureaucracy or the processes our suppliers sometimes have to put up with will be ironed out, making for a claims ecosystem that everybody can collaborate in.
Q17. Are there any new technologies that you’ve come across that have particularly impressed you?
There are a number of things. Everything is data at the end of the day. Technologies that help you use all of the things you collect in the claims process whether that’s an image, or a telephone call, or unstructured text.
We were the first insurer in 35 countries around the world that use ClaimCenter which is part of the Guidewire suite to have integrated machine learning, AI, into our processes. So our claims systems have embedded AI models in them. I’ve even created some myself, not for the systems I hasten to add but in terms of in some training workshops I’ve been shown how to do it and within a few hours even I could do things that you would think only a maths graduate can do.
The simplicity or the ease at which you can actually harness some of this technology now, is getting to a level where it’s becoming more and more accessible and straightforward to put into your production suite. Using images to determine if your car is repairable or not, deciding whether or not you were at fault for the accident, because you’ve got all of the data from the car, all of that data is factual objective stuff. You don’t then need some layering of interpretation or some months arguing over subjective views. The facts are there before you and they can deliver an outcome.
Q18. With many new InsureTech companies in the market how do you decide who to partner with?
I think one of the Achilles heels in InsureTech and start-ups is they often come to you with single serving solutions or things you have to integrate into your own systems and technologies. A single serving solution bolted on to what you already have with probably a not very well-established company bringing those to you are not great. We and some other companies do a lot of things internally so we tend to go with InsureTech very selectively. What I think FinTechs have done though is created a fear of disruption and positively pushed boundaries. That has really sharpened up the appetite and investment in change, encouraging insurers to do the same, to behave and act like a start-up.
Q19. Are there any technology solutions that would be of most interest to you?
I think one of the things we would like to see more of is adoption of preventative technologies. Sounds like I’m probably doing myself out of a job in many ways, but advocating when you buy a new car, manufacturers should as standard now be fitting ADAS styled technology to avoid crashing. The government is very slow. The amount of deaths on the road and seriously injured people on the roads has clearly plateaued and we need to be able to legislate to create more of a preventative solution for people to use when they’re driving. Particularly younger, older drivers and vulnerable road users who perhaps are not as safe they could be; these events are not “accidents” they are life-changing avoidable tragedies. Prevention of serious injuries on the roads is something of a problem to solve in society as much as it is for claims.
In our homes as well, with the internet of things, we need more prevention solutions. We still get a number of fire claims due to common appliances – white goods, appliances going wrong and starting fires. Surely there must be some way of hooking up the internet to create an early warning that manufacturers can alert the householder or shut down the machine? Leak detection, leakbots etc to stop an escape of water. How do we get those more prevalent in people’s homes?
All of those sorts of things are really there today and could be used in many homes to avoid or prevent damage or death or injury. People think, “I’m insured for that, that’ll be alright!” But the event shouldn’t be happening in the first place. And there’s all the upheaval that goes with it. You might be covered for your burst water pipe or whatever it is, but then you’ve still got all the upheaval of either moving out of your house or living in a bit of a building site while the work is going on. Those life events are very stressful.
SUPPLY CHAIN PARTNERS
Q20. What are the key decision-making factors when looking at a new supply chain partner?
I think for us there are number of things at an emotional level as well as at a business level, but we definitely wish that all of our supply partners are partners for starters. We do not wish to have transactional relationships which are based on buying commodities or price driven relationships. For us to succeed and for our customers to be serviced in the right way, our business has to be supported by supplier partners that are sustainable. So they need to make some money and enjoy working with us too!
They need to make enough money to be able to invest back in training or systems or solutions for their business. And they need to be able to invest in the sort of technologies and strategies which will complement our own customer facing solutions for the future.
Secondly, there’s values. We have to have common shared values. If we feel that a company’s led by, adopts or has a values base or culture that’s not in line with our own, we wouldn’t deal with them. We have a mission at LV= GI to be best loved. We only work with supply partners that can deliver on that for our customers
And thirdly we do need to make certain that they’re efficient businesses that can deliver the goods or services we need at the right price and in the right way, being well governed too.
Q21. How do you identify a good cultural supply chain fit?
We will spend time with those partners and potential partners before they go through. We’ll have site visits, speak to the people that are actually delivering the service. For example, we can see if a company got high staff attrition, when we go into their office, you can tell there is no buzz on the floor or just talking to people. Ask how they feel, pretty basic questions really. Have a look at the environment they’re in. We also get the guys that are pitching their services to detail what their values and their culture are and test that.
If they do come onto our panel, we will go out and spend time with the people that are going to service our account and give them an immersion into how we want our customers treated. We also spend quite a lot of time about the hand-offs and hand-backs from suppliers. We tend to trust our suppliers. We won’t make them jump through hoops during the process. We’ll check up on them afterwards.
So we remove a lot of the bureaucracy in flight as it were and to aid that we will work very carefully about providing the right level of instructions. The right information up front so they’ll know about the individual they’re dealing with and likewise when they hand that customer back or the work they’ve done back, whatever it is again make certain that they’re handing back to us more information, more detail so that our claim handlers have that same understanding about the customer. Ultimately, we do that because one of the things that we and our supply partners are asked to focus on is understanding what really matters to the customer. If we can understand that and deal with what matters to the customer rather than follow a process, which may fit 80% of people, we’ll be able to deal with 100% of the people in the right way rather than just follow a process which may not necessarily fit everyone.
BREXIT – WHAT IMPACT
Q22. What sort of impact might Brexit have for you from a claims point of view? Have you had to make any contingency plans?
We all know what the potential risks are of Brexit, but it’s similar to something else. You have a big weather event, like the storm of 1987 or the Beast from the East. The same consequences of those events are there. You can’t get cars repaired quickly – you can’t get parts. Everybody is having a claim and there’s a long lifecycle. All of these things mean our claims department is under stress. I wouldn’t say it was a bit of a red herring Brexit, but if you’re worrying about it now, then maybe your business isn’t very resilient in the first place.
We have made contingency plans. There’s been some research done by one of the big four accountants. It said that in the event of a no-deal Brexit, that would mean that a thousand body shops would go out of business because obviously if you can’t get those parts, you can’t get whatever it is you need to repair the car then you’re not going to get paid for that job. So all of a sudden you haven’t got any cash flow and these businesses are usually running on quite tight margins.
When the 2008/9 recession hit and the global meltdown a lot of business went bust not necessarily because they were bad businesses but because the banks had liquidity issues themselves, could see some business were in trouble and called in the loans. The banks could get twitchy so that could happen. It’s not just about the inconvenience to the customer. We have to take it up a level and think – so if that’s going to happen, what are the downstream consequences, what would that mean for your business and how could we work together.
Right International are specialist Headhunters to the Claims Management/Insurance market and have extensive experience of supporting Claims Management companies and Insurers, recruiting key individuals as part of the initial senior management team. We also have a successful track record of sourcing the top talent for market leading Insurance companies. If you are looking to fill a key role, please contact me to discuss how RI can help.
For part 1 of this blog, please click here. Look out for more blogs coming soon!
All the best,
Founder & MD
Right International Insurance Headhunters
At Right International our specialty is sourcing the top achievers for the Insurance Market.