In our last blog, we talked about our five takeaways from INTRCONNECT™ – the conference we hosted in January for members of the property insurance and property restoration industries. We summarized what we learned about how to future-proof carrier and contractor businesses for years to come.
The first concept we discussed was the importance of connecting contractor and carrier ecosystems – the need to connect processes not just within their immediate businesses, but also to those of one another. They must reframe the idea of insurance workflows being separate from restoration workflows and approach every claim and project as one extended workflow that begins with a reported customer need and ends with that need being fully met.
For instance, a property insurance provider should connect all professionals within their own business – but they should also be in constant collaboration with the contractors they work with.
From saving time and realizing greater overall efficiency, to achieving greater customer satisfaction and retention, there are endless benefits to establishing a connected property insurance and restoration ecosystem to facilitate one extended workflow for every claim and restoration job.
Creating a Connected Ecosystem Through People and Partnerships
As we learned at INTRCONNECT, it has traditionally been all too common for relationships between carriers and contractors to be strained. And, this must change across the industry.
Communication between all stakeholders has to be the norm so that carriers and contractors are on the same page as early as possible in the collective project lifecycle. They must be partners in claims fulfillment.
In the words of Dan Cassara, CEO of the restoration company CORE Group, said in one of the panel sessions at INTRCONNECT, “We are all serving the same audience… We sometimes forget what that experience looks like to the customers.”
When you are a part of the property insurance and restoration industries, you are in the business of helping people in some of their toughest times. When people call their insurance provider to file claims and report weather-related damage to their homes, all they can hope to do is initiate the simplest, quickest process possible for restoring their valued assets.
Carrier-Contractor Collaboration at the Start
Simplifying and streamlining these processes requires carriers and contractors to be synchronized from the very beginning – as soon as a carrier assigns a project to a contractor all the way until the restoration project is complete and the claim has been fulfilled. Comprehensive collaboration at the beginning enables all involved parties to align with the same, complete set of information and to establish shared goals and objectives for any project.
When partnered carriers and contractors are aligned on these objectives, it becomes simpler to build strategies and make plans to complete projects so that they fulfill policyholder contracts. This early collaboration and information sharing also allows both to create realistic timelines for deliverables. This way, both carrier and contractor stakeholders can manage customer expectations, thus laying the groundwork for customer satisfaction.
As Michael Carrigan, the Chief Strategic Development Officer at ITEL, said during the ‘Building Lasting Partnerships’ panel at INTRCONNECT, contractors and carriers must function “as an ecosystem that gives the ultimate value to the end user,” and that “we need to be a community that is collaborative in order to make the ecosystem successful.”
Working as One Unified Solutions Provider from End-to-End
Collaboration shouldn’t end after planning stages. By establishing a trend of end-to-end communication between carrier and contractor partners, you eliminate confusion and frustration on the business side. This directly leads to a more seamless experience for the customer from the time they file a claim until the damage to their home is remedied.
Connected ecosystems are made up of partnerships between contractors and carriers at every level of both organizations. Alignment on goals and objectives should start with executives, and trickle down to the people on each side of the carrier-contractor ecosystem who are actually executing the claims and restoration work. Every property insurance professional has counterparts on the carrier side, and they should operate as colleagues throughout the project lifecycle.
John Hatcher, Chief Revenue Officer for Hancock Claims Consultants, said that a telltale sign of effective connection is when “each person on each side of both organizations has each others’ cell phone numbers,” and that you know you have a successful partnership “when you’re exchanging text messages with your partners at 11pm with emojis and gifs.”
There should be timely information sharing at every step of the process. Data can change and new data can emerge at any time, and all parties must instantly get these insights, whenever data evolves or there is new intelligence. There should never be any surprises on either side.
The insurance provider should immediately give all the property details they have to carriers for optimal preparation and execution – so that technicians are ready for every potential roadblock to project completion. On the other side, contractors must let property insurers know about every issue they encounter on a jobsite.
Without a connected ecosystem, there is a consequential lack of alignment and shared information. Promises go unfulfilled and contract breaches occur. As a result, policyholders suffer.
Performance Measurement and Contract Transparency
Collaboration also involves holding both sides of the contractor-carrier ecosystem accountable – with established Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and clear-cut, objective means of measuring performance. Restoration contractors must know how an insurance provider measures job success so that they know how to approach different projects and what to prioritize. This openness builds trust and facilitates better project outcomes.
There must be transparency around Service Level Agreements (SLAs) and other contract terms so that carriers provide parameters to contractors so that technicians can plan and execute jobs in accordance with the customers’ specific insurance policies. This transparency enables carriers to meet the requirements set by the insurance carriers who will ultimately compensate them for their work – and assign them to more jobs.
Regular performance reviews between partners are always beneficial because an all-hands analysis of job performance history is the most effective way to identify and expose gaps in carrier-contractor workflows. One INTRCONNECT speaker suggested Quarterly Business Reviews, for example.
When everyone is fully connected in a carrier-contractor ecosystem, and everyone is held properly accountable, things are done “better, cheaper, and faster,” as many speakers at INTRCONNECT noted.
Integrated Technology to Bridge Gaps and Connect Your Ecosystem
To establish an unbreakable connected ecosystem between contractors and carriers, there must be certain technology at the foundation – a centralized integrated digital ecosystem that both parties use to manage their parts of the workflow. This integrated digital ecosystem involves multiple solutions and platforms that come together to function as one cohesive system.
This digital ecosystem functions as a single source of data. Information sharing should not require people physically connecting with one another to swap data and job details. Instead, an integrated digital ecosystem contains many technologies that work together as a singular tool where claims and project information is stored and automatically updated. In turn, both contractors and carriers have one place to find information and make decisions based on the same, real-time data.
An integrated digital ecosystem enables contractors and carriers to work with different, job-specific technologies of their choosing to manage their processes. Each function can use individual best-in-class tools that automatically connect with systems used by their partners. Different platforms will connect with one another so that when data is updated in one system, it is automatically reflected in the other platforms. Automated workflows will seamlessly move through the different technologies so that there aren’t gaps during processes.
For example, CoreLogic’s Digital Hub Alliance enables CoreLogic’s end-to-end underwriting and claims platforms to integrate into other workflows established by other InsureTech technologies – including property restoration platforms (in fact, as Garret Gray said during his opening message at INTRCONNECT, CoreLogic technologies even integrate with platforms that come from competing companies – showing how much CoreLogic values the connected ecosystem for contractors and carriers).
An integrated digital ecosystem unifies different platforms so there is one place where all stakeholders can easily collaborate and share ideas at any time in the project lifecycle – with each other and with customers. These interconnected platforms allow contractors and carriers to easily provide customers with consistent information, and to update them on project status whenever there is a new development. With clear, consistent answers to their questions, customers maintain reasonable expectations.
Leveraging integrated technology allows contractors and carriers to move away from manual, time-consuming processes and to better guarantee that they stay within the boundaries of insurance policies and contracts. Job management platforms also provide data and metrics surrounding performance.
A flexible, integrated digital ecosystem provides the foundation for strong partnerships between carriers and any kind of contractor – whether it is a small business or a large franchise operation. Technology doesn’t discriminate; it levels the playing field so that any type of restoration contractor has effective collaboration tools and constant access to a comprehensive set of real-time data – ingredients for strong partnerships with property insurance providers.
Disjointed, fragmented technology systems lead to disjointed, complex processes that frustrate and shortchange policyholders. With a connected ecosystem fueled by a single digital source for data and collaboration, carriers and contractors can optimize performance through and through, settling claims faster for policyholders in accordance with insurance policies and other contracts. They can build partnerships that will benefit their businesses – and customers – for years to come.
Contact us today to learn how to build an integrated digital ecosystem for your claims and restoration businesses.
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