Data Analytics IllustrationLarge numbers of U.S. property/casualty insurers say they’re struggling to attract and keep talented claims operations employees. They’re also still figuring out how to best leverage analytics to do their jobs better, according to a new Towers Watson survey.

Towers Watson said that 76 percent of claims officers at P/C carriers see attracting and keeping top talent is their main business challenge. Almost three-quarters – 72 percent – said that effectively using data, metrics and analytics in the course of their jobs is also a major business issue.

Both of those needs interlink, according to Towers Watson, as analytics and new technology become a more ubiquitous part of claims management.

“As analytics and new technologies become more central to effective claim operations, traditional talent needs will broaden to reflect new priorities,” Frank Ramsay, Towers Watson’s North America Claim Management practice lead, said in prepared remarks.

Ramsay added that “claims supervisors who understand how to leverage analytics and utilize consumer-friendly technologies will generate greater value for their claim departments. The ones who grasp both technology and talent will be best equipped for managing claim adjudication.”

The thing is, not many of the respondents said they had action plans in place to address both their talent and data needs.

As Towers Watson noted, 35 percent of participants said recruiting and retaining better talent was a way to meet claims department challenges. Also, data-related performance indicators ranked in the bottom three choices to determine effective claim function performance, according to the survey.

Towards Watson said that insurers must focus more on the value of hiring talent that “can build technologically advanced claim departments and data that provides the compass to direct claim officers in the right direction.”

Towers Watson’s 10th P&C Claim Officer Survey attracted 29 of 73 program members to participate – a 40 percent response rate.

Other highlights from the survey:

  • 66 percent of claim officer respondents see expense management as a key challenge facing the claim industry. 52 percent ranked technology optimization, 48 percent cited delivering superior customer/agent service and 45 percent chose the legal/regulatory environment as a major point of concern.
  • 75 percent said better use of electronic media and mobile technologies had the biggest chance of producing major claims adjudication breakthroughs over the next 5 years. About 64 percent said advanced analytics would produce the biggest claims adjudication advance.
  • 83 percent of claim officers see capture and use of metrics/analytics as the best way to meet claim department challenges.

Source: Towers Watson