Strategy, Technology, Trends

A Customer of the Future Scenario

Touchless Claims and Smart Things Save a Growing Season

July 21, 2021

Recently, BriteCore published a guide to winning the insurance customer of the future. Consumer research and our own experience as digital consumers point to key success factors that insurers must achieve to win the customer of the future:

  • Delivery value immediately and continuously
  • Personalize interactions
  • Provide seamless channel integration
  • Incentivize data sharing and trust
  • Provide integrated offerings

It doesn’t take much to see how each of these could be beneficial. It can be challenging, though, to picture how these might all come together in combination with technologies that are new and unfamiliar — such as AI, the Internet of Things (IoT), and blockchain. We know what insurance looks like today. What would a scenario with these new technologies and the customer of the future look like?

Let’s give it a try.

Imagine we have a customer, Connie, who owns a farm. Connie relies on us, a mutual insurance company, for crop insurance.

Late one night, a massive thunderstorm roils through the region. High winds. Lighting. Heavy rain. Hail. (Fortunately, no tornados!) Connie’s farm is in the path of the storm, and in an area hit by some of the worst hail. Shortly before midnight, the farm’s crop suffers catastrophic hail damage.

What would happen today?  

Connie might not discover the crop damage until the next day. The claim would take some time to process — about 30 days on average. Losing a crop is a big deal — a major financial hit. Thank God for crop insurance! The crop insurance would not replace earnings from a full harvest, but it would help keep the farm financially viable until the next growing season.

What about in the future?

Imagine that Connie is a customer of the future. The farm is no longer just a farm, it’s a smart farm. It’s equipped with advanced processing and analytics and an assortment of technologies — such as autonomous vehicles and IoT devices — that enable it to sense, make decisions and act. It is so smart, the farm has the authority to conduct business on Connie’s behalf.

11:00PM

Instead of waiting for the next day for the ruined crop to be discovered, Connie’s smart farm has sensors that detect the crop damage immediately — before the storm has even finished. After completing a damage assessment, the farm determines the crop is a near-total loss.

Connie is asleep. As an authorized agent of Connie, the smart farm contacts us, the mutual insurance company, and files a crop insurance claim complete with all supporting data gathered by the farm’s sensors.

11:15PM

Our claims system receives the first notice of loss from the farm and opens a claim. The claims system compares the reported damage to weather data, updated in real-time, that shows the track of the storm and locations that received hail. The data is a match — Connie’s farm is in the heart of a nasty patch of hail readings.

12:00AM

As a final validation, the claims system tasks one of our drones (already in the air assessing other damage) to do a flyover of Connie’s farm. Within an hour the results from the drone are in and the total loss of the crop is confirmed.

2:00AM

The claims system issues a settlement payment in the cryptocurrency BriteCoin (Connie’s preferred method of payment). The farm receives the BriteCoin in its digital wallet and within seconds the transaction is confirmed on the BriteCoin blockchain.

While the claim was being investigated and processed, Connie’s smart farm has been examining market values and commodity conditions. It’s early enough in the growing season that the crop could be replanted. However, recent changes in the market make it more profitable to switch to a different crop.

2:30AM

As soon as the BriteCoin is received, the smart farm springs into action. It contacts Connie’s agricultural supply company and uses the BriteCoin to place a rush order for seed and fertilizer for the new crop. Then, the farm dispatches Connie’s autonomous tractor to plow the ruined crop under and prepare the fields for planting later that day when the seed arrives. Within minutes, everything is in motion.

5:00AM

At our mutual insurance company, with the claim processed and settlement paid, the claims system closes Connie’s claim. Later that morning, when our team logs in for their workday, our claim adjusters notice that Connie’s claim is one of several dozen that have been settled overnight. Our team confirms that all is well with these claims, and then focuses on a number of other more complex claims that require their professional attention.

6:00AM

And Connie? Connie wakes up and is still half asleep when greeted by the scene of the autonomous tractor out in the fields plowing the entire crop under. Horrified and now fully awake, Connie starts to panic...until the full story that took place overnight emerges — storm, ruined crop, claim, settlement, and now immediate recovery. Instead of waking up to a very bad day — a bad season! — Connie is able to rest assured that the smart farm and our insurance company have everything covered.

Try this exercise with your team.

This is an example of a simple thought exercise to explore what might be possible with new technologies and new ways of providing value to our policyholders.

Your team can easily do this, too:

  • Pick a key event — a trigger, like the crop insurance claim.
  • Think of the new technologies that are being introduced and the capabilities they might provide.
  • Imagine how things might be done differently — perhaps radically differently — with these technologies, and with new perspectives or new approaches they enable.

It may seem far-fetched, but all of the technologies described above are available in some form today. This future is not that far away! Working through thought exercises like these is a great way to challenge assumptions, ensure we’re anticipating and planning for change, and identify opportunities that might be right in front of us.

What about you and your organization? What are common triggers and scenarios that you might reimagine? What might a scenario with the insurance customer of the future look like for you?

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