The Evolving Relationship between Carriers and IA Firms

The process by which Insurance Carriers evaluate and engage IA firms is changing rapidly.  It used to be that a Carrier would add a new firm to their network based on a few basic criteria, such as:

 

  • How many adjusters does the firm have on its roster?
  • What is the adjuster density, coverage, and scale related to the total PIF?
  • Can the IA firm consistently deliver the required speed, quality, and service?
  • Is the IA firm a good fit for our specific areas of need?

 

Today, and going forward, the expectations of Carriers are evolving far past these basic criteria. Carriers are looking for partners that will help them increase the value of their services to their end clients beyond the historic components of the claim adjusting process.  To be relevant, an IA firm still has to hit the traditional success criteria, but these are just basic expectations – table stakes. A world-class IA firm is going to surpass the basic expectations by proactively deploying innovative services, processes, and technologies to enhance the total value delivered to Carriers as their trusted partner.

 

At IAS, we are a different kind of IA firm.  One that actually wants to assist our Insurance Carrier partners enhance their customer experience.  To deliver the greatest value for Carriers and their policyholders, IAS is continually focused on 3 key objectives:  Building Trusted Partnerships; Leading New Innovation; and Developing a Shared Strategic Plan.

 

Building Trusted Partnerships

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At IAS, we believe the foundation for building a truly amazing relationship with our Carrier Partners is earning “trusted advisor” status. For us, this means a few simple things:

 

 

 

·       Know what we’re good at, and execute at the highest level. We know our competitive strengths, and we know exactly what our Carriers expect us to deliver.  We focus on evolving and developing these strategic core competencies while investing in Carrier partnerships that align with our focused value proposition.

 

·       Build meaningful, 2-way relationships with our Carriers. Over the past 5 years IAS has implemented our Customer Centric Model (CCM), which aligns a dedicated team of claims service experts to each of our Carrier partners. The CCM enables IAS to have our resources singularly focused on the needs and opportunities for each Carrier Partner.  The outcome is an exceptional service experience while also providing deeper alignment around service innovation and proactive engagement.

 

·       Tailor solutions to Carrier requirements. We don’t believe a “one size fits all” approach is the best way to address the needs of our partners, so we don’t ask our Carriers to subscribe to that line of thinking either. We customize of services and solutions to create the greatest value on behalf of each Carrier we support.

 

·       Engage as thought leaders in the Insurance industry. We stay ahead of the curve on the latest industry trends, services, tools and technology to make sure that we can guide our Carrier partners on what’s coming next.  We are proactive in providing insights and recommendations for our partners to realize increased value through operational efficiency, scale and service outcomes.

 

·       Investing for what’s ahead. As new capabilities and solutions arise, IAS is dedicated to spending the time, money, and resources to implement market-leading innovation in cooperation with our Carrier partners.  Whether the innovation is aligned to a specific process, service or technology, IAS is continually prioritizing the right investments to lead our partners into the future.

 

For IAS, we strive to be more than just another vendor to the Carriers we work with. It’s not good enough to be the highest performing IA firm our Carriers use. Our goal is to be the highest performing IA firm AND the trusted advisor they turn to when they have business challenges to be solved, insights to share, technology or process innovations to implement, or to build a deeper personal relationship. That’s what we believe a partnership is all about.

 

Leading New Innovation

innovation graphicThe majority of Insurance Carriers are challenged in their ability to prioritize new opportunities and implement innovative change consistently. Whether it’s because of their sheer size and scale, or the complexity and risk of disrupting existing processes or integrating new technologies, Carriers have historically struggled to implement new innovation with speed, efficiency, and agility.  “Leading New Innovation” is a critical area of thought leadership and engagement that Carriers need from IA firms, and at IAS we’ve made innovation a key area of focus to ensure we’re able to proactively support our Carrier partners in this dynamic and evolving market.

 

Over the last 12 months, IAS has launched innovation programs for all of our Carrier partners to accelerate the process of testing and integrating the most impactful process, service, and technology innovations in the industry.  The targeted areas of innovation that IAS has sponsored are focused on increasing value throughout the claims services lifecycle, from first notice of loss (FNOL) to file closed.  Critical areas where we have successfully led the testing and integration of new process, service, and technology innovation include: FNOL claim triage capabilities, automated claim assignment and scheduling capabilities, integrated sketch-generation capabilities, and end-to-end time in process (TIP) and quality assurance (QA) management capabilities.

 

Most recently, with the Covid-19 pandemic spreading nationwide, IAS formalized and deployed an innovation program to quickly address the needs of Carriers to safely and efficiently service their customers throughout the crisis.  In partnership with our Carriers, IAS refined the most critical claim process steps, modified resource training modules, and integrating virtual/remote claims technology throughout our network. Overall, IAS was able to ease the burden of Carriers to implement system-wide changes while giving them peace of mind that their customers would be engaged safely with urgency through the claims service experience.

 

Through our discipline of introducing new innovation to the claim services experience, IAS has enabled our Carrier partners to extend more value to their customers in the form of speed, quality, accuracy, and service. 

 

 

Developing the Strategic Plan

The current rate of market innovation is massive. In Q4 2019 alone, over $2 BILLION was invested in InsurTech startups. How can Insurance Carriers develop a multiyear strategic plan that incorporates all the innovation disruption flooding the industry right now?  Without engaging their partners, we don’t feel that they can. They need to include the key players in their value stream and work in concert to build an integrated plan for how each partner will embrace this new tech and build on what their other primary partners are doing to create the best possible outcome for their shared end customer.  The years of treating IA firms as arm lengths suppliers will not allow carriers to move fast enough, change broadly enough or even afford the breadth of change the new market requires.   Understanding the future needs of the customer is central to this planning process, and alignment with best-in-class strategic partners who can evolve and execute the plan will be essential for future success.

 

And that’s where IAS can make a huge impact for our Carrier partners. Our team, with engagement from our strategic partners, is continuing to evaluate current trends in the Insurance industry, as well as analyzing what’s happening across other industries (Healthcare, Financial Services, Technology Services, and Transportation are prime examples), that will pave the way for better value and service experiences for customers.  Through our knowledge and thought leadership of what’s ahead, we are helping our Carrier partners anticipate and proactively plan for change that will ultimately benefit the needs of their customers while protecting their business from major disruption.

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