Thought Leadership

Cutting-edge claims: where next for technology?

author by Aidan O'Neill time Mar 01, 2022

Claims are stepping up a gear as automation and integration advances are set to take the once ‘poor cousin’ of the industry into a bright future, says DOCOsoft CEO, speaking to Intelligent Insurer.

Claims payments that could be made as an accident is happening or even before it happens are almost here.

That was the view of Aidan O’Neill, the chief executive officer at DOCOsoft, as he discussed the future of cutting-edge claims technology with, the website and digital hub for news, interviews, analysis and debate.

O’Neill is in a good position to know where claims technology is heading—his firm is an innovative developer of claims management, document management and workflow software.

“The future I foresee is that before an accident happens, before a claim happens, the technology can pay claims more quickly and can warn the policyholders about impending accidents as well.

“Ultimately, that’s what everybody wants. You can even give people a five or 10-minute head-start before an event,” O’Neill said.

He added that the automation of claims tech, combined with external data technology, will support this vision. He pointed to external sensors connected to the internet of things (IoT), which collect real-time data and feed it back to insurers. For example, sensors in basements set up to detect floods can feed information into the insurance claims systems as the flood is happening.

Data analysis and automation is already being used to expedite claims for people hit by the California wildfires. “Policyholders were being notified and paid on their claim by some insurers before the property had burned down,” O’Neill said.

“These were demonstration systems, but they’re going to happen,” he added.

Technology in transition
DOCOsoft was founded in 2008 with a “simple claims tech solution” for one of its carriers. Now the company has 24 carriers using its software in their core claims processing.

The company manages more than £15 billion of gross written premium, and more than £10 billion will be processed via its systems annually.

“If you place business in Lloyd’s of London or the London Market through the carrier subscription market, your claims will be paid more quickly and with better decisions. That is what we do,” O’Neill explained.

He said that claims technology is in transition. For his company that means developing alongside the major change that is going on across the London Market.

“We’re moving from straightforward workflow processing systems to a lot more integrated systems, in terms of using data analytics to make better decisions,” he said.

One example of automation, launched in 2019, is DOCOsoft automatic sanctions checking interface. Checks to clarify whether claims beneficiaries are subject to sanctions are a regulatory requirement, so removing this manual process helps speed up claims decisions.

Claims tech can also be integrated into a carrier’s policy system or email system. This creates a claims dashboard that O’Neill compared to the kind of service Sky customers can access using a Sky box, while sitting on their sofas.

“It’s similar with DOCOsoft: you don’t need to leave your sofa to make a claims decision, all your data is there, even though under the bonnet there are multiple systems bringing the data together. That’s where we are now,” he explained.

Integration for the win
These services are constantly evolving. “In the future, through application programming interfaces (APIs), there’ll be a lot more integration,” O’Neill said.

APIs are key to greater claims tech advances, he added. “Using API open interfaces, third parties will be able to add ‘connectors’ to the DOCOsoft platform very quickly.

“Currently it takes a bit of effort to add a sanctions interface or a policy interface,” he said. “But in future, with these block connectors that are open standard, third parties will be able to add plugins to a claims platform very quickly. That is what DOCOsoft is developing.

“So if you’re developing a hurricane weather app you can plug that into the platform very quickly. It’s not going to take two years’ worth of development and massive cost. It can be done by the third party.

“This total microservice architecture is going to make the tech very open.”

With this level of data at their fingertips, insurers can make better decisions, more quickly, and the data is there to back it up, he said.

The real business benefit is ultimately keeping the insurer’s customers happy by paying claims more quickly, O’Neill added. “We know that claims is the shopfront of a re/insurer. Ultimately, if a customer is getting a claim paid faster that’s the bottom line, and that’s the ecosystem we all work in.”

The financial support for claims technology development is growing. “In the London Market, the claims area has always been regarded as the poor cousin compared to the underwriting area,” O’Neill said. But, he added: “More and more investment is now coming into the claims area.

"In the past, a lot of the legacy systems were in claims. But now in London we see that claims systems are standalone systems. They’re not just a simple module in a policy underwriting system, they’re actually standalone systems where the claims data stays in the policy area.

“That’s why carriers can now make better decisions—they have pure claims systems that weren’t there in the past.”

O’Neill concluded: “In the last five or 10 years, we’re building up a claims database. And what we can do with that data is going to be magic in the future.”

Aidan O’Neill is the chief executive officer of DOCOsoft. He can be contacted at: 

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