Wimpie van der Merwe, Group CEO, Global Choices
COVER: One of the most important things about our industry is collaboration and Global Choices is all about that. Your 24 Hour Emergency Assistance solution adds very well to that and speaks to an essential element of our industry, namely emergency services. Please give us an overview of this particular solution.
Wimpie: We offer 24 hour emergency services that covers three aspects of the market. Firstly, around people’s cars namely, motor car accidents, roadside assistance, and the systems around the motor vehicles on the insurance side. Secondly, on the personal side with things like trauma, legal assistance, services, medical, crime, victim assist services, etc and then, finally, on the home emergency side.
Underneath that we continuously create new products, services or digital solutions. Something we realised very early on is that, when we get an emergency phone call, with most of our clients in the insurance industry, it’s the beginning of a claim process. Our Live24 assist technology, launched a few month ago, allows the call center agent or case manager getting that phone call to visually see what a client is seeing or the situation they find themselves in, whether it is a motor car accident or a home emergency like a geezer.
We then assess the emergency and send the necessary responding units to go out to that risk event. I always promote design thinking, looking at every aspect, every touchpoint or issue that the client experiences or may experience, and how we can find solutions around those specific experience, especially if it is becoming quite laboursome or there are delays etc. When an emergency phone call comes in we capture vital visual information at that stage and, simultaneously, use that information to start pre populating usual claim forms and communicate and finding solutions for the convenience of the policyholder or the customer on the other side of the process.
We then take it through to the claims process and finally the claims resolution process. Hence our partnership with the Australian company Claim Central Consolidated.
Claim Central Africa, of which we are 50% shareholders. It is a combination of collaboration of different technologies between us focusing on the end user, to see how we can actually resolve their risk event as comfortable and as easily as possible. A further benefit is for the broker and the underwriter, where they can see what happened with those cases through a transparent, mutual platform, following and tracking it as well.
COVER: You mentioned the broker and the insurer. What particular role do they play in this process now? Do they still have a role to play?
Wimpie: Brokers need to be available for their clients 24/7. They don’t have to be physically sitting there waiting for the phone to ring, but through different solutions in technology they can actually be part of it. We have become the extension of the brand of the broker, the underwriter and the insurer. This puts quite a lot of pressure on us because we are dealing with someone else’s reputation and their brand in the market. We need to be very conscious not to cause any damage to their reputations or brand. With technology, our whole strive for the broker/underwriters is in creating these digital platforms where you’ve got a single customer view. Every interaction with an insurance client is communicated with the broker, underwriter or insurer, our client at that same time.
When we get a phone call, they will get a notification through different mediums and they can go in to view the status of that process and then also intervene or start other processes that can assist a client further on the claims side. Or, when they give us certain mandates, we can start with the F & L water claim forms etc. We don’t do anything without their permission and we’ve agreed on protocols and processes that they are comfortable with, saving time and money for them as well. They are a very integral part of it, as it is a partnership. It is not just outsourcing to us and hoping for the best. We take the relationship very serious in that regard.
COVER: That is exactly why I was very interested to see that you launch what you call a car rental replacement option. How does that work?
Wimpie: It works pretty much the same as the car rental option. When we get a phone call that you have been in a motor car accident, depending on the situation, we capture the vital visual information for our live logic at that stage or, if the person is not in a position to actually speak because of the incident. If you took out this cover,we start simultaneously, from that first touch point with technology and with AI, to access to certain databases in order to manage that emergency case. At that point westart activating the car replacement.
Remember, we can now see the vehicle is going to take two or three weeks to replace, or to be repaired. That person will need the car hire for that time period. So it almost becomes like a concierge desk, where we activate the car hire to be delivered from the policy, prove it and then deliver it.
We even created a gap cover for five days until your claim is approved. Then, simultaneously, we capture all the information for the claim form to be submitted. The next day we will pick you up and take you to the police station for your case number and complete part of the claims process. This reduces the risk of time passing with no claim submitted. Then there are also different options. If you don’t take the gap cover for five days, there’s at least a three day one, for using Uber. We actually start the claims process at the emergency phone call and then see it through, case managing it with the customer on the other side.
We also track the repair of the client’s vehicle with the repairer, using the same technology, simultaneously reporting back to him/her and the broker, underwriter or insurer. All this is visual. So, when the vehicle is repaired, we do a wrap around video with the repairer and send it to the client. If the client is happy, we can pick him up with a home chauffeur and take him/her to fetch the vehicle. It is very much a concierge type of service, integrated into making something that started with a negative event, into a more positive one. This prevents just being reactive, because the insurance industry is notorious for only reacting when there’s a demand or a call for action. We become intuitive at the moment when a risk event starts, looking for what else we can do to assist the client.
COVER: Absolutely! Luckily the insurance industry is becoming more proactive than it used to be. But, just to wrap up Wimpie, what feedback are you getting from brokers and clients on these services?
Wimpie: Feedback is essential for us. I always go back to the feedback, especially with technology and solutions like Live24. We only started five months ago and so far have about 60,000 policies on the services while we also use it at the specific events such as home emergencies, like a burst geyser etc. and with motor car accidents. The customer experience has been very positive, because they can actually see the call center agent and of course, your agent can see what the client sees. So this is almost like the design thinking process where empathy is essential. Where you put yourself in the shoes of customers to help them with their claim form, etc. Based on the feedback and, as we’re going through these specific cases, we are improving the whole time. On geyser claims, when you send a plumber into the roof and he captures that label, we can immediately go and check if it’s a warranty claim or an insurance claim. It is amazing that, just by being there at that moment with the service provider, you can actually save quite a lot of money. So far we’ve found that close to 60% of all our geyser claims are not insurance claims. This means insurers have been paying for many warranty claims.
However, don’t then leave the client and say sorry, this is not an insurance claim. Rather say, we’ll help you with the warranty claim process, providing convenience and completing the process which you started,. You have to focus on the customer and the experience, taking out the hassle factors. You know I love to roll my eyes like the emoji, I always think like a customer. Are they rolling their eyes at us? That’s where we focus to see how we can surprise them and make them happy. At the end of the day, that broker, underwriter or insurance company gets huge, huge kudos if we do things 100% right. Yes, we are in the service industry and we don’t get it 100% right, but we are getting real close to it every day.