The Need for Speed
Five Ways to Improve Cycle Time
By Brian Bray
IF YOU WERE TO ASK ANY MATERIAL
damage manager to name key performance drivers, cycle time would likely
rank high on the list. Simply put, a slow
appraisal leads to dissatisfied vehicle
owners, increased rental, higher storage
costs, and poor customer service. Why,
then, do so many insurers struggle with
the goal of attaining consistently fast
cycle times from their field staff and independent appraisal sources?
The answer lies within the process itself. Many workflows currently in use by
claims offices are based on outdated
methodology and governed purely by
expense reduction goals at the sacrifice of higher indemnity costs. Truthfully, some companies are unable to see
the “big picture” of increased claim se-
verity averages and the correlation to
ineffective field processes.
Outlined below are five key factors
that can dramatically reduce cycle time
while controlling indemnity costs.
Factor No. 1: Invest in a motivated,
well-trained, tech-savvy field team.
This is perhaps the most important
factor of all: the people on your team
and their skill sets. Build a solid field
appraisal team, whether it is within
an insurance company or through the
use of an outside vendor committed to customer service excellence.
Field representatives are the eyes
and ears for your desk adjusters. In
today’s claims environment, field appraisers must be outstanding with
customers and deliver caring service.
They must also possess the technical knowledge to quickly and accurately assess damages by maximizing
the use of technology to resolve the
Factor No. 2: Reduce touch points
at every step through the use of
technology. The key to a seamless
workflow that reduces cycle time is
utilizing a claims management solution that decreases needless touch
points on every file. Finding ways to
lessen repetitive tasks and redundancy is absolutely essential. Furthermore, discovering ways to eliminate
unnecessary re-keying of administrative data conserves valuable time.
The use of easily recognizable icons
for status recognition and task pri-oritization saves minutes that would
otherwise translate into wasted hours
in the long run.
Factor No. 3: Introduce intelligent
dispatching. With the use of algo-
rithms based on an array of data in-
cluding location coordinates, experi-
ence levels, and performance ratings,
the appraisal can be matched to the
right appraiser for the assignment.
This results in faster response times
and a more accurate appraisal, as the
assignment has been distributed to
the most efficient resource available.
For example, ensuring heavy equip-
ment expert is tasked to inspect a
forklift will save time and expedite the
Brian Bray is National Claims Director at