Editor’s Note: Recognizing leaders in claims

Insurance professionals are extraordinary people who are rarely recognized for their efforts. They meet policyholders during a major crisis, investigate the incident and determine what aspects are covered under the insured’s policy. To say their jobs are challenging would be an understatement, and yet they invest countless hours working to resolve these claims.

Last month at the America’s Claims Event in Charlotte, N.C., we recognized two outstanding individuals and one leading-edge company for their contributions not only to their policyholders, but to the insurance industry in general.

The ACE/Claims Magazine Customer Champion Award, recognizes a claims professional who goes to extraordinary lengths to serve a company’s customers, was presented to Michelle Bjarnson of Generali Global Assistance’s travel insurance division, previously CSA Travel Protection, for creating the Voice of the Customer position for the claims and customer service departments. Bjarnson is the company’s ultimate customer champion and works with the claims team to exhaust every option available to resolve customer issues.

The ACE/Claims Magazine Claims Luminary of the Year was Brandon Kay of Generali Global Assistance. Kay implemented an auto-adjudication program for the claims department, which allowed the company to cut the average resolution time for more than 15,000 claims to just 48 hours, reducing customer wait time for resolution and payment.

Sedgwick, a global provider of technology-enabled risk and benefits solutions, received the ACE/Claims Magazine/LexisNexis Trailblazer Award, recognizing an organization that has made significant contributions to the claims industry by introducing new innovations to improve the claims process for insurers and policyholders.

Sedgwick created and implemented a business model using its data to identify workers’ compensation claims that could exceed $50,000 and $100,000 in total incurred costs, allowing the claims team to focus on specific areas or apply the resources necessary to ensure the best experience for an employee, while keeping the impact from becoming too severe.

Each of these honorees has made significant contributions to improving the claims process for all and we congratulate them on their exceptional leadership in an ever-changing industry.

There were a number of presentations on issues that could have major implications on insurance claims like the new exposures arising from the use of 3-D printers by both amateurs and professionals; new schemes from insurance fraudsters and emerging litigation trends.

Technology was also a central focus at ACE with sessions on the use of drones in claims, the impact of mobile apps on the customer experience, and what insurers need to know about the increase in cyber claims, especially with the growing popularity of ransomware.

I hope you can join us next year in Austin, Texas, from June 25-27, so be sure to add ACE to your calendar and watch Claims for updates.

Patricia L. Harman is the editor-in-chief of Claims magazine. Opinions expressed are the author’s.