09:00 AM

Digital World Isn’t Enough in Claims Process

Nationwide Agency Forward Survey reveals most policyholders want real life interaction

Filing an insurance claim can feel like a daunting process, and for many it comes during a time of crisis. But modern technology is altering the claims experience, much to the delight of customers. There are new tools available that make the experience quicker and easier to manage, but it also includes a human-to-human exchange.

A recent Nationwide Agency Forward survey indicated that, while customers appreciate a digital insurance claims experience, having an agent or customer representative be part of the claims process is just as important—especially in helping customers during difficult moments.

“When we are putting the customer and service representative together in a digital world, it is still crucial that the customer feels supported by being able to reach a person if they need it,” said Martha Frye Nationwide’s senior vice president of personal lines claims. “Claims are usually filed after something bad has happened, so we’re trying to strike the balance of helping with personal expertise, along with digital solutions to keep them informed and speed it along—both are really important.” 

The Agency Forward survey revealed three key findings:

  • Handling a claim quickly and having access to an agent/customer representative are most important
  • Consumers are interested in a digital experience when filing/managing a claim
  • Most policyholders are satisfied with the claims process


Getting comfortable going digital
Customers are getting comfortable with digital tools and realizing the benefits. Most customers are aware of the complexity of their situation and have higher expectations for low complexity claims to be handled more quickly and easily. One way they can do this is by embracing digital tools to be involved and stay updated on the status of their claim. Consumers are most interested in websites, apps, texts and emails. In fact,

  • 75% are interested in a website or app where they can track the progress of claims from start to finish
  • 68% are interested in recurring texts or email alerts on the status of a claim
  • 67% are interested in a website or mobile app to upload pictures or videos to begin a claim

 “Nationwide was the first to add two-way texting, that dramatically increased utilization and interactions, which was more effective than just pushing information at people. Nationwide saw an increase in two-way texting in 2021. Customers reached out to us via text 229,000 times, this was a 183% increase from the previous year,” explained Frye. “Agents told us that mobile texting is facilitating faster scheduling because it cuts down on voicemail exchanges.”

Human interaction is still important
There are moments of truth for your ability to talk to an agent or representative who is an expert to meet needs. There are also transactional moments where customers value digital tools. The future is at the intersection, being a digital brokerage and knowing the local customers.

The top three areas of interest when filing a claim are similar, but agents place less of an emphasis on digital tools.

Most important areas of filing a claim:

  • 74% of consumers, 65% of agents report having a claim handled quickly is important to customers
  • 58% of consumers, 51% of agents report being able to speak to an agent or claims representative over a phone call is important to customers
  • 36% of consumers, 31% of agents report having a digital claim tracker to track claims from start to finish online or through an app is important to customers

“Customers continue to tell the industry that they want to speak to someone upfront to understand their coverage and figure out next steps. Once they get everything set, then they’re more willing to do digital interactions,” explained Frye.

Overall, satisfaction is high
Most people who purchase an insurance policy hope to have little interaction with their insurer beyond the point of purchase, which stands true as only 3 in 10 said they filed a claim in the last 12 months. Auto-related claims were two times more likely to occur (19%) than a property claim (9%), and overall satisfaction was high:

  • 82% of consumers say they are satisfied with the insurance claims process. Those who are not satisfied complained that: filing a claim was a slow process (26%), was a difficult process (22%), required a lot of paperwork (22%).

“More than ever, consumers want to decide how they will interact with their carrier based on their need. While digital tools can make certain parts of the insurance experience easier, customers will remain reliant on their agent in moments of need,” concluded Frye.