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  • Writer's pictureDavid McDonald

Moments that Matter for Auto Claims

You don’t always have to think disruption in CX when it comes to claims. Sometimes it’s better just being really good and focussing on the Moments That Matter

There are some touch points that are more meaningful than others – the Moments That Matter

In the business world, we can get obsessed with powerful buzz words like ‘disruption’ which took off in 1997 with Claytons Christensen’s book ‘The Innovators Dilemma’. Disruption is happening all around us and is being accelerated by COVID-19 – and it must be part of the strategy discussion. However, these concepts can distract us from focussing on customer fundamentals. It is rare that customers talk about their need for disruption, brilliantly captured in the Tom Fishburne cartoon below.

When it comes to your customer, digital and operations’ strategy if your focus become too broad, or you’re looking for that one game changer, you can get distracted from being the best you can be in the moment.

I believe in ‘progress, not perfection’, starting with the Moments That Matter when developing a customer experience strategy.

Be careful not to overcomplicate journey mapping as that can make it hard to execute

I am an advocate of customer journey mapping and design, but also passionate about finding simple, quick win solutions, to really enhance what you do for the customer. But why does improving this experience often seem so hard?

I’ve seen three common pitfalls with claims journey mapping:

  1. There is a risk it is designed around what the core claims platform delivers. We have to be pragmatic with the base systems capabilities but with recent advances in technology there is the opportunity to design a better experience through many fantastic tech solutions that can communicate what is necessary with the core claims system.

  2. Not enough time is spent on FNOL and triage to set the claim up for success. What is the simplest and most efficient way to triage up front and set the claim up for success – lower costs, reduced settlement time and improved customer experience.

  3. Not enough time is spent on enabling the staff to deliver the improved customer journeys - this includes your digital team and technology partners. I’m talking about more than simply involving them in the design process. It must evolve into “This is the way we do things around here” and become embedded in the culture.

What common pitfalls have you observed in the customer journey mapping and design process?

What can we do about it?

Here are a few things that I have found effective in customer journey mapping and design over my career.

I start by outlining the objectives that matter, taking a balanced view of culture, customer and commercial outcomes. At The Claims Bridge, we call this The Triple Play and have integrated this philosophy into our pragmatic Moments That Matter journey mapping approach, outlined below.

When designing your customer journey map consider the following:

1. Customer. What are the desired customer outcomes you are looking for? Define and prioritise the Moments That Matter. What is it critical that we get right? Are there things that if we get right, transform the whole experience for customers and the business?

Look outside the organisation and your industry. Someone will be doing it better.

2. Commercial. By focusing on the Moments That Matter the investment can sometimes be covered by divesting in the moments that don’t. Sometimes it is important to stop as much as start or keep doing things. Ideally you become more operationally effective, but also efficient and lower the net cost to serve.

3. Culture. As none of this will happen without the teams serving the customer, I start with the outcomes for the staff. What do we want our people to do and our service culture to look like? How do they feel about the current service process? What do we need to do differently? Note: when talking about staff this goes beyond the traditional "people who only speak to customers". Increasingly our front line of customer engagement are marketing/communications specialists and digital designers

I have always agreed with Richard Branson “If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients”, which in turn leads to great commercial outcomes.

A practical examples of Moments That Matter

1. Insurance Claims

Whether it be personal injury, motor/home, pet, business or health related claims, the initial contact (FNOL or First Notice of Loss) with the customer is critical. I define this as a Moment That Matters .

The customer has taken the time to tell us about what happened and may be in an emotional state, so the claim really is the moment of truth for an insurance brand’s reputation and customer experience.

I am surprised that there is still significant under investment in FNOL service teams as this is the chance to set up the claims experience for the best possible customer and commercial outcome. This is the time to shine. Done well, this touch point ensures:

  • Effective triage. The ability to fast track the simple claims and set up the complex and costly ones effectively to reduce claim duration and cost.

  • Effective customer engagement. As the customer is clear on the next steps, this reduces the need for repeat contacts. They feel they have been listened to, shown empathy and communicated with effectively while the company reduces the time in the claim lifecycle.

  • Accurate liability assessments. There are no nasty surprises for the customer and this sets up an effective recoveries process for the insurance company potentially reducing claims costs.

2. Insurance Claims – Estimation and Repair

Following FNOL, the customer simply wants to know what is happening with their vehicle. In Australia, as in the US, the car is part of the family and many people rely on this for mobility, given the limitations with public transport. A hire car is a great help, but never a substitute.

The challenge for insurers is that the bar has been set high by online retailers for keeping the customer informed. Just think about the proactive communications you receive from Amazon when you purchase a product. You know when it has been picked, packed, shipped and an estimated time for delivery. If it is delayed, you are notified and a new ETA communicated. How many insurance companies can communicate this information? Many would be happy to know this themselves.

3. Insurance Claims – After claims service?

Once you have received your package, you can then indicate your level of satisfaction with the product or online retailer. You can post a review, to pass on your recommendation or raise any concern. Most insurance customers are just relieved to get their vehicle back.


Claims is the moment that matters for the Insured and the Insurers Brand reputation, yet it feels that the customer experience hasn’t changed much over the years. However, by breaking down the journey to the moments that matter, it may be possible to drive a significant uplift in your claims service performance. With Covid-19, delivering a contactless claims experience is also important for the customer, which could help the business case for investing further in digitising claims operations and giving the customer the control, choice and transparency they expect now from all brands.

David McDonald is President, International for the Claims Bridge.

David has 20+ years in Chief Operating and Customer roles in Insurance and Energy in Australia.

He has walked the talk and developed a turnkey, contactless, SaaS solution for catastrophic hail claims in partnership with specialists in the US. These unpredictable, non-core events occur and seriously disrupt an Insurers operation – but the specialists love them.

The customer proposition is simple. Manage your hail claim from the comfort of your mobile phone. Take some photos of the dents and damage, and answer some simple questions and the software does everything else

It can predict the costs of the repair and provide a rapid preliminary estimate, for approval by the Insurer. As part of this process, the smart triage application recommends the most effective (cost) and efficient (speed) repair lane, whether this is Paintless Dent Repair (PDR), Conventional, Combo or Total Loss. The platform (machine) learns from any manual adjustment by the remote assessor and the estimation and triage gets even more accurate for the next time. The customer then can schedule their vehicle into the nearest repair shop and track the progress of the repairs – just like tracking their Amazon delivery!

In the design of the solution he has taken a partner not build approach and developed a B2B SaaS product. The Claims Bridge is leveraging the incredible power of the smart phone and starting to leverage AI.

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