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First Notice of Loss

4 actions insurers can take to optimize claims First Notice of Loss

Mark Wassel, Log in to subscribe to the Blog

It’s hard to recall a time when an insurance process has been more impacted by advances in digital technology than what’s taking place today with First Notice of Loss (FNOL). The convergence of AI, natural language processing (NLP), voice and text analytics, telematics, and more is modernizing FNOL beyond what we could have imagined even a year ago. Not only can insureds snap photos and report a claim from their phone, but AI now estimates the repairs from the images in seconds, so it’s conceivable the claim settlement could be received before the insured even gets home.  

FNOL is more than the initial phase of the claims lifecycle. It mobilizes the insurer’s “moment of truth” and sets the stage to optimize the claims processes that follow for both the insured and carrier alike.  

It’s important for insurers to assess the impacts of new, digital devices and capabilities and how they can work together to modernize claims FNOL. To optimize claims FNOL, insurers should consider the following actions:

1. Streamline claims intake

The purpose of FNOL is to gather sufficient information to set up a claim and assign it to the appropriately skilled claims professional. There has been a long-standing debate in the industry of how much information to gather from the insured at the time of notification so as to minimize how much time is asked of them to invest when reporting a claim. The current industry trend is an increased adoption of progressive questioning and voice AI technologies to gather required data while also reducing processing time.

Progressive questioning is logic that tailors FNOL data gathering to meet the specific characteristics of the claim and coverages. Low-code environments simplify the development of progressive questioning logic across all lines of business (LOBs) and levels of complexity. Simply, the reply to a question elicits the appropriate follow up question. For example: 

“Has your property incurred water damage?” 


“Can I assist you with clean up services?” 

Progressive questioning logic is not limited to call center environments but extendable across all channels.

Claim reporting through the call center is further streamlined by voice AI, brought about by advancements in speech to text, NLP, and AI technologies. Agents guide the insured through questions personalized by the uniqueness of their claim and coverages, while voice AI interprets the insured’s responses and transcribes them directly into the appropriate fields. Voice AI can also be trained to interpret the need for special handling and prompt the agent with dynamic scripting (e.g., advise insured to preserve scene and evidence if loss could be attributed to a third party).

2. Provide a seamless personalized omni-channel experience

The Googles and Amazons of the world have set the stage for how organizations should interact with customers. Perhaps the only interaction more frustrating than speaking to a representative who knows little about your relationship is starting a transaction in a digital channel and switching mid-way to the call center, only to be told you need to start over.

Technology can now provide agents what they need to know about a customer when they need to know it – not just a list of their policies but the context of the relationship, their journey, and challenges. Insureds would rather be met with a personalized interaction that might go something like this: 

“Hi, Mrs. Williams, thank you for being a valued customer. I see that you’ve begun to report a claim on your 2018 Mustang. I’m sorry to hear about your accident, before we pick up from where you left off, can I ask if there is anything we can do to assist?  Are you in need of a tow or a rental car?” 

Carriers have made great strides in providing the ability to report a loss through the channel of choice (e.g., web, mobile, chat); however, many fall short in not connecting the channels nor bringing insights forward to create the seamless, personalized experience insureds expect.

Even the email channel can be made seamless through bots that can interpret and action emails. Email bots have been trained to triage claims reported via email, route to the appropriate team, or extract data from an ACORD to set up the claim. 

3. Engage proactively with insureds

Claims is shifting from an inbound communications model, waiting for the insured to call after something bad has happened, to proactive outreach. Carriers possess greater ability today to map policies in force against predicted weather events and catastrophic (CAT) storm paths. This opens up a host of opportunities for personalized messaging, such as pre-event safety or loss avoidance messaging through the insured’s desired channel.

Many carriers have taken this one step further with proactive FNOL. Carriers are leveraging post-event weather data and aerial imagery to identify impacted properties, set up a claim, and assign an adjuster before the insured has a chance to pick up the phone.

4. Set the claim on the optimal course

Digital technology has caught up to carriers’ desires to segment claims to more granular levels of detail, predict their ultimate complexity, and set a claim on the right course, including straight-through-processing. Rules engines provide for permutations across LOBs, coverages, and jurisdictions and allow business users to easily modify rules as business needs change. Predictive analytics, AI, and machine learning monitor claim assignments and outcomes to uncover new ways to improve assignment and end-to-end claims handling.  

As adoption of new digital technologies increase, insurers should seek to understand how they can work together to optimize the customer FNOL experience

As I mention above, customer expectations are high. We know from our recent customer service insights study that 75% of customers say a fast and final resolution to an inquiry is the most important aspect of customer service, and 77% will walk away from a business if they receive poor service. AI, NLP, voice and text analytics, and telematics are some of the new digital building blocks that can help you modernize and transform your claims FNOL. The key is to coordinate and streamline their actions into your claims process to deliver simple, seamless, personalized customer experiences. 

Learn more:

  • Download this eBook and learn how to rethink your business architecture to support new digital building blocks.
  • Watch this webinar to learn how AI and robotics can help you provide faster, more accurate service end to end. 
  • Read how CNO Financial Group is using AI to support end user recommendations in real time. 

Exceed expectations. Everywhere. Every time.

Make the right decision in real time, every time.


Industry: Insurance Industry: P&C Personal Product Area: Platform Solution Area: Customer Service Topic: Personalized Customer Experiences

About the Author

As a Director and Industry Principal for P&C Insurance at Pega, Mark Wassel helps some of the world’s most recognizable brands transform mission-critical processes to streamline work, increase revenue, and improve the customer experience.

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