Best Practices in Life Claims

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5 June 2015

Survey Analysis and Case Studies


Celent surveyed and interviewed key North American insurers on their claims technologies and internal processes. The report shares the findings, with a particular emphasis on investment in the claims area and the underlying staffing and effort involved.

In the report Best Practices in Life Claims, Celent conducted in-depth interviews with the leadership of 12 claims organizations, representing nine insurers. These interviews were augmented with surveys to a broad range of insurers.

Celent’s goal was to support, or disprove, the following hypotheses:

  • Life insurance companies typically underinvest in technology for claims compared to operational areas responsible for revenue generation.
  • Operational best practices are not as mature in claims as they are in other operational areas.
  • Unique differentiators between insurer claims organizations are fairly rare.

The analysis in the report includes key metrics such as volumes, staffing, and the time to service a claim. The report also details key technology choices, future project plans, and the insurer’s use of web and self-service technologies.

The companies interviewed were concentrated in Tier 1, and their claims volumes ranged from 18,000 per year to more than 250,000 per year. In total, the insurers interviewed represent over 430,000 annual life insurance claims. The claims teams ranged from 18 to more than 250.

“The surveys and interviews tended to support our initial hypotheses, with some interesting variations across the companies,” says Tom Scales, a research director with Celent’s Life and Health Insurance practice and coauthor of the report. “We’re pleased with the level of participation and the openness with which the insurers shared their information.”

“There is so much room for investment in claims. It is a compliment to the claims teams that they excel in providing service with the limited investment in technology,” says Karen Monks, an analyst with Celent’s Life and Health Insurance practice and coauthor of the report. “We were able to make suggestions to each participant on areas in which they should focus their investment.”

This report and its companion, Best Practices in Annuity Claims, are the first in a planned series of reports covering distinct operational areas within insurers.

This 46-page report contains 18 figures and 9 tables.