Making funeral claims easier

Our job as insurers and financial advisers is to make the journey easier for the client and in the case of funeral and life claims, it means making it easier for their beneficiaries and delivering on our promises to them.

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As insurers and financial advisers, we have to look out for our clients. We need to ensure that we not only meet their needs, but also stay up to date on consumer trends that may impact meeting these needs. And, in the case of funeral and life cover, there is an even more important stakeholder of whom we need to be conscious: the beneficiary.

Making the journey easier

Our job as insurers and financial advisers is to make the journey easier for the client and in the case of funeral and life claims, it means making it easier for their beneficiaries and delivering on our promises to them.

After the death of a loved one, beneficiaries are often in a state of shock. They have to start dealing with wrapping up an estate, with no real time to think about what is actually required. They have to obtain the relevant documents from government departments and banks to set the wheels of the claim in motion while stricken with grief. It is not easy. No matter how respectfully and empathetically we, as insurers and financial advisers, deal with matters, the claims process remains daunting.

Wrapping up an estate can take years and wrapping up a claim can be delayed if the insurer does not receive the necessary documentation in time. In the meantime, funerals need to be organised and costs need to be taken care of, placing the urgency around funeral claims pay-outs front and centre.

Claims servicing during a pandemic

This past year held even bigger challenges than usual for insurers. The enormous catastrophe that is COVID-19 has caused an unprecedented escalation in the death rate over a very short period of time. At the time of writing this article, South Africa had reached 50 000 deaths and the disease had taken the lives of more than two million people globally.

This escalation has put enormous pressure on the insurance industry, especially the funeral claims sector. The pressure has escalated, not only from a process perspective, but also as a result of the sheer volume of claims.

If you, as a financial adviser, can demonstrate to your clients that their claims experience will be easier, faster and more reliable, they will see that you are in a position to truly unlock value for their beneficiaries when the time comes.

Anton Keet, Head of Claims at 1Life, says that by July 2020, at the peak of the first wave, 1Life funeral claims had doubled, and at the peak of the second wave at the end of January, that number had escalated by a further 15 to 20%.

Healthcare crises like COVID-19 do not come along very often and are so beyond anything we can imagine that they are hard to plan for. However, as insurers and financial advisers, we have a responsibility to be prepared if they occur. Anton says it is inadvisable to do this planning as you go.

Long-term planning is necessary

As indicated, delayed claim pay-outs, especially in the case of funeral cover, often leave beneficiaries with no income and no-one to turn to at a time when they are at their most vulnerable. Add unexpected additional burdens, such as the Department of Home Affairs offices being closed during lockdown, leaving beneficiaries unable to obtain the necessary official documents to activate the claim, and beneficiaries find themselves on the horns of a real dilemma.

1Life is an insurer that focuses on enabling through digital solutions that aim to meet challenges like these head-on. We started evaluating the normal claims process more than two years ago and the need for a simpler and faster turnaround prompted the implementation of robotic process automation (RPA) in the claims process.

Anton says that this, together with the ability to re-allocate staff from elsewhere in the organisation into the claims department, is enabling 1Life to not only meet normal claims registration and pay-out service levels during the pandemic, but even to improve on them.

At 1Life, 70% of all intermediated funeral claims are settled without human intervention within 3 to 4 minutes and it takes only 8 to 9 hours on average for beneficiaries to receive the claim pay-out.

RPA ensures that the repetitive administrative elements of the claims process are taken care of with precision and speed, enabling the financial adviser to concentrate on providing client or beneficiary support, while the system does the heavy lifting. This is true human–technological collaboration.

What makes the 1Life claims process unique?
  • The contract and rules are built into the system, enabling consistency and speed.
  • The system gathers information from other websites, such as the Department of Home Affairs, where it picks up the notice of death.
  • Only the notice of death is needed in order to process a claim and, in most cases, to enable 1Life to finalise payment.
  • The claims process supports 1Life Vantage, our digital solution for financial advisers, which enables straight-through underwriting and remote acceptance, keeping both clients and financial advisers safe by ensuring social distancing.
At 1Life, 70% of all intermediated funeral claims are settled without human intervention within 3 to 4 minutes and it takes only 8 to 9 hours on average for beneficiaries to receive the claim pay-out.
What the financial adviser can do
Kobus Wentzel, Executive Head: 1Life Distribution

Because a life policy is often a grudge purchase, people do not always see its value. This is certainly the case in the more affluent market and it means that you, as a financial adviser, can make a difference.

Look beyond the premium cost and product benefits when you provide advice to your clients. Help your client to look at an insurer’s entire value chain and claims philosophy before making a decision.

What matters is the trust you have in the insurer, based on whether they can prove their claims processing turnaround times.

It is also vital to communicate with your client and to ensure that they understand the entire claims process, how it will work, and what their beneficiaries will receive in the event of a claim. In addition, ensure that the client’s beneficiaries understand the process and are informed about both the product and the claims process.

If you, as a financial adviser, can demonstrate to your clients that their claims experience will be easier, faster and more reliable, they will see that you are in a position to truly unlock value for their beneficiaries when the time comes.

Look beyond the premium cost and product benefits when you provide advice to your clients.

1Life enables you to strive for more. Choose to use technology to enable your business and change your clients’ lives by modelling affordability on top of life stage planning. Get the benefits of a company that has already shifted its perspective within the direct world.

Don’t just accept the status quo, do things differently – we empower you through choice to strive for more. Take control of your own destiny. Earn your own commission structure.

It’s all about how you do it, not what you do. Consider a new point of view. Contact us to register with 1Life today.