Marykate Reese
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April 16, 2002
Consumers Stress Importance of Speed Over Settlement Amount in Insurance Claims Resolution, According to Accenture Survey

Consumer Satisfaction with Claims Experience Directly Affects Likelihood of Customer Loyalty to Insurance Carrier

NEW YORK; April 16, 2002 Ninety-four percent of U.S. consumers who have filed a property and casualty (P&C) claim cited quick resolution of an insurance claim as highly important to their satisfaction with the claims process, while only 74 percent of respondents stressed the importance of the settlement amount offered, according to a survey released today by Accenture (NYSE: ACN).

The survey, which was based on a random sample of more than 1,000 U.S. adults, examined consumer experience with the P&C insurance claims process – from reporting a claim through settlement – and identified key areas where insurance companies can improve the process.

The survey results also indicate that consumers are frustrated with the length of time and lack of communication involved in the claims process. Forty-two percent of settled claimants expressed dissatisfaction with the amount of time it took to settle their claim. Eighty-two percent of claimants surveyed stressed the importance of communication regarding their claim status. However, more than four in ten (41 percent) expressed dissatisfaction with their claim representative’s ability to keep them informed of their claim status.

“Claims handlers spend nearly half their day on required administrative tasks that have little impact on the outcome of the claim or on improving customer service,” said David Hollander, the partner who leads Accenture’s claims solution group. “Insurers have a huge opportunity to improve the speed, accuracy and overall quality of customer service provided by their claims handlers. New Web-based technology can replace outdated claims-processing systems and automate routine processes, so claims handlers can focus on the core activities that have a direct impact on resolving a claim in a more timely manner.”

The survey also found that customer satisfaction with the claims process is critical for insurers because it directly affects the likelihood of customers to remain loyal to their insurance company. Nearly 90 percent of P&C insurance customers who are satisfied with the speed in which their claims were handled are likely to stay with their current insurance companies. Eighty-seven percent of those surveyed who are satisfied with amount of the settlement offer are also likely to stay.

“The study clearly shows that the relationship between the claims handler and the customer should be a key focus for insurance companies. It is only with the adoption of new, real-time, decision-support claims technology, that carriers can hope to deliver quality customer service and the appropriate settlements far more quickly than they can in today’s manually intensive world,” said Hollander.

Among the study’s other notable findings were the following:

  • P&C insurance customers indicated that on average they spoke with two different claims representatives from their insurance company while their claim was being handled; 27 percent say they spoke with three or more claims representatives. As the number of claim handlers increases, the likelihood of a customer to refer friends and remain customers of the same insurance company decreases.
  • Eighty-two percent of people who have submitted a P&C claim in the past five years find it important to be aware of the process beforehand, compared to 56 percent of those who have not submitted a P&C claim in the past five years.
  • Respondents who have settled their claims reported that, on average, it took 10 days to settle their claims. Slightly more than one-third of these customers noted that it took 15 days or more to settle their claims.
  • One-fifth of U.S. adults (20 percent) reported that being able to submit P&C insurance claims via the Internet either extremely or very important.

Accenture announced the survey results today at the Risk Insurance Management Society (RIMS) Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Accenture commissioned International Communications Research (ICR), an independent research company, to conduct a survey of 1,005 U.S. adults about their experiences with property and casualty (P&C) claims. The survey was conducted between March 6 and 10, 2002, using a nationally representative, random-digit-dial phone survey. The survey respondents were further screened to include a total of 241 respondents who have submitted a P&C claim (e.g., property, auto, home, or bodily injury, etc.) in the past five years. The sample population was weighted to reflect the larger U.S. population distribution according to U.S. Census Bureau statistics.

About Accenture
Accenture is the world’s leading management consulting and technology services organization. Through its network of businesses approach – in which the company enhances its consulting and outsourcing expertise through alliances, affiliated companies and other capabilities – Accenture delivers innovations that help clients across all industries quickly realize their visions. With more than 75,000 people in 47 countries, the company generated net revenues of $11.44 billion for the fiscal year ended August 31, 2001. Its home page is