In a week that has seen many UK communities experience strong winds, heavy snow and plummeting temperatures, advances in the home emergency response process have helped insurance companies come to the rescue of their customers, according to a leading insuretech.
CET handles home emergency claims for leading insurers for policies covering one in four of all UK homes. With temperatures dropping to -23 degrees, the lowest recorded in 26 years, the firm has handled 15,138 emergency calls over the last seven days (8-14 February), an increase of 67% compared with the previous week.
Despite the challenging weather conditions and increased call volumes, CET data showed that response times across all types of home emergency callout have held firm, with 84% of problems requiring an engineer being fixed on the first visit.
CET’s ‘weather watchers’ started re-programming shift patterns at the end of last week to ensure enough operators were on hand to respond to customer calls, while advances in IT systems also means that more than half of all jobs are now ‘auto-deployed’ to the insuretech company’s extensive network of 3,000 engineers across the UK, speeding up the process significantly for home owners.
“On almost every measure, the home emergency service that insurers can offer now is light years ahead of what policy holders could have expected just a few years ago,” said CET’s chief executive officer, Chris McLain. “During the course of last week, we were able to successfully deploy engineers within five minutes of receiving the initial call for more than 45% of claims. If you compare this to the original Beast from the East in 2018, this would probably have happened for just five per cent of claims.”
According to CET, there are several reasons for the advances made in the sector but a lot of it comes down to investment in technology. A number of years ago, the firm invested in developing a cloud-based claims management platform, called SIMPLIFi, which effectively connects everyone in the claims management process. It enables CET’s customer service teams to manage the customer journey from start to finish – from the initial callout, through policy validation, to the deployment of contractors.
“SIMPLIFi can immediately identify the appropriate contractor to carry out the work, allowing the us to log the job and manage the repair process,” explains McLain. “We handle all communications between the contractor and the insured party, as well as providing real-time updates to the customer and insurer. Live data on emergency callouts, the availability and capability of contractors and external factors, such as weather conditions, all feed into the system, which employs artificial Intelligence to give our operators the tools they need to deal with claim surges and extreme weather events, like the one we experienced last week.”
CET also took the decision earlier this year to move its entire workforce permanently to a working-from-home model, a process that was accelerated by the impact of the pandemic. Although it required investment to ensure all staff were set up in effective home working environments, the decision is already paying dividends, according to McLain.
“By moving to a working-from-home model, underpinned by the capabilities of our IT systems, we have actually been able to enhance the resilience of the business and improve the flexibility of our service. We now have around 300 mini-networks spread right across the UK, so none of our staff have to travel to work in bad weather, while our ability to quickly adapt shift patterns in response to spikes in call volumes has improved immeasurably.”