For Today’s Consumer, Slow Service Is A Broken Trust

by Keith Pellerin

May 16, 2016

On average, American households today earn $2,178 less per year than in January 2000. While, to some, $2,000 may not seem like much, it can be the difference between insufficient funds and peace of mind when a health event occurs.

At the same time, consider this. Employees’ average out­-of-­pocket health care costs and insurance premium contributions were expected to hit $5,131 in 2015. This is just a portion of the increasing health care costs consumers face. So, at a time when costs are up and income is down, it is clearer than ever that just being insured is no longer good enough. What’s really important is the right insurance, and how quickly and easily the company you choose processes and pays claims, because those coping with serious illnesses or injuries have treatment and other out-of-pocket expenses that won’t wait. There is a growing need for speed.

Aflac has long been an industry leader in paying claims fast, but we recognize the need to continuously innovate. So, we set a goal in 2015: one-day turnaround on claims. Using advanced technology, we set out to develop a system to receive, process, approve, and disburse payment for eligible claims in just one business day.

Our IT team went to work to transition our existing online claims submission system to a new integrated application with a responsive design and additional features. The team modified 21 Aflac applications and 283 components to create One Day Pay. The new system features easy-to-understand questions, guides users step by step through the claims submission process and notifies policyholders about the supporting documents needed for the claim. If an eligible claim (including all supporting documentation) is submitted via this system by 3 p.m. ET, Monday-Friday, we pay the claim in one day.

Trust is an important factor. Studies, including Aflac’s Corporate Social Responsibility (ACSR) survey, show that consumers are much more likely to conduct business with companies they believe to be ethical. In addition, 82 percent of millennials believe companies that stay true to their ethics and values outperform others in their field. That means keeping promises like the ones we have made through One Day Pay. After all, when you lose customers’ trust, you lose their business.

Not every company is willing to adopt a truly consumer-focused business model. It takes commitment from all sides of an organization. But the future of the industry hinges on faster and more seamless claims processing and payment. Those who align themselves with this goal can open the door to tremendous opportunity.

Keith Pellerin is Aflac’s Vice President, Product Management and Innovation.

One Day PaySM available for most properly documented, individual claims submitted online through Aflac SmartClaim® by 3 p.m. ET. Aflac SmartClaim® not available on the following: Disability, Life, Vision, Dental, Medicare Supplement, Long-term Care/Home Health Care, Aflac Plus Rider, Specified Disease Rider and Group policies. Individual Company Statistic, 2015.