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How do commercial insurers deal with different customers having their own FNOL processes

Updated: Jun 12

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Written by Matthew Parker, MD, Procurato and SpendQube

In the complex world of commercial insurance, the First Notice of Loss (FNOL) process can be particularly challenging. Each customer may have their own unique set of procedures for reporting a claim, which can create logistical hurdles for insurers. In this detailed exploration, we will delve into the strategies and technologies that commercial insurers employ to manage varied FNOL processes effectively.

Understanding FNOL in Commercial Insurance

The FNOL is the initial report made to an insurance provider following a loss or incident. It is a critical step in the claims management process, as it sets the stage for all subsequent activities, from investigation to settlement. In commercial insurance, FNOL becomes intricate due to the diverse nature of business operations and risks involved.

The Challenge of Varied Customer FNOL Processes

Commercial insurers often serve a wide array of clients, from small enterprises to multinational corporations, each with their own internal procedures for reporting and handling claims. This can range from simple notification through email or phone calls to more sophisticated, automated reporting systems. Keeping track of these distinct processes and ensuring a smooth claims experience for each client is a significant challenge for insurers.


Leveraging Insurance Technology for FNOL


To navigate the complexity of various FNOL processes, insurers are increasingly turning to advanced insurance technology solutions. These tools are designed to streamline claims intake, improve data accuracy, and enhance customer satisfaction.

Centralized Claims Management Systems

One of the primary ways insurers deal with diverse FNOL processes is by implementing centralized claims management systems. These platforms act as a single point of entry for all FNOL reports, regardless of how they are submitted by the client. Central systems can automatically capture, organize, and route information to the appropriate parties, ensuring that claims are processed efficiently and consistently.

Integration with Broker Claims Platforms

Many commercial insurers rely on the expertise and services provided by brokers, who often have their own specialized claims reporting systems in place. In order to streamline the claims process and ensure a smooth flow of information between all parties involved, insurers implement strategies to integrate their own claims management systems with those of the brokers. This integration facilitates seamless data exchange and communication, ultimately resulting in a more efficient and uniform claims process. By working together in this way, insurers and brokers are able to maintain consistency and accuracy throughout the entire claims handling process, even during the FNOL stage.


As insurance companies move away from Legacy systems to cloud based solutions there is the ability to connect real time to such systems through API's on integrations. Modern claims software such Guidewire and Duck Creek have such ability to integrate via API's with broker platforms. Therefore, there is less need of insurance portals that were previously required. The challenge now is establishing and maintaining such connections which insurance companies find difficult due to limited IT resource available


Workflow Automation/Machine learning

Having workflow customised to align to a client’s specific requirement would be ideal but in reality, it would be very hard to manage operationally as you would have different processes per a client.

An alternative approach is capturing everyone’s data consistently via automation so that you’re starting off at the same base point for all cleints, and then they follow the same claims handling process.  One of the more useful ways to do this right now is using digital reader technology to ‘read’ all the different FNOL forms (they can either be scanned in if they’re coming in hard copy or if they’re coming in electronically, you just put them into the digital reader).  The digital reader is trained to recognize the data it needs, extract it and then put it into a consistent format which can then be inserted into the claims management system. This enables FNOL data in the right place with no manual data entry and therefore avoiding typos or manual errors.  The next stage is the building automations within your claims management system which will create the claim based on the data, set activities to be completed etc and run further automations off the back of that.  You could layer a process orchestration tools such as Pega across the top which takes the info from multiple channels and then uses machine learning/digital reader to determine what to do with that data.  


Best Practices for Managing Diverse FNOL Processes

To ensure a smooth FNOL process for all parties involved, there are several best practices that commercial insurers should adopt.

Establish Clear Communication Channels

It is crucial for insurers to establish clear and open communication channels with their clients. This involves educating clients on the insurer's preferred FNOL procedures and understanding the client's internal processes. Regular check-ins and feedback loops can help maintain alignment and identify areas for improvement.

Standardize Data Collection

As discussed earlier in the paper, while FNOL procedures may vary, the information required by insurers is generally consistent. By standardizing data collection forms and requirements, insurers can more easily aggregate and analyze claims data, regardless of how it is reported. This standardization also aids in regulatory compliance and facilitates more accurate claims forecasting.

One example is Standards Governance Advisory Council whose mandate has evolved to ensure consistent interpretation of the property & casualty (P&C) insurance industry’s data standards by insurance companies and technology vendors.

Offer Training and Support

Insurers should provide comprehensive training and support to their clients and brokers on how to use the FNOL reporting tools effectively. This can include online tutorials, user guides, and dedicated support teams. Empowering users to navigate the FNOL process confidently can lead to faster reporting times and higher satisfaction levels.

The Role of Emerging Technologies in FNOL

Mobile Applications and Telematics

Mobile applications and telematics are playing an increasingly important role in FNOL for commercial insurers. Mobile apps allow policyholders to report incidents on-the-go, complete with photographic evidence and real-time data. Telematics devices installed in commercial vehicles can automatically detect accidents and initiate the FNOL process, speeding up the response time and improving the accuracy of the claim information.


Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are transforming FNOL by providing predictive analytics and automated decision-making. These technologies can help insurers anticipate and respond to client needs, tailor the FNOL process to individual customer profiles, and even automate certain aspects of claims adjudication. These technologies can analyze and categorize vast amounts of data from various sources — including claim documents, images, and historical information — to assess the validity and extent of damage more quickly and accurately. AI can also identify patterns that might indicate fraud, speeding up the detection process, and allowing insurers to focus their attention where it’s most needed.


Conclusion: Embracing Flexibility and Innovation

Commercial insurers are finding success in managing diverse FNOL processes by embracing flexibility and innovation. By leveraging cutting-edge technology, standardizing data collection, and fostering strong communication with clients and brokers, insurers can overcome the challenges of varied FNOL procedures.

In an industry where customer satisfaction is paramount, the ability to handle FNOL efficiently and accurately can be a significant competitive advantage. As technology continues to evolve, commercial insurers must remain agile and open to new solutions that can streamline the FNOL process and enhance the overall claims experience.


As we look to the future, it is clear that the insurers who invest in technology and prioritize the needs of their diverse clientele will lead the way in claims management and customer service. The FNOL process, while complex, presents an opportunity for insurers to demonstrate their commitment to their customers and their ability to adapt to the ever-changing landscape of commercial insurance.





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