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A blog from Minster Law CEO, Shirley Woolham

Without digital, dealing with Covid-19 would have been impossible. In the space of a month our work and domestic life has largely moved online, and technology has immediately become essential for everyday business. In the corporate world, we’ve all become used to Zoom, MS Teams, Houseparty and other conferencing applications.

Turning to the retail side, the juggernaut that is Amazon looks set to have a “good crisis”. Its e-commerce, cloud computing and streaming services are all experiencing high demand from the locked down public.

Profit forecasts have improved, and it plans to hire another 175,000 workers in distribution and delivery to meet rising demand. Amazon’s propositions are only as good as the digital experience it offers customers, front and back office. Now that much of the general public seem to shop with  Amazon, customers will come to expect fantastic online experiences from everyone else too, including claims companies.

They won’t tolerate mediocrity. Any service provider adopting a sub-standard digital approach or one channel mindset will struggle. And that includes the government’s LiP portal for minor injury claims, the launch of which has been thankfully delayed again while the claims sector grapples with the current crisis.

Claims companies cannot continue to protect their business models by avoiding technology, so their leaders will need to change tack fast. If you are a claims company/legal services business and still pondering whether to invest in technology, your future is bleak. That horse has already bolted.

It is not simply the front-end digital experience for consumer that needs to be Amazon-standard, in claims processing you should have invested in AI and robotic process automation (RPA) off the back of an ultra-low fixed cost base. That requires big changes to corporate culture, and re-allocating resources to invest where you need to launch and operate a digital claims operation.

In order to keep the wheels of justice turning during the here and now, claims companies and insurers have been working on an agreement to deliver remote injury assessments and rehab. The lockdown prevents customers seeing their therapists face to face, so remote is the only viable option. For all that these proposals are ‘temporary,’ my expectation is that many customers will prefer the convenience of video treatment in the future.

To be sure, some customers will prefer face to face treatment, and for others face to face treatment will be clinically required, but companies that return to ‘analogue’ services and refuse to offer that option will get short shrift from their more digitally-savvy customers. In fact, I think many aspects of civil justice will eventually move online. It will simply become ‘the standard way to do injury claims.’

– Shirley