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May 2024

Trending: TPAs as a growth engine for customer experience

Source: Asia Insurance Review | Apr 2024

Nicki DunnWith a continually evolving market landscape, insurers across Asia are looking at third-party administrators to help them improve efficiency and the customer experience. Sedgwick’s Ms Nicki Dunn elaborates.
As the insurance landscape in Asia undergoes dynamic shifts and transformative trends, industry leaders are increasingly turning their focus towards optimising operational efficiency and enhancing customer experience.
Insurers ultimately want solutions that will expedite claim closures while mitigating costs. As a result, insurers are strategically aligning themselves with third-party administrator (TPA) partners whose innovative digital solutions meet the evolving demands of the market.
What forces are behind this market shift?
Transfer of risk
The insurance market in Asia is growing in new ways, which is exciting to see from a TPA perspective. For example, we’re seeing an uptick in new companies entering the market and insurers exploring new lines of business.
As a result, with any growth sprint, companies face challenges like risk, uncertainty and a mission to control costs.
New product line challenges for insurers means there is no claims history to compare, plan and adequately resource. Increasingly, companies in Asia are turning to TPAs to help take on some of the risk associated with growth and asking TPAs to manage the unpredictable volume of claims on their behalf. During a period of growth, this can be a lot more cost effective in the short term than investing upfront in internal claims resources.
And TPAs are happy to help and excited to see the market shift to a cycle of outsourcing. Companies strapped for resources and time get a multitude of benefits by partnering with a smart and experienced TPA to handle their claims.
Cross-skilled expertise
As the insurer market changes, so too do trends within TPAs. As a leader, I continuously have my ear to the ground listening for what our clients are looking for, as well as what my colleagues and teammates want to learn and grow in their roles.
TPAs today, as we are within Sedgwick, are increasingly investing in ways for their teams to learn, diversify their skills and even take on new roles within their organisation. Training programmes, upskilling resources and opportunities to diversify and unify lines of business are the way of the future for TPAs.
Why? Insurers are looking for partners and TPAs that have a broad skillset to support their claims issues. TPA services encompass a lot more than sales and support staffing. Having the right support staff and resources are a big focus for insurance leaders in Asia right now – training and upskilling is one way to bridge that gap.
Local support with global resources
One of the paradoxes of the Asia insurance market is that our community is so tight knit, but so geographically and culturally diverse. It’s a unique and rewarding challenge unmatched elsewhere in our industry.
This is another reason why insurers turn to TPAs for help: They need experts who are confident and experienced in navigating claims of any size or complexity, in any region and in any language.
We’re seeing an increase in requests for claims experts with diverse language capabilities throughout the region, including Mandarin, Cantonese, Tamil and Bahasa.
As technology breaks down global barriers, insurers need claims support that can grow with them. Insurers are increasingly seeking partners who can provide localised expertise with the power and technology resources of a global network.
When client satisfaction – processing claims accurately and quickly – is the bottom line for TPA success, having a strong global network is a differentiator.
The Sedgwick approach to market change
At Sedgwick over the six months, my colleagues and I have taken a focused approach to understanding the needs of insurers, the trends of the market, and the aspirations of our team in Asia.
We have new leadership, a new strategy and vision in place, and a skilled team to respond to the needs of our clients. We hear the demand for better customer experience, efficient claims resolution, and cost-effective solutions.
In addition to building on our home-grown team in Asia, we are shifting our support staff model to focus on cross-skilled claims technicians, rather than unilaterally skilled loss adjusters or support staff. This means our clients are paying less for the same service.
Our market may be taking a big shift toward TPA support, and this is not the only change we will face in the year ahead. Leaders should embrace opportunities to learn from trends and transform their teams accordingly.
At the end of the day, insurance is a people-focused business and the best resource we can invest in is our people. A 
Ms Nicki Dunn is the chief client officer, Asia at Sedgwick.
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