Third-party administrators (TPAs) often take on multiple roles, including customer service provider, risk assessment manager, claims processor, and customer consultant. Now, with big data disrupting the market, they’re taking on yet another: data translators who convert info into actionable insights.
Though some view the title of “administrator” simply as a policy or claims handler, TPAs are actually critical to many industries—but especially insurance and warranty. They directly influence day-to-day business, and help modernize the way these industries work.
For example: the insurance industry is constantly adapting to better serve customers, especially when broad changes—like self-driving cars, climate change, and artificial intelligence—are introduced and begin to affect business. Those adjustments, both big and small, are largely driven by consumer preferences, the desire for greater efficiency, and advances in technology.
These changes affect TPAs as they work to evolve in an ever-fluctuating industries like insurance and warranty. To fully understand how important TPAs are to the business, let’s dive into how their roles have transformed over the years.
1.Being the touchpoint between clients and their customers
When it comes to TPAs’ new role, customer service takes on a whole new meaning. TPAs are increasingly acting as the key point of contact between clients and their customers, with their responsibilities extended to policy management and claims processing. And the end result? Customers are more knowledgeable about coverage options, and better equipped to find what they need.
To best serve clients and their customers, TPAs must possess a high level of industry knowledge. Not only are TPAs expected to handle claims processing with ease, but now they’re also required to utilize their extensive industry expertise in order to give customers appropriate guidance. And why not? Even with customers’ newfound access to relevant data, TPAs should know still more, acting as an expert able to handle any question or claim that comes their way.
2.Overseeing the claims process
As industry technology continues to keep pace with the advance of the digital age, speed has become an expectation. To adapt to the desire for quicker turnaround times, many insurance companies have chosen to restructure and combine roles, turning to their third-party administrators to shoulder the load once again.
During this restructuring, TPAs have taken on the additional responsibility of managing risk and overseeing the claims processes. And despite the magnitude of these responsibilities, they’ve been expected to handle it all, juggling existing tasks while keeping an eye on potential claims fraud, lowering settlement costs, increasing efficiencies and more. (No pressure, TPAs.)
3.Adapting to changing technology
Technological change affects a variety of industries, sometimes to surprising effect. New tech means new products—products that require the development of new coverage plans, services, and business models. In order to help customers be confident that they’re receiving the most time-saving, professional, and cost-saving options, it’s important for TPAs to stay up-to-date on tech trends in the industry.
But be careful: if you’re not ready for new tech, it could negatively affect customers’ experience. A recent Forrester and Accenture study found that, while 63 percent of businesses plan to improve their online customer experience, only 26 percent are actually prepared to execute those strategies. Focus on the experience and implement the aid of new technology when you can do so effectively.
With recent industry shifts, the role of the third-party administrator has changed more than any other position in the insurance and warranty industry. These changes require flexibility, both to stay relevant and to ensure that clients and their customers are getting the best coverage and experience available. A great TPA should embrace this shift, understanding that their role has changed, there are new methods to execute, and how their work translates to meeting customer needs.
Steve Davidson is Vice President of Consumer Products Warranty at Fortegra Financial Corporation (a Tiptree Inc. company). Fortegra® and its subsidiaries comprise a single-source insurance services provider that offers a range of consumer protection options including warranty solutions, credit insurance, and specialty underwriting programs. Delivering multifaceted coverage with an unmatched service experience for domestic and international partners and their customers, Fortegra solves immediate, everyday needs, empowering consumers to worry less and Experience More. EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org
Author: Steve Davidson
Steve Davidson is Vice President of Consumer Products Warranty at Fortegra Financial Corporation (a Tiptree Inc. company). Fortegra® and its subsidiaries comprise a single-source insurance services provider that offers a range of consumer protection options including warranty solutions, credit insurance, and specialty underwriting programs.