A smart use of data analytics and the development of new technology has overhauled QBE’s catastrophe recovery process, enabling the insurer to deliver its most efficient and localised response to customers impacted by natural disasters.

An industry-first customer mapping tool, developed in-house, leverages existing technology overlaid with a range of data input layers to provide an effective way to map customer data, segment impacted areas, and guide QBE’s response strategy and efforts.

Initially designed to support customers impacted by last year’s North Queensland floods, the customer mapping tool has proven invaluable in navigating the challenges imposed by Australia’s worst bushfire season on record, with recovery efforts diversified across multiple states and locales.

QBE Australia Pacific Chief Claims Officer, Jon Fox, said the technology tool has supported a customer-first, coordinated response that helped to identify vulnerable customers and allocate resources with more localised understanding and efficiency.

“Last summer’s unprecedented bushfire season was undoubtedly the worst we’ve seen in Australia, with most states impacted during the same period. Despite the vast geographical challenges this presented, we’ve actually delivered one of the strongest recovery efforts to date, in large part due to the data-driven technology strategy we’ve implemented and backed by our local agents based within these communities.

“Our customer mapping tool gave us immediate visibility over where our customers were based in relation to the fires, helping us to make important business decisions about where and when to direct efforts, energies and suppliers, freeing up our people and partners to take care of the critical human response.

“The tool also supported us in the immediate aftermath of the fires, where we were able to identify customers who may have been impacted so we could check in with them and arrange any emergency payments or accommodation if required.”

QBE has now finalised over 81 per cent of its total bushfire claims, including 91 per cent of domestic and commercial motor claims, 92 per cent of residential contents claims, and 80 per cent of commercial property claims.

In terms of geographies, QBE has closed 94 per cent of bushfire claims in Queensland, 84 per cent in Victoria, and has finalised around 80 per cent of claims in almost all affected states.

QBE’s dedicated Bushfire CAT team, created to solely manage claims from this catastrophic event, remains dedicated to concluding the final, more complex claims for impacted customers.

Mr Fox continued: “The level of detail we now have and use when it comes to data and analytics helps us drive improved customer outcomes and proactive management of claims in a way not possible before”.

Additional to the customer mapping tool, QBE leveraged its recently developed Property Decisioning Tool to automate non-complex claims to ensure a faster recovery time for customers. The tool asks intelligent questions during the claim lodgment process and uses data points to determine the best first responder to a claim.

Mr Fox added: “Our Property Decisioning Tool was vital in helping us assign the best responders and suppliers to our bushfire claims quickly. Our in-house Data & Analytics team developed this tool with our customers at the centre, having the system intelligently make the technical decisions so our people can focus on the human side of the claim.

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