Diary of an Insurer: Allianz’s Simon Powell

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Simon Powell, head of travel claims at Allianz Partners UK and Ireland, uses artificial intelligence and plans to have around 33% of the travel insurance market in 2024.

Simon is Head of Travel Claims, Allianz Partners UK and Ireland

Monday

I’m an early bird, so am always up at 6am and planning my week ahead. Every Monday, we have a group meeting with the wider team to review the current work position – new claims received versus settled claims and service-level agreement on correspondence using our Power BI dashboard.

We proactively plan the week ahead and look at how we are going to work to hit achievable targets for our clients.

We are growing rapidly at Allianz Partners. In the past 12 months, we have managed more than 80,000 travel claims and this is set to increase to 130,000 in 2024. It is a really exciting time for us as a company.

Another great part of my job is to welcome a new member to our team. It is a newly-created delegated authority auditor role and will support us on broker, third-party administrator and supplier relationships.

He is an experienced claims person and we crossed paths in a previous role. I know he will be a great addition to the team.

Tuesday

I’m working from home today, which means I have time to walk my dog, a fox red Labrador called Woody, as well as fit in lots of calls - meetings with both local and global colleagues to share best practices.

The insurance industry is driving the latest technology and how artificial intelligence can be best used so it’s great to know that we are well positioned to tap into these opportunities at Allianz Partners.

Currently, we have two bots, Edith and Florence, to supercharge our claims experience. Edith is driving our straight-through processing claims and we are currently tracking the progress and will have an impressive target in place to hit in 2024.

Our other bot, Florence, is sending reminders and chasers to our customers, requesting relevant documentation, enabling us to pay and settle genuine claims while achieving our key performance indicator settlement targets for our clients.

Concept of Artificial Intelligence. Two robots talk, discussion and exchange of ideas. Flat design, vector illustration.

We have welcomed our new bot team members as they are focused on the administrative and straightforward tasks, allowing our handlers to help resolve more complex case.

At Allianz Partners, it’s all about using technology with the human touch. It’s exciting to see how AI is transforming insurance claims and something I would never have considered when I started my career setting up paper new claim files 35 years ago.

Wednesday

Delhi housing
José Antonio Morcillo Valenciano

I’m heading to the office today, so it’s an early start, and I’m on the 6.48am train from Cheltenham to Croydon. Poor Woody will have to rely on someone else in the family to take him for his walk.

I love interacting with people face-to-face, so relish seeing everyone in the office, and it gives me a great buzz that our hybrid working model is gathering momentum with team members engaging and supporting each other.

It’s a fantastic opportunity to speak to our claims team and answer in person any questions they have. The team are very positive and accountable, with a real appetite to learn, which is so important in this industry.

As well as our team of colleagues in the UK, we are also able to leverage Allianz Partner’s wider network in the Global Competence Centre India, who support our back-office claims processing.

I had the pleasure of flying out to Delhi in September to spend a week in the office, which enabled me to build the working relationship with the team and support them on this new venture. It was truly a great experience to visit India and also spend a week with my boss that was both valuable and enjoyable.

Thursday

meeting

I’ve stayed in a hotel overnight and that ensured I was back in the office early and prepared for a client meeting this morning.

We manage thousands of claims a year for this particular client, so it’s always useful to touch base and let them know we’ve had a good summer (our busy time) and still hit a number of our service level agreements for the last quarter.

I am really proud of how we have managed this period, but we can still improve and must drive our continuous improvement programme.

I’ve also been working on a new career path for our claims handlers to ensure we’re giving them the best possible development opportunities.

With our exciting growth plans, we continue to recruit new colleagues and the career path is great to show starters how they can progress through levels in our company. Receiving positive feedback from our senior team is the icing on the cake and they fully support how this drives forward our people and culture initiatives.

I head home reflecting on the last two days and how good it has been to interact with people across the business while looking forward to my own bed tonight and seeing the family - and Woody, of course.

Friday

Pint of beer

Very excited to visit our new satellite office today, which is due to open in the next few weeks.

We’ve got ambitious growth plans and this year we will have around 33% of the travel insurance market.

The new satellite office will play an important role in supporting these growth plans, and approximately 50 members of staff will be based there as we build in 2024.

We are recruiting new people on our hybrid working model, 60% in the office and 40% at home, as we strongly believe this approach will encourage teamwork and develop knowledge - all key for a claims department.

The first cohort starts shortly, so we are making sure the floor looks great and the systems are working.

I commute home and am ready for the weekend and a well-deserved beer.

No Sunday night blues for us – I’m already looking forward to next week.

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