The Utah Insurance Department promotes a competitive insurance marketplace where products and services are available, affordable, and reliable. A significant portion of this work includes educating and protecting consumers.
The Department’s Life and Health
and Property and Casualty Divisions average over 1,000 monthly consumer questions and complaints related to insurance policies and claims. A high percentage of these questions and complaints are complex, fact intensive, and require research to ensure an accurate response.
Prior to improvement efforts, the department sent a form letter when a complaint was received informing customers to expect an initial response within 4 to 6 weeks. Now, the department has an ambitious target to resolve customer complaints within 45 days.
Improving only the speed of service is not sufficient. So, every month, division directors review a sample of department responses to consumers and focus on several quality components—the accuracy, consistency, and overall effectiveness of the communication.
Based on review results, standard operating procedures have been developed and are reviewed and refined by department staff on a monthly basis. These procedures are helpful in many respects—especially in defining quality in a very clear and practical way as well as providing a valuable resource for training new employees. In addition to internal quality reviews, consumers are asked to provide feedback on their interaction with the department, even when complaints are not resolved in their favor—to ensure they are being served efficiently and professionally. Based on this direct feedback from consumers, the department has made several process changes including:
- Contacting the consumer by phone within one day of receiving a complaint. During these calls, the staff member provides an introduction, validates the nature of the complaint, and explains the process going forward.
- Contacting the consumer before a case is closed to personally explain the findings or resolution of the complaint in a clear and concise way and to answer any immediate questions. The call is followed up with a more detailed explanation letter that can be used as a point of reference and education for the future.
- Accurately tracking call data and “live monitoring” calls to measure quality and provide a feedback loop to the department analyst.
Combined performance (a ratio of throughput and quality over operating expenses) for both divisions has increased by 41% from baseline levels—showing consumer satisfaction has measurably improved. Consumers are experiencing a more transparent process and personal touch that ensures their concerns are heard and understood. Making quality count is not always easy—quantifying quality in terms of performance measures and making meaningful process changes has taken time and effort, but the results are making a big difference for department staff and consumers.
Property and Casualty Division: Meldee Love, Tracy Klausmeier, Rena Oliver, Kathy Stajduhar, Lydia Ebersole
Health & Life Division: (back row) Marilyn Thorstensen, Jaak Sundberg, Kris Buckler, Heather Madsen-Trump, Shane Rosenbaum, Brent Oscarson, Michelle White, Jeff Hawley (front row) Heidi Clausen, Ramona Goodwin, Troy Wies, Beth Crim, Carrie Blackburn