Guidewire SoftwareÂ®, a leading global provider of solutions to property casualty insurers, today announced the results of its Billing Market Survey. While billing has traditionally been viewed as a back office function, in recent years billing has taken a more prominent role in the front office as carriers have recognized the role billing plays in customer service. Since periodic bills are the only regular form of communication between carriers and insureds and the majority of customer service calls a carrier receives are billing-related; billing offers a unique opportunity to build satisfaction and loyalty by providing flexibility, accuracy, and prompt resolution of discrepancies.
In spite of its emerging importance, little research has been published on the role that carriers believe billing plays in their business, the impact of billing on business results, how carriers manage billing today, and their plans for the future.
In order to answer these questions, Guidewire surveyed more than 60 carriers in North America. Some interesting facts emerged:
â¢ The majority of survey participants believe that billing has an impact on customer satisfaction and 86% believe that billing affects customer retention.
â¢ 56% believe that their current billing systems and processes inhibit their ability to provide superior customer service.
â¢ 69% believe that the ability to offer a wide variety of billing programs would be a source of competitive advantage.
â¢ 82% of participants report that a centralized billing department manages customer billing for their entire organization.
â¢ Less than half of carriers surveyed can support credit card payments, and less than a third have the ability to accept debit card payments.
â¢ 26% report that enhancements to their primary billing system are so difficult that they are no longer made.
âCelent conducted a billing survey in 2006 which revealed that carriers see billing as a service or marketing issue rather than a purely financial one,â said Jeff Goldberg, senior research analyst, Celent. âThat survey found carriers struggling with service-related needs like providing automated printed notifications, allocating partial payments, accepting electronic payments (ACH/EFT) and credit cards, and supporting electronic bill presentment and payment (EBPP) for agents and policyholders. Many of these challenges still exist two years later.â
âThis survey gave us the opportunity to learn directly from carriers what role billing plays in their business and how they are currently handling their billing operations,â said Katie Doyle, principal product marketing manager, Guidewire Software. âThe results reflect Guidewireâs belief that billing is an untapped lever for significant savings.â