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EQC ups its game: processes for claims being rebuilt with Salesforce

EQC ups its game: processes for claims being rebuilt with Salesforce

After a poor response to the Christchurch earthquakes, a new minimal viable product emerges.

Christchurch Cathedral and the Christchurch Press building (top) devastated after the 2011 earthquake.

Christchurch Cathedral and the Christchurch Press building (top) devastated after the 2011 earthquake.

Credit: Crown Copyright 2011, NZ Defence Force – Some Rights Reserved.

Crown natural disaster insurer EQC is rebuilding both its business model and claims management approaches using software from Salesforce.

EQC was established to help New Zealanders with insurance in the event of a natural disaster or event. 

However, it suffered serious reputational damage for its response after the 2011 Christchurch earthquake, which killed 185 and destroyed or damaged much of the city. 

That flawed effort led to a public inquiry led by Dame Sylvia Cartwright which delivered 70 recommendations for improvement in 2020. 

"Comments centred on the outdated or incompatible technology and systems, poor data handling practices, EQC’s difficulties in accessing the data it needs to perform its functions and the challenges claimants faced accessing information about their properties," Cartwright wrote in the report.

Key recommendations included modernising the EQC Act, having a more people-centred claims system and the clarification of EQC and other agencies’ roles and responsibilities. 

EQC is now implementing its share of the recommendations (47 were directed to EQC and 23 directed to the government) as part of of significant business and technology change programme that it said "will fundamentally move the paradigm under which natural disaster events are prepared for and responded to". 

The changes feature a greater emphasis on data-led resilience and education.

"The new approach will see most claims managed directly through Insurers, with EQC providing assurance and claim settlement activities in the background," the insurer said in a recent notice of intent for the creation of a Salesforce platform support and enhancements panel.

"The success of this model will be underpinned by EQC’s ability to easily interact with insurers and exchange information to support critical business processes."

EQC has implemented what it calls a "Salesforce as a system of engagement prototype" that it said had "demonstrable functionality" to support critical EQC and insurer interactions as part of that new model.

"Key use cases for the implementation included functionality to enable business users to visualise data received from insurers and provide a portal experience for insurers to exchange documents and request support," EQC said.

Four use cases for EQC’s system of engagement have been implemented as a minimal viable product around Salesforce's Service Cloud – enterprise edition; Customer Community Plus; Salesforce Shield; and Salesforce Connect.

"The prototype has been successful and EQC has a number of potential initiatives that EQC could investigate to maximise the return on investment of the Salesforce platform," it told prospective panel members.

The panel would allow the insurer to acquire platform support and technical enhancements or consultancy as required. EQC said it anticipated publishing a tender for the panel in late May.

Parliament's annual review on EQC said twelve of the recommendations EQC was responsible for had been implemented, with the commencement of the new insurer response model advancing a significant proportion of the recommendations.

"EQC acknowledged that it has not always had a strong customer focus," the finance and expenditure committee report said. 

"We heard that, to address this, it has established programmes to develop a culture that recognises that the organisation’s customers are affected not only financially by the claims, but also emotionally and personally.

"EQC told us the key initiative was to move to a case management approach that is more holistic, rather than focusing on process."

EQC told the committee that 74 per cent of customers were satisfied with the quality of service they received in 2020, compared to 49 percent in 2018.

"We expressed concern that EQC’s performance targets around customer satisfaction are lower than we would have expected," the report said. 

"EQC told us that the targets reflect the fact that customers have previous experiences that affect their overall satisfaction level. They said that in the longer term they would like to benchmark the organisation against broader financial services firms."


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