By: Ruth Fisk, VP Insurance Marketing at Smart Communications

On the heels of Smart Communications and Duck Creek’s recent partnership announcement, insurance leaders from around the world gathered in Orlando for Duck Creek’s annual Formation conference.  As customers increasingly prefer personalized, interactive experiences and as insurers navigate how to adapt centuries-old business models to the digital-first era, it was enlightening and inspiring to hear from leading insurance experts on the future of the industry.

One of our favorite moments of the week was sharing the stage with Farm Bureau Financial Services to discuss how they have leveraged the power of the combined solution of Smart Communications/Duck Creek to increase efficiency and reduce cycle times. Keep reading to learn more about Farm Bureau Financial Service’s success so far, plus how they plan to continue scaling for the future.

It’s clear that insurers and technology providers alike are focused on one goal: improving the end-to-end customer experience. In addition to highlighting some of the key takeaways from our session with Farm Bureau Financial Services, below we also share three tips for insurers as they build out digital-first, customer-centered strategies for the future.

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How Farm Bureau Financial Services Has Automated Forms-based Processes to Scale Customer Conversations

Lisa Kneeskern, Claims Administration Director at Farm Bureau Financial Services, was excited to discuss how the company transformed its paper forms to a digital, interactive experience and why that was so important to Kneeskern’s team, the claims department and the company. Kneeskern was focused on obtaining information faster to shorten claims cycle times. Marina McMains, Claims Project Consultant, spoke about the rising customer expectations and how to leverage cost effective solutions in order to meet this demand. Along with the innovation team at Farm Bureau Financial Services, Kneeskern and McMains recognized that a forms transformation solution coupled with a sophisticated claims management system could help them achieve their goals and ultimately decided to partner with Smart Communications and Duck Creek.

By integrating SmartIQTM and Duck Creek, Farm Bureau Financial Services were able :

  • Guide customers to digital channels
  • Partner with IT and the business to build interactive forms in SmartIQ
  • Deliver forms through the Duck Creek user interface
  • Create a personalized, branded digital experience in real time
  • Reduce cycle time by 200%


Our first takeaway speaks to Kneeskern’s sentiments and provides insight into how companies like Farm Bureau Financial Services can optimize forms-based processes in their organization.

Takeaway #1: Automate Forms-based Processes with Low Code Platforms

The ability for insurers to quickly collect data and provide a frictionless experience are two big benefits of using cloud technology to facilitate the claims experience. In this current state, even household names in the insurance industry rely on manual processes to complete claims forms. Doing so can lead to many barriers in the processing and approval of these forms, meaning companies must wait on new paperwork or other pieces of information to finish the claims process.

On the flip side, when this process is optimized with the use of AI it allows companies to have intelligent conversations with customers who can share important data along the way. These guided experiences cut through the static of paper forms and “yes or no” questions that elicit canned answers. Instead of asking people to write down repetitive answers or print and send their document once it’s been completed digitally, insurers can instead gather the necessary information in just a few clicks.

This approach also offers companies a reduction in cost as low code applications can be set up and implemented quickly, delivering data in a shorter amount of time.

Most importantly, cloud technology enhances the customer experience by ensuring customers stay in contact and are well-informed. Better still, it allows them to provide data and information to the company as they answer questions through a conversation. It also gives way to another big improvement customers are expecting from insurers: personalization. With cloud technology, insurers can easily personalize future interactions to help customers feel known and seen as individuals.

Integrated insurance solutions that operate in the cloud allow for lower complexity (leading to a reduction of cycle times) and are a much more efficient use of resources; both on the IT side and for adjusters. For instance, the integration between Duck Creek and SmartIQ allows users to quickly create and add additional forms without requiring assistance from their IT departments. This can greatly increase an insurance adjuster’s ability to reach a favorable outcome for the customer and the business alike.

Takeaway #2: Improve Operational Efficiency with Pure Cloud Technologies

The technology of today is not like technology from a few decades ago. For example, we’ve seen how cloud technology allows insurers to operate with more agility, helping them be more flexible and customer-focused. Software systems that operate in the cloud provide users with ongoing support, bug fixes, upgrades and new features – saving them the costs and time that on-premise solutions require.

Facing several disruptions over the past few years, the insurance industry has no doubt learned a valuable lesson about how they can leverage technology. Not only can the right tech allow understaffed companies to operate more efficiently, it also means they have more resources to assist and care for customers. What’s more is that operational efficiency is key to developing the right processes going forward. Nowadays, that can be near impossible without technology to give you insights into what your customers expect as well as what’s working and what isn’t. Ultimately, pure cloud solutions are the only way insurers can meet the expectations of customers today while simultaneously scaling for the future – evolving and maturing as needs and goals change over time.

Takeaway #3: Increase Speed-to-Market with the Power of the Tech Ecosystem

By leveraging a cloud platform, Duck Creek customers are more profitable and enjoy a faster Return on Value (ROV). In fact, Mike Jackowski, Duck Creek CEO, stated that the company’s customers tend to have 3.5% higher premium growth and a 1.3% lower combined ratio. Developing and executing a digital-first strategy and increasing digital engagement will inevitably help insurance companies drive down costs and become consumer-centric — two things that must happen for the industry to continue evolving.

It’s critical to remember that it is impossible – and not sustainable – for enterprises to figure out how to modernize their technology stacks and better future-proof their businesses on their own. Technology ecosystems are the foundation of success and it’s impossible to thrive without alliances, open platforms, migrations, integrations and more.

With Integrations between Duck Creek and Smart Communications solutions, insurers can begin taking a better approach to how they create and manage their customer conversations across policy, billing and claims processes. Ultimately, insurance companies that invest in the technologies that allow them to meet their customers where they are will elicit bigger benefits and more positive outcomes in the future.

To learn more about how your company can benefit from integrated insurance solutions like those mentioned in this article, download a copy of our white paper, Adjusting Claims in the Digital Age.