CSAA Specialized Services: From a COVID Innovation Challenge to a Full-Fledged Business
A longtime CSAA Insurance Group employee suggested the insurer use its excess claims resources to help local and state governments respond to the pandemic, helping with critical tasks such as contact tracing.
“Our complaints staff are trained in investigation, documentation, customer satisfaction and de-escalation of emotions. Although this idea had nothing directly to do with insurance, it didn’t take long for us to realize that the job description for claims and service providers was almost identical to the job description for tracers. contact. So we decided to do something about it,” said Joey Daryanani, vice president of specialist services at CSAA Insurance Group and former head of the group’s central claims services organization.
It all started with a “test and learn agreement” with an East Coast town that needed 25 people to help with contact tracing. The city’s budget was tight and the seasoned claims professionals who stepped up to help were well-paid employees – but CSAA charged “peanuts”, according to Daryanani, who added: “It wasn’t a question profitability or revenue At CSAA, our DNA is to care for our community and the places where we work.
The team ended its first contact tracing engagement 40% ahead of schedule and 40% under budget. After that, the CSAA Specialized Services team got smarter, their numbers grew – Daryanani said employees were volunteering in the hundreds, thanks in part to this initiative coming from “one of their own” – and other contracts have arrived.
Read more: Lessons learned from the first six months of the coronavirus
Within months, CSAA Specialized Services launched call centers for finding contracts, processing unemployment claims, surveying schools to understand personal protective equipment (PPE) needs, and operating a line vaccine helpline. The unit later expanded to include claims and Third Party Administrator (TPA) training programs.
In December 2020, claims volumes began to increase again and many CSAA claims and service operations employees were required to return to their “day jobs.” They were replaced by new resources, many of whom had no insurance background but were drawn into customer service roles in an effort to help fight COVID-19.
“There was an unintended consequence to that,” Daryanani told Insurance Business. “We now have a hiring pipeline in the CSAA Specialty Services Insurance Group. A lot of insurers don’t have that. As our employees develop better customer service, investigation and documentation skills, CSAA’s Claims Department may interview any of these individuals and hire them for a long-term role. term within the insurance group.
Read more: Claims innovation is a major strategic priority for insurers worldwide
On June 21, 2022, CSAA Specialized Services became a dedicated business unit, with more than 400 employees focusing mainly on three areas:
- Call center support – Full contact center capabilities, with trained staff handling millions of transactions per year, including community-related services (contact tracing, COVID-19 vaccine scheduling, and Unemployment Insurance claims filing);
- Training services – Customized study programs to meet an organization’s learning objectives, designed to meet the changing workforce, workplace and business environment; and
- Claims processing – End-to-end claims management, plus specialized services such as subrogation, total loss and salvage recovery, and Medicare compliance.
When asked if there would be an element of “friendly competition” between CSAA’s Central Claims Services organization and CSAA’s Specialist Services, Daryanani replied, “Frankly, I think there is enough business to shop around on the insurance side, and given the services we can provide within CSAA’s specialist departments, I think that will more cover any concerns about whether it’s of competition.
“Also, while we’d like to partner with the top 50 insurance companies, we’re really aiming for number 51 and beyond, as these are the companies that don’t always get the attention of traditional TPAs and the community. If we can focus on them and partner with them, I don’t think the whole conversation about competition is even a discussion.
Looking ahead, Daryanani – a 37-year claims veteran with CSAA Insurance Group – sees “significant growth opportunities with minimal risk” for the new unit. He explained: “I don’t fear that a catastrophe will occur tomorrow, where the loss ratios and the combined ratios will be impacted. This is an opportunity for us to increase our revenues as an organization and to minimize and diversify our risks.
“My growth goal is to build a $5 billion business in five years, and we started at $0. While I don’t honestly know what the future holds, here’s what I do know. If we offer the service for which we are well known at CSAA Insurance Group and that we anticipate the needs of customers, they will come to us.