Auto Claim Experience


Imagine this: You’re driving in your neighborhood, it’s pouring, it’s dark - it’s hard to see. You are being extremely cautious and slow down for the stop sign ahead with more than enough time. You’re stopped… and then, it happens. The car behind you hydroplanes and rear ends your car at the stop sign and pushes you out into the intersection where another car hits your passenger door. Your spun around multiple times. It all happens in a flash. Next thing you know you’re being treated by the EMT and there are blue and red lights flashing everywhere. It’s a scary scene, but something that happens all the time.

Now you’re OK - no serious injuries to you or anyone else. Your car however, is totaled beyond repair. Your head is all over the place. You call your insurance company to file a claim. Then it takes 25 days to be paid and meanwhile, you need to find a car to replace this one.

That scenario was my opportunity. Understand the customer journey, expedite payment for total loss auto claims and help our customers find a replacement car after the claim, so that they can get back to a normal life as fast as possible.

Our Solution

We designed an end-to-end strategy with three main focuses.
1. Create partnerships with customers,
2. Generate tangibility with our service-based product and
3. Produce transparent communications for cross-channel use.

The Approach

With this approach we begun creating a new omni-channel communication strategy for all our 13 million customers. 

Rate Communications | Problem Definition

To get started defining our problem, I had each team member tell a story about how they have worked with rate increases and how rate increase has impacted them, personally.  We then created a massive mental map to create a shared learning. The map began to reveal our internal knowledge and highlight gaps on where to dig deeper. 
From there, I ran a session to create an empathy map to better transfer our knowledge into customer impact. This helped shape our problem.  Finally, we repositioned our customer's struggles into How-might-we's (HMWs) to address gaps and plan our research questions

I choose to use a Generative Research method to get closer to what our customers actually do vs. say. I felt that by doing an activity, we'd learn more about the customer’s decision making and reactions. Using a Generative Research method, gave me a great opportunity to coach my teammates on participatory design.
I ran an ideation session with the team to come up with our methodology. We landed on creating a simple board game to simulate 3 "renewal periods", presenting the customer with different “rate” related events throughout their three renewals. During the game, we had the customer draw communications for us and markdown how they felt after each "event" and renewal period. This enabled us to collect numerical data along with the qualitative data from the game. The conversations that ensued were immensely valuable to our understanding of customer behavior and their perception of value.

We distilled the data and generated personas based on the customer interviews. The personas generated a greater customer empathy for our ideation and inspired thought as we entered into the next phase of our sprint.

Our 2.5 weeks of research painted a new customer journey that uncovered a bigger problem. The entire customer relationship was flawed - not just at renewal.
Customers would pay and then have little to no interaction with their insurance company (only ~20-25% have claims in any given year) and yet their rates just continue to go up. Then at renewal, insurance companies ask for more money even though the customer (in most cases), did not "use" their insurance


Excited to begin solving and armed with customer insights, I ran the team through several ideation sessions to see how we could solve for our biggest customer issues
We leveraged three different techniques:
  • WWXD (what would X brand do to solve this?),
  • That's Odd (walk around the city and find odd objects - those become the constraint and inspiration for your ideas),
  • Lightning Decision Jam (see video) 
With 100s of ideas we narrowed them down by team voting and gut checking the ideas against our 3 HMWs, customer journey and main insights. This shaped our top 10 list to create prototypes and start testing. 

I love this technique because it allows the team to quickly move through ideas and decisions with little effort. Post Jam, the method also creates an action oriented game plan!


Our tests proved we were on the right track and so we did some iterations and retested with an online community to get faster feedback. The team then switched gears to ranking our final results against impact and effort as we started to prepare our final report for stakeholders


We pulled everything together by creating a story and set of strategic recommendations from on our customer research, application of insights, and concept testing. I Focused on the collaborative nature of our diverse team which helped to gain buy in across the diverse stakeholder set. 


In the end, we were able to influence several major functions at Liberty Mutual; Marketing, Product, Service and Digital.
Our work directly impacted marketing materials that were sent out to customers at their renewal. Our suggested changes for the service reps were adopted and implemented. The digital teams have taken our direction and begun to implement changes to the customer account pages that will help explain rate and help find ways to reduce rates. And finally, our product teams are now working to develop new customer centric products that would enable customers to get more "use" out of their insurance but also help them live a more safe and secure life


It was difficult to tailor our story because the underlying issue found was with our product offerings and pricing structure. We used this as a constraint and thought through how we can improve our customer relationships with these obstacles
Our success was accomplished through a diverse team. If we would have provided insights from a CX perspective only, we would have likely not gotten anything through. Having influence across the journey on our team, helped us tremendously. We all win when we're inclusive. 
I also learned that revolutions need small wins to start. As we delivered our recommendations we made sure to show stakeholders stepping stones for how to get to our ideal state. I like to call this "make it real" - where we reveal the ideal state and then show what it might look like in 6 months and also what it might look like in a week. This gives hope that the ideal state can be accomplished and gets things in motion right away. Breaking things into manageable sizes helps to motivate stakeholders.