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REST builds empathy based claims process

Dan Purves




Empathy and simplicity are at the core of REST’s redesign of its claims process, as the $40 billion super fund seeks to address member concerns relating to length of time for payments and clarity of communication.

With a premium of $600 million a year and 1.5 million of their members covered by insurance, REST has the largest insurance contract in the world. The super fund pays out $43 million a month in claims (equating to $516 million a year), but knows from member surveys and complaints that the process to start receiving a payments is too long.

“Richard Branson said: ‘Complexity is your enemy. Any fool can make something complicated.’ And this is a wonderful reflection on how we have [all] approached claims in the group insurance industry. It’s fair to say we have all been pretty foolish,” said Amelia Butler, insurance operations manager at REST.

“At REST we are all about trying to make things as simple as possible for our members, to try to make it easy for members to do business with us.”

She added that because the member experience was integral to the process, her team had focused on developing a method based on empathy and compassion, as opposed to sympathy.

To illustrate her point, she played a video from Dr Brené Brown, research professor at the University of Houston, Texas, showing the benefits of empathy versus sympathy.

“The reason I wanted to show it is because: ‘I’m stuck, it’s dark, I’m overwhelmed’ could easily be the feedback from anyone who has a claim. That really resonated with me and I think the essence of connection is one of the driving principles that REST is trying to achieve [with] this claims transformation.”

She added the super fund was piloting programs, such as tele-claims, to increase the frequency of connection and communication with members.

“In addition, we want to empower members, we want them to feel like they can take control of the situation and play an active role in the claims process.

“Empathy and compassion, simplification, connection and empowerment, that’s the essence of REST’s claims’ transformation.”