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Written in the stars

The delayed delivery of Phase II of the Gemini platform comes at a serendipitous time for the (re)insurance sector, as firms seek to track expert usage and spend

Gemini constellation in outer space
Credit:Alexandr Yurtchenko/Getty Images/iStockphoto

As the T-shirt slogan goes, an expert can be defined as follows: an ex is a has-been, a spurt is a drip under pressure!

What is for sure is that the Lloyd’s market has long been under pressure to introduce a functioning system to help better manage its growing expert spend.

Market systems to date have had little to no functionality to allow a managing agency to accurately record or analyse expert usage and the related spend.

This has challenged carriers when attempting to make informed decisions on expert appointment, usage and performance due to:

  • Lack of data on fee spend (in a lead and follow capacity)

  • Lack of data on expert usage (in a lead and follow capacity)

  • No consistency in on-boarding claims experts

  • Lack of management and oversight of appointed experts

An opportunity was identified to address the above, and at the same time, create a solution that allows a carrier to manage their relationships, the associated performance and customer outcomes with key claims experts, for the benefit of carriers and customers alike. The answer was to build a market solution called Gemini, initially for open market business.

The news in April that delivery of Phase II of the Gemini Claims Expert Management platform would be delayed by the impact of Covid-19 and the phasing in of Write-Back vendor integration was no real surprise. The delivery is now being re-planned and scheduled for August 2020, according to the Lloyd’s Market Association (LMA).

Twin benefits

As everyone knows, Gemini is also the third astrological sign in the zodiac, originating from the constellation of Gemini. It is, apparently, a positive mutable sign. Under the tropical zodiac, the sun transits this sign between about 21 May and 21 June. Gemini is represented by the twins Castor and Pollux, known as the Dioscuri.

On the day of writing this article I checked whether the stars were aligned for those of a Gemini disposition. The answer was that Geminis “face a day of some conflict. Nevertheless, the discord will prove quite useful”.

Before anyone says “What a load of Pollux!”, that horoscope was quite serendipitous because Gemini will be the single platform that removes the complexity, delay and cost to experts submitting their fees to Lloyd’s carriers.

It will deliver an efficient, straight-through fee agreement and payment process, whilst capturing granular structured data on expert spend that will allow Lloyd’s carriers to have true visibility of expert spend, usage and performance.

The LMA says the solution will allow carriers to achieve management efficiencies, reduce claims costs and improve the performance of experts. The platform enables a greater understanding of expert spend and will allow Lloyd’s carriers to make informed decisions around that spend.

The LMA believes the development of a searchable database of regularly used experts, supported by the on-boarding process and performance oversight, will allow carriers to manage effectively the delivery of claims services for the benefit of carriers and policyholders alike.

More than 650 experts have reportedly been pre-registered for access to Gemini with the support of Lloyd’s carriers. The total claims expert spend in the Lloyd’s market is around £500mn a year, according to previous estimates from the LMA.

Future at Lloyd’s

The design of Gemini remains aligned to the principles defined within the Future at Lloyd’s. Gemini has been designed for the wider London market although initial delivery will be limited to Lloyd’s carriers, with expansion to the Institute of London Underwriters and the London International Insurance and Reinsurance Market Association to be phased after the initial August delivery.

Developed by the LMA, and driven by claims professionals from the Lloyd’s market, Gemini enables carriers to understand their true spend on claims experts, manage the relationships and monitor their performance.

Lloyd’s syndicates write a diverse range of policies, both direct insurance and reinsurance, covering property, casualty, marine, energy, motor, aviation and many other types of risk. Lloyd’s also has a unique niche in unusual, specialist business such as kidnap and ransom, fine art, specie, aviation war, satellites, personal accident, bloodstock and other classes, which means that experts are frequently called in to give a range of advice.

Smart, automating technology can certainly play its part here. Modern claims management systems can provide fast and reliable settlement of claims experts’ fees, reduce supply chain risk and improve performance management.

Existing technology can have a visible directory of the experts available to the market, significantly reduce the cost of processing expert fees and bring operational savings and efficiencies while enhancing management information that provides intelligent insight

Experts can interact directly with Gemini as a portal, recording their fees, the related splits and providing the supporting invoice. Expert registration (full or light touch with bank details) will be required – 35+ carriers are already registered within Gemini .

Creating a link between the expert fee data and the claim, Gemini will integrate with carriers via Write-Back messaging, allowing carriers to manage the expert appointment on the claim as part of their own claims management process.

Tracking costs

DOCOsoft was active in assisting with Phase II of Gemini, helping with the design of the application programming interface (API). From this experience and other software development projects I can attest to the important role that APIs will have in the Future at Lloyd’s.

Some features of the DOCOsoft Expert Module that could be used to enhance this area of the market include the ability for insurance companies to conduct expert smart searches, source expert company and contact appointments and provide assistance with indemnity and parallel UCR linking and financial tracking.

During this pandemic period – a time when experts appear to have come back into fashion – there is an even greater need for expert reports, expert management and manager approval on experts.

Tracking expert witness expenses can provide an abundance of data and insights about the effectiveness of experts as each case progresses. However, this data can only help you if you track it.

Clear communication is a core competency for lawyers, for example, and it is also vital during every part of the journey of working with an expert witness. Communication about expert witness-related fees and expenses is no exception.

According to the Expert Institute, expert witness costs remain high. The American Bar Association relates that in some cases, the right expert may cost more per hour than the attorneys themselves.

In an effort to control costs, many law firms and legal departments have turned to tracking expert witness expense data. However, not all are using the most efficient tools to do so. Simply using a spreadsheet or similar tool can add dozens or hundreds of hours to an attorney or paralegal’s workload simply in data management.

In the post Covid-19 era it is likely that experts will assume even greater importance as the insurance market places a greater premium on specialist knowledge.

Whether you are a Gemini or a Scorpio, however, it doesn’t take an astrologer to tell you that new forms of automation and technology will play an essential role in efficiently managing future spend on experts that are drafted in to give advice on complex risks.

Anthony Freeman is head of development at DOCOsoft

This article was first published in the Summer 2020 issue of Insider Quarterly