Notebook: USAA partners with Google; Farmers embraces VR and more

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Insuretech Connect brings together thousands of insurtechs, carriers and other industry participants to share news on their initiatives. Here are three from day one:

USAA has partnered with Google Cloud on an auto damage estimating tool using policyholder-snapped photos. When a customer uploads a picture of their damaged vehicle, Google applies computer vision and analytics to it to determine the extent of the damage. Mitchell International then recieves the image and draws up an estimate for repair. From there a USAA claims adjuster checks to see if there's any further adjusting needed, but largely the company expects this tool to move them closer down the road to a touchless claim. "You still have licensed appraisers accountable for this estimate, but ultimately they're sharpening the AI with their expertise," says Ramon Lopez, VP of innovation for USAA. The goal, he adds, is to move adjusters to more complex claims and automate the easier ones. "We see this as part of our journey from mobile deposit to satellite imagery to this" in reducing workloads, he says.

Travelers is looking to bring agents along on its journey toward leveraging geospatial data. The company has launched the Travelers Catastrophe Map Viewer, giving distributors before-and-after photos of areas affected by disasters. It uses photos provided by the National Insurance Crime Bureau’s Geospatial Intelligence Center, which flies aircraft over affected areas post-catastrophe. Agents can upload their book to find any affected properties in their portfolio after a disaster. "We expect next year that some of the AI capabilities that we have will be able to determine if it’s a total loss, moderate or minor roof damage" so agents can prioritize claims apporpriately, says Patrick Gee, SVP of claims for Travelers.

Farmers is the launch customer for virtual-reality training programs from Talespin. A client of the startup going back to 2016, learnings from their previous collaborations helped Talespin develop the insurance-specific content library within their new platform, Talespin Runway, which includes three modules covering construction materials basics, scoping water damage after a first notice of loss, and communicating shared responsibility sensitively to a claimant. "We were to experience it and see the reality of what it could do as a powerful tool to augment our training programs," says Tim Murray, SVP and head of claims shared services for Farmers. "The amount of experiences you can give someone in a simulation is magnified -- there's so many scenarios it may take me years to do on the job training" to the extent VR can provide, he concludes.

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