5 claims tech trends to watch in the 2020s

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The last decade of insurance ushered in an age of data and technology, especially within claims. As we embark on a new decade, the question arises of how the insurance claims process will further evolve continuing the advances of the last decade. Let’s review five data and technology advancements beginning over the last decade that I believe will sharply accelerate in our new decade and dramatically change the claims process for the future.

Integrated Real-Time Data
When a customer reports a P&C claim, many have the opportunity to have a customer friendly conversation with their insurer who is using real time data to simplify the claim report call. Insurers are quickly moving to integrated real time data at key customer touch points in order to automate much of the information collected for the insured and third-party claimant via real time data feeds that populate systems in less than two seconds with accurate data to expedite claims processing. The power of integrating real time data does not stop at the claim report. The most data sophisticated Insurers are also leveraging integrated real time data to expedite claims triage by flagging potential fraud or vehicles with prior claims to quickly process low risk claims. This is in addition to bringing police record data elements directly into their claims system to automate liability decisions. Still more opportunity exists with total loss claims where real time title and lien payoff data can dramatically expedite settlements and title processing allowing insurers to move the typical three week settlement process to just a day or two. Watch for a rapid increase of integrated real time data to automate and expedite claims processing across all claims types.

Advances in image recognition
Rather than field-based appraisals, many carriers began to embrace a virtual (photo-based) estimate for a certain class of claims. This delivered much efficiency but with some claims containing many photos, the volume could overwhelm human adjusters.

So the next question to emerge during this journey -- rather than a human reviewing photos, could a computer review photos? This is the area of computer vision. Since computer vision is based on pattern recognition and learning techniques, it is often thought of as a part of the artificial intelligence field. Over the past several years, several firms have been training computers to look at vehicle photos and assess damage. The learnings started with vehicle panel recognition and are now focused on very advanced determinations of damage. The newest step in the journey is to not just review photos, the state of the practice today is actually writing an estimate based on photos.

Driving FNOL fully online
Today’s technology allows consumers access to almost anything with a few simple clicks from their smartphone, except filing an auto claim. A truly intelligent FNOL app with integrated data would allow them customers to report an auto claim easily without typing and about three screens This is possible with real-time data integrated directly into the claims app, and features such as photo recognition (to click a photo of the license plate for third parties involved in the accident). The photo of the license plate is immediately converted into data used to identify the details around the vehicle, coverages and vehicle owner which populates claims screens avoiding the need for numerous questions. This technology eliminates the need for typing information into the app and increases data accuracy. Just imagine how self-service adoption will increase when the app simplifies the data collection requiring only a handful of clicks and smart phone pictures.

Vehicle Telematics and Build data
The future of claims in the 2020s lies in process automation and workflow optimization. Central and key to unlocking the next phase of the future of claims is telematics and vehicle build data. Vehicle build data is essentially a picture of what the car was equipped with when it rolled off the assembly line. Telematics data provides even more information on the vehicle and incident such as speed, breaking, mileage and GPS location of the incident. Historically, claims handling has been focused on the individuals involved in the loss and the police crash report to determine the loss details. Now with the addition of telematics and build data, insurance adjusters can gather key data points immediately at time of accident with a push of even more real time data integrated into the claims system. Additionally, in the new decade, we must consider the growing codependence that will be imperative between automakers and insurers. This requires a large degree of participation from all parties involved including the consumer as we prepare to transition to a more autonomously driven transport system. At the center of it all, telematics and vehicle build data will serve as the digital thumbprint that informs exciting new insights that will certainly follow in the underwriting processes of the future.

The use of telematics and vehicle build data in auto claims introduces a complete paradigm shift in the way a carrier and their customer interact after an auto accident. Today auto claims are purely reactive and transitioning the tone of customer interactions from a negative, stressful event into a positive, helpful experience can be challenging. Telematics and vehicle build data supports a carrier’s proactive touchpoint with their customer after an accident which also greatly simplifies the claims process for customers. This allows them to be seen as a guide who is there to hold the customer’s hand through the process and help them recover from the accident.

Electronic claim payments
Today, when it comes to electronic claims we can move money in seconds but it is still rarely used in our insurance industry. I predict that real time electronic claim payments will be the fastest growing technology in insurance claims this decade. Waiting on checks will be a thing of the past very soon. One company with a very unique solution for sending electronic payments is a company called Checkbook. This company offers a solution that is very simple and allows payments to be sent to customers via email or text. I like the way it looks like a traditional check and can be printed to cash or with a couple clicks automatically deposited into the customer’s account. There are many solutions today for electronic money movement so look for this technology to grow across the insurance industry dramatically reducing the use of traditional mailing of checks.

Yes, the future for insurance carriers looks bright when it comes to claims advancements this decade. As we look ahead, consumers will become more impatient and expect instantaneous claims solutions and payout. I expect these five trends will be the most impactful in driving the future of claims automation helping the industry deliver on a touchlessclaims process for many low severity claims while improving the customer experience for all claims.

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Claims Computer vision Document imaging Telematics Mobile payments