According to the 2022 Solera Innovation Index, a majority (79%) of consumers would now trust auto claims fully powered by AI, up 7% year-on-year. Additionally, 1/3 of consumers (34%) claim they have completed an engine without ever speaking to a human. Almost all consumers (92%) requested self-service claims solutions, with 49% seeking fully digital self-service auto claims and 43% preferring a mix of digital and human contact. The era of non-contact claims has arrived.
“The industry has made great strides in terms of non-contact claims,” said Bill Brower, Solera’s VP of Industry Relations. “It’s clear that those who implement cutting-edge technologies like AI will gain critical customer retention, efficiency and resilience.”
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As an insurance industry veteran, Brower is a respected thought leader in the concept of touchless claims adjustment. He is known for developing claims automation solutions and designing and implementing digital transformation roadmaps across the insurance industry.
Two things Brower is excited about right now are the use of AI and visual intelligence (which he calls VI) in vehicle damage assessment and how insurers and body shops can use AI to transform the direct repair program (DRP) workflow.
If an insured driver is involved in a minor accident today, they can complete the entire claims process online or via an insurance app. They typically need to provide their vehicle identification number (VIN) so the insurer or body shop has a “vehicle mask” to conduct the assessment, and then ideally they can upload photos of their damaged vehicle directly from their cell phones using guided image capture to ensure AI and VI detect damage with pinpoint accuracy.
All of this can be done live from the scene of the accident within a few minutes. From there, an automatic damage estimate is generated and sent to the insurer and body shop, who can then evaluate and tweak the estimate if necessary. After approval, the consumer receives an electronic repair estimate and can schedule their damaged vehicle for repair.
Where Brower sees more room for innovation is in the DRP workflow. He envisions an open-table style solution for body shop selection, where insured drivers are asked at the scene of an accident to select a body shop and choose a rental car. Increasing efficiency through the process and easy communication between all key parties – insurer, insurer, body shop and car rental company – will go a long way towards improving the customer experience.
“As insurers use this technology – and it’s not just about AI estimations; It’s all kinds of digital tools that help improve customer retention — they make claims decisions 55% faster,” Brower said insurance business. “The technology is there. The piece we need to work on is changing the behavior and normal activities of the staff. When you simply integrate digital capabilities into the traditional claims process [without any strategy], you’re going to screw it up. Insurers need to figure out what they can automate, what they entrust digitally, and what requires a human touch.”
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Last week, Allstate — the fourth-largest auto insurer in the US — was granted a patent for automated mobile claims assessment and claims processing technology that can calculate estimates and settle claims without the involvement of human experts. Allstate is not alone in developing non-contact claims technology; Many of the top players supply and/or develop similar tools.
“We’re seeing this no-contact claims movement, but there’s still a lot of caution because insurers want to make sure their customer base is happy with the changes they’re making,” Brower said. “Companies take the time to implement this technology to make sure they’re doing it right, but what I recommend is the test-and-learn approach. Try it out with a small part of your business — maybe in an office or a store — to get comfortable with the technology and perfect it.”
When insurers use digital tools properly, Brower says they can create an “Amazon-like experience.” Today, many insurers are struggling to maintain their claims service levels due to staffing shortages and the sheer volume of calls reaching call centers.
“Digital tools would give them more bandwidth to improve their service levels,” Brower said. “What’s important with digital, if you want to get really high adoption, is to give users the ability to start chatting with someone right away. If an insured is using a digital tool and is stuck or uncomfortable, they should be able to connect with someone right away. If carriers have such a design, it becomes very customer-friendly.”