Bringing AI & New Technology to the Claims and Vehicle Repair Processes
by Stephen Applebaum, Managing Parter, Insurance Solutions Group
There has been no shortage of promising announcements recently in the P&C insurance claims industry about so-called transformational technology-enabled solutions to the well-documented shortcomings in this critical area of insurance, which many refer to as “the moment of truth.”
However, I think these repeated pronouncements may contribute to an erroneous and misleading conclusion that does a real disservice to claims industry professionals and their claims information and service providers. While it’s true that many of these exciting transformational solutions are yet to be implemented by the industry in any meaningful way, there are numerous impressive and powerful applications powering next-generation claims processes today.
Extreme Weather/Hail Claims
One excellent example is the application of purpose-built cloud-based artificial intelligence (AI) workflow management software integrated with curated field service networks and focused exclusively on faster, less costly claims processing of hail damage to vehicles and property. Hail damage presents a particularly challenging yet perfectly suited use case for this innovative combination of software and services.
“Extreme weather events are becoming stronger and happening more often in a changing climate,” according to Bernadette Woods Placky, chief meteorologist, Climate Central’s Climate Matters. Brian McNoldy, University of Miami, recently pointed out that, “With more storms, risks for people and property go up and that’s likely to continue. Last year’s record of 30 storms was like two seasons crammed into one.”
State Farm Insurance said that severe weather resulted in more than 332,000 hail claims paid by the insurance company in 2020, totaling more than $3.1 billion. The average homeowner claim totaled nearly $12,000 and vehicle claims averaged more than $4,300, according to State Farm 2020 hail claims data.
Hail-related insured losses between 2000 and 2019 averaged between $8 billion to $14 billion a year (Aon) and in May 2020, severe thunderstorms hit the South Texas area. Golf-ball-sized hail caused $1.4 billion in damage in this single event (NOAA Severe Storms database).
Severe weather, which frequently includes hail, can cause extensive damage and very large volumes in tightly clustered geographic areas in a relatively short time. In 2017-2019, hail claims in the top 10 most impacted states totaled over 2 million, including 638,000 in Texas alone (III, National Insurance Crime Bureau based on an analysis of data from ISO ClaimSearch®).
This typically means that claims response times and underlying claims management resources are strained, which protracts claims cycle times, adding costs and negatively impacting customer satisfaction and retention. These pain points can all be mitigated simply and inexpensively through the use of tech-enabled hail claims solutions.
The Claims Bridge International
I was recently invited to present some opening remarks by The Claims Bridge International (TCBI), a well-established hail claims solution provider from Australia who recently expanded into North America. In working with the U.S. and Australian leadership team, I learned about their solution and was quite frankly impressed. I knew that hail claims have long presented challenges to auto and property insurers and that national, automated solutions just did not exist. You may well be as intrigued as I was to learn more.
TCBI’s EziClaims Suite is a turnkey, cloud-based solution for assisting insurers in managing catastrophic hail claims estimation, triage and repairs. The Claims Bridge International has developed an auto hail claims suite of digital applications and solutions to provide insurers with a rapid, complete solution to digitize their vehicle hail damage estimation, triage and repair process. This technology platform, EziClaims Suite, works alongside the insurers’ existing claims operation and systems.
TCBI's national repair network of curated Paintless Dent Repair (PDR) and collision repairers is integrated into EziClaims Suite so that damaged vehicles can be triaged using AI to the optimal repair lane, whether this is PDR, conventional repair, combo (PDR and conventional) or the car is deemed to be a total loss.
This triage functionality is configured to adopt the repair rules of the insurer and the key features of the repair network include:
90% rural coverage in the hail belt (remaining 10% can be serviced through non-affiliated partners)
Third-party Quality Assurance verification
Aggregated network performance dashboard
Automated repair status updates
Access to more than 2,000 certified repair technicians and over 1,300 body shops
Network of Claims Bridge employees on the ground to ensure delivery
This is just one of the many impressive and practical applications of a technology plus ecosystem solutions already in use for insurance claims that is bound to significantly improve claims outcomes, including customer satisfaction, and it is exciting to think how much more is yet to come to market.
For more information about The Claims Bridge International, please contact Bill Park, President America, at Bill@theclaimsbridge.com.