Insurance Edge spoke to Jamie Yoder, President at Snapsheet Inc, to learn more about virtual claims, automated settlements and how Coronavirus is speeding up that process for many insurers.
IE; Tell us more about how AI-powered claims and tech in general is changing insurance, because it goes way beyond remote office working post-Covid-19.
JY; Yeah sure, Snapsheet is an insurtech founded back in 2011, and a pioneer in virtual claims. Back then making a claim was quite cumbersome for many people and it still involved someone coming out to look at damage and manually approve a payment, after a series of phone calls or online form-filling. We started with photo based estimates, but we also looked at creating a much more efficient process overall; assessing damage, getting costs on repairs, approval, doing the work required and then getting the car back to the policyholder. Because every link in that chain can be improved, saving time and money.
We built a tech platform to enable a new experience for the customer. By triaging the work you control all the touchpoints, automated vs involving a person.
IE; This is becoming the norm now isn’t it?
JY; Yes we have over 85 customers now and over the last few years it’s something that we have refined so that you can automate any type of vehicle claim. We say that `if it doesn’t float or fall, then we can handle the claim.’ All the time we are honing the process; after completing over a million claims the data lets you do that.
IE; Do you think that driverless or cars that have quite complex ADAS systems will help this process of automating more claims?
JY; The first part of any claims process is always the same; can I get as much information as possible on the incident, at a granular levels, and can I act on it? That’s really the key question for insurers. So are you set up to grab that on-board car information? We already hit about 95% adoption on photos being submitted by policyholders, so now it’s about persuading the customer to share other information with you. That could be a telematics device fitted to the vehuicle, or it could be an insurer app. But either way you need a workflow in place to drive that process forwards.
IE; Do you think bigger insurers have an advantage in scale, or do the smaller brokers have a chance to be more agile and innovative?
JY; The smaller model is perhaps better in many ways. The way you approach the problem is the same, so opportunity is equally strong, but maybe the smaller companies have an advantage in speed to market and integrating systems. We have a saying that Small Fast beats Big-Slow, but Big Fast Beats Everything. The challenge is for big insurers to implement new ideas at speed.
For big companies there can often be big costs in change management and transformation. The decision process can’t go as fast as the idea itself sometimes, but Covid-19 has worked like a defiblirator, in that it’s produced a shock to everyone’s systems. It’s shown what can be done, under stress, which is fine while volumes of claims are really low.
But over time, claims will rise and the question is how will those claims shape up, where will the incidents be and will it start and stop? Covid-19 is a catalyst of change but much depends on how big companies remove some decision layers.
IE; Financial distress in the year ahead may prompt a wave of claims, and possibly a rise in fraud attempts – how can automated systems spot that post-Corona trend?
JY; You have two factors; There’s the Covid-19 emergency prompting certain spikes in claims; working at home, business closures etc. On top of that there’s the economic trends and factors that insurers are accustomed to. There are new advances in how fraud can be spotted but the challenge is how to incorporate all the new data into your workflow.
Ideally, what you need is ALL the information that the claim needs to get done, upfront, right from the start of the process. So by looking at the workflow you can figure out the exposure and learn early, and then spot the suspect activity immediately. What every insurer and broker needs to do from now on is make sure they can build that information into their claims workflow. Once you have that system in place, then the automated claims process is making the right decisions based on the latest data, and it’s learning as it processes more claims.
IE; Jamie thank you.