How Change Spurs InsurTech Innovation in Property Claims
January 6 is National Technology Day, which recognizes how technology changes the world. However, in P&C insurance, sometimes transformation is a result of the world changing technology. Take COVID-19’s impact on homeowners and commercial property claims in P&C insurance, for instance. Depending on severity and complexity, these types of claims frequently require an in-person inspection by the insurer to scope and estimate damages; however, the pandemic accelerated the need for more digital tools to avoid face-to-face interactions.
Almost immediately, carriers saw the benefits of the new technologies that enabled remote interactions had on their claims processes, and customers appreciated the increased efficiencies.
For example, insurance provider RAM Mutual initially implemented Hi Marley’s collaboration platform to help meet COVID-19 social distancing guidelines, which ensured lower-risk interactions with policyholders during the pandemic. The carrier quickly realized that in addition to keeping everyone safer, leveraging text messaging also improved customer service and reduced processing times in underwriting and claims in just a few weeks. Hi Marley enabled RAM to more quickly and easily gather information from insureds and claimants, reducing traditional communication churn and enhancing the claims experience for everyone.
“COVID-19 forced us to figure out more efficient ways to do business without putting our policyholders, agents and employees at risk,” noted Angie Salmi, Vice President, Information Technology at RAM Mutual Insurance. “Being able to communicate through text messaging during underwriting and claims eliminated some of the more traditional face-to-face processes we’re accustomed to while still providing exceptional service to our customers.”
Increased Focus on Tools for Loss Prevention and Property Claim Mitigation
The pandemic made carriers more open to InsurTech and accelerated the importance of property claim risk mitigation. Over the past few years, we’ve seen major leaps in innovation with loss prevention tools that monitor properties for the risk of potential loss events. These devices provide alerts for events like home system malfunction and water intrusion, or “smart” weather notifications, and reminders for maintenance and other routine checklists to help decrease overall property loss frequency and severity.
And, when property claims are unavoidable, there is an opportunity to streamline the claims process and create more efficiencies. More carriers, in recent years, have implemented solutions like exterior underwriting inspection and claim estimation frequency via drones and satellite imagery, robotic interior underwriting inspections, and claims scoping and estimation via mobile robots.
Increased Collaboration Across the Insurance Ecosystem
As InsurTech evolves, so does the maturation of claim ecosystem capabilities, like using technology and data to coordinate and align efforts across multiple internal and external entities. We’ve continued to see deeper integrations between vendors or internal point systems into claims and underwriting systems of record to help automate tasks and communication.
For example, Plnar, the leading AI-powered virtual claims software for the property insurance market, recently announced a partnership with Hi Marley, making virtual estimating a reality for claims of all sizes and severities. Once a customer opts into texting through Hi Marley, they receive a Plnar project link in their existing SMS thread. Then, using their mobile device, the property owner or manager simply captures photos to document their interior damage in under two minutes. From those images, Plnar delivers high-quality interactive models, plans and a robust suite of reports that make damage assessment seamless.
The Plnar and Hi Marley integration reduces the time and expense associated with underwriting inspections and improves claim cycle times. One joint customer saw a 2.4-day reduction in cycle time after only 60 days of using Plnar with Hi Marley message templates.
Innovations Lead to Increased Efficiencies and Accuracy
Innovations in property claims also help insurers better manage their allocated and unallocated loss adjustment expenses, not to mention create higher-quality damage scopes and estimates by mitigating the potential for human estimating errors. This will result in more accurate property claim assignments, better adherence to best practice scoping and estimating expectations, and tighter handling harmony and consistency in the eyes of the claims consumer.
Technology will continue to evolve, and with increased usage of digital communication, document sharing, desktop estimating and electronic payment capabilities, customers will enjoy increased efficiencies and an improved property claims experience.