Tech and Data Drive Claims
Claims handling is
a constant source
of friction. Will new
and big data be able to
sort this old problem
By Rodrigo Amaral
Companies are investing in technologies such as satellite imagery, artificial intelligence and blockchain to enhance the assessment of losses, settling of payments and other parts of claims handling. In the case of low-value, low-complexity property damage claims, the most sanguine views foresee a future where losses will be paid
automatically after high-quality images are safely sent by the policyholder to the
insurer. AI will make decisions by comparing the claim to extensive data banks
of similar loss events. If indemnification is due, payments will automatically be
ordered via blockchain-enabled smart contracts.
Complex property damage and liability losses present a different set of
challenges, and it looks unlikely that human interaction will ever be completely
bypassed. But novelties — like artificial intelligence and drones — can help to
shorten the life cycle of even the most complex claims.
ACCELERATING THE CLAIMS PROCESS
Loss adjusting firm Crawford & Company claims it can reduce the time it
takes to handle certain types of claims from 30 to 4. 7 days, thanks to the use
of drones in accelerating inspections. The drone-sharing system developed by
WeGoLook, an Insurtech Crawford & Co acquired last year, was put to the test
after hurricanes swept through the United States and the Caribbean in 2017.
“We deployed drones in Puerto Rico as the airport was closed after the
hurricane, and adjusters were not able to fly into the island,” said Rohit Verma,
chief operating officer, Crawford & Company. “We then activated some
WeGoLook members who were able to take initial pictures that we shared with
insurers, so that they could take a quick first look at the damages.”
He said these technologies not only accelerate the process but also reduce the
claims settlement costs by 20 to 30 percent compared to traditional methods.
INCORPORATING NEW TECHNOLOGIES
Satellite imagery and smartphone applications are also being deployed to quickly
and safely capture visual data. Loss adjusting company Cunningham Lindsey
(recently acquired by Sedgwick) has developed a number of projects. The app
iSite, for example, enables adjusters to make high-definition images of a loss
site that can then be turned into a film and safely shared with other participants
in the process, said Neil Gibson, the company’s loss adjusting services director.
The company also employs satellite imagery provided by third-party suppliers to
assess losses in war-torn areas, he added. The company introduced a Facetime-
like messaging application policyholders can use to establish a safe line of
communication with the underwriter. Information provided is immediately shared
with the several parties involved.
“Technology frees people up and gives them more time to focus on customer
service and other important activities,” said Dave Fitzgerald, global chief claims
officer, Starr Companies.
But simply launching new technology is not enough. Insurers need to ensure the
data collected is properly crunched and turned into palpable benefits for clients.
That’s where machine learning and AI
come into play, as they enable claims
departments to quickly identify patterns
that will inform more efficient decisions.
“When we start looking at
indicators, and we get into predictive
analytics, we can establish which files
will have the most impact in a given
day,” Fitzgerald said. “We can then set
up a proactive diary with our adjusters.”
He added: “We can get claims
to adjusters quicker. As we integrate
technologies, tasks that were handled
• Claims handling can take a long
time and be a source of animosity
between insurers and insureds.
• New tech might be the answer to
speeding up the process.
• Drones, AI, data analytics
and blockchain are just some
advancements utilized in claims today.
“Shortage of data is not a
problem for organizations. The
problem is that the wealth of
data that they have may not be
stored in a structured form.”
— Rajesh Iyer, head of data science, Xceedance
Advancements in technology and data analytics could lead to a speedier claims process.