Imagine a homeowner whose life has just been rocked by a major weather event. Assuming that everyone is safe and the only thing that suffered damage was the property, what would be that customer’s biggest need? Most would answer this question with “quick help” or “immediate assistance.”
Looking at the sequence of events in a standard response for claims, it is immediately visible how difficult it is offer a timely response. Typically, a major event requires allocation of resources to man the hotlines, contact adjusters, and schedule adjusters to drive out to evaluate the full extent of the damage. Since the claims are coming in randomly, it is very difficult to handle high priority claims apart from lower priority claims. Mostly, due to the call volumes, the claims end up being handled on the first come, first served basis.
Once the claim is received by the insurance organization, the next phase is to send out an adjuster to determine the size and scope of the damage. The priority of the response is often provided using the information a policy holder offers during the conversation. Since there are many different people with different personalities and different levels of expectations, it often happens that the policy holder who voices the damage the loudest gets a higher priority response, even though the size and scope of the damage may not be high on the priority list.
Adjusters are likewise feeling the pinch of time. They are dispatched to many locations on a very tight schedule. In addition to encountering delays in road closures and unexpected detours, adjusters often do not know a true extent of the damage until they arrive on-site. Hence, it is becomes very difficult to accurately estimate the amount of time an adjuster needs to spend with a customer to provide high level assistance while gathering and documenting the damage. Rushing to handle many claims queued up for the day has its own disadvantages of missing important elements in damage assessment and documentation, introducing risks into claims process that leads to inaccurate settlements, affecting either customer satisfaction with low payouts, or erring on the other side and paying out higher sums.
Last element of the claims handling process is the documentation of the claim. Most adjusters utilize technology to capture pictures and log the claim, however the same adjuster is responsible for both, the collection of evidence and the documentation of it. Since adjusters spend their time driving from one customer to the other, they are frequently unable to process the claims until once or twice a day, leading to significant delays in expediting a timely claim resolution.
What if we imagine all the technology in our grasp and apply it directly to the major weather event. How can we improve customer assistance and response?
First, we would apply weather analytics to get a better forecast into the oncoming weather event, including its severity within the expected impact zones. Based on the weather analytics assessment, the next step is to send notifications to policyholders within the anticipated impact areas about the oncoming storm and what tools they should use to expedite the assistance to their needs. Tools can be numerous from websites, customer service accounts on social media like twitter, and even mobile apps.
During the storm, as some property owners encounter damages ranging from hail, fallen trees, water damage or broken windows, property owners can begin to contact the insurance companies with details of the damages, getting into an early queue of assistance. Certainly, there need to be procedures for immediate help to those that are displaced by heavy storms.
Once the storm subsides and property owners can begin to safely inspect the full extent of the damage, they can interact with live agents over the phone and supply live, real-time video feed to demonstrate the full extent of the damage. This information will be used to prioritize the level of necessary customer assistance and adjuster response. In addition, this information allows the insurance organizations and adjusters alike to adequately plan the logistics so that customer’s expectations are properly set and met.
As the adjusters make their way to inspect the full extent of the damage, they document everything using real-time video that is automatically streamed to the insurance provider or adjuster organization. Once the adjuster leaves the customer’s residence, claims professionals in the office begin to process the claim information from the video recorded by the adjuster on-site, reducing adjuster’s strain on having to simultaneously adjust, document, and estimate the claim during a very high number of pending customer assistance requests.