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What does USAA & Esurance have in common?

Last year, Esurance was the first insurance carrier to display its innovation in remote adjustment capabilities by launching Esurance Video-Appraisal, a video claim app designed to allow policyholder to submit the claim via video. This was a great technology to satisfy the initiative to reduce costs both by accelerating the claim handling time and improving the accuracy of the claims information. Late last week, insurance carrier USAA released a statement becoming the next insurance provider to adopt a technology for real-time video streaming directly from the policyholder.

It is exciting to see these innovations being widely adopted and we can expect the same results as the ones delivered by mobile picture based apps reinventing the way claims are handled in auto insurance. Though pictures are the norm in reporting information even in property claims, pictures often do not accurately represent the damage, making it very difficult to accurately assess the size, scope, and type of the damage. Real-time video on the other hand is able to do this very well by allowing the desk adjuster to instruct the policyholder to demonstrate the damage in its full detail directly at FNOL or in any subsequent interaction.

Insurance industry is well known to be conservative, but with recent activity in both M&A and technology adoption, the general stigma of being slow to change is being broken. These changes bring up an overused word “disruption”, although at the current moment, it seems that this is only a start in what seems to be a rapid change in the insurance industry.

The signs of disruption are already here. The technological ground is set for new insurance providers to be able to surface with very cost effective and almost completely internet only insurance business models, low cost operations, and extremely competitive pricing. All of it, made possible by being able to utilize the power of technologies to process financials, quickly collect billing and distribute settlement payments, and now handling the claims completely remotely. This would also launch a new paradigm shift in insurance adjustment resources, increasing demand for highly skilled desk adjusters to apply the new technology remotely while reducing its dependency on field adjusters.

We can applaud the innovative executive teams at Esurance and USAA in being the first to discover the opportunities to improve claim handling effectiveness and customer service. Due to the ever increasing competition in the market, we can expect others to follow. The question is who will be next and what innovations will be deployed.

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