Robin Roberson is the current Managing Director of Wilbur (NA) and President of Livegenic, as well as the former CEO and Co-Founder of WeGoLook, the field services company. Robin took some time out of her busy schedule to talk with us about her personal history, the future of virtual claims, and what forces are driving innovation in the insurance claims industry.
How long have you been in the industry? What led you here?
I have been working for insurance clients since 2012 after securing a Tier 1 carrier customer at my first insurtech company. My journey did not begin within the insurance space: I initially began working for the Washington Post at a CableOne division. Along the long and windy road of entrepreneurship, I was fortunate to gain experience in several industries, primarily auto. After I lost my youngest son’s father to an automobile accident, I began working for myself. My passion for helping customers led me to where I am today and it’s certainly been the result of listening to the customer and pivoting with innovative solutions.
How has the industry changed since you first started in the business?
Wow - the industry has changed a lot! I was fortunate enough to be part of pioneering virtual desk estimating leveraging tools and an on-demand network of independent contractors. Artificial intelligence, large claims management systems, fraud detection, BI analytics, insurtech, new players in the carrier space, telematics...think of the change in the past 5-10 years! Who says insurance is boring?!?
You’ve been in the top positions of several InsurTech companies. Can you tell us of your unique perspective: what is it like to be in the industry at that level, especially as a prime mover in an industry that can be resistant to change?
Well, I’ve seen traditional, archaic carriers with legacy platforms and processes lose ground as insurtech incumbents and new technology provide a competitive edge to those companies with leadership who are willing to make the hard decisions to right the entire ship. I’ve been on both sides of the fence, moving quickly and making progress but also stuck in the mud, banging my head against the wall while waiting for lengthy approval processes and change.
What is the most important force driving change in insurance? Which is more impactful: internal forces or external consumer needs?
This is a great question! Policyholders (especially younger customers) expect a digital experience. Many are not loyal to a specific brand, but to pricing and value. A CEO should always drive changes to provide the best customer experience while driving internal forces to the same North Star vision. Many CEOs may implement new changes but not enforce adoption. You must have both to succeed, in my opinion.
What is a problem area in the claims industry that is, as-of-yet, unsolved?
No carrier has yet fully realized the long sought after vision of straight-through processing (STP) of auto and property claims from FNOI/FNOL through subrogation. True STP will automate insurer-directed business. This would include a warm transfer with appended customer data, while applying actionable intelligence along the claim continuum. It would also require incorporating an array of advanced technologies and services, linking and orchestrating selected trading partners in the claims resolution process to achieve hyper-personalization of each claim, done fairly and accurately in the shortest possible cycle time.
What future challenges do you anticipate for the insurtech industry?
- The single biggest challenge to any startup, including insurtechs, is cash conservation. They must grow revenue quickly and profitably well before running out of cash. To put it another way, insurtechs need to focus on making “unit economics” positive as early in the growth cycle as possible, so that each dollar of new revenue is profitable, even marginally.
- Additional insurtech challenges:
- too many players offering similar services and the associated challenge insurers have in selecting partners; determining adequacy of capitalization and identifying which insurtech are the likely long term winner/survivors
- approaching inflationary pressures will amplify the challenges and risks above HOWEVER this same threat will create opportunities for insurtechs to develop and deliver products and services that help users cope more effectively during this cycle.
Do you think the COVID 19 pandemic has opened people’s minds to virtual solutions, who otherwise may have been resistant? Have you seen any examples of that yet; of a company that was initially resistant now fully embracing the technology change?
There is no doubt that the COVID 19 pandemic has resulted in a major growth in the use and acceptance of virtual solutions. In less than a year, carriers who were physically inspecting up to 95% of damaged property adopted some form of virtual claims reporting and estimating for non-complex auto and property claims, representing the majority of all claims.
The May 2021 LexisNexis 2021 Future of Claims research report predicts that by 2025 more than 80% of auto insurance claims will be processed virtually, with up to 50% of non-injury claims being fully automated (touchless); the report also found that currently virtual claims handling has settled to a level of a little over 60%.
I do believe COVID forced technology adoption within carriers and I have seen those who were researching digital, low-touch claims prior to COVID succeed with the rapid adoption.
What tool in the Livegenic suite would you call your favorite?
Hmmmm. This is a hard one, as I’m a huge fan of the live video collaboration as a tool to collect data remotely and on-demand! As former CEO and co-founder of WeGoLook, collecting data is my specialty and I believe Wilbur Live (powered by Livegenic) is the most efficient and effective way to collect information as digitization becomes the norm. I really like how easy it is for the policyholder or third-party to follow instructions which are customized for each client. The flexibility is impressive and ensures quality data capture. I also quite like the document transfer. How cool is it that you can share documents easily via Livegenic while also collaborating with multiple persons (if needed)? But I would have to say my new favorite tool in the Livegenic suite is the ability to dispatch emergency services and repair directly from the app! What an amazing feature and easy way to assist the claim handler with immediate customer/policyholder assistance while dispatching a vetted and licensed contractor quickly!
You’re stuck on a desert island. What’s one book, album, or movie you bring with you? (Only choose one)
Being stuck on a desert island sounds pretty good right now! I could use a vacation, ha-ha. I’d have to go with the Wizard of Oz. It’s my favorite movie and perhaps I could click my heels and find my way off the desert island!
Keep up with Robin via LinkedIn.