As the adoption of new technologies and insurtech solutions accelerates the digitization of the claims sector, Michelle Montgomery, chief marketing officer, sat down with Andrew Bart, president, Loss Adjusting, International to discuss how far along the digital route our industry and Crawford has travelled.
Andrew, can I ask you first to give me a sense of just how significant a digital shift we are seeing in the claims sector?
The claims industry is undergoing an incredible period of technology-driven change. The sector had of course already been moving in this direction for several years, but the adoption of new claims capabilities was happening on a relatively small scale and at a slow pace and was limited in many cases to very specific components of the management process.
Today, however, I struggle to think of a single part of the claims arena that has not experienced either a clear upgrade or in some instances a major overhaul as a result of the much greater integration of digital components and the introduction of insurtech solutions into our ecosystem.
There is no doubt that a key driver has been the imposed remote-working environment that has stemmed from COVID-19. This unparalleled set of circumstances made transitioning to remote claims handling and introduction self-service capabilities, as well as looking at automatic triaging to improve claims automation, business imperatives for many insurers – so the speed of adoption by our customers has been rapid and we have worked with them to help ensure its effective integration.
However, another fundamental factor is the drive for greater efficiency, improved experience, enhance performance and greater cost efficiency – all of which are just as significant in accelerating the digital transformation.
Can you give me some examples of the work that Crawford has been doing on this front?
Across our organization, we have been partnering with our customers to help them access the multiple benefits of these new digital capabilities. For one company we have capitalized on our robotic process automation technologies to introduce automatic triaging into their claims process. Applying this new claims infrastructure has enabled them to handle a large number of low-level claims without the need for human intervention, which has been a key advantage given the restrictions imposed by lockdown.
Of course, during this pandemic, we have also been dealing with large-scale losses which often generate very complex claims requirements. Fortunately, given the scope of technology we now have at our disposal, and the skills and dedication of our adjusting teams, we have been able to use our remote claims handling functionality to respond effectively. Following one major event, for example, we were able to handle over 60 percent of the claims stemming from the loss remotely for one of our customers.
Where would you say we are currently seeing some of the most significant advances on the digital front?
At the moment, it is difficult to know where to look given how extensive the digital influence has become in recent years. We continue to see huge advances on the FNOL front, as our YouGoLook capabilities become an increasingly prominent component of our claims notification process, and we’re continuing to develop our technology in this area.
Our recently announced partnership with technology provider HOVER has introduced a new tool which enables policyholders to take images of damage to their properties via an app which can be sent to adjusters that includes critical data such as a 3D rendering of the structure with accurate measurements.
We have also launched our new automated estimate review platform, Asservio, which is being embedded into the Crawford Loss Adjusting and Managed Repair functions. And taking us further down the connected claim route is our Digital Desk capability which is being developed to provide end-to-end digital desk claims management functionality.
These are just a few examples of the raft of changes that that are ongoing across Crawford to provide digital that simplifies.
So, with so much changing on the digital front, how do you ensure that our customers get the most from these advances?
That’s a great question. It’s vital to remember that it’s not just about how many different forms of technology you can bring to the claims process. Rather, it’s about how you integrate those capabilities into the claims cycle in the most effective way to deliver the best solution for our customers, no matter what their needs are.
It's about building them into the claims infrastructure at the right points and in the most user-friendly way possible so that the adjuster, insurer or policyholder can get the most out of the clear benefits that this rapidly expanding digital ecosystem provides.
Of course, what it is also enabling is the freeing up of our adjusters from more repetitive tasks to focus their time and energy on the full scale challenges of complex or major losses, while also arming them with the tools and technologies to unpick that complexity as quickly and effectively as possible.
It really is a very exciting time to be working in the claims industry and in particular at Crawford.