Chris Bennett, Head of Virtual at Crawford & Company Australia, shares his thoughts on the future of virtual tech.
The future of loss adjusting and claims management is set to take a seismic shift over the next three years, according to the Head of Virtual at Crawford & Company Australia.
Speaking at the 15th annual AICLA/ ANZIIF 2022 Claims Convention in Sydney, Chris Bennett showcased new technology that Crawford is currently preparing to roll out within its Australian operations that will “take the customer experience to the next level”.
“In some instances, even the best communication in the world between a claims management company like Crawford and the insured doesn’t avoid a customer feeling a lack of control over their claim,” Bennett explained.
“As a customer, if you feel you don’t know what’s going on, it can lead to frustration. Our new tech puts the power back into the hands of the insured and gives them far greater control and total visibility over their claim.
The smart online platform, accessible to the policyholder via a smartphone app, transforms photos into a complete property data package, including an interactive 3D model with accurate roof and elevation measurements.
“At Crawford, we like to say we solve claims challenges through innovation and expertise; that’s not just a tag line, that’s exactly what this tech delivers,” he said.
Bennett went on to explain how the tech drastically speeds up the process of having necessary repairs carried out to an insured’s property.
“We can totally eliminate large chunks of time in the claims process by using this tech. It removes the need for an adjuster visit to the property; that can take a week by the time you find an agreeable time between adjuster and the insured. In changing that step of the process, it means the customer can participate in the process at a time convenient to them which for many people is after traditional business hours.
“Plus, it gives the adjuster more time back in their day to be dealing with other claims. And that equates to us being able to deal with more claims much faster.
“Then, in the traditional claims process, after the adjuster visits, it takes time for them to prepare a Scope of Works for a builder, whereas our tech prepares that document automatically within almost 100% degree of accuracy. Again, the adjuster claims back more time in their day.
“Further time is eliminated because that very accurate Scope of Works morphs into a Work Order and builders are then able to start scheduling repair works immediately. Because our Scope of Works is so accurate and prescriptive, builders don’t need to do a site visit in order to quote, saving more time. And so, all in all, the whole claim resolution timeframe is slashed very considerably.
“Ultimately, as everyone in claim management knows, the longer a claim takes to settle, the more it costs and therefore settling claims quickly ultimately reduces the indemnity spend,” he said.
Bennett, however, made very clear that Crawford’s new technology does not replace its highly skilled people.
“Some tech drives itself. This tech doesn’t. Absolutely critical to its successful operation is the expertise of humans siting behind it. The role of the loss adjuster remains very much central to the claims process but the way in which adjusters will start to work into the future will pivot, allowing them to concentrate on what truly matters; delivering excellent customer service.
“At Crawford, we put the customer at the core of everything we do and we know this technology will mean greater customer satisfaction for both Crawford clients; that is the insurers, as well as their customers; that is the policyholders.
“And we will absolutely get serious benefits; again coming back to the point about being able to handle larger volumes of claims much quicker which is what we need to deliver as an industry.
“This is evidenced by the recent catastrophic weather events on the east coast of Australia where one event rolled into the next, and we saw an unprecedented volume of claims lodged at the same time,” Bennett said.
Crawford Australia President Tim Jarman acknowledged that coming to grips with the new technology would be an adjustment for Crawford’s people.
“Learning new tricks is always challenging but I’m hopeful our teams will be motivated by the immense competitive advantage that Crawford will achieve by evolving our ways of working to provide a truly game changing customer experience.
“When we can roll out this technology in a widespread way, it will be a leapfrog moment for our service offering,” Jarman explained.
Over 300 people attended this year’s Claims Convention which is an annual collaboration between the Australian Institute of Chartered Loss Adjusters (AICLA) and the Australian and New Zealand Institute of Insurance and Finance (ANZIIF). The theme of the convention this year was ‘New Thinking for the Claims Landscape’.