International Panel Discussed Changes to Auto Insurance Claims in Webinar

Several states have slowly begun to re-open, which means more drivers are expected to return to the roads – a relief for the auto insurance industry. The Claims Bridge International (CBI) hosted a free webinar yesterday; titled “Is COVID-19 Driving Claims Innovation?” International insurance experts from the United States, United Kingdom, Australia and European Union shared their insights about the future of the automotive claims industry as a result of COVID-19.

Fred Iantorno, vice-president, IoT, VeriFacts Automotive, LLC, moderated the discussion. The panelists included: David McDonald, CBI president international; Stuart Blake, CBI president APAC; Chris Ashworth, Enterprise Holdings assistant vice president; Peter McAninch, AGL director of engineering; Jerry Volquarsden, CBI president Americas; Tom Gray, IV Auto Inc. market development vice president and consultant; and Bill Park, Spartan Ventures managing member.

Major Trends

Movement and going to a more digital platform were two trends discussed by panel members, since all areas have noticed reduced driver amounts.

“In terms of volume here in the U.K. in the last three weeks we’ve seen a shift in terms of movement of people,” said McAninch.

Ashworth agreed and he’s seeing the same trend. “There’s been an increase in traffic now because there have been more announcements telling people they can go out socially,” said Ashworth. “I think the collaboration is ironic because we’re all working from home and I think the industry has done an incredible job of pushing through some of the policies in place. I think ironically we’ve gotten to know our people and our suppliers better while we’re isolated and are further apart from them because we’re asking different types of questions. I think we’ll come out of this better and stronger if we keep up the communication that we’ve started during COVID-19.”

Blake had similar views, as he agreed that the auto insurance industry has responded well to the global virus. He mentioned that the insurance industry was seen as an essential service across the globe early on and adapted to working from home to comply with guidelines and recommendations.

“Here in Australia for the industry itself, I think the reason it has responded very well is because many insurance corporations started issuing rebates, because what we’ve seen is with isolation people are on the road less,” said Blake. “Some of the insurance companies we work with have seen a significant drop in the amount of accidents. I think insurance companies have the opportunity to sort of reinvent the way they support customer claims with technology since we’ve been working from home.”

Meanwhile, McDonald saw the global virus as a tipping point.

“I think in some circumstances change is forced upon you and I think what we’re seeing is the tipping point – ‘when do consumers start using digital channels more?’ For example what was acceptable in estimations, where it was largely face-to-face assessments, are now using digital channels and photography to determine how it works in insurance,” said McDonald.

With a forced change, people can begin to think about the possibilities with communication in the insurance industry, according to McDonald. “What we’re seeing now is a smarter use of technology. It’s simple stuff like doing two way chats to find out where your claim is in the cycle, but more importantly the question for insurers is what are we willing to accept in terms of risk in terms of in the claims process around what do our partners manage,” McDonald added.

Adding technology

All of the panelists agreed that from a consumer view, using additional technology in the auto insurance claims process would be a positive thing because the process will be simplified.

“As the world adjusts to the COVID-19 health crisis, never has the need for a strong and agile insurance industry been more relevant,” said Blake. “Social distancing is creating a new standard for the way businesses are run and changes in global policies and general uncertainties make even traditional claim settlements a challenge.”

“I think change sometimes comes slow and now I think we’re going to start seeing an appetite for touchless claims,” said Volquarsden when referring to the U.S. auto claims process. “Post COVID-19 I think we’ll all have to get pretty good at processing in the claims process.”

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