Insurtech: Providing Seamless Integrations And Enhancements Towards Insurance
Insurtech promises groundbreaking strides in AI and automation — products that streamline workflows and make the adjuster’s job easier and the policyholder’s experience better. But on the surface, Insurtech seems to ask a lot. Abandon trusted platforms. Rethink reliable processes. Replace tried and true with novel and exciting.
The problem with new
Disruption, early adoption, and startup are all hype-infused terms boasting bleeding-edge that often result in resource drainage — with little or nothing to show for it. The new technology introduced prematurely before the industry (insurance) is ready is not a new thing.
We must know that insurance is such a nuanced industry that to succeed digitally, strategies must be researched, intentional, and tested to offset as much risk as possible. That being said, the industry isn’t impregnable. In an age where technology is so tightly tied to customer expectations, resisting digital innovation is not an option. The answer isn’t in avoiding new; it’s in finding the right ways to implement innovation.
A better way to introduce tech
The promise of Insurtech doesn’t have to be a commitment that requires upending what we know works. If we dig deeper into the types of technology that make it to adoption, the solutions aren’t always loud — they’re unexpected, sometimes unnoticeable at first. But we’ve all witnessed subtle innovations turn into must-have features that we can’t imagine working or living without.
Smart forms and a lot less effort
Digitized forms are not new. They were introduced into the adjuster workflow during the technology revolution of the 1980s. They weren’t flashy or revolutionary by today’s standards, but adjusters couldn’t estimate effectively without them. More recently, Insurtech transformed custom forms into smart forms that dynamically change as information is provided and can use input fields to precisely map line items through automation techniques. This iteration of forms quietly slipped into the workflows of professionals throughout the industry. And while they haven’t garnished prominent headlines, they did — and continue to — deliver on the Insurtech promise to increase efficiency through technology.
Chatbots and human adjusters
With efficiency and improved customer experience as primary drivers, chatbots are making their way into our industry. This Insurtech brings hands-free adjusting into the equation for simple claims. Instead of complicating the adjuster’s day when a fence blows down or minor damage happens to a property, chatbots free up adjusters to work on more sophisticated claims. They quickly handle, diagnose, and resolve simpler claims in a way that makes sense for carriers, adjusters, and customers.
Where claims are too complicated to be adjudicated automatically, chatbots do the front-load work of collecting crucial information from policyholders before human adjusters become involved.
Aerial imagery and automated cost estimating
The reality of drones taking pictures from the sky may be commonplace now, but the industry only began experimenting with unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) about six years ago in the hope that they’d be useful in adjusting property claims. Today, huge databases, machine learning leveraging neural networks, and computer vision have led to reliable aerial imagery analysis. Bypassing harnesses, ladders, and measuring tape, adjusters can instead use familiar industry estimating software that seamlessly integrates with AI-processed aerial imagery to deliver precise roof and property measurements directly into the working estimate. With a few adjustments, a complete estimate, including line items, can be created in mere minutes.
This Insurtech came out of the sky.
Smartphones and their impact
The introduction of smartphones has made remote adjusting another area where Insurtech is setting adjusters up for success. Technologies like video collaboration allow desk adjusters to triage damage and build estimates without necessarily visiting a job site, while ready connection to insurers allows policyholders to report first notice of loss from their phone. Pictures, videos, notes, and schedules can be shared between claims team members, and many insurers are already using native apps to warn policyholders of approaching extreme weather.
Smartphones are generalized technology that has paved the way for several InsurTech innovations which, combined, have changed the way we work. This has happened so slowly that we’ve barely noticed but so completely that workflows even 50-years-old are almost unrecognizable.
Mobile estimating and getting more done in the field
We’re comfortable with the traditional adjusting workflow for both daily and catastrophe claims. Capture everything in as few visits as possible (sometimes on paper sketches). Head back to the office or hotel to interpret rushed handwriting and complete the work.
Mobile estimating is a type of Insurtech that’s making massive, positive changes to that workflow. Capturing information on-site using mobile devices and cloud technology can help adjusters complete many estimates before they leave the site. It may come as a surprise, but mobile estimating is so new that many companies don’t even use it yet — despite considerable advantages in uploading photos directly to estimates, using automation to intuitively add line items, and capturing measurements using key integrations. It’s an example of Insurtech already at play but not ostentatious enough to be considered innovation at first glance. In application, it is a technology that fits the very definition of Insurtech.
Insurtech is happening all around you
Yes, there will continue to be trailblazers, new entrants, and startups aiming to disrupt the insurance industry with technology that claims to change things radically. But we need to stop defining Insurtech — no matter its origin — as disruption and instead pay more attention to innovations that make sense here and now. It takes vast amounts of precise data, deep industry expertise, and proven technology to pull off Insurtech that’s worthwhile.
We can start by identifying and using Insurtech that’s already working.
There will be iterations of mobile estimating technology, improvements in AI and automation, and even breakthroughs in aerial imagery analysis that will change the very way we operate. But remember, real Insurtech, the practical kind of technology that improves efficiency in the actual work we do, can be found as seamless integrations and enhancements within the products we already use every day.