The affect evolving technology such as “connected-cars” could have on the auto insurance and collision repair industry are “profound,” writes Sunil Nayak, Mitchell’s senior director of product management in the company’s Third Quarter Industry Trends Report. “Certainly connected car technology may mean fewer or less severe accidents, but it will also revolutionize the way our industries handle accidents when they do occur,” Nayak says.
“If a driver can share his vehicle data directly with his insurance company, the claims process is no longer a linear set of serial activities. It becomes a seamless, completely parallel event, one that saves time, money and can only result in improvements in customer satisfaction scores,” writes Nayak.
Given this connect technology, a claim, including an automotive glass claim, could be “dispersed automatically.”
“The vehicle communicates directly with the insurer, detailing what happened and the severity of damage,” Nayak proposes. “The insurer uses the diagnostic to generate a preliminary estimate that includes the repair lines as well as the auto manufacturer’s recommended repair procedures. If the car is repairable, a set of preliminary parts are specified and selected based on the insurer’s guidelines.”
The driver could even eventually initiate the claims processes using a celluar/Internet-connect vehicle console to interact via voice, video and web browser, according to the Mitchell executive.
When it comes to automotive glass claims, this topic was also recently broached by Garry Golden, a senior futurist with futurethink LLC
As self-driving vehicles enter the marketplace from such automakers as Nissan and Tesla, accidents will decrease. So windshield repair technicians and installers could be soon installing sensors in the windshields, Golden recently opined. If a vehicle is hit by a rock that chips the windshield, small sensors added to the glass could alert the insurance company of damage. The insurance agency could, in turn, tell the customer he needs to get a repair before the damage spreads, he hypothesized.
“If it shifts to a more behavior-based business … the insurance industry could have more perspective in determining when work is needed. Oh, we’ve detected a chip in your windshield and you need to go get that fixed.”
His take is that someday technicians may not just install glass, but also install sensors on the windshield that would alert the automotive glass company to damage.
So where is the “connected-car” technology today? The Mitchell article points out that GM’s OnStar is available, which includes smartphone apps and SOS Auto Crash Response. Through the latter, high-tech sensors alert OnStar that a vehicle has been hit.
Over at Toyota, if an airbag is deployed or a severe rear-end collision occurs, Toyota’s Safety Connect program notifies a 24/7 response center that alerts local emergency services of the vehicle’s location.
“At the 2013 World Wide Developers Conference, Apple hinted as iOS for car dashboards, what CNET writer Eric Mack calls ‘a holy grail of sorts for carmakers’ that is reported to support multiple resolutions, touchscreens, hardware buttons, wheels and touch pads,” according to Nayak.
“Online databases of repair procedures, such as Mitchell’s TechAdvisor solution, are available today to provide critical vehicle information to technicians following a collision,” Nayak adds. “Working in partnership with Toyota, Mitchell is developing the next generation of this technology, which will automatically generate repair lines for specific types of damage and add OEM repair procedures within the repair lines of the estimate.”
To read the full Mitchell report, click here.