“Although virtual estimating is definitely not new to automotive claims the pandemic has dramatically considered its adoption,” said Olivier Baudoux, Mitchell International global product strategy and artificial intelligence senior vice president, as he began describing how the claims process has changed in an industry webinar. “I think it’s fair to say, just like the pandemic has taught us a lot that we can be more efficient working from home than working from the office, we’ve learned that virtual estimating can be efficient and effective.” The online event, How Claims Automation is Transforming the Appraisal Experience, was hosted by the Collision Industry Electronic Commerce Association (CIECA) and gave insight on how the claims process will continue adapting through virtual methods.
According to LexisNexis Risk Solutions, 95% of auto insurance carriers are already using or are considering using a virtual claims process. Meanwhile, 79% of carriers are considering the idea of touchless claims.
Baudoux said virtual estimating is mostly human-driven during the webinar and said the pandemic was a contributing factor to the sudden boost in interest. “Especially with social distancing [caused by the pandemic] being able to write an estimate from anywhere comes in handy, but it doesn’t have anything to do with artificial intelligence (AI).” He added that thanks to technology people are able to use resources, like cloud based systems, to get an appraisal in less than 10 minutes.
When human and machines collaborate it drives efficiency without compromising accuracy, according to Baudoux’s presentation, and Jimmy Spears, head of Automotive North America for Tractable.
“When we think about what’s really driving this rapid change – there’s really four things,” said Spears. “Number one, it vastly improves the customer experience; number two, AI is now fast; number three, it really helps with the touchless environment that we have; and number four, it really helps people with the increasing complexity of the technology in vehicles to be able to help them really focus on customer service.”
Spears said when looking at the overall customer experience millennials should be considered. Why? He said it’s because “they grew up with technology at an instant,” and that this “new breed of customers” is becoming the reality across the board. More customers like to have information faster, as it relates to their vehicle.
“I believe that AI can really bring that service up for customers,” said Spears.
Baudoux simplified automated estimating by using four steps, which are:
- Capture damaged vehicle photos and claims information;
- Analyze photos using computer vision;
- Translate analysis into estimate lines; and
- Surface estimates in cloud estimating.
By capturing as much data as possible in the first step will allow for the remaining steps to work smoothly, according to Baudoux. He also mentioned that the goal is to standardize the second step.
“This will allow for any AI partners to power automated estimates, the set of standards will allow any AI engine to be plugged in, which will drive further automation,” said Baudoux.