During the last few months as COVID-19 restrictions were lifted across the country, drivers have taken back to the roads with speed. While many in our industry anticipated a spike in claims, the rise, coupled with nearly a year of dramatically reduced volume, left many insurers, repair shops and vendor partners having to ramp up operations to manage the spike.
I correlate this scenario with off-season athletes having to get back in shape during the pre-season. Everyone from adjusters, appraisers, repairers, and customer service reps had to shake off the rust and get back into action.
Many insurers had downsized staff and went all in with virtual estimating. But with society in a more normal state, the appetite for virtual is receding. For many policyholders who were more than willing to assist by taking photos during the pandemic, they’re now looking for other options.
To be sure, photo estimating had its day in the sun and proved an essential tool in speeding up the claims process. And I can guarantee, it won’t be disappearing. This method of inspection has now become a staple for many insurers looking to offer a great experience to their customers when it makes sense.
While COVID variants may cause lockdowns once again, it would send the industry back into a pandemic mode crushing the signs of life that were returning during the spring and summer. If things move toward a recovery as we all hope and pray, three key factors come to the forefront.
- Customer service rules. During the height of the pandemic, processing a claim took a back seat to people’s basic concerns of safety and security when confusion reigned. Even then, however, providing a policyholder with assistance and support was and is always the number one goal. Nothing replaces great customer service.
- Photo estimating became the inspection method of choice, but it was only temporary. While this inspection channel has made tremendous gains it’s still only one tool in the toolbox of an overall comprehensive plan for insurers. It has limitations but when used the right way with the right claim, it can effectively yield superior results.
- The human touch hasn’t disappeared. With the advent of low-touch and no-touch claims – with an emphasis on technology – the reality is that nothing has really changed in the last 25 plus years I’ve been in the industry. Sure, processes have certainly become more automated but the majority of people still want to talk to someone. Empathy, compassion, and interaction during a stressful time such as a claim can’t simply be replaced with computer code or machine learning.
For ACD, we operate with clarity – we see the formula as one focused on Speed. The faster you can make contact with a vehicle owner, obtain photographs, inspect the damage and move a file along, the more satisfied your adjuster and policyholder are.
However, you still need Quality. This encompasses accurate communication, setting realistic expectations and delivering accurate estimates. The ultimate solution is when you can mesh speed with quality. A mediocre product or interaction though, can sink any positives that speed could deliver. Excellence in both speed and quality is what wins the day!
When you’re successful with both, the result is massive Value to both the insurer and policyholder. This is what ACD strives to do – meet and exceed your exceptions every day with our powerful combination of customer service, flexible methods of inspections and human touch delivery.
This advertorial was first published in the September/October 2021 issue of NU Claims Magazine: