Articles - Remote technologies keep claims adjusters working

Insurance claims and extreme weather-related disasters continue to occur worldwide despite the COVID-19 pandemic. So how can insurance claims adjusters complete their work to their usual high standards in an unprecedented year filled with travel restrictions and local lockdowns? We explain how insurers can ensure business continuity by taking advantage of new technologies that allow for remote assessment of storm damage, such as remote sensing and aerial imagery – no matter what is gathering on the horizon.

 By Chris Kent, Director Business Development at Verisk

 Insurance claims adjusters must still complete their jobs despite medical and government advice issued in response to the emerging outbreaks around the world, which asks people to stay indoors and avoid contact with others, at the height of the pandemic and in subsequent lockdowns. 

 Their ability to continue working is further hampered by continued travel restrictions, meaning adjusters from the Lloyd’s insurance market have been unable to travel abroad to inspect weather damage claims on property first-hand.

 Restrictions prevent travel – could technology provide an answer?
 Due to the nature of their work, adjusters must inspect damage to buildings in spite of weather or any external factors, such as the current pandemic, that may interfere. In March 2020, severe storms in the states of Texas and Tennessee caused widespread damage to buildings such as homes and other property. These storms arrived during the same period which saw COVID-related restrictions implemented in both states.

 Due to this inability to travel for inspections, claims adjusters were not able to set foot on the ground. However, through investing in new remote technologies and partnerships, they can still complete their critically important tasks as if they were there first-hand.

 New technologies enable time-saving partnerships
 To respond to this perfect storm of crises, the insurance industry is looking at ways in which it can support its customers through difficult conditions and deliver the level of service policyholders expect. New digital services can enable the industry to create a reliable and impactive post-disaster service which, as it is run remotely via technology, removes the need for adjusters to visit affected areas first-hand and risk breaking COVID-related restrictions.

 By developing strategic partnerships between the Lloyd’s insurance market and leading geo-spatial imaging services, insurers are able to create highly detailed aerial maps of an area in the immediate aftermath of major weather-related disasters.

 Within a 24-hour period of an incident occurring, an aircraft can be deployed to capture high resolution, granular, post-event and oblique images of an area which go on to form part of an extensive library. From this library, insurance adjusters can study ‘before and after’ images to understand the level of damage done by an extreme weather event.

 On top of aerial imagery, advanced digital systems now put all stakeholders involved in a specific claim in constant contact and allow the policyholder making a claim to upload their own video imagery to a specialised, online claims handling tool. This level of collaboration between insurer and policyholder has the benefit of adding an extra layer to the claim adjustment process which can help expedite the time it takes for a claim to progress from being made, to being settled – getting the policyholder back to normality as soon as possible.

 Tech put to the test
 This blend of technology and adjuster expertise was first put to the test in March of 2020, in the immediate aftermath of the announcement of the original COVID-19 restrictions. Between 2 and 3 March, several tornadoes passed through the middle and western areas of Tennessee, one of which severely damaged the downtown region of Nashville.

 The geospatial imaging system was able to capture images both before the tornado hit the area and then immediately after. This gave adjusters a wealth of information when it came to the processing of weather-related property damage claims.

 Swift action saves time thanks to cutting-edge technology
 For both the policyholder involved and the insurance market, it is in their combined best interests to complete outstanding insurance claims as swiftly and accurately as possible. This way the policyholder can quickly recover and return to ‘business as usual’.

 Thanks to rapid advances in the digital solutions available to insurers, Lloyd’s syndicates and their appointed claims adjusters can now perform their mandated physical inspection processes entirely remotely, making use of artificial intelligence and remote sensing technology.

 Specialist weather services, incorporated into insurer databases, can help insurance syndicates to identify each storm’s severity with a high degree of accuracy – allowing insurers to predict the potential damage of a tornado much more effectively. This improved access to data allows for better risk mitigation and optimization of response resources.

 In practice, these processes can aid insurers and their representatives to act much faster in their initial response following a catastrophe and allow them to focus their efforts on the most heavily affected regions, deploying adjusters to manage properties both within and bordering the storm-impacted area.

 This is only the beginning – further advancements arrive all the time
 These catastrophe response processes can be further enhanced with accurate assessments of replacement costs based on damage sustained, combined with precise property weather data and date of loss verification, all fed directly into an insurer’s database.

 With access to this technology, Lloyd’s syndicates and their respective adjusters have a complete set of tools at their fingertips, tailored to rapidly adjusting and settling insurance claims, while removing the need to physically visit the site of the actual loss in a period of intense disruption.

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