As we prepare for the 2018 storm season, I can't help but look back at the impact of 2017's extreme weather. We have seen how vital it is to be ready to respond quickly to property claims in the field. Catastrophic weather events continue to test underwriting performance, stretch resources in restoring disrupted supply chains, and impact timelines for estimating losses and rebuilding infrastructures.
One constant is having the right partners when handling major claim events. This can mean the difference between quickly amassing a backlog of site visits vs. being ready at a moment's notice to serve clients. Given last year's storm season, many carriers and employers faced similar challenges related to access to expert loss adjusting resources and timely claims adjusting.
Technology is changing at a fast pace for the repair and restoration industry; having partners equipped with the right tools can be a major differentiator. One way to conquer the demand for timely estimating and loss adjusting is to choose partners who have implemented technology to speed up the claims process and alleviate bottlenecks.
Connected technology is essential to success. Using technology to deploy resources and to track work assignments may seem like a simple solution, but you might be surprised how few in our industry are embracing these tools and tactics. We read about technology, and the technology exists, but many businesses are still slow to adopt. This is not an acceptable mindset.
If I could position one piece of technology as a must right now, it would be geo-location capabilities. For loss adjusting, using an app that shows assignments in a map-like manner and then assigning professionals based on location and availability is key to reducing cycle time and increasing customer satisfaction. We live in a world expecting to secure services with the touch of the screen.
With the current shortage of talent in the claims adjusting industry, an app with geo-location capabilities helps keep available adjusters busy when and where they are needed and supports quick activation of temporary additions to the workforce. The solution is more than an app and finding someone willing to look at a loss. Having the right experts vetted in advance with the appropriate industry expertise and training is also essential.
Not only does the technology enable the fast and easy assignment of new losses, but it helps adjusters in the field to report back quickly for accurate reserving and payments. Ultimately, the goal is to help clients move past a difficult situation and get back to business.
An easy-access app can even be shared with customers/policyholders to help them self-triage and document property and liability claims by taking videos or photos of the damage using a smartphone and sharing it with a remote desk adjuster.
Added features to consider:
Access to repair and restoration experts: If a building is damaged, having the right resource matched up with your client at the push of a button to assist with repairs, demolition and mitigation activities could help minimize losses and control allocated costs.
Field payments and electronic funds transfer: Both can provide faster service in catastrophe situations.
Good partners, expertise and technology combined can help minimize cycle times, improve results and customer satisfaction. This is truly an exciting time for my industry and we are just scratching the surface on delivering even greater customer service.