How Loss Adjusters are responding to the coronavirus - remote inspections, Covid-19 technical teams and prioritising the vulnerable
20 March 2020
In an Insurance Post article last week, James Norman, Strategy and Business Development Director, was quoted along with industry peers about how loss adjusters are responding to the coronavirus - remote inspections, COVID-19 technical teams and prioritising the vulnerable.
To read the full article, click here. Charles Taylor Adjusting responses below.
1. Are you reducing the number of site visits you are doing in light of Covid 19? If so, what are the exceptions?
The necessity for site visits will have to be considered on a case-by-case basis depending upon individual circumstances. Wherever possible, non- essential meetings are being replaced with conference calls/video calls. Non-critical visits can be delayed, and other aspects of the loss worked on remotely as much as possible, so we may have to restructure the normal cycle. We could also see increased use of drones where appropriate and if they can capture the necessary level of detail.
Site visits are inevitable on certain types of losses where there can be no substitute or technology solution. However, safety is our primary concern, and these will now have to be managed in a way that adheres to Government advice. Any essential site inspections which need to be undertaken will be planned in advance to reduce the period of time spent on site and limit the number of physical interactions, as much as is practically possible. Enhanced personal hygiene practices are also being followed.
The key to this process will be managing end customer expectations around any delays and regular communication.
2. What practices and technologies are you putting in place to help facilitate less site visits?
Especially now but also in broader terms, if a claim can be managed without a physical visit or face to face interview, this is a preferable and sensible measure.
In basic claims handling, technology is advancing rapidly and in the current climate there will need to be an escalation of this; for example, investments into algorithms which can fast track decision making processes, video adjusting, mobile apps, self-service portals, chat bots, voice to text screening, voice stress analysis—all ways to capture key components of a loss and basic validation. More complex claims will continue to require more personal interaction and we are constantly finding new ways to adapt.
In times like these, the choice aspect of how to communicate is essentially removed, so if the technology is not mature, there could be workarounds using softer technology. For example, screening calls between adjuster and client using more basic cognitive interviewing on Skype or FaceTime to assess the loss scene, body language, etc., and to help fast track settlement recommendations.
Charles Taylor Adjusting are rapidly expanding our use of video adjusting. We are well placed to use remote client working practices and, on suitable claims, to hold FaceTime client calls, WhatsApp video inspections, SharePoint presentations and report sharing, and Teams calls to present updates and proposed outcomes. For international losses, if there are no travel restrictions, we have a high-quality network of associates and can utilise them to carry out physical inspections and communicate on the various technology streams mentioned.
3. Are you seeing more insurers/brokers/MGAs/other clients request these practices and technologies in light of Covid 19?
Inevitably, with or without a pandemic or other sort of catastrophe event, technology solutions and virtual adjusting will continue to be on the agenda and there will be an expectation that adjusters and insurers invest in it and collaborate to create the best customer experience. If the technology adds real value during the Covid 19 crisis, this will invigorate the use cases and demand.
4. Have you shut any/all of your entire offices to stress test your resilience? If so which ones and was the exercise a success?
Our remote working capability is an important part of our operating model. Charles Taylor successfully conducted a global work from home day on Friday 13th March which gave us the ability to “test the load” on our IT infrastructure, whilst allowing those that would not usually work from home the time to ensure they can connect and work efficiently.
The vast majority of our staff globally are able to work remotely and have been advised to do so. This followed preparatory investment and advice to ensure that we were ready for a prolonged and widespread remote working. In addition, and in common with many firms, we have been taking robust action and providing advice to staff throughout this crisis to minimise the risk of infection to themselves and others. Our central incident management team meets several times a week to ensure that our action and advice remains up-to-date and appropriate.
5. Do you think as a business everything will return to normal once the threat of Covid-19 rescinds; or do you see [for now] temporary working practices being introduced in light of Coronavirus becoming more permanent fixtures?
While this is a fast-moving situation and no service provider can claim that it is ‘business as usual’ currently, Charles Taylor is proud to say that our teams across all business areas are fully operational and are continuing to serve our clients. Some of our teams are extremely busy dealing with claims resulting from the crisis, and we are actively redeploying teams from other business to support those areas experiencing ‘surge’ volumes in order to maintain service levels. We are closely monitoring the developments.