The spread of COVID-19 has dramatically changed our world, upending everything from our daily routines to where and how we can work.
And while these changes have created a lot of uncertainty and speculation about the future, we also are already seeing significant shifts in how we do business, and in some cases, an acceleration of change that has long been on the horizon. Mobile and digital adoption have been pushed to the forefront, even more so than they already were, creating a new normal for how business gets done across the economy.
The use of digital as a response to COVID-19 has resulted in a series of implications playing out across the claims industry that will forge a new reality. As businesses look to the future, insurers that recognize and quickly adapt to these shifts are best positioned to emerge stronger.
Here are three dynamics we’re seeing unfold:
No. 1: Digital makes interacting possible; AI is making our interactions meaningful.
At least 316 million people in the U.S. were recently directed to stay home. And while social distancing and shelter-in-place guidelines are critical in flattening the COVID-19 curve and slowing the spread of this global pandemic, they have also created an increased need for tools that eliminate historically in-person tasks, such as underwriting inspections, appraisals, total loss assessments, repair estimates and more.
Of course, mobile and digital channels are key factors in enabling these tasks to be completed virtually, but artificial intelligence (AI) is really what is advancing these interactions. It is the engine that, when used effectively, can help support dynamic experiences and provide hyper-customized insights and actions across insurance.
For example, photo estimating has empowered consumers to initiate a first notice of loss remotely using their smartphone and a few pictures of the damage. For carriers with the power of AI embedded into their workflows, the claims process can be seamlessly advanced to include an immediate repair vs. total loss prediction. If predicted to be repairable, a virtual inspection and an initial AI-powered estimate are generated, which is checked by an experienced human.
While AI on its own is not a magic bullet in solving all problems, the use of micro-AI implementations, at key strategic points in the process, exemplifies how taking an outside-in approach---one that addresses the full customer experience---can pinpoint the right moments to integrate AI. This is when you can really capture its full potential and achieve tangible business benefits.
No. 2: The insurance experience is becoming more dynamic.
Traditionally, the use of virtual technology to reach insurance customers has been largely static and primarily a way for insurers to orchestrate one-way, task-oriented conversations. To date, this technology has facilitated very linear exchanges; in a sense, the carrier defined the process (increasingly modernized with IoT, mobile and AI) and the consumer followed it.
But, with an estimated 62% of employed Americans working from home due to COVID-19, every industry is working to expand and extend its use of virtual technologies to run their internal operations and interact with consumers.
Insurers with large call centers, for example, are facing new challenges, including how to seamlessly up-level conversations across teams that are no longer in the same office. Similarly, supervisors need to be able to quickly and efficiently scale consumer requests based on worker bandwidth, consumer needs and more.