CCC Photo Estimates and AI-Supported Claims Spike in Response to COVID-19

CCC Photo Estimates and AI-Supported Claims Spike in Response to COVID-19

At any point, a piece of technology can go from being discretionary to essential, and in many cases, this is what’s happening now with photo estimating within the collision repair industry.

Recently, CCC Information Services, Inc. (CCC) reported photo estimates and AI-supported insurance claims have expanded at a record pace exceeding double-digit growth through May of this year.

Many shops that used to think of photo estimates as an option are now making them the norm for a wide range of reasons.

CCC’s statistics show the rapid adoption of digital technology is in direct response to social distancing and work-from-home protocols initiated to combat COVID-19. The company’s industry data indicates the insurance industry recently surpassed 3 million estimates initiated leveraging photo technology, since tracking began in 2018.

The company also reports the percentage of claims processed through CCC® Quick Estimate, its mobile photo estimating solution, more than doubled from January to April, as carriers are accelerating use and adoption of digital tools in response to COVID-19.

“Industry use of photos for method of inspection has been growing and insurers are seeing benefit to both cycle time and customer satisfaction,” said Susanna Gotsch, director, industry analyst for CCC. “The recent spike is likely indicative of a new normal as we’re seeing greater use of digital by carriers that have been in market and new insurers coming online with digital solutions.”

CCC also reports a similar trend in estimates written using CCC® Smart Estimate, the world’s first AI-guided estimating solution. Smart Estimate applies AI and estimating logic to photos captured with Quick Estimate.

CCC’s Senior Vice President of Product Management Jason Verlen has extensive experience in the software industry, with specific expertise in product management, big data and analytics. Before joining CCC in May 2015, Verlen spent five years at IBM, where he was VP of big data analytics.

“The use of AI-supported claims has accelerated from steady adoption by industry leaders to a massive increase in use and adoption by the industry at large," Verlen said. "Our data, and the conversations we are having with customers, strongly suggests that this point in time will mark a digital revolution in claims.

"We’re seeing every industry embracing new technologies, rethinking how they work, and focusing on personalizing experiences for their customers. The insurance industry is no different.”

By creating an easy-to-use system for customers, insurance adjusters and shops alike, Verlen has seen all three parties using more and more photo estimates than before.

“The adoption rate was already going up, but then the pandemic turned it into a complete transformation,” he said. “Shops are more concerned now about safety for its customers and employees for obvious reasons. More and more insurers are asking for our mobile photo estimating solution and shops realize that they’re going to get more work by making it part of their processes.”

Those who are adopting the system now will likely use it for the long term. Verlen said.

“It’s providing a vastly better and safer consumer experience and we’re getting more and more users every month,” he said. “We know from history that people will use technology to adapt for whatever reason, and then don’t change back. The pandemic has made photo estimating systems more relevant than ever before and shops that were reluctant to use them are now embracing this technology.”

Another reason CCC’s photo estimating is quickly gaining in popularity is the fact the technology is better and the public is more comfortable using it on a daily basis.

“There was a little friction two to three years ago because the first generation of any technology is always going to be inferior to the technology it replaces,” Verlen said. “One of the main issues back then was the quality of digital cameras in cellphones, but you look at them now and they are amazing. The enhanced camera capabilities lead to greater clarity, and we’ve applied technology to guide users in taking the right pictures, so picture accuracy has improved, adding a whole new level of credibility, which is so important, especially for shops that are using it for the first time.”

CCC offers the industry’s only end-to-end digital auto insurance experience, from telematics data used by insurers for policy quotes and premium discounts, to incident management, where telematics can be used to alert an insurance carrier after a crash event, to photo- and AI-powered applications for repair, total loss and casualty claims management.

Using mobile, AI and IoT together with its industry platform, CCC connects the broader auto insurance ecosystem supporting more than $100 billion in transactions each year.

In June, CCC announced the availability of CCC® Quick View, a photo-guided vehicle inspection solution.

Quick View enables auto underwriters to efficiently and affordably complete vehicle inspections virtually by offering policyholders a mobile app to easily capture vehicle photos.

Once photos are received, CCC’s proven AI-enabled photo analytics and Damage Detection Heatmaps® are applied, allowing insurers to assess vehicle condition, including the identification of pre-existing damage. Quick View also makes it easy for insurers to assess the presence of custom equipment. Policyholders can capture and share photos at their convenience typically in five minutes.

Early use of Quick View by a large, national insurer shows marked improvements in cost, speed and the identification of pre-existing damage.

Specifically, Quick View reduced costs by 75% over manual inspections, led to 60% of inspections being completed in less than 24 hours and identified pre-existing damage on more than 15% of assessed vehicles.

“Insurers are looking to balance the need to understand risk with the ability to efficiently and consistently conduct vehicle inspections,” said Naved Siddique, CCC’s group vice president, insurance services group. “Quick View offers policyholders a guided experience to make photo capture easy, while AI and heatmaps help insurers with their virtual vehicle assessments.

"Quick View has additional inherent value as vehicle photos can be integrated with CCC’s claims solutions, making them readily available for review by insurers should a physical damage claim arise in the future," Siddique said. "We’re excited to apply our mobile, AI and heatmap capabilities to the inspection process, supporting the broader needs of our insurance customers.”

CCC Quick View empowers drivers to carry out photo collection digitally and at their convenience. Insurance carriers can use digital photos to be more productive and effective in determining the condition of a new policyholder’s vehicle.

CCC Quick View offers features such as guided photo capture, which enables consumers to receive a Quick View invite, prompting and guiding them through photo collection and submission and geo-coding that verifies where photos were taken, helping identify garage location.

It also enables users to take photos that can be integrated with CCC’s claims solutions, making them easily available for comparison if a physical damage claim is initiated under the applicable policy in the future, allowing carriers to potentially mitigate prior damage claims.

Ed Attanasio

Ed Attanasio is an automotive journalist and Autobody News columnist based in San Francisco.

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