Hurricane Damage Workflow Tamed by IoT Solution

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2017 delivered storm-induced emergencies that devastated portions of the United States.  It is estimated that Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria will result in $ 300 billion in damages.

The recovery phase of an emergency is a massive undertaking and a large part of the effort, particularly for home and business owners, is funded through insurance claims resulting from the hurricane damage.  Hurricanes generate thousands, if not tens of thousands, insurance claims. Insurance companies will rely on independent adjusters to begin the process of assessing damage, creating estimates for repairs and completing claims to the satisfaction of the policyholder.

Assessing claims and creating estimates is often very time consuming, complex and heavily reliant on the workflow of a relatively small number of independent adjusters, when compared to the sheer volume of claims created by what is  being  called the  largest collective hurricane damage ever experienced in the United States.

Our company was approached by a cadre of experienced independent catastrophic storm insurance adjusters that understood that the claim process could be enhanced by their ability to work faster and more efficiently. They were interested in improving the claim management process, as it related to the work they did, creating greater value for the insurance company and the policy holder.

 

They identified the following as the most significant barriers and/or opportunities for improving their work as adjusters:

  • Workflow management. The assignment of the claim to the adjuster is the start of a multiple step process to successfully complete a claim. Adjusters are required to manage a great deal of information, from multiple sources throughout the process.
  • Collecting and managing claim information. Insurance claims require documentation, picture taking, interviews and the completion of a comprehensive estimate that addresses the damage that is to be covered by the insurance company.
  • Utilizing technology and connectivity more efficiently. The adjusters shared that they were spending too much time organizing images, uploading data and managing multiple platforms/interfaces.
  • Time management and overall efficiency. In the days following a hurricane, the adjusters work extremely long days completing interviews and damage assessments. Often the data collected early in the day is not processed until the day is complete. The goal was to be able to organize and upload data much more efficiently.

Collaborating with the adjusters, learning about the obstacles and bottlenecks that they encountered in their daily activities, Asset Monitoring Solutions was able to deliver a cloud based solution that incorporated a mobile application called Claim BuilderTM.

 

 How Claim BuilderTM Transformed the Claims Management Process for the Adjuster

 

In any IoT project, it is critical to understand the work process ecosystem so that it is clear where innovation can be introduced and potentially fully integrated and where existing systems must continue to be operated with the established protocol and procedures.  The adjusters were feeding information into an existing estimating program that was linked to the insurance company’s data management process. Full integration would not be possible.

 

Here is how AMS addressed the barriers and opportunities:

 

Workflow Management

 

The adjusters utilize an approach where they conducted the interviews, documentation review and damage assessments and then turned over the resulting data to writers that were skilled in using the estimating program.

Claim BuilderTM was developed so that the insurance company paperwork, damage information (reports and images) and all related documentation associated with a claim could be uploaded and managed efficiently in one location. The result was the adjusters could now:

  • Create a specific claim/client file
  • Upload data to the file
  • Assign the file to a claim writer
  • Manage the workflow/timelines for each claim
  • Record dates and times when certain activities took place; which is critical to the claim management process and reporting
  • Upload additional documentation to the file as received
  • Record damage estimates
  • Record fees due to the adjuster based on an established fee schedule
  • Record and manage billing to insurance company for services provided

 

Collecting and Managing Claim Information

 

The adjusters were heavily reliant on traditional hard copy file management. Claim BuilderTM was designed so that the adjusters and writers no longer needed to maintain and access data from paper documents. This was particularly useful for the adjusters who are constantly on the road during the claims management process. The adjusters indicated that the ability to call up information on their phone, tablet or notebook significantly improved their efficiency.

Documents, images and other data can be easily accessed via the cloud-based solution. Security and access protocols were developed so that team members could only access claims that they were assigned; ensuring privacy and confidentiality in the claims management process.

 

Utilizing Technology and Connectivity More Efficiently

 

Prior to having Claim BuilderTM and the mobile application, adjusters would utilize a digital camera to record images of their notes and the damages from each claim. They would complete their full schedule of claims and then return to their accommodation to upload the data. The adjusters reported that this was a time consuming function with multiple steps (with the potential for error) that delayed the claim writers from beginning the estimate.

Claim BuilderTM allows the adjuster to download an app to their mobile phone.   After creating a claim file, the adjuster can easily add images of notes and damage with the application and verify the images. They can also efficiently add or delete images from the claim. Once the interview and assessment is complete, they upload the images to Claim BuilderTM from their mobile via the cloud before moving on to their next appointment.

The mobile application verifies that the images have been uploaded and the claim writers can then immediately start work on developing the estimate for the claim.

 

Time management and Overall Efficiency

 

The client’s primary goal was to work faster and more efficiently. Claim BuilderTM reduces the complexity of managing the claims process for the adjuster, while significantly improving their workflow and efficiency.

Claim BuilderTM removed the need for hard copy files, allowing adjusters and writers to access data efficiently via the cloud. Images of notes and damage can now be captured with the mobile application, removing the cumbersome and time consuming of uploading files from a digital camera. With the mobile application, files can be quickly created and images can be uploaded to Claim BuilderTM on the fly via the cloud; claim writers can now access file data the moment it is uploaded to the server, reducing the amount of time that it takes to complete an estimate and, ultimately, successfully close the claim

 

Did AMS Deliver?

 

An IoT solution must be able to clearly demonstrate that it has delivered on the client’s objectives if it is to be considered a success. Here is what our clients had to say:

“We were looking for a solution that allowed us to be more organized, work quicker and be more efficient. Claim BuilderTMand the app delivered on all of those objectives. I have been an independent adjuster for 15 + years and I can confidently state that I completed 30 % more claims with greater efficiency than I have ever achieved in the past”

  • Blair Merriam, independent adjuster.

“This solution was exactly what we needed. Managing claims is noticeably more streamlined and we are completing a greater volume of claims with greater efficiency. We are definitely delivering more value to our client (the insurance company) and the policy holder”

  • Doug Howard, independent adjuster

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