Those who have been CAT adjusting for many years likely remember the olden days of the paper files, landlines, Polaroids and handwritten estimates. My, how far we’ve come!
To illustrate the advances technology has afforded adjusters, let’s take a look at a typical day-in-the-life of a CAT adjuster from 15 years ago. Deployed to a storm site, driving anywhere from 24 to 48 hours upon arrival, he or she receives a large, heavy stack of paper files. Next the adjuster begins making contacts and setting appointments. If not lucky enough to have a cell phone, then the adjuster will spend hours in the hotel room making calls from a landline. Often the adjuster would need to leave a message; the policyholder would call back and leave a message at the hotel, leading to a maddening round of phone tag.
Claims Management Systems (CMS) allow principals to manage their company more effectively. Among the tools of a good CMS are: reporting functions for predicting and analyzing trends, managing performance data, claim assignment capabilities, and cycle time tracking. CMS enables the company to view real-time data, examine customer service indicators, and provide feedback to the adjuster to confirm that they are aware of their service levels and expectations. Having all this information readily available in one place enables management to respond quickly to any issues that arise. This also allows management to make necessary adjustments to ensure they are moving forward to meet or exceed service level goals.
From scheduling, mapping, and checking email to text messaging, dictation, taking photos, and more, cell phones have become an invaluable component of the adjuster tool-belt. Imagine this: an adjuster receives a claim via email. They get the message instantly on their cell phone and can contact the insured to set up an inspection immediately. The loss location can be mapped with the cell phone as well. The inspection can be completed using a mobile estimating utility. Most estimating platforms have applications that interface with cell phones, so inspection data can be directly uploaded to the software. An exciting emerging technology is measuring applications for smart phones. There are several available now, but the accuracy is not yet precise enough for estimating purposes. However, in the next few years, cell phones will likely be used as measuring devices. No doubt, the future holds the possibility that a cell phone may be the only tool an adjuster will need.