The auto insurance business environment is changing rapidly, a fact that the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.) supports with some telling numbers. The industry-supported organization’s data indicate that industry expenses are rising to 26 percent on average, and that 2007 net written premium growth is almost flat at less than one percent. According to the I.I.I.’s predictions, the next few years are going to be tough ones, with the industry experiencing an underwriting loss for 2009 and beyond. With property and casualty companies facing such severe challenges, they must find ways to improve claim-handling efficiency and accuracy to remain competitive, without increasing staff.

These challenges have many in the industry wondering how smaller carriers will survive. Some fear that the cost of technology will price smaller carriers out of the market, leaving only larger carriers with the ability to afford to purchase these efficiency gains. This scenario doesn’t have to play out, though. There are specific claim technology advances that can leverage claim workflows to reduce errors and increase capacity without increasing headcount. These developments can give smaller carriers the edge they need to remain competitive in the marketplace by increasing their efficiency and accuracy in claim handling — especially in the direct repair program environment.

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