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Carriers can save valuable time and money by streamlining the entire claims process with advanced data services to better understand the state of the property pre-cat event, calculate depreciation, and validate replacement cost at scale. Carriers can save valuable time and money by streamlining the entire claims process with advanced data services to better understand the state of the property pre-cat event, calculate depreciation, and validate replacement cost at scale. (Photo: Shutterstock)

As technology delivers greater and greater potential for optimizing risk assessment, improving the customer experience and streamlining processes, many insurance carriers are doing some deep thinking on how best to leverage these new tools. According to a report by Deloitte, insurance spending on artificial intelligence and data technologies is expected to rise 48% year-over-year, reaching $1.4 billion by 2021. The sectors that will see the greatest spend increases will be automated claims processing and fraud investigation and analysis, at 50% and 47% respectively. At this point, it’s not a question of if, but when carriers plan to implement these technologies in their claims departments — and current storm forecasts suggest that time is of the essence for carrier adoption.

Carriers took a significant hit to profits in 2017 — a record-high year for losses owing to natural disasters. Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria resulted in combined insured losses of $92 billion. And if this year is any indication — the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration forecasts five to nine hurricanes in 2018 — major cat events will not let up. The growing pace of digital transformation, however, can prepare the claims department to face these external factors. When carriers focus their efforts on improving claims efficiencies and strengthening interdepartmental communications, the entire organization gains a competitive advantage.

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Catastrophic events demand data-driven efficiencies

When a natural disaster strikes, it’s important for carriers to focus on a positive customer experience by providing insureds with speedy responses to claims submissions. Claims departments that leverage the right data tools can strengthen automation workflows, affording teams real-time visibility into the status of a claim from first notice of loss to closing. A significant influx of claims following a natural disaster or large-scale event can create operational challenges for the claims department. The sheer number of stakeholders involved in a claim, including the policyholder, carrier, permitting authorities, contractors, subcontractors and adjusters, is illustrative of the problem. Natural complexities involved in a claim, magnified by a natural disaster, inevitably lead to some level of miscommunication between stakeholders. Without the right technology or data tools in place, it can be costly for carriers to scale up efficiently during a natural disaster.

New data analytics and machine learning tools can help carriers more quickly and accurately process claims. Carriers can save valuable time and money by streamlining the entire claims process with advanced data services to better understand the state of the property pre-cat event, calculate depreciation, and validate replacement cost at scale. Additionally, carriers that use these tools can more effectively optimize their limited adjuster resources to prioritize certain properties. When it comes to leveraging new technology — and considering the limited resources after a severe weather event — carriers can leverage data to optimize processes and deliver quicker responses to customers.

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