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November 9, 2022 / by

Top 6 dos and don’ts of the claims process

The claims process is the mission-critical factor to any insurance company’s success. Employees, business partners, and customers are lost and won on the quality of the claims experience. When done right, this important process promotes an accurate, dependable, efficient, and consistent experience for the customer, insurer, and repair shop.

When done wrong, those relationships sour. In fact, in one survey, more consumers cited customer experience than pricing as a reason for switching insurance providers. Specifically, the claims process was the top reason given by those who switched.

Navigating insurance claims can be a complex process – but there are a few tips and tricks you can follow to make the claims process better for everyone involved.

The Dos & Don’ts of the Claims Process

1. Don’t Rush the Triage Process

Because the triage process helps determine how the rest of the claim will proceed, it’s critical to get things just right from the time of the initial estimate. On the other hand, if you rush triage you may inadvertently:

  • Make the wrong decision regarding whether the vehicle is repairable. This could send what is actually a total loss car to a repair shop, thereby delaying the ultimate total loss decision. It also creates unnecessary work for the repair shop.
  • Allow a non-drivable vehicle to be driven by the customer, putting them at risk.
  • Send a vehicle for total loss when it should have been repaired – a costly mistake for everyone involved.
  • Fall victim to fraud.

2. Do Carefully Triage at First Notice of Loss (FNOL)

FNOL is important for two reasons. The first is by providing the claimant with an efficient yet empathetic initial claims process experience. The second is laying a solid foundation for the rest of the claims process by triaging each accident very carefully. For example, you can use an intelligent triaging system to:

  • Come up with a consistent confidence score regarding what the next step should be, such as declaring if the vehicle is repairable or a total loss
  • Determine whether the vehicle can be driven safely
  • Automatically analyze images for inconsistencies that could suggest fraud

3. Don’t Overlook Anything During Your Estimation

Whether it’s because you’ve seen several similar accidents in the past or are in a time crunch, it can be easy to not give each and every detail of the estimation process the attention it deserves. For example, in photo-based estimating, it’s crucial to have the right type and number of photos throughout the claims process. If you’re basing an estimation on lackluster or incomplete information you may miss important damage.

In some cases, an estimate may get approved prematurely before all factors have been taken into consideration. For example, the claim’s pictures may miss important details due to factors like incorrect positioning, lighting problems, or reflections off the vehicle’s finish.

4. Do Use Automation to Ensure You Generate an Accurate Estimation

Automation makes it easier to get the full picture of all the damage and help ensure an accurate estimation. That’s because with current technology, automation can not only help when it comes to image analysis, but can also provide a system of checks and balances to ensure you don’t miss anything important.

For instance, with automation, you can:

  • Streamline the photo-to-estimate process, cutting down the time it takes to provide customers funds for repairing or replacing their vehicle
  • Enable auto-approve processes based on rules you set up in advance
  • See what your AI system sees by overlaying  the scope of an AI system’s view over the damaged area of the vehicle

5. Don’t Leave Essential Elements Up to Chance

In some ways the adjustment process is relatively straightforward – especially for an experienced professional. But it can be easy to miss one or a few critical elements since there are so many factors to be take into consideration.

For example, you can make a mistake when looking up the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) —or neglect to perform it altogether—which could severely impact claims process integrity. The wrong VIN will identify the wrong vehicle and cause inaccuracies on the estimate. A small error in the VIN could also impact the accuracy of your vehicle valuation, such as indicating a base model instead of a luxury model.

It’s also possible to take too few pictures, or even the wrong ones. This would mean someone else would need to go back and take the photos you need to finish the claim at a later date, putting your company at risk for fraud.

It’s important to remember each step in the claims process is used to justify the considerable investment on the part of the insurance company you work for. If you leave anything out they may over- or under-spend on a claim, which could result in significant issues such as customer repair delays, total repair costs, or a negative customer experience.

6. Do Use Automated Processes to Ensure You Include the Right Data

With the right technology, automated processes can virtually eliminate the possibility of missing key elements of the claims procedure. Look for solutions that:

  • Automatically look up VINs using Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology
  • Provide a step-by-guide for every step in the claims process, starting from FNOL
  • Generate a vehicle mask of the exact vehicle using its VIN to facilitate better images and thus a better estimate

Process Claims Better With the Right Tools and Procedures

Each of these dos and don’ts can be either accomplished or avoided using modern technology. This makes an adjuster’s job easier and faster and helps eliminate errors.

By taking time, using these tips, and carefully following a defined set of procedures, you can reduce or eliminate the possibility of missing key elements of the claims and adjustment processes. And with the right technology on your side, you can ensure a smooth, quick, and efficient claims process for everyone in every incident. Learn more by connecting with Solera today.