Technology is transforming every industry, and insurance is no exception. The landscape is rapidly evolving and with this, insurance companies are challenged with managing change. The transformation toward digital solutions creates an opportunity to have a better understanding of customer behaviours and to provide immediate customer solutions. When harnessed successfully, these newly acquired technologies improve policyholder satisfaction while reducing costs for insurance carriers.
Jason Manns, COO of CodeBlue, has over 25 years’ experience in the personal and commercial lines insurance industry. As a transformational change leader, he has led claims and operations for a number of insurance carriers with a passion for delivering best-in-class performance, while ensuring that the customer experience is at the heart of decisions.
As an insurance executive, Manns has seen the insurance industry begin to slowly shift with technological adoption advances and, consequently, sees three of the most significant challenges currently faced by insurance carriers. The first is the effective management of labour and the expenses associated with insurance carrier workforces. “This is particularly important because, in today’s low unemployment rate economy, there are shortages of qualified and technically proficient insurance staff. I expect the virtual technologies that are now available will significantly change traditional insurance carrier staffing models,” he says.
The second challenge insurance carriers face is the embedded inefficiencies in the claim handling process from inadequate initial claim damage evaluations. “For example, it is common for insurance carriers to experience 25% to 40% supplemental claim payments due to inaccuracies in the initial damage evaluation process.” Today, technology is available to provide real-time digital capture of damages at the policyholder’s initial loss report, reducing supplemental work.
Lastly, policyholder engagement presents a new challenge. The expectations of customers have increased to the point where an Amazon-like standard of service, with same-day turnarounds between orders and deliveries, has become the norm. “This level of service with regards to policyholders seeking immediate same-day property claim inspections and contractor on site arrivals is typically unheard of across the insurance industry,” says Manns. “There is a massive potential for insurance carriers to catch up to what other industries are doing.”
Early in CodeBlue’s inception, Manns — while working at an insurance carrier — was involved in the development of CodeBlue’s proactive claims management model, which was and continues to be significantly different than all others in the industry. Today, Manns leads the operations at CodeBlue, an industry-leading insurance claims management provider with full scale customisable solutions. Drawing from his experiences in the insurance carrier industry, he focused on immediate policyholder actions at first contact and the continued development of proprietary claim management software with digital technologies. This included virtual inspections strategies that provided solutions for insurance carrier staff to view loss damages real-time and remotely. “Insurance carrier staff can now view initial damage inspections from their office in a few hours after claim notification as opposed to having to be physically present at the site, removing the additional costs incurred with travel time and fleet vehicles,” says Manns. In addition, virtual damage inspection solutions reduce vehicle usage, promoting environmentally friendly carbon practices and are a strategy that can be used to protect staff against exposure to airborne viruses and contaminants often found at loss locations.
While it remains an industry standard to use call centers to interact with policyholders during the initial reporting of claims, CodeBlue has advanced this by providing a 24-hour service, available 365 days a year, for first notice of loss claim reporting with virtual damage inspections and contractor integrations that provide immediate actions for policyholders. This approach maximises the accuracy of initial damage inspections while driving high levels of policyholder engagement. In addition to this, says Manns, “insurance carriers include policy language that stresses the policyholder’s obligation to prevent additional damages at the time of the loss by taking the needed actions. However, policyholders often need greater levels of assistance in the claim process than they typically receive.” This is where CodeBlue’s combination of technology, staff with property subject matter expertise and contractor network, are leveraged to ensure insurance carriers and policyholders receive immediate actions that translate to science-based outcomes. Manns explains, “because of this advanced approach, we no longer refer to our process as “First Notice Of Loss” claim reporting, but instead, we call it “First Notice And Response” with immediate actions for policyholders.” Vault Insurance Chief Claims Officer, Peter Piotrowski stated, “by partnering with CodeBlue, we can leverage best-in-class technology to respond quickly with the right resources and skills to policyholders. Together with CodeBlue, customers will always receive efficient, empathetic and personalised assistance, leveraged by technology in order to deliver the best repair services. Vault Insurance and CodeBlue are united by the same ethos: excellent customer service.”
“The insurance industry is paying close attention to the technological advancements of other industries but continues to significantly lag behind in the adoption rate of the innovations that exist today in the marketplace,” Manns notes. “We are seeing innovations ranging from automotive loss avoidance capabilities and self-driving vehicles, aerial photography and the use of drones, to IoT smart-connected homes and buildings that measure the inside environmental conditions. These emerging technologies provide insurance carriers with missing data points and consumer behaviors to better predict underwriting risks, loss frequency and all of the costs associated, as well as the ability to take actions to avoid losses through virtual real-time policyholder interactions. The opportunity exists for insurance leaders to challenge the status quo in their organisations, embrace available technologies, and to become champions for change to improve existing insurance models.”
To add to this, Manns asserts that the fast emergence of startups in the insurtech space supports that there is evidence of insurance carrier sectors dedicated to financially supporting this evolution. We are seeing insurance carriers use emerging technologies in the claim process to evaluate damages to the exterior of houses and buildings, but often overlook using available technologies in the evaluation of damages to the interior of the home or building. This is where CodeBlue has become an industry leader, differentiating itself from its competitors by having the best-in-class interior virtual damage inspection solutions. For example, insurance carrier staff can typically drive to inspect five to eight claims in a day, yet with the utilisation of digital technologies, the same staff member can virtually inspect between 15 to 20 claims a day. This approach maximises the accuracy of initial damage inspections, reduces expenses and delivers high policyholder satisfaction.
Another CodeBlue advantage is its proprietary claim software specific to each property line of business: water and fire mitigation, reconstruction, contents and inventory. These are digitally connected to photo and video chat technologies that give the insurance carrier staff the ability to confirm the cause of loss, verify coverage and evaluate damages in real-time at the loss location. At the same time, personalised assistance is provided to the policyholder so that immediate action is taken to avoid additional loss damages and to start the repair process. Manns comments, “In the world of insurance property claims, one of the most frequent losses are water-related damages caused by broken pipes and leaks. According to the Insurance Information Institute, this averages out at a cost of US$9,633 per claim.”
“Here is a pipe break example. The insurance carrier directs the policyholder to report the loss to CodeBlue,” says Manns. “Through targeted questions, CodeBlue identifies loss specific details and uses a scientific algorithm in our proprietary database of 3,100 certified contractors to select the best contractor for the job. The chosen technology enabled contractor arrives at the loss location within four hours. CodeBlue staff complete a virtual damage inspection video chat with the contractor and policyholder on-site, which provides insurance carrier staff the needed information — such as measurements, materials, and a sketch document — to be able to evaluate the loss damages from their office.” After this, CodeBlue’s certified IICRC staff use the proprietary software with the science of drying to proactively create a water mitigation drying plan with the on-site contractor to restore wet materials instead of replacing them. This keeps the focus on returning the policyholder to pre-loss condition in the fastest, most efficient and least disruptive manner possible.
To deliver the highest level of detailed loss documentation, CodeBlue uses a combination of 3D cameras, digital applications and video chats to capture the loss in a virtual environment, which allows insurance carrier staff to tour the site from their computer or mobile device. “Our virtual damage inspection solutions vary and are determined by the type of loss and insurance carrier field staff coverage locations,” he says. “Our success is driven by our ability to identify the best virtual inspection solution for each specific claim, with inspection methods including policyholder self-service, contractor dispatch, and the deployment of CodeBlue W2 staff. All virtual damage inspections utilise our proprietary claim software and digital technologies to meet a policyholder’s specific needs. This assists insurance carriers with the effective management of labor and the expenses associated with large workforces, while reducing the inefficiencies of supplemental claim payments.” Bamboo Insurance founding member and Chief Advocacy Officer, Stann Rose, explained: “Code Blue’s partnership and technology has enabled Bamboo Insurance the ability to scale operations from a startup into a high growth company by providing immediate information gathering, coverage identification and faster claim handling which has translated to high policyholder satisfaction.”
CodeBlue partners with companies throughout North America, including three of the top 10 insurance carriers in the US, regional insurance carriers and insurtech-like startup companies. Since no partnership is the same, Manns emphasises the importance of listening to partners to understand their desired operating model and individual needs. “We’re highly customisable to insurance carriers and provide a suite of property claim solutions and virtual damage inspection strategies that insurance carriers can choose. Insurance carriers like to partner with established companies with a history of success, while simultaneously providing innovative services with technology at the core. CodeBlue has been providing property claim solutions to insurance carriers since 2004 and is leading the way in making technology transformation easier for insurance carriers that choose to embrace innovations.” While Manns and the CodeBlue team provide industry-leading property claim solutions centered on virtual inspection strategies inside the home and building, they continue to focus on the next innovations to achieve best-in-class performance levels for policyholders and insurance carriers.