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How is new technology revolutionising the automotive insurance and repair industry?

Jason Verlen takes a a look at the leading technologies transforming the claims and collision repair process experience

The automotive insurance and repair industry is in the midst of unprecedented transformation. Accelerated by the pandemic and growing vehicle complexity, the industry has ramped up its adoption of technologies such as cloud, AI and IoT to make the insurance claim and repair process seamless across touchpoints. These enabling technologies, coupled with evolving consumer demands, are driving several trends that will forever change the claims and repair experience.

Impact of growing vehicle complexity

The percent of vehicles equipped with Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) features such as automatic emergency braking, parking assist, or blind spot detection is rising. It’s estimated that 10% of the one billion cars in use worldwide at the end of 2020 were equipped with key ADAS capabilities. As more vehicles have become equipped with these features over the last decade, the number of parts in vehicles has nearly doubled. Today, the average car has 30,000 parts and new vehicles contain more than 1,000 semiconductor computer chips used for everything from interior lighting, engine cooling and battery management to tyre pressure monitoring, seat control and more. Looking ahead, more sophisticated technology such as AI, cameras, and sensors in vehicles will grow, making insuring and repairing these vehicles increasingly complex, and costly.

New skillsets, technical training, and tools will be required to help mitigate longer repair times and claim resolution

Beyond safety systems, electric vehicles (EVs) are driving shifts across the industry. In 2021, the market-share of battery-powered EVs nearly doubled, capturing 2.9% of all new vehicle sales, up from 1.6% in 2020. EVs can offer tremendous benefits, yet are complex and can be expensive to repair. These advancements present both challenges and opportunities for auto insurers and collision repairers. New skillsets, technical training, and tools will be required to help mitigate longer repair times and claim resolution.

Mobile and AI redefine the customer experience

Over the last several years, technology has helped both insurers and collision repairers to propel forward. Photo estimating, chatbots, and text messaging have helped to deliver digital-when-needed, human-centric-where-preferred customer service models.

Since the pandemic, customer expectations have evolved, now requiring more customised and simplified interactions. As a result, several advancements have been made in insurance and repair technologies to help create a more personalised experience for drivers.

Through the help of technology, policyholders can easily submit digital photos of vehicle damage to insurers and repairers to get the claims and repair estimating process started faster than previous manual methods. And data shows that consumers are eager to adopt it. During the pandemic, the number of consumers submitting photos of their damaged vehicle directly to repairers using this technology nearly doubled, with more than 20% of claims records using photo estimates resulting in an actual repair order. These photos are transferred through an integrated network of connections, and advanced AI is applied. The experience is less about the mobile app and more about the network connections working behind the scenes that enable the consumer to drive the entire process via their phone, helping to automate the process under any circumstance.

Cameras and sensors make insuring and repairing modern vehicles increasingly complex and expensive

This example illustrates the large push toward connected ecosystems that consumers can expect to see coming in the automotive industry. Currently, in the US, one billion days elapse every year, between when auto claims are opened and when claims are resolved. Establishing seamless connections between the tens of thousands of providers across the industry that must come together to resolve the hundreds of multi-party decisions that result from a single claim is essential. This industry ecosystem spans auto insurers, collision repairers, parts suppliers, automakers, lenders, tow, and healthcare providers in the event of an injury resulting from a crash.

This technology-enabled ecosystem has made it possible for the auto insurance and repair industries to put massive amounts of data to work. Data from the vehicles themselves, digital images of the vehicles and historic claims and repair data can combine to enable more accurate decisions, increase processing times, and better overall policyholder experiences. The digitisation of this industry is still in early stages, though innovations are continuously advancing.

Telematics adoption will further fuel digitisation

Telematics has been an emerging technology in the automotive industry for decades, but adoption is growing. This is driven largely by regulation, consumer advocacy groups working to shift reliance away from credit scores to price insurance policies, and increasing vehicle complexity, which is driving cost into insurance rates and vehicle repairs. Telematics data can be applied to a variety of usage-based insurance offerings, such as pay-as-you-drive, and it can be embedded into new insurer business models that are more policyholder-centric and behaviour-driven.

Technology has helped both insurers and collision repairers to advance

How does this work? Telematics data collected directly from a vehicle can detect an accident instantly, trigger immediate calls for medical assistance if needed, and begin the claims process with an insurance carrier, and in turn, help repairers get a jumpstart on repair plans and even parts ordering. Telematics data, shared across connected providers, accelerates communication between all parties involved, ultimately reducing the repair cycle time, and increasing customer satisfaction.

Steps toward a fully automated future

The automotive industry is undergoing a significant transition. Over time, consumers, insurers, and repair technicians can expect to see this technology continue to inform and speed more decisions, freeing professionals to focus on delivering a thorough, personalised claims and repair experiences. With so much sophisticated technology at our fingertips, the potential for exceptional customer service is exponential.

About the author: Jason Verlen is Vice President of Product Marketing at CCC Intelligent Solutions Inc.

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