Loss adjusting is is often seen as the preserve of men with clipboards and measuring tapes but as Darren Anderton, Head of Major Loss – North, at McLarens explains, the truth is far more digital than you might imagine.
Loss adjusting tends to be viewed as one of the more traditional areas of the insurance market: as a profession founded upon values such as trust, personal relationships and expert knowledge, but one in need of modernisation and disruption.
There is a lazy assumption that loss adjusters are an army of grey-suits in wellies, brandishing clipboards as they tour the nation’s disaster sites. Yet, that couldn’t be further from the truth.
While we still focus on what we do best – getting people and businesses back to where they were before disaster struck – our armoury of tools is far more digital.
For some time now McLarens have been shifting to an ever more digital model. We operate globally on a remote claims system where all our files and data are stored, where everyone is connected and where we can – as we have recently shown – work effectively as a virtual office. Our global technology strategy is about delivering convenience, agility, and safe services for our clients.
When lockdowns were announced across the globe, we were able to shift to 100% homeworking in 48 hours.
But not only have we been able to work remotely, we have extended our digital capabilities to policyholders. We have a purpose-built, mobile app that allows them to stream real-time, geo-tagged and tamper resistant image evidence of damage to their property from anywhere in the world, by photo or audio-visual recording, directly to our system from where we can start the claims process.
In less complex claims, this level of data can even allow a claim to be settled within hours or days, vastly improving the customer experience.
And that ability to assess and manage claims remotely has been enhanced considerably by the use of drones. They have been part of our toolkit for some time now where we have used them primarily in large losses such as building fires, and in surge events such as floods.
The necessity of lockdown has seen us, and others, deploy them for less complex losses – roof damage to a property for example – and all of that together, all those digital tools working in harmony, has allowed loss adjusters to focus our expertise and experience on what matters most to customers – getting their claim settled quickly and fairly.
There are some out there who fear that technology, including drones, is a threat to loss adjusting but at McLarens, we see all the digital tools we use as a huge boon – not just to policyholders and insurers but to us too, as a business and as individuals.
Will loss adjusters have a decreasing role to play in low level, low value claims as this technology becomes more prevalent? Probably, over time.
There’s no doubting that investment in front end personal engagement on certain cases brings about a more efficient and better customer experience, particularly for sectors of society such as the aged, vulnerable, and less IT savvy who benefit human contact over technology. But at the lower end of claim values, technology will enable a greater proportion of claims to be managed on a desktop or automated basis and we will see a greater focus on lifecycle reduction.
The secret will be in finding the right balance and ensuring that those claims that require the attendance of an adjuster due to size, complexity or a particular nuance, do find their way to a suitable expert to guide the claim through to settlement.
Far better to focus our energies, our expertise and the technology at our disposal on the larger, more complex and potentially more costly claims. The claims where we can really show the value of what we do. Whilst technology is no doubt assisting and bringing efficiency, it will not deliver the empathy or the innovative loss mitigation solutions that a good adjuster brings to such situations.
I don’t think there is any question that the increased use of technology in loss adjusting is a positive, for every party involved. For McLarens, the only real question is: where the next piece of tech is coming from and can it improve the way we work?