January 26, 2016
‘Gig Economy’ Comes to Claims Handling
What if there was an Uber for insurance? There is, sending people with smartphones to quickly gather the information needed for claims.
Why is this taking so long?!
The challenge I hear echoed throughout the insurance industry is, “How do we speed up the claims process for customers?” Insurance companies often bear the brunt of frustrations from customers stressed out about delays. As we all know, processing claims takes time and patience to gather information, details, photographs and a myriad of other documentation. Getting the right information and accurate documentation takes even longer.
Based on the volume of claims, resources and personnel can become stretched thin quickly. Despite all the efforts within organizations, it’s not uncommon to see claims departments contorting themselves like Gumby to get it all done. Insurance claims are stressful, and relying on customers to reliably and quickly provide information is a challenge — even when it’s to their benefit.
The problem becomes exacerbated following natural disasters or claims in geographic locations where companies have little to no footprint and limited resources to document and gather the information needed. In those situations, companies have to reallocate and sometimes relocate resources, which is expensive, time-consuming and a logistical nightmare.
Saving time and improving data quality and accuracy are all key components to avoiding customer frustration and increasing customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Traditional Challenges Meet Disruptive Solutions
Recently, there’s been a lot of handwringing about the “sharing economy,” the “gig economy” and what it means for traditional lines of business and workers. Will the workplace as we know it change completely? As Tony Canas shared in his Insurance Thought Leadership piece, “What Will Be the Uber of Insurance?,” the gig economy is hardly the end of the world, and the insurance industry is probably due for some disruption.
What a number of traditional lines of business are beginning to discover is that the gig economy presents an opportunity to leverage the power of crowdsourcing to solve challenges, eliminate inefficiencies and even spark innovation within their organizations. Target and Instacart, GM and Lyft, are great examples of how large, traditional verticals are finding ways to integrate the gig economy into new products and services to attract and keep customers while increasing the bottom line.
Now going back to one of insurance’s greatest challenges — saving time and improving accuracy in the claims process, particularly when it comes to getting information such as photographs, records, police reports and inspections. These tasks sometimes feel like they can go on forever with a single claim as companies try to coordinate logistics with policyholders.
What if there was an Uber for insurers? A service that could dispatch an objective third party with a smartphone to quickly take pictures and gather exactly the information needed in the claims process almost immediately?
Disruption Gets Good for Insurance
Like Uber, WeGoLook is changing the way the gig economy is disrupting B2B by providing inspection and custom tasking services. Building on the strength of the gig economy and using the crowdsourcing model, WeGoLook has built a nationwide network of field agents that provides a nimbleness that is often buried alive in large enterprises.
Here’s how it works at one of the nation’s largest auto insurance companies, where WeGoLook is incorporated into the claims-handling process:
- A claim handler places an order on a custom dashboard and chooses a service: (1) vehicle photos, (2) scene inspections, (3) salvage retrieval, (4) police record retrieval.
- A WeGoLook representative calls the onsite contact/policyholder to verify address/item information and schedule an appointment.
- The “Looker” arrives on-site and captures the data needed for the service/task.
- Data is submitted via the mobile WeGoLook app and reviewed by internal staff at WGL for quality assurance.
- The completed report is sent directly to the claim file.
Turning to the gig economy and its on-demand workforce is generating economic benefits and creating true efficiency. We’ve witnessed the process being replicated in companies both large and small and in a variety of categories.
Since starting the company in 2009, I’m continually inspired by the creativity of entrepreneurs and how they’ve found new and inspirational ways to apply crowdsourcing. From crowdfunding, ridesharing, coworking and delivery services to even “pet Airbnb,” the gig economy marketplace is homing in on specific consumer and business needs and delivering.