Why Digital Titling Is Transformational

Digital vehicle titling is revolutionizing auto insurance, offering same-day service and cost savings. West Virginia is setting the example. 

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The adoption of digital technologies is driving a remarkable transformation in the auto insurance industry, which has long been associated with complex paperwork and lengthy processes. One example is the advent of digital vehicle titling to streamline insurance claims management for total losses and unrecovered thefts, offering convenience and efficiency while providing substantial economic benefits. This new digital solution, based on blockchain, is revolutionizing the industry and benefiting policyholders and insurers alike.

Same-Day Service

In an era of instant gratification, policyholders expect same-day service. Digital titling delivers just that. By automating manual processes and reducing reliance on paperwork, a digital titling platform enables insurance providers to process total loss claims and obtain sellable titles within a day, an amazing improvement from the previous standard of 60 days. Claims documents are delivered promptly, enabling policyholders to make informed decisions and stay up to date during the stressful occasions of a total loss or theft. This increased efficiency and responsiveness enhances customer satisfaction and strengthens insurer-policyholder relationships.

Without the conveniences of digital titling, insured parties are subject to the “time tax,” a phrase coined by the CEO of Champ Titles, Shane Bigelow, to describe the massive time commitment of securing a title with physical paperwork and a DMV visit.

“We need to reduce the time tax that each consumer pays as they wait in line to process paper and deal with DMVs," Bigelow says. "Because each state has unique systems, laws and procedures, a solution that can work with legacy systems but provide a powerful, flexible and, most important, digital system of record is needed.”

Advantages for Insurers

While policyholders benefit significantly from digital titling, insurers win, too. That is because digital titling isn’t just about a digital title but rather about the full digitization of the titling process, which has always been paper-ridden and slow. Costs associated with printing, mailing and physical document storage are eliminated. Automation of processes minimizes manual labor requirements, resulting in operational efficiency and reduced administrative expenses. By removing redundant tasks and streamlining workflows, insurers can reallocate resources to enhance customer service and improve innovation. As a result of carriers getting paid faster, insurance rates decrease. All parties benefit.

In addition to cost savings, insurers can encourage environmentally responsible practices by embracing digital vehicle titling. Currently, each state's motor vehicle department uses an average of 15 million sheets of paper annually for this process. Going digital not only eliminates paper usage but also streamlines end-of-life vehicle processing. Traditional titling often leads to prolonged storage of totaled cars, which may contain hazardous materials like engine fluids and battery acid. Leakage of these substances poses significant threats to ecosystems and groundwater. However, with an expedited digital titling process, carriers can recycle vehicles on the same day, reducing environmental risks and supporting material reuse.

West Virginia Clearinghouse

The launch of West Virginia’s National Digital Titling Clearinghouse on July 1, 2023, is perhaps the biggest leap in vehicle titling in over 20 years. This innovative concept, born from the West Virginia DMV, with technology created by Champ Titles and payments facilitated by Tyler Technologies, acts as a central hub for national entities like insurers and online car retailers to digitally acquire, store and transfer out-of-state vehicle titles—safely, accurately and efficiently from anywhere in the country.

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice said, "I am excited about this initiative, which will bring millions of dollars to the state of West Virginia and position us as a leader in innovation, as we have been so many times before. I’m proud that West Virginia is the first state that’s setting the template for others to follow. My thanks go out to the legislature and to all those involved at the DMV for making this a reality.”

This groundbreaking platform not only establishes West Virginia as a pioneer in vehicle titling and registration solutions but also serves as a model for other states seeking to streamline their titling processes. By embracing this system, other states can unlock the benefits of improved efficiency, cost reduction and enhanced accessibility.

As digital titling continues to evolve and reshape the insurance industry, both policyholders and insurers can look forward to a future that is more efficient, customer-centric and economically beneficial. These advancements in digital titling are ushering in a new era of streamlined motor vehicle operations and enhanced experiences for everyone involved.

Bill Keogh

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Bill Keogh

Bill Keogh currently serves as the non-executive chair of The Institutes' RiskStream Collaborative.

He is an adviser to executives at the intersection of insurance and innovation. He has extensive experience successfully engaging with, selling to and managing relationships in the global insurance industry. He has 25 years of executive experience with market leaders, including 17 years in the field of climate and risk modeling.

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