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It’s Rush Hour in Telematics Market

Anyone who even casually follows insurance industry business developments is no doubt aware of the recent spike in announcements by TSPs (Telematics Service Providers), auto makers, information providers, insurance carriers and the related articles from industry thought leaders about many new products, programs and partnerships all focused in one way or another on the connected car (and driver). To oversimplify it, this is all being driven by a wide range of opportunities perceived by each of these participants to represent significant monetization of the related data.

Until very recently, telematics supported the interesting and novel little corner of the auto insurance industry known as Usage Based Insurance (UBI). UBI was seen by the industry as little more than a marketing channel and a few carriers – most notably Progressive who used it effectively in their Snapshot program to lure several million new customers (mostly low mileage, safe drivers seeking to be rewarded by discounts for doing little more than connecting a device to their vehicle for 6 months). However, hardware and administration costs plus the phenomenon of adverse selection made these programs marginally profitable, if at all.

But now, as OEMs and others have begun to realize the commercial value of vehicle and driver data, now accessible through increasingly more powerful smartphones and the increasing amount of onboard connectivity appearing in newer cars, numerous new participants and new programs are emerging regualrly. Good examples are the Telematics Data Exchanges introduced by Verisk, LexisNexis Risk Solutions and otonomo, who have attracted large OEs and insurance companies as partners.

Announcements this week alone include;

  • telematics insurer Root is in talks with OEMs seeking alternative driver data from connected cars for claims and underwriting
  • Milliman, Inc., a premier global consulting and actuarial firm, announced a driving “risk score” created with tech start-up Zendrive that is claimed to be up to six times more powerful than the leading predictive models.
  • Octo Telematics to acquire UBI assets of Willis Towers Watson and partner with them on insurance-related products

See also: Ready for Telematics? 7 Considerations  

And over just the past few months of 2017;

  • IMS development kit speeds delivery of insurance telematics and connected car programs and enables insurers to simplify and unify app development by integrating telematics and connected car services directly into their existing or new mobile applications.
  • Octo Telematics released Glimpse Plus, a digitally-enabled telematics service that provides a reliable way for insurers to gather accurate data on driving behavior, as well as more detailed crash detection and claims analysis. The solution also enables consumers to use their smartphone to monitor their driving habits and become safer drivers.
  • Arity, the technology unit of Allstate that was established just last year, is now offering Shared Mobility Solutions to offer interested parties access to risk data and driving analytics.
  • Arity also announced that it has entered into an agreement with National General Insurance to build and launch a new telematics program for the insurance company
  • CCC Information Services, whose core platform already connects over 350 insurers and 24,000 repair shops, announces new CCC ONE for OEMs platform that links insurers to OEM connected car and vehicle data
  • LexisNexis Risk Solutions and Verisk Risk Solutions introduce Telematics Data Exchanges making OEM driver and vehicle data available to insurers
  • LexisNexis and TrueMotion join forces to provide smartphone app solutions, data services and advanced analytics, enabling insurers to deliver distracted driving models as well as traditional UBI programs
  • LexisNexis Risk Solutions engaged with three auto manufacturers (including Mitsubishi) to provide unique solutions through LexisNexis Telematics Exchange to provide greater insights and ROI for insurers and auto manufacturers
  • Verisk Insurance Solutions and Driveway Software introduce a smartphone telematics solution to automakers who participate in the Verisk Data Exchange to deliver greater flexibility to automakers and their millions of customers who own older vehicles and previously couldn’t leverage all the benefits of data connectivity.

And this list is really only the tip of the iceberg. Many more strategies and emerging partnerships and alliances are under development and we can expect numerous announcements over the next few weeks.

For car makers, telematics represents a major step forward in the long sought after upgrade of the customer engagement and lifetime relationship…and the related associated revenues. These include offering location based services in partnership with third party retailers, finally exerting real control over accident management and related triaged services from Towing to Temporary Rental to increased use of OEM parts in repairs and increased direction of accident repairs to OEM certified collision repair facilities. Indeed, it could well include the packaging and sale of auto insurance with the price of the automobile. Proving the point is Ford’s recent leadership change with Jim Hackett taking over CEO duties from Mark Fields who was notably failing to carry Ford into the future of vehicle technologies.

Of particular interest, and now driving renewed carrier interest in telematics, are the various applications focused on Claims and automated FNOL (First Notice of Loss) – the holy grail of meaningful loss cost reduction. When accidents are reported in real-time, carriers can triage critical services such as towing, temporary rental cars, schedule collision repairs and reduce attorney penetration in the event of 3rd party injuries. In addition, automated claims reporting with all of the related accident documentation (including onboard video) will significantly reduce some aspects of fraud and help to determine fault, liability and comparative negligence where applicable. And, maybe most importantly, over time and as individual driving histories and behaviors become more generally available from third party databases (much like credit scores), insurance underwriting and pricing will become more accurate and precise, leading to greater profitability.

Ultimately, we expect to see consolidation on the information provider/TSP side as supply exceeds demand and uptake and we expect to see partnerships of convenience between OEMS and carriers as each realizes their true core competencies (making cars and managing information and claims) and settles for their respective pieces of the large revenue prize.

See also: Telematics Has 2 Key Lessons for Insurtechs

And while it may seem counter-intuitive that so much energy and capital is being invested in drivers and vehicles even as the proliferation of self-driving vehicles are a virtually inevitable reality, meaningful penetration of fully autonomous cars is still decades away. Moreover, many of the same technologies being leveraged in today’s connected car and driver programs utilize the same basic components and designs upon which self-driving cars will depend. And today’s programs will serve to make consumers more comfortable with the concept of always being connected and sharing driving behavior and other personal information in exchange for some perceived value.

But none of this will evolve much further without overcoming serious challenges from consumers and regulators, foremost among them the long overdue debate and resolution of data ownership, privacy and security concerns. In the end, only permission-based solutions requiring positive consumer confirmation will assuage those concerns (and even then not for 100% of the population), and that permission will require all participants to share potential rewards with consumers. One might look to the EU’s impending General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and its severe penalties coming into force May 2018 for guidance in this regard.

IoT: Collaboration Is Now Mandatory

The definition of collaboration is the action of working with someone to produce or create something. That seems far too simplistic a way to describe the many types of collaboration already at work in the insurance industry and moreover does not begin to convey the looming and enormous demand for working together that will be required for success in implementing the Insurance Internet of Things (IoT).

Historically, the insurance industry has had to use a wide variety of collaboration tools to succeed as data, information, consumer behavior, products and regulations changed with increasing velocity. These tools included e-mail, texting, instant messaging, content management systems, enterprise social platforms and formal enterprise collaboration software. Insurers have even begun to leverage the use of digital technology and web-based collaboration tools such as Slack to empower employees, enhance user experiences, improve internal communication and strengthen agent and broker relationships.

See also: Insurance and the Internet of Things  

Looking beyond insurance companies themselves, we note the emergence of insurtech accelerators and incubators, both independent and captive. What is becoming apparent is that there is a convergence taking place between these entrepreneurial startups and the traditional carriers, sparking collaboration between the new, small and fast market entrants with the old, big and slow incumbents. Much more of this kind of collaboration will be required for the insurance industry to survive and thrive in tomorrow’s world.

New forms of collaboration are emerging in the insurance ecosystem, some more formal than others. Strategic alliances and partnerships are being announced daily, as are vendor-vendor and carrier-carrier arrangements. Recent examples are plentiful; CoreLogic joined the Guidewire PartnerConnect program to deliver more accurate property risk pricing and residential estimating more efficiently to Guidewire’s property insurance customer base, and Insurity collaborated with Allstate Business Insurance to quickly deliver a new self-service quoting app with convenient data pre-fill.

Co-opetition is a more innovative form of collaboration that has been gaining traction. Former competitors work together to leverage a common, defined opportunity that yields better results for each company than either could have achieved on its own. In the world of insurance IoT, of which the connected car is a major subset, we increasingly see original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) participating in programs with auto insurers with telematics data exchanges and with each other in developing vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication standards.

In other areas of insurance IoT, we are seeing a rapidly increasing number of health and property insurtech partnership announcements with insurers delivering innovative new risk-management products and services to consumers (e.g. Vitality-John Hancock, Roost-Liberty Mutual, True Motion-Progressive, etc.).

As the number of connected things expands exponentially, so, too, will the frequency and velocity of data generated by these sensors and devices. The ability to receive, normalize, manage and use all of this digital data will quickly exceed the capacity and expertise of even the largest insurers, so collaboration with a new generation of information management and data science providers will be mandatory.

See also: 12 Issues Inhibiting the Internet of Things  

For insurers and others to successfully navigate this burgeoning ecosystem, access to relevant knowledge and competitive information will also be mandatory, and one effective way to gain these insights is participation in subject-specific industry conferences where expert speakers and industry thought leaders share their experiences and insights. One such event is the Insurance IoT USA Summit taking place in Chicago on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1.

So critical will be effective collaboration in the future that it is conceivable that formal courses, certifications and degrees in collaboration will be offered by business schools in response to the exploding demand for this set of business skills and expertise driven by IoT proliferation and adoption. In any event, participants in the insurance ecosystem that best master the art of collaboration are sure to be the market leaders of the IoT future.

Car Makers, Insurers: Becoming Partners?

When “Car and Driver” magazine debuted more than 60 years ago (originally titled Sports Cars Illustrated), nobody could have envisioned the approaching changes that would transform life as we knew it – including all things automotive and consumer. Today, the expression “car and driver” suggests a completely different meaning as automobiles are becoming “driven” by software and technology and their owners are becoming passengers – and increasingly we are riding in vehicles we don’t even own but rather share or rent.

But while we await our future, current innovations in vehicle and consumer technologies have already emerged to create a transition period full of complex challenges and issues accompanied by potentially significant opportunities for all participants. While much attention is being paid to the emergence of telematics and the connected car, and seemingly endless amounts of investment capital are flowing to the many innovative and promising startups sprouting in this fertile global environment, something even more consequential is also beginning to evolve. Auto insurers and auto makers – once basically adversaries – are beginning to cooperate around many of the related opportunities.  

See also: 3 Technology Trends Worth Watching  

These two industries, which serve and share a common customer base, have traditionally been wary of one another because they had so many conflicting interests. Carriers insure the people who drive the cars that OEMs make, and, when accidents inevitably occur, liability is frequently brought into question to protect the interests of one from the other. In addition, franchised new car dealers, upon whose success OEMs depend for sales and vehicle distribution, earn significant revenues from selling a variety of related products and services – including warranties and insurance, another area of potential conflict. Finally, when insured vehicles end up in collision repair shops as a result of accidents (which happens more than 20 million times a year), insurance carriers do their best to manage repair costs by encouraging these shops to find and use less expensive parts, which costs OEMs and their franchised new car dealers significant parts sales revenues. And, at a higher level, insurers and OEMs value and fiercely protect their customer relationships and have no interest in sharing them with others.   

However, these dynamics are quickly changing as new mobile technologies are rapidly transforming consumer behavior and expectations and as new connected car and automated driver assist technologies begin to present significant new challenges as well as exciting opportunities to both auto insurers and OEMs. It is far from a given that today’s auto market share leaders will enjoy similar shares of future autonomous vehicle sales, and it is equally uncertain as to by whom and how these vehicles will be insured.

Tesla is positioning itself to do both. And so the ancient proverb that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” seems to apply very well here. Evidence of insurer/OEM partnerships, both direct and indirect, is plentiful and growing daily.

Insurer/OEM connected car partnerships date back to as early as 2012 and include State Farm/Ford, Progressive/GM OnStar, Allstate/GM OnStar and Nissan/Liberty Mutual. In 2015, Ford conducted a “Data Driven Insurance” pilot program that provided participating drivers with their driver history for use in obtaining auto insurance. In 2017, GM OnStar began offering its subscribers 10% discounts on auto insurance from participating carriers including National General, 21st Century, Liberty Mutual, State Farm and Plymouth Rock.  

And data and analytics information providers Verisk and LexisNexis Risk Solutions, which collect data and analytics solutions for use by the insurance industry, have both recently launched telematics data exchanges with OEM participants including GM and Mitsubishi. Consenting connected-car owners have the option to contribute their driving data and seamlessly take advantage of insurers’ usage-based insurance (UBI) programs designed to reward them for how they drive.

Other innovative telematics data models include BMW CarData, which allows owners to share customized data with pre-approved third-parties such as insurers, auto repair shops and other automotive service providers. Drivers can obtain custom insurance coverage based on their exact number of miles driven while repair shops could automatically order parts in advance of service appointments.

For carriers, existing data pools and analytics tools will become less useful than real-time data streaming from connected cars coupled with increased proficiency in predictive modeling and machine learning. OEM/insurer partnerships can enable both parties to share the costs and co-develop big data mining technologies and advanced analytics methodologies to benefit their respective businesses. Insurers can improve underwriting and claims processes while OEMs can improve vehicle safety, design and performance.

Data provided by connected-car devices could be used to initiate claims processing, order damaged parts, triage required collision repair and manage other third-party services (e.g. towing, rental, appraisal) and record accident dynamics as well as occupant placement. OEM/insurer partnerships sharing this data could lead to better claims service and satisfaction and more reliable injury claim evaluation. OEMs could use this data to improve vehicle and occupant safety and could ensure that repairs are performed at properly certified collision repairers and that appropriate parts are used in the repair.

OEMs and insurers can partner to offer customers innovative customer experiences, becoming primary points of contact for risk prevention and new hybrid insurance products as well as dealer parts, service and sales opportunities. New revenue sources for both parties could include Intelligent GPS for theft recovery, real-time notifications of traffic and other travel inconveniences, intelligent parking, location-based services, safety and remote maintenance services. Cost duplication from currently overlapping services such as roadside assistance and towing could be eliminated by single-sourcing such services.

See also: The Evolution in Self-Driving Vehicles  

To be sure, other telematics data business models have emerged that could threaten OEM/insurer partnerships.  In June 2017, BMW and IBM announced the integration of the BMW CarData network with an IBM cloud computing platform that could help as many as 8.5 million German drivers who grant permission to diagnose and repair problems save on car insurance, and take advantage of other third-party services. IBM can also collect data from other OEMs over time, and BMW plans to expand the program to other markets. And technology companies, including Automatics Labs and Otonomo, are seeking consumer consent to sell data through their exchange platforms.

While we await the day that self-driving vehicles dominate our roadways – which will no doubt make many of these driver data initiatives basically irrelevant – we have the most pragmatic of all reasons why OEM/insurer partnerships make sense. Participants can mitigate their risk and reduce their investments in these costly but still relatively short-term opportunities as they position their companies for the as-yet-undefined future of transportation and insurance.

Insurtech: Can It Help Claims Experience?

Much has been written of late about how technology — referred to as “insurtech” — is transforming insurance. While some of these solutions are actually in use, many more are still conceptual and speculative, so adoption is anticipated. But make no mistake: The majority of these technologies will be adopted in time, and they will ultimately transform the ways that insurance products are created, priced, packaged, marketed, sold, distributed and serviced. And the claims function — along with the insurance policyholders who incur those claims —is the most likely early beneficiary, with auto insurance leading the way.

In a 2017 survey of 400 North American claims executives conducted by Insurance Nexus, a significant 78% of respondents confirmed that “the American insurance claims industry is in the midst of significant disruption,” and 82% confirmed that “our executive teams are dedicated to transforming the claims function.” Claims innovation ranked as the most important project for 61% of the audience, and 60% agreed that “my organization has a specific plan for how they are going to achieve claims innovation, utilizing technology, focused on customer experience and meeting the challenges of disruption.” Note the words “utilizing technology, focused on customer experience.

Now overlay on top of all this a recent, unexpected and somewhat counter-intuitive spike in auto claims frequency courtesy of a negative by-product of gradual (but welcome) economic recovery. Most of us had assumed — wrongly, it turns out — that the recent trend of declining auto claims frequency would continue. Most expected that auto claims might even decline further as accident avoidance and automated driver assistance technology and the specter of autonomous vehicles began to appear.

Finally, add one additional element to this “perfect storm” of forces converging on auto claims: The very accident-avoidance technology whose main purpose was to reduce accidents has actually increased the cost and severity of repairing these technology-laden vehicles that become involved in accidents (frequently with older-model, less-well-equipped cars).

See also: Insurtechs Are Pushing for Transparency  

While claims organizations are busy trying to figure out how to contain the rising numbers and costs of auto claims, and, at the same time, piloting insurtech solutions are trying to help, the customer experience for policyholders that have been involved in these accidents is often getting overlooked.

In an effort to accomplish cost reductions while also making the accident claim reporting process simpler and faster for policyholders, some carriers have begun providing smartphone apps for use in reporting accident claims and submitting photos of the damage. In some cases, these photos may enable the carrier to estimate the cost of repairing the damage, refer the customer to a convenient, qualified repair facility or even close the claim online with an electronic payment for the estimate amount. In fact, Allstate, the nation’s largest publicly traded auto insurance carrier, just announced that it has begun a countrywide transition from drive-in inspection centers to customer photo-estimating; the company expects the vast majority of drivable auto claims to be virtually inspected nationally in 2017.

The next wave of insurtech will introduce automation, voice recognition, artificial intelligence and chatbots to the insurance claims reporting and customer service process as these more-efficient technologies begin to replace more expensive humans. This evolution will definitely benefit carriers from a cost-reduction perspective and will likely satisfy a growing number of customers who trust — and even prefer — such digital interactions.

Drivers who use a telematics system — an electronic concierge or in-vehicle personal communications system — can request emergency roadside assistance and receive limited advice and support regarding insurance claims as the result of an accident. You may have already noticed that police in many urban markets are no longer responding to auto accident calls. Law enforcement budgets are shrinking, and police officers are busy handling higher-priority tasks, such as criminal investigations. So we can’t rely on the police showing up after an accident any more.

The missing piece in all of this is what happens immediately after an accident occurs and before your insurance company starts to process your claim. For individuals involved in car accidents who are not “digital natives” and who may be injured or just too shaken up to deal with all of that or who just need the comfort and assistance of a trained and compassionate person, innovative programs will emerge to bridge the gap between the accident and the claim report.

One such solution, originally established in Canada, is ASSI’s Collision Reporting Centers (CRC). These facilities provide drivers with the assistance, advice and support they need at that critical time immediately following an accident. The CRC is a private-public partnership between local police departments and privately managed reporting centers. Insurtech solutions are used in the CRC to electronically notify insurance carriers of collisions. The CRC provides electronic copies of written statements, vehicle damage photos and state-mandated reports needed to expedite a quick resolution of claims. Recently, ASSI expanded into the U.S., opening its first Collision Reporting Center in Roanoke, VA, in the fall of 2016, with plans to open many more centers nationally. New functionality being introduced includes electronic first notice of loss, possible total loss warnings and photo estimating.

See also: Insurtech: Unstoppable Momentum  

As we move toward self-driving automobiles and the elimination of most accidents, we will see many innovative accident and claim management programs emerge to bridge the gap between the auto accident and the resolution of the claim process. The insurance industry is working hard to adapt to rapidly changing market conditions, and technology offers promising solutions as well as difficult challenges — finding the appropriate balance between efficiency and the necessary human touch in the claim process will separate tomorrow’s leading brands from their competitors. Not only can insurtech and claims customer experience co-exist, they will have to!

‘Digital’ Needs a Personal Touch

The insurance claims process is rapidly being transformed from analog to digital as industry economics and customer expectations demand it and as technology enables it. Not only does digitization provide impressive cost savings and satisfy the expectations of a growing number of “always connected” consumers, but it delivers a host of other benefits. Insurtech providers of many types have emerged seemingly overnight to provide a dizzying array of new technologies to support claims innovation within established carriers and enable new insurance entrants at the same time.

See also: Let’s Keep ‘Digital’ in Perspective  

Examples include:

  • CCC Information Services, a leading U.S. information provider to the automotive, insurance and collision repair industries, is working to combine auto injury causation software with telematics expertise and overlaying casualty claims management assets to meet the needs of the rapidly transforming auto insurance claims industry.
  • DropIn provides an on-demand, live video platform for more precise underwriting, speeds claim resolution, enhances damage estimate accuracy and reduces indemnity and loss adjustment expenses. Users can access streaming video and high-resolution photos captured directly by customers or via a crowdsourced independent contractor network using commonly available insurtech tools, such as smartphones and drones, to achieve insight into the complexities of auto and property damage for enhanced decision-making.
  • EagleView provides aerial imagery, data analytics, property data and GIS solutions related to millions of residential and commercial properties for local and federal government agencies as well as the infrastructure, insurance, solar and construction sectors.
  • Livegenic provides cloud-based, real-time patented video solutions to property and casualty insurance organizations connecting every part of the claims ecosystem. The Livegenic platform streamlines communication between in-house and external adjusters, appraisers, contractors and policyholders, provides field video loss documentation capabilities, and delivers customer self-service solutions.
  • OnSource provides insurance companies with claims and underwriting photo inspections through intuitive smartphone apps and a mobile website. Policyholders and claimants use self-inspection apps, Instant Inspection’s chat website or its managed network of thousands of photo field inspectors and quality assurance analysts.
  • PartsTrader, an automated repair parts bidding and procurement platform, connects thousands of collision repair shops with repair parts suppliers of all types to reduce the cost and cycle time in the $15 billion U.S. repair parts market segment. The PartsTrader platform allows repair shops to search and compare multiple suppliers at the same time and to work with suppliers competing for their business.
  • Snapsheet uses proprietary technology to optimize virtual auto physical damage claims operations, giving insurance adjusters the tools they need to provide a seamless experience to their claimants.
  • WeGoLook, in which Crawford recently acquired a majority interest, provides on-demand field inspection and verification services. Using its web and mobile platform the company empowers a 30,000-plus mobile workforce, known as Lookers, to collect and verify information and fulfill custom tasks for businesses and consumers alike in insurance and other verticals.

While this is all good news – and inevitable – what is at risk of being overlooked in this rush to a more efficient, streamlined claim process are the individuals who buy and use insurance services and at critical times require the reassurance and comfort of a personal touch.

Auto claims are a case in point. Many claims processes, mainly those that take place in the background, are well-suited to the cold efficiency of technology, automation and digitization. But the auto claim is frequently preceded by a totally unexpected, disorienting and sometimes traumatic accident. This is the moment when the consumer most needs and depends upon the insurance carrier….and a human touch.

In 2016, there were about 190 million registered passenger vehicles on the road in the U.S. More than 15 million auto accidents occurred involving 18.5 million vehicles. Stated another way, about one out of every 10 cars on the road was involved in an accident. On average, every driver can expect to experience an auto accident once every 10 years, most minor in nature but others involving serious injury or even death. Sadly, there were 40,200 traffic fatalities in 2016.

We are never fully prepared, nor do we know exactly what to do when involved in a traffic accident. The experience is unfamiliar and confusing. A battery of questions immediately come to mind – how much is this going to cost me? – was this my fault? – could I have prevented it? – how will I get where I was going? – who should I notify first? – is anyone hurt, including me? And so on.

Historically, a police officer would typically show up, review the scene, ask the drivers several questions, make some notes and direct the vehicles off the roadway to a safe location or if necessary call a tow truck or an emergency vehicle.

Then you would need to follow an often frustrating, protracted claims and repair process; call your agent or carrier; get the car to a body shop, arrange for a rental car; make numerous calls to the shop and the adjuster to see when your car will be ready; and then reach into your pocket to pay your deductible even after paying your insurance premiums faithfully for all those years.

But this scenario will soon be a thing of the past. For one thing, police in many urban markets are no longer responding to auto accident calls. Law enforcement budgets are shrinking, and police officers are busy handling higher-priority tasks such as criminal investigations. We can’t rely on the police always showing up in the future.

Insurance companies are addressing some of their challenges by using new technologies to make the auto claim and repair process simpler and faster. Many carriers offer smartphone apps that include claim-reporting capabilities enabling drivers to take photos or videos of the accident damage at the scene (or later from home) and upload them to the carrier, which assesses the damage and schedules the repair, often in minutes. Some companies are paying drivers electronically on their smartphones and closing out the claim in mere hours.

However, for those who believe that younger policyholders prefer technology to human contact, the recent J.D. Power 2016 U.S. Auto Claims Satisfaction Study reveals that only 7% of millennials prefer digital channels to report their claims and concludes that technology cannot fully replace humans during the claims process, even among millennials.

The one missing piece is what happens immediately after an accident occurs and before your insurance company starts to process your claim. Not everyone has a smartphone, is tech-savvy enough or understands the importance of reporting the accident immediately to the insurance company. Auto accidents can be traumatic. Many people can be involved, in your vehicle and in other vehicles. Differences of opinion between drivers about the facts or what caused the accident are not unusual. Without the presence and authority of a police officer, people are left to cope with all of these issues on their own. And, because almost 80% of vehicles damaged in auto accidents are safely driveable, there’s no logical reason to have to stay at the scene once your information is exchanged with the other driver(s).

See also: Do You Really Have a Digital Strategy?

To address these new realities, innovative programs have emerged to bridge the gap between the accident and the claim report. One such solution is the Collision Reporting Center (CRC). These facilities provide drivers with the assistance, advice and support they need at the critical time following an accident. The CRC is a partnership between local police departments and privately managed reporting centers. The model initially emerged in Canada 20 years ago when the insurance industry and police joined forces to solve a mutual challenge. Today, the operation manages 32 Collision Reporting Centers in partnership with 53 police departments across Canada and serves 80% of the Canadian auto insurance industry. Recently, the operator expanded into the U.S., opening its first Collision Reporting Center in Roanoke, VA, in the fall of 2016, with plans to open several more centers soon.

At the Collision Reporting Center, drivers involved in an accident provide their individual accounts of what happened and other information while professional staff take digital images to document damage. The information is reviewed by an on-site police officer at the CRC and is immediately sent to the driver’s insurance company, where a claim is initiated and processed. Drivers are provided with a customized instructional guide from their own carriers describing what to do next and a private room where they can make a phone call to their insurance company or family members. The Collision Reporting Center provides a comfortable and safe environment, eliminating the need for drivers to wait on the roadway.

As we move toward self-driving automobiles and the elimination of most accidents,, we will see many innovative accident and claim management programs emerge that can bridge the gap between the auto accident and resolution of the claim process. Collision Reporting Centers are an excellent solution to these needs – they provide personalized customer service and a human touch with the power of technology making the auto accident reporting process as non-intrusive as possible into our busy lives.