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The Age of Digital Inspections

Adjuster Dave | July 7, 2015

It’s August 29th, 2011 and Hurricane Irene has just finished ravaging the East Coast. The phone rings. It’s my dispatcher. She lets me know I’ve been deployed but doesn’t yet know where. “Get in your truck and head to New England!”

“Irene was the first hurricane to hit the U.S. since Ike in September 2008 and was the most significant tropical system to make a direct landfall in the Northeast since Hurricane Bob in 1991. More than 7 million homes and businesses lost power during the storm, and Irene caused at least 45 deaths and more than $7.3 billion in damages.” [-NOAA]

Ultimately I ended up in Philadelphia working for a very large insurance company. When I arrived I received my assignment. I was not going to be adjusting claims myself but rather managing and training new adjusters.

I fired up my computer, opened my email, and then practically spit out my coffee when I read a message informing me that none of the new adjusters I’d be working with had ever handled a claim. The translation: Do their claims for them. The months following were nothing short of a crash course into just how broken the property claims handling process really was for all involved.

In a nutshell, here’s the problem:

There is no quality control at the point-of-inspection, so new adjusters don’t know what to document on their graph paper and experienced adjusters all scope losses their own unique way. The current system leads to poor inspection documentation, inconsistent estimates and denials, and no potential for data collection.

So what?

Bad inspections lead to poor customer satisfaction for homeowners (customer churn) and unnecessary frustrations for those left to clean up the mess (employee retention). Furthermore, it’s expensive to staff up call centers and conduct additional field inspections (increased Loss Adjustment Expenses).

What do we do now?

How do we account for the inexperienced workforce and solve for poor inspection documentation and inaccurate estimates?

We move beyond the graph paper and digital camera and into the era of point-of-inspection technology and digital inspection reports.

Good point-of-inspection technology has the following traits:

  1. Ease of use: Good point-of-inspection technology allows anyone to conduct an efficient, quality inspection, regardless of experience level and prior training.
  2. Has a transparent output: Good technology ensures a legible and consistent digital inspection report.
  3. Optimized for adjusters and contractors: It facilitates collaboration and remote workflows for more advanced claim-handling tasks like estimate writing and denials.
  4. Gets better with time: Quality point-of-inspection technology provides opportunity for improvement via data collection and analytics.
  5. Can be used in various situations: This technology works well in proactive underwriting inspections as well as in reactive claims inspections.

Conclusion:

Industry leaders need to address the antiquated status quo of handwritten scope notes. It’s not acceptable to send an adjuster or contractor out to a loss without the proper tools, nor is it fair to the homeowner to have a negative claims experience. The good news is that there are quality software teams out there who are passionate about solving the graph paper problem. The future of inspection technology will account for the nuances of the claims industry while simultaneously introducing powerful new feature sets like video and collaboration. The combination of good mobile device hardware (iPads), faster broadband internet (4G), and quality point-of-inspection software (Spex) sets the stage for carriers and construction professionals to move beyond the clipboard and look towards the future. Safe inspecting!

For more information, please visit https://spexreport.com

Regards,

Adjuster Dave
David Cockrel
Claims Professional
Co-Founder of Spex