Replaced by a ROBOT? Part 1

Posted January 15, 2015
"Video Killed the Radio Star", was the song from the late 70's that portends of a major shift in the way we enjoy music. Another major shift occurred soon thereafter, with the rapid adaptation of digital as the music medium of choice. I doubt anyone other than Steve Jobs realized at that time where things were heading. I, for one, thought the cassette was in for the long haul...

As technology and the Internet impose changes on most aspects of the human/machine experience, the process of adjusting insurance claims has clearly not escaped this sea change.

In the mid-90's after having established a career as a casualty adjuster, I suddenly found myself on a CAT assignment (major flood). Having never actually written a property loss, but with my State Farm certifications in hand and armed with a tape measure, camera, and Xactimate Users Guide (on cassette tape), off I went.

Fortunately (although I didn't realize it at the time), I was assigned a large apartment complex, with several hundred units. After calling for support on the scope side (contractor buddy), I faced a daunting task of creating an estimate and loss report. Frankly, I had no idea what I was getting into. Back at the CAT center, I mulled around for a few hours trying to escape this mess, when a seasoned adjuster took note (and pity) and decided to help… When he opened my file and saw a description of the loss, he quickly saw something I didn't - a big biller, and actually a pretty easy estimate (thanks to duplication of  simple floor plan used throughout the complex).

Within a few hours of some heavy duty coaching, I had my head around the estimatics program and was well on my way. Ten days later I submitted a multi-million dollar loss report, and a pretty nice fee bill. Chalk that one up to technology. If this had been just a few years earlier, I would have been hand-writing that estimate, which would have taken me who knows how long, not to mention caused the loss of all of my hair…

Fast forward 20 years and now I am running a company that produces Claims Management Software, with its origins in property claims, and heavy emphasis on catastrophe management. I am here because I realized not long after that CAT assignment, that things had changed, and the future of claims was about the technology.

In Part II of "Replaced by a Robot", I'll cover the history of technology milestones as it relates to insurance claims and where things might be headed...