你好! 我们是ACD

We are ACD!  Yes, Self(ie) Service™,  ACD’s industry leading self service mobile claims solution is now in many languages!  With ACD, insurers receive the benefit of years of claims experience backed by the leading technology solutions. ACD is the first and only firm to unveil multiple languages to meet our clients and their policyholder’s needs.

Here’s the latest interview discussing self service solutions.Bert-Ernie_edited-1

Improve Your Auto Claims Process With ACD’s AutoLink Integration

Screen Shot 2014-07-14 at 7.56.48 PM

AutoLink is designed to be extremely intuitive and is engineered to take advantage of the most advanced technology. Our software is completely cloud based and you can access your data 24/7 from a web browser. That means you never have to worry about installing any software on your computer.

Key features include intelligent dispatching, email integration with transparent communication and customizable built-in compliance tools. But that’s not all. You can review critical metrics with the industry’s leading software for reporting and statistics. AutoLink provides you with the data you need, when you need it. Our reports are customizable and tailored to your company’s key performance indicators.

AutoLink can be purchased as either a stand-alone software solution for your own staff or paired with ACD’s highly qualified network of independent experts. With ACD’s Technology + Claims Services, each file receives a dedicated account manager who actively oversees the file’s progression. All inspections are audited for compliance to insurance company guidelines, industry repair standards and state regulations.

AutoLink now features Selfie Service™. With Self(ie) Service, customer-taken photos are submitted via a mobile user interface and are instantly put into the hands of our specialists. No apps to fuss with. No complicated instructions to follow.

Visit www.acdcorp.com for more info.

Will The Claims Industry Embrace The Selfie?

 

IMG_7289We’ve all witnessed it. You know, overly enthusiastic friends posting countless self-portraits in your Facebook timeline. Or how about the blurry photo of last night’s soufflé at a fancy new restaurant downtown? Modern technology has turned us all into avid photographers.

In the insurance industry, the recent concept of customer taken photographs has become an emerging trend. Granted, these selfies are not arm’s length photos of policyholders in front of the family minivan, or at least we hope not. What they are however, are pieces of claim evidence, taken not by an unbiased professional appraiser, but by the policyholders themselves.

A few startup companies have begun pioneering the concept of having policyholders photograph the damage of their own vehicles and submitting their claims for reimbursement via a smartphone application. The purported benefit would be a faster, more enjoyable claims process with less time waiting for an estimate of damage. Some are even offering direct deposit right into the insured’s bank account. These app creators contend that the modern customer wants to be personally involved in the claims process.

And they’re right.

Generation Text

We are no longer strangers to the concept of self-service. Grocery chains embraced this idea years ago. You scan your gallon of milk, box of cereal and can of dog food, weigh it, bag it, pay for it and head out the door. It works reasonably well if you’ve got a few items and want a speedy check out. Similarly, more and more insureds want to be stakeholders in their own claims experience.

This hunger for self-service may be also driven by new generational demands. 144.8 billion emails are sent per day, 27% of which are read on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. It is estimated that 78% of the U.S. population will be using email from a mobile device by 2017. Generation Y has grown up on XBox, iPads and iPhones and view self service not as a lessening of service, but rather an enhancement to their overall experience. The 2014 J.D. Power U.S. Auto Insurance Study stated in their report that one of their key findings was 60 percent of customers who prefer to interact through technology had communicated with their insurer in the past year through a digital format. Even more telling, their study found that 40 percent communicated exclusively via a digital medium.

But when do the benefits of customer involvement become outweighed by the possible liabilities? What are insurance carriers willing to sacrifice in order to make the claims process speedier and more customer friendly?

Customer (Self) Service

Unfortunately, insurance claims and customer service do not always go hand in hand. There’s a good reason why carriers monitor the yearly J.D. Power insurance satisfaction studies. Policyholder retention relies upon a positive claims experience and carriers are always searching for the magic bullet to resolve this problematic issue. Could self-service be the answer? Maybe. Carriers have to balance the fact that customers expect more for their premium dollar than ever before. Insurance rates go up, but the burden of responsibility shifts more to the customer and less to the professional. Some customers simply want the carrier to work for them and will ask someone come out in person to see their vehicle at their convenience. After all, that’s why they pay a premium and have that big deductible. They’d rather have someone else dirty their khakis than crawl under the rear bumper of their own sedan. Others, however, will embrace the idea of a human free claims experience and don’t mind the idea of never interacting with a claims adjuster other than through an email or smart phone application. They have more important things to do. Perhaps posting a new selfie on Facebook.

The F Word

Fraud. There, I said it. The insurance industry is no stranger to fraudulent claims. Carriers will have to accept and counteract the inherent risk of fraud that will come with the idea of customer submitted photos. I don’t know about you, but the idea of receiving photos, an estimate and issuing payment without some form of verification makes me a little uneasy. Maybe it’s the cynical claims adjuster in me, but one of the hallmarks of fraud according the NICB is an overly pushy insured looking for a quick settlement. Will the photographs be altered to enhance damages? Will the damages be increased so that prior damage blends in with new damage? We’ve all seen the “bullet hole” decals on cars. Pranksters can also apply adhesive stickers that resemble key scratches and denting. Taking it one step further, there’s even a popular smart phone application called “Dude, your car!” Per the author’s own description, this application can “trick anyone into thinking their car has been damaged or totaled.”

Will an ISO indexing be conducted on each file to ensure that the customer does not have a history of claiming the same damage? What steps will be put in place to ensure a new customer doesn’t go from carrier to carrier collecting for the same damages in a cash-out bonanza. These are all questions that will need to be explored.

Overexposed

There are many claims where self-service photographs would potentially compromise the claims investigation. One in particular is any claim involving an injury or potential injury. Ask any competent insurance defense attorney and they’ll tell you that good photos and an estimate can be the determining factor in evaluating and defending against a bodily injury claim. I’ve personally witnessed claims with minimal damage settle in the tens of thousands of dollars and others defensed due to compelling photos and measurements. Will customers be asked to take proper measurements when submitting their claim photographs? Matching bumper heights in rear end impacts is key. Or what about paint transfer evidence? Will this be used in first party UM claims? Just because the claim is reported as non-injury doesn’t necessarily mean that a letter of representation won’t arrive in six months or a day before the statute tolls. One solution would be to limit the use of any self-service claim photos to non-injury claims or single vehicle losses. For example, an insured that backed into their garage door or ran into a shopping cart.

 Where from here?

So what’s the answer? Will self-service be the direction of future claims handling? Technology is only increasing its daily influence on our lives. We must embrace the incredible power and convenience that devices such as smart phones and tablets offer to us in the claims industry. We must also remain mindful of the age-old nemesis of fraud and trickery. I believe the answer lies somewhere in the middle. Balancing the appropriate use of technology to enhance the customer experience when appropriate but relying upon professionals when a claim falls outside certain parameters. Will technology truly drive insurance costs down or is this more of a one sided cost cutting measure that only insurers will enjoy? I know for certain that my grocery costs haven’t gone down even when I use self-checkout. Still, some customers prefer to interact with a human when checking out and appreciate the convenience of having someone else bag their groceries. One thing is for certain; we all appreciate a good customer experience and what that means to each of us can vary. How that will translate in the world of insurance remains to be seen.

So what’s the answer? Will self-service be the direction of future claims handling? Technology is only increasing its daily influence on our lives. We must embrace the incredible power and convenience that devices such as smart phones and tablets offer to us in the claims industry. We must also remain mindful of the age-old nemesis of fraud and trickery. I believe the answer lies somewhere in the middle. Balancing the appropriate use of technology to enhance the customer experience when appropriate but relying upon professionals when a claim falls outside certain parameters. Will technology truly drive insurance costs down or is this more of a one sided cost cutting measure that only insurers will enjoy? I know for certain that my grocery costs haven’t gone down even when I use self-checkout. Still, some customers prefer to interact with a human when checking out and appreciate the convenience of having someone else bag their groceries. One thing is for certain; we all appreciate a good customer experience and what that means to each of us can vary. How that will translate in the world of insurance remains to be seen.

 

The Age Of Aluminum

The Age Of Aluminum – by Ernie Bray, CEO of ACD

source: Ford Motor Co.

You probably remember something in world history about the Stone Age, the Bronze Age and the Iron Age. When it comes to the future of automobiles in America, the Age of Aluminum is upon us. With increasingly aggressive CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) standards being rolled out by the United States government, the move toward aluminum and exotic metals to increase fuel efficiency is ramping up into full swing as Ford unveils the new F-150 this fall.

The use of exotic metal on body panels is not something entirely new as magnesium and aluminum have been around for a while. However, in the past these metals were mainly found on higher dollar, lower volume vehicles or on just a few panels such as the hood or lift gate.

The F-150 signals the first major use of aluminum as it is one of the best selling mass-produced vehicles in history.  Collision repair and insurance claims industry professionals will be put to the test once these vehicles encounter their first fender benders. According to many sources including collision repairers, part suppliers and insurers, the impact is uncertain but there could be some dynamic changes within the industry as the conversion to aluminum accelerates. Here are some possible scenarios that may unfold.

1. Collision Repair Shop Numbers Continue To Shrink. Over the past decade we have seen a rapid contraction and consolidation in the repair industry. With the advent of more specialized repairs, hi-tech cockpit gadgetry and newer metals, many repair facilities are simply unprepared. The investment required to work on aluminum includes specialized riveting tools, clean room stations to eliminate cross-contaminates and separate vacuum systems which are beyond the economics of many smaller independent shops. For smaller shops to compete, there will likely be a trend toward “specialization.” Smaller shops may band together in geographical areas with one focusing on new metals to maintain viability while insurers will focus their DRP networks to the larger MSOs and dealerships. Shops unable to adapt will likely disappear, accelerating the declining shop landscape.

2. Rising Repair Costs. For years the average repair severity has been fairly consistent and insurers have become very comfortable with this. With an increase of collision warning systems, cameras, and aluminum, repairs costs could quickly skyrocket. Aluminum repairs are a little more involved as aluminum does not retain memory like standard sheet metal. Often, simple repairs that are common with sheet metal may require replacement with aluminum. Additionally, repair times may increase on repairable panels leading to higher aluminum rates and more expensive replacement costs. Even if repair costs only increase 3% on a $2,500 repair, that’s an additional $75 per car. For an insurer processing just 1000 files month, this translates nearly $900,000 in increased repair costs per year.

3. Higher Premiums. When insurance carrier expenses rise, the consumer ultimately absorbs the cost. The next possible scenario resulting from higher repair costs due to an increasing influx of aluminum cars would be higher insurance rates. Insurance experts predict that the cost to insure the new Ford F-150 will be higher than the standard pre-aluminum models while others feel it will even out when factoring in lower fuel expenses. More than likely, insurance premiums will rise until insurers gain a grasp on the true costs associated with aluminum repair and part replacement. One other unintended possibility could be the increase in uninsured motorists on the road when some consumers realize they cannot afford coverage. They may take risks and forgo insurance, which may lead to a subculture of smaller unqualified shops that attempt aluminum repairs improperly creating more unsafe cars on the road.

4. Rise in Total Losses.  If the repair costs suddenly climb on vehicles utilizing newer metals we may see certain vehicles exceed total loss thresholds more quickly. Insurers could face a spike in total losses as aluminum use becomes prevalent and the first wave of aluminum cars age. In a few short years this would reduce repairable vehicle opportunities for shops further straining the tightening collision repair marketplace. This may further damage the viability of smaller independent shops, as they would now lose previously repairable vehicles to total losses.

Nobody can be certain exactly how the transition will play out. As with all change there are always those with dire predictions that never come to fruition. On the other hand there may be some truth to the warnings given by those within the industry. The good thing is that innovators often step forward and many of the fears are alleviated with new solutions and technology. The collision industry and insurers just need to be prepared to adapt and innovate and understand that the future will be quite dynamic and the key is to be agile and adapt quickly.