On-demand workforce infiltrates claims, bringing down costs

With retirements expected to hit adjusters, the gig economy is supplying “lookers,” who have already proven their worth

On-demand workforce infiltrates claims, bringing down costs

Insurance News

By Alicja Grzadkowska

The claims adjuster workforce isn’t getting any younger. While management and underwriting departments will be most impacted by retirements according to recent demographic research from the Insurance Institute of Canada (IIC), Generation X and boomers account for close to 60% of the share of the claims workforce and though this figure includes all positions in claims, the report also noted that adjusters specifically tend to have a median age of 47, which is well above the median for the entire P&C workforce.

While the gig economy is known for supplying Uber drivers and Airbnb rentals, it’s now providing much needed support for claims and changing the traditional ways of investigating submissions. Take a scene inspection at a traffic intersection as an example.

“The legacy way to do that would be to dispatch a field adjuster to go to that location when they had time, and perform that [inspection],” said Robin Smith, CEO and co-founder of WeGoLook, which offers on-demand workforce solutions to a variety of industries, including insurance. “They’re typically driving a fleet vehicle, charging possibly mileage, and they’re expensive.”

Instead, through its app, WeGoLook will use geolocation to find a “looker” within a few kilometres of the intersection, depending on if it’s a rural or urban area, and if that user is able to go inspect the scene, they can accept the job and capture data within a specific template set out by the app, which might be photos and measurements. That information is then sent back to the fulfillment centre in the US where it’s reviewed for accuracy and forwarded to the carrier, who can now receive a completed scene inspection within an hour or less.

With over 45,000 independent contractors, including licenced drone operators and mobile notaries, from across Canada, the US, the UK, and Australia in the WeGoLook network who are able to complete low-complex, high-volume claims tasks – whether it’s picking up salvage items at a body shop, executing a total loss document, or taking photos of a damaged car – the claims process is sped up and simplified, lowering the cost.

“We’re able to do all this, and bundle up this information and deliver it back electronically so our customers can quickly verify the current condition of an asset or verify that a claim is true,” said Smith. “We are really helping our customers develop new process flows that are more cost-efficient and very fast, and so it’s disrupting their own traditional supply chain process internally.”

The looker network was a critical lifeline during hurricanes last year. Almost 900 lookers were located within 100 miles of Houston after the storm and could quickly capture data before adjusters got to affected areas, taking photos to show carriers that assets, such as cars, were indeed flooded. In Puerto Rico, there were 24 lookers that were already familiar with the region who acted as guides, since maps tended to be inaccurate, they helped people find gas, and knew where to go for WiFi service so they could upload photos to the app.

While WeGoLook also works with the automotive and banking sectors, the insurance industry is more than interested in the potential of its solutions. In 2017, Crawford & Company, a leading global provider of claims management solutions, acquired a majority stake in the company.

“Insurance is particularly good for us. We’ve had great success, which is why Crawford was interested in us,” said Smith, adding that instead of sending out adjusters, WeGoLook can now service that large group of clients and has become an important resource for Crawford’s customers. “We had our toe in the door, if you will, in the insurance space, and Crawford helped us push on through that door.”

In the coming year, WeGoLook will continue aligning and integrating with platforms like Guidewire and CCC ONE, ensuring that customers can easily access the looker network and send someone out if a policyholder or body shop can’t capture photos themselves.

“We are changing the way that some of these big companies are doing business because of our process,” said Smith. “We’re saving them a ton of money, we’re making their policyholders very happy, and we’re helping them retain their customers.”

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