Intelligent FNOL apps are "the future" for auto claims

It should be almost as easy as ordering a pizza

Intelligent FNOL apps are "the future" for auto claims


By Bethan Moorcraft

Reporting an auto claim should be almost as easy as ordering a pizza online, according to William Brower, vice president of auto claims at LexisNexis Risk Solutions. A few simple clicks from a smart phone, and a customer should be able to quickly and easily file an auto claim via an intelligent first notice of loss (FNOL) app … and then cheer themselves up by ordering a large pepperoni with extra cheese.

Brower, who has 35 years of industry experience, is a strong proponent of intelligent FNOL apps. This “intelligence” is possible, he said, with the use of real-time integrated data. Features such as photo recognition enable customers to submit photographs of their damaged vehicle as well as a photo of the license plate for third parties involved in an accident. These photos are then immediately converted into data, including details of the vehicle, coverages and vehicle ownership, which is then used to automatically populate the claim form.

“Intelligent FNOL apps are the future,” Brower told Insurance Business. “It’s not as easy as ordering a pizza, but it shouldn’t be much more difficult. In a few simple clicks, insureds should be able to let their insurer know: ‘Here’s my claim. Here’s what happened. Here’s the other party involved.’ That will get the whole claim process started much quicker than the traditional method of calling in and spending a lot of time answering questions over the phone.”

One insurer that’s had great success with its FNOL app is Aviva Canada. In January 2019, the P&C insurance giant launched Canada’s first automatic FNOL service, which was made available at all Collision Reporting Centre (CRC) locations. Through the app, Aviva customers can not only file their claim report quicker, but they also receive almost immediate SMS and email notifications for key information such as their claim number, the contact information of their assigned claims adjuster, and the status of their claim as it progresses.

“Historically, it would take days for a CRC incident to be reported to an insurance carrier,” said Bryant Vernon, chief claims officer at Aviva Canada. “That’s too slow. We created an integration with CRC so that we could get that information immediately and we could start to move that claim forward as quickly as possible.”

Another auto claim innovation that has reaped rewards for Aviva Canada is its Vehicle Remedy Tool at FNOL, which incorporates real-time predictive analytics to provide adjusters with an instant and accurate repair prediction, before an appraisal has been completed. This enables Aviva adjusters to confirm at FNOL whether a vehicle needs to be repaired or replaced, and it allows the adjuster to proceed with settlement if the vehicle is deemed a total loss on that first call.

“We’re actually settling a number of these claims at FNOL,” Bryant commented. “We see that reflected in our customer cycle time on total losses, which has reduced by 59%. Our rental days are also down on average by about 52% and our storage days are on average down by 56%. Claim settlement disputes have dropped by about 90%, and that’s because our process is much more transparent and immediate, which is helping our employees manage their inventory and making our customers much happier.”

When it comes to FNOL, it’s vitally important for carriers to get “good visibility of the claim,” according to Andrew Peet, head of operations – Americas at 360GlobeNet Inc., an independent digital technology and services business focused on the worldwide insurance industry. With modern claim technology, like the tools described by Brower and Bryant, adjusters can quickly and easily get eyes on a claim and start to make decisions sooner and with more accuracy.

He said: “An FNOL call – instead of it being 20 minutes of questions and data collection, becomes an almost immediate process. If the required information can be delivered by text message, email or through an app, that saves the customer and the adjuster from a 20-minute phone call, and that helps adjusters to expedite the claim settlement process. Who wouldn’t go for that?”

Another one of the common pain points in auto claims is “frustration born out of communication,” Peet added. If insurers opt to implement these digital claim solutions, he said they almost need to over-communicate, so that every time the workflow moves along, everyone receives a push notification so they know what’s going on.

“At 360GlobeNet, we’re in the process of doing an implementation in Canada,” he said. “When we started pushing these messages out for the adjusters, one of the pieces of feedback we received was: ‘When we come into the office in the morning, now we don’t have to spend 45 minutes on the phone returning voicemails because everybody knows where the claim is.’ So, it removes the frustration for the policyholder, and it also removes the frustration for the adjuster as well, so communication in support of these digital tools is critically important.”

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