One of the oldest business services companies around has skin in the game with technology that enables speedy repair of personal devices and other insurance claims fulfillment options.
Assurant dates back more than 100 years under various names and iterations, and today is a global business services company that provides risk management products and services. Business areas include a wide range of specialty, niche-market insurance products in the property/casualty and extended device protection insurance sectors, among other areas. Specifically, that includes protection and support products and services for connected devices, automotive and the home, for both clients and their customers.
The company has Elita, a globally reusable, configurable and “plug-and-play” technology that enables speed to market, operational efficiencies and scale, launched more than 20 years ago and regularly modernized. Used in conjunction with the company’s newer Dynamic Fulfillment platform, it helps make possible repair and claims services for mobile devices and other purchases by mail, walk-in, or in-person, depending on what meets the customer’s best needs. Insurance is very much part of the equation, noted Biju Nair (pictured), EVP & president of Assurant’s Global Connected Living business.
“When you’re protecting a device … it can be insurance that encompasses everything including damage to a device, or loss, or loss and theft,” Nair said. “And when you have a mobile phone, that’s very important, right? You could lose it in a taxicab, or it could get stolen if you’re traveling, you could drop it some place, smash a screen and the phone will still be functional … insurance is part of the overall business services we provide.”
Assurant underwrites the policy in these cases, and provides technology to manage the claim, administer the policy and then fulfill the claims quickly and efficiently, as they come in, Nair explained.
Consider Assurant customer T-Mobile, Nair noted, whose customers could have a mobile device/cellular phone that needs repair or replacement.
“When you file an insurance claim, Dynamic Fulfillment takes over, and we’ll try to understand what sort of phone you have and what is the most convenient way to get it fixed, or have that claim fulfilled,” Nair said, “If your preference is you want to go to a T-Mobile store, as an example, you’ve got 500 T-Mobile stores in between rolled-up service and repair as part of an insurance claim and procurement process, and we can direct you there. Or if you prefer to just get an advanced exchange model [process] done, we can take care of that.”
Many technology components are at play to make this function work well, including machine learning and artificial intelligence to quickly address supply chain conditions or replacement parts in the context of fulfilling a warranty/insurance claim. Recent updates have allowed the process to also include a visit at home from a repair specialist.
The technology takes into consideration repair options, in store, or mail in, or a technician visit, among other things, as well as any issues with replacement parts.
Consumers wanting to make an insurance claim, such as in the case of a T-Mobile phone, would log into the company’s site and file a claim, addressing a few detailed questions about what happened, and what the desired repair/replacement options are. The customer receives email confirmation confirming how to address the claim. If the choice was to bring the phone to a local store, then that is the next step.
“I can take that email, then I go to the store to say that this is an approved claim, and I am here to get my phone repaired,” Nair said.
Functionality added often
As Nair describes it, the company’s customer fulfillment technology is updated often.
“We are constantly optimizing it to improve the artificial intelligence engine to make sure that we can manage that customer experience a lot better,” Nair said.
One way has been through another platform dubbed Vision Tunnel. Launched about two years ago, it enables Assurant’s processing of millions of mobile devices each year in its repair and refurbishment facilities, assessing them and grading each device based on physical condition. It is automated and able to quickly grade and identify specific device models, to reduce processing time and boost accuracy versus manual device inspection.
Vision Tunnel, he added, has also helped boost claims turnaround considerably.
“You can think about it like this very sophisticated camera equipment that our devices go through,” he said. “Every two seconds, it can take a picture of the device from top to bottom and very quickly determine its cosmetic condition.”