The power of image damage capture for insured customers
Out of the ashes of 2020’s COVID-19 pandemic have come innovations that have gained serious traction. Whether ordering groceries remotely or the increased use of videoconferencing for stay-at-home workers, COVID has accelerated our collective use of mobile tools. One such innovative solution from Solera is the AudaTarget Image Capture solution.
AudaTarget is Solera’s decision-support platform for improving repair-shop assignment optimization and early total-loss identification at the first notice of loss (FNOL). It also assists multi-store operators with quality control and training programs.
The Image Capture option within AudaTarget has been available in the Canadian marketplace for approximately one year. This feature allows an FNOL insurer rep the ability to email customers a link to a secure microsite accessible via a mobile phone. The microsite provides a guided picture-taking process for mobile users specifically designed for damage capture to ensure high quality images are captured in the most accurate way. For example, Image Capture can explain the best way to take a picture of the VIN from outside a windshield.
We have seen the benefits of the Image Capture option being put to full use, particularly during the initial COVID lockdown in Eastern Canada. In some provinces, body shops weren’t even considered essential services for a short period of time. Despite this, insurers and body shops were able to get a basic understanding of a vehicle’s surface damage quickly and efficiently using our contactless Image Capture process.
The following two real-world examples describe the ease of implementation of the system and its high level of adoption:
- Realizing they could not use their traditional direct repair program (DRP) network during the lockdown, one insurer set up the Image Capture component in two days – yes, that is not a type, it was just two days. This includes branding the microsite with the insured’s logo as well as customizing the dialog with proprietary language as requested by the insurer. An amazing result!
- In May, more than 80 percent of insured customers receiving an Image Capture text or email, successfully submitted photos, sending, on average, more than a dozen images. In fact, consumers averaged 13 photos with a 2 day average turnaround. Given that consumers often sign up for applications and don’t end up using them, 80 percent compliance is an outstanding response rate.
This may be one reason why gross appraisal values (GAV) remained relatively constant during the height of COVID. Many industry insiders expected that sheets would only be written on the heaviest hits that were towed in. In fact, the estimates written in March and April were only about three percent higher than expected*. While volumes were down significantly, the fact GAV was only marginally higher may indicate that lighter hits were still being estimated, more likely using remote processes such as AudaTarget Image Capture.
AudaTarget is not only a great tool for capturing damage images. It is a foundational platform that lays the groundwork for Solera’s photo-to-estimate solution, currently in production in France. Watch for the Canadian rollout in Spring 2021.
As the first wave of COVID appears to be receding in Canada (touch wood), we expect that many of the new contactless innovations will continue to be used in the claims process, to the benefit of both consumers and the industry alike.
*Comparing February, March and April gross appraisal values for 2018 and 2019 versus 2020. Typically, March and April have a 2 to 4 percent lower GAV than February. In 2020, the three months were virtually identical.