Intact Financial Provides Policyholders with Photo Estimate App for Vehicle Damage

Canada's largest property and casualty (P&C) insurer, Intact Financial, is seeking to streamline the auto claims process by introducing photo estimating options in Ontario. By partnering with Snapsheet (which already powers a similar offering from Aviva), Intact now allows policyholders to submit photographic evidence of their loss via an easy to use app for an adjuster to examine remotely.

App implementation cuts down on wait times for claims to be handled, as vehicle owners no longer will have to visit automotive repair shops to collect estimates or arrange for a field visit from an adjuster. In the pilot program at Aviva, 93 percent of that carrier's policyholders chose to opt-in, resulting in claims overall being handled an average of 20 percent to 40 percent faster than through traditional channels.

According to the latest figures from the Insurance Bureau of Canada, in 2017, Intact held just over 15 percent of the entire Canadian P&C market while the second largest insurer, Aviva, came in at 9.67 percent. This step means that more than a quarter of Canadian policyholders now have access to a streamlined auto claims process.

According to Intact external communication manager Hazel Tan, photo estimating is merely an option for consumers, not a requirement. Comments made by CEO Charles Brindamour during the firm's first quarterly meeting indicated that adding auto damage estimation via photo app is just the next step in a planned journey to streamline customer experiences.

"Earlier this year, customers began to have the ability to use their mobile phones to start a claim right at the site of the accident, loading pictures of the damage to speed up the claims process," Brindamour said. "With good progress on the infrastructure, we're now deploying customer experience enhancements at an accelerating rate across lines of business and distribution channels."

The concept behind app-based auto damage estimates is simple: the customer follows the in-app directions for properly photographing damage to their vehicle, and the information transmits straight to the carrier's team of appraisers. The appraiser assigned to the claim uses specialized software and tailored engagement tools to complete the process, providing the final estimate for repairs and approving disbursement.

Payment is made from the insurance carrier directly to the vehicle owner, who can then take their car to the auto body repair location of their choice. This and other forms of self-service are transforming the insurance industry, streamlining processes, and helping policyholders feel more in control during stressful times. Communication channels stay open throughout the claims process, making it easy for vehicle owners to stay apprised of the status of their claims.

The 2019 Future of Claims Study by LexisNexis indicates that carriers are embracing virtual claims handling, with 95 percent already using or considering it, while 79 percent of carriers are open to completely touchless claims handling, which employs an AI to provide estimates and generate approvals.

"Throughout the product life cycle, options for digital interaction are delivering a faster, simpler experience, while at the same time generating useful data for AI," said Brindamour. "We expect improvements in customer experience, pricing, and productivity to accelerate as we continue to add to the over 40 AI models currently in production."

Auto insurance claims are a fact of life for drivers in Canada. If you're not sure whether you have the best coverage—or the cheapest car insurance—for your situation, compare quotes from Canada’s best insurance providers at Kanetix.ca.