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The Personal Touch in a World of Digital Insurance Claims

The insurance claims process is rapidly being transformed from analog to digital as industry economics and customer expectations demand it and as technology enables it.

While this is good news – and inevitable – for insurance carriers, their supply chain partners, customers and for other stakeholders, what is at risk of being overlooked in this rush to a more efficient, streamlined claim process are the individuals that buy and use insurance services and, perhaps more importantly, at the most critical times in the insured claim cycle, require the reassurance and comfort of a personal touch.

The auto claim is a case in point. Many claims processes which take place in the background are well suited to the cold efficiency of technology, automation and digitization.  But the auto claim is frequently preceded by a totally unexpected, disorienting and sometimes traumatic auto accident. This is the moment when the consumer most needs and depends upon their insurance carrier….and a human touch.

Historically, a police officer would show up, review the scene, ask the drivers several questions, make some notes and direct the vehicles off the roadway to a safe location or if necessary call a tow truck or an emergency vehicle.

But things are rapidly changing in this regard as well and this scenario will soon be a thing of the past. Police in many urban markets are no longer able to respond to every auto accident call. Law enforcement budgets are shrinking and police officers are kept busy handling higher priority tasks, such as criminal investigations. Increasingly, all across the country, police are not always available to attend on-scene to investigate accidents involving property damage or minor injuries.

So the missing piece now is what happens immediately after an accident occurs and before your insurance company starts to process the claim.

To address these new realities, innovative programs will emerge to bridge the gap between the accident and the claim report. One such solution is ASSI’s Collision Reporting Center (CRC). These facilities provide drivers with the assistance, advice and support they need at that critical time immediately following an accident. The CRC is a private-public partnership between local police departments and privately managed reporting centers.

Recently ASSI expanded into the U.S., opening its first Collision Reporting Center in Roanoke, Virginia in the fall of 2016 with plans to open many more centers in the future.

As we move toward self-driving automobiles and the elimination of most accidents, we will see many innovative accident and claim management programs emerge that can bridge the gap between the auto accident and resolution of the claim process. Collision Reporting Centers are an excellent solution to these needs – they provide personalized customer service and a human touch combined with the power of technology making the auto accident reporting process as non-intrusive as possible in our busy lives.

Stephen Applebaum is the Managing Partner of Insurance Solutions Group and provides U.S. Industry Relations support to Accident Support Services International, Inc. He may be reached at