Spotlight on ... Claims

March 25, 2021

Introducing the very first article from our blog new series “Spotlight On.” This series will feature interviews and articles from all parts of the insurance world written by and featuring TPC employees and partners. This month we are putting the Spotlight On our Claims Department and the new state-of-the-art technology our Field Claim Representatives are using to enhance our policyholder’s experience and keep up with our constantly evolving industry.

The 86 year old widow had damage to the interior of her home from a covered plumbing loss, but was concerned about having strangers inside her home during a pandemic. A mother of three grade school aged children was stressed when her roofer told her he was four weeks out from being able to repair her roof due to the recent string of violent storms. She was using pots and pans to catch water dripping from the ceiling.

“Improvise, adapt and overcome” is a saying credited to the United States Marine Corps, whose origin began at Front and Walnut Street, just a few short blocks from our office. It’s a motto many in our department have adopted over the years, particularly these past twelve months. We checked in with a few of our Field Claim Representatives to see how they were dealing with the challenges of providing superior customer service in the most unusual of times.

Sean Rau is a huge fan of an electronic process utilizing the insured’s own cell phone called ClaimXperience (CX), a Xactimate product most notably known for its estimating platform. Sean shared

“Insureds have been very receptive to using CX. On claims where it makes sense to utilize it, 98% of the time the customers accept the option to use it. And it’s not just younger customers. People of all ages like it.” The system offers two options: a live stream recording of the damages that averages about 15 minutes of phone time or the option of the insured snapping still photos that takes about 10 minutes on average. Rau, a Penn State graduate, reports

“More people like the photo option verses the live stream. All of the customer surveys that I have received were on claims using CX and they all were all rated 100% satisfied. The most common themes were how the service was fast, accurate and efficient. It’s been tremendously helpful during the pandemic and I plan on continuing to use it moving forward. The claim conclusion is quicker than a physical inspection, especially when you factor in the drive time. I make use of the time savings to work on other tasks, like supplemental estimates.”

The newest addition to our Claims Team, Temple alum Charles DeSantis, had this to say about CX: “I find that the insureds age does not matter when it comes to positioning CX. I do find that the desire of the insured to be involved in the loss serves as the primary indicator of CX. Some insureds are very passive while others are active. On smaller losses, CX facilitates very quick turnover and completion of the claim. Supplements may still be required, but initial payments can get out the door on the same day. Insureds often times prefer the still photo application of CX, as it gives them more flexibility, being able to email the photos 24/7. On large losses, CX can act as a good initial service to show you are actively working on a loss with an insured, even if a field inspection or vendor involvement will follow.” Charles makes use of the technology even during his field inspections, showing the versatility of the system.

“I will leverage CX live video for inspections with Public Adjusters and roofers as to more easily verify what they are showing me. Using CX offers a great opportunity to address potential leakage. Recently I had a claim that involved damaged electronics and the insured submitted photos. I requested CX live video and was able to confirm most of the claimed electronics powered up and were fully functional, thereby only requiring cleaning and not replacement.”

Charles added “CX for document upload will always be useful, especially given the emails limited capacity to receive large files. Additionally, using CX for geographically isolated areas is a smart alternative to hiring an Independent Adjuster.”

Implementing Drones into our Claims Experience

Switching gears, we caught up with our Maryland Field Rep., Ken Engle to discuss his very successful use of the company issued drone. “Flying the drone requires a license. My prior employer provided a week long training class with field practice in using the drone. There was a 75 question exam that I was required to pass and recertification is required every 2
years. The drone is great for roof wind claim inspections. Insureds are interested in the process. A lot of times they get their kids out to watch. Most like to talk with me while I am doing the inspection. I usually talk about the process of obtaining the license, that I have been doing it
for several years, the functions of the drone and how it takes 4K pictures. I used to offer to provide some aerial pictures of the house, but the photos are very large and do not email well. I also talk about the safety it provides. Most homeowners would never imagine getting on their roof. I am currently using the drone 5 to 6 times a month. I expect those totals to
increase as the time requirements to secure clearance to fly the drone in restricted areas is getting much shorter.

When asked how the use of the drone impacts claim time service, Ken had this to say: “The use of the drone puts the inspection in my hands. I can set the inspection and get everything completed. When assigning to a vendor, they are in charge – they contact the insured, they set the inspection (and charge between $275 and $450), they complete the estimate. Also, when I can complete the inspection, there is only one point of contact for the insured. They deal only with me.” We asked Ken to share some of his more unique drone experiences.

“There was a 3 story building in a city area. The roof was made of older asbestos shingles, slate and older laminate shingles. The space around the building was tight with only an alley behind it. There would not have been room to get a ladder long enough to reach the third story. We would have needed a scissor lift to access the roof. Instead, I was able to drone the roof and complete the inspection in a matter of minutes –
safely and more cost-effectively. I also used the drone to inspect a large workshop that had a fire. I flew the drone inside the building to get some pictures of the columns for the Engineer to see if it was even safe to go in the building.”

Our thanks to Sean, Charles and Ken for their time and their great insight. CX and drone usage provides quicker, more controlled, efficient and cost effective customer service. They’ve provided a worried client base with the necessary options for them to customize the service they receive. The Claims Department continues to vet the newest and most
productive tools on the market.

Until next time…..keep praying for continued nice weather!

Thank you to Bill Hall for his work researching, interviewing and writing this article.