The future of auto insurance claims in the United States

For the fourth session of the IBIS USA event, delegates heard from Mick Noland, executive vice president and chief technical officer of MAPFRE USA, who discussed the future of auto insurance claims in the United States.

After a brief introduction to the company, Mick moved to his first predicted future trend for auto insurance claims, which he titled: the claim paying business.  ‘Auto Insurance is a claim paying business,’ stated Mick. ‘From consumer reports to car insurance buying guides, it all comes down to finding the policy that’s best for you.’

Mick explained that consumers can accomplish this by watching crash repairs closely. ‘Claims payment is where the rubber hits the road in car insurance. Your insurer might push you to use shops in a direct-repair program (DRP) or use cheaper replacement parts, rather than the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts,’ Mick said.

He also advised delegates to choose their car wisely, ‘Vehicle damage is the biggest cost component for auto insurers. So, your premiums will vary by auto model. Ask your insurer for premium quotes on the different vehicle models that you’re considering.’

Mick continued with the discussion of trends. These included: vehicle complexity, distracted driving, and safer fleets. ‘In some respects, we are more distracted than ever but on the other hand we are also driving safer vehicles,’ Mick generalised.

A very significant trend is that of autonomous vehicles, Mick explained. Nearly 1.25 million people die in road crashes each year, on average 3,287 deaths a day, which Mick finds unacceptable. Autonomous vehicles can lower these numbers and make driving safer.

Furthermore, Mick discussed the relationship between insurers and bodyshops. He stated, ‘They share a very common experience, and that is a customer leaving happy about their experience. There is a lot of opportunity for collaboration. As repairs get more complex, customer satisfaction declines, as more time is needed for the repair or they get caught in-between insurers and bodyshop’s debates, which is frustrating.’

To conclude, Mick briefly examined future topics that will have influence on auto insurance claims that he did not have time to fully cover. The topics included: ride sharing, autonomous, telematics, the race to leverage digital and image in all aspects of claims, rapid growth in sophisticated automation, skills and talent, the increase of distracted driving as vehicle technology grows, and the changing weather patterns that have continued to produce more frequent, more severe weather which contributes to loss frequency.  

IBIS USA partner were 3M, Axalta, Solera Audatex, BETAG Innovation, Symach, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Fix Network World, Mitchell International, PPG, RSG, Verifacts, CARSTAR, Caliber Collision, Chief Automotive, I-CAR, OE Connection, and PartsTrader LLC.