The real test of value for insurance is at the point of claim. It is also a point of conflict. Claimants want to maximise payouts; insurers want to minimize them. And this undermines trust in the relationship. But it doesn’t have to be this way. So I’ve looked at how video can change the trust dynamic in the relationship between insurer and insured.
Imagine the scene. You drop a tin of paint on your living room carpet. After cursing your misfortune, you contact your insurer, who calls you back at an agreed time. They invoke a video call and you have a virtual face-to-face discussion about the incident with a claims assessor.
The assessor asks you to show them the damage through the video camera. You move the camera around the whole room to show the assessor evidence that redecoration is happening (and that it’s not a scam to get a new carpet!).
In a matter of minutes, the assessor confirms that they have all the necessary information and the claim is in order. They process a faster payment for you against your policy and the money hits your bank account straight away.
Sounds cool! It’s a conceirge approach to supporting the customer at a time when they need it (and the reason they bought insurance in the first place!).
Without question, it’s a much better experience for the customer.
And it’s also a lower cost process for the insurer.
And it (should) remove the point of conflict from the insurance claim process (see blog post from Ethics and Insurance).
So why isn’t it like this today?
Well it is for a few insurers who are in trials with VideoTech (but they haven’t gone public about this yet!).
And they are already seeing positive results, as they should.
- Taking control of the claims process and all expenses as early as possible after the event is critical to an insurer.
- Getting support and settlement as early as possible is important to the customer!
When you look at it like that, both insurer and insured share the same goal. Making a claim does not have to be a point of conflict!
Originally founded in Paris, Thomas is relocating the business to the UK as he launches his insurance company Vis.io. Thomas is very much a startup entrepreneur of his generation and when I asked him what made him want to start a business, he answered, “to make a social impact”.
Thomas started Vis.io around 2 years. His ambition was to create a platform that would bring customers and businesses together. What he calls, “proximity”!
Shortcomings of Video in the market
Tom explained, “Consumer 2 Consumer video streaming is commonplace with platforms like Skype, Face Time and Google Hangouts. And we see established B2B solutions such as GoToMeeting and WebEx that meet corporate needs for various complex functionalities.
“However, there was nothing in the market suited to B2C. Human interaction between business and consumers is either face to face in the branch, shop or office. Or, it is an audio engagement over the phone, usually with a call centre.”
(Ed Note, check your user agreements, you’ll find that some platforms own your conversations!).
And whilst commerce has largely shifted to an online, self-service model that minimizes human interaction as much as possible, there will always be activities that require proximity.
So Tom decided to create Vis.io and build a platform that both business and consumers would be ok to use together. And it would be secure, private and mobile.
Vis.io for Insurance
The platform is SaaS based and built to be highly “integratable”. Using APIs, Vis.io is designed so that it can connect to any of the insurer’s existing ecosystem and making it very easy to integrate the platform into the existing IT infrastructure.
And the business case for using Vis.io is a simple one for insurers.
First, it allows a face-to-face and direct communication with their customers.
Next, it lowers the threshold for automatic payouts. Vis.io makes it cost effective to assess smaller claims that would usually be paid out automatically.
Last, it raises the threshold for deploying a loss adjustor to assess the claim. By using Video Tech, any claims assessor based anywhere in the world can perform a virtual site visit without the cost and time impact of a physical trip to assess the claim.
The promise of improved customer satisfaction, reduced fraud losses and a much lower cost of operations is compelling!
The key is bandwidth speed
Vis.io has worked hard on building a solution that is low on bandwidth. It does not require 4G or a super fast broadband connection to be effective. Partly this is because the insurer does not need high HD definition images. A clear image is good enough.
But even so, Vis.io have developed a management layer that optimizes picture quality for the bandwidth that is available at the time. And this is where they optimize cache memory to get the best image for the lowest bandwidth.
How do insurers use Vis.io?
It starts at FNOL (first notification of loss- the industry acronym for when the claimant first reports a claim to their insurer). The insurer logs the event on their CRM system and schedules a call back with the claimant.
At an agreed date and time, the call is initiated by the insurer calling the claimant’s mobile. Using the Vis.io platform, a secure and recordable video call is established between insurer and insured. The claims assessor engages in a virtual face to face with the claimant and uses the camera on the smartphone to capture video, pictures and the conversation.
The end result is a video record of the claim with supporting evidence included. Which sure beats the traditional methods of either collecting information over the phone (and relying on voice technology and clever questioning to detect fraud)…or sending an adjuster out with a clip-board in a company car (expensive!).
Once the video record has been made, it is moved into the claims management workflow for the claims handlers to process.
Vis.io is more than just a claim’s solution
Vis.io is a cross industry platform and has already established itself in the moving industry with visioquote.com. As they enter the world of insurance, they are not limiting the applicability of the platform to claims.
Their platform can also be used in the underwriting process.
Imagine a consumer using Vis.io to make a video viewing of their home, with the insurer on the call to acknowledge the record has been made fairly and accurately. And with particular attention paid to a valuable painting, piece of furniture or expensive jewelry.
Or to confirm mandatory policy requirements, such as confirming that window locks are in place.
Or to meet regulatory requirements, such as in France where it is a requirement of every home to be installed with a smoke alarm.
The future of insurance is Engagement
Whereas I talk about engagement insurance, Tom talks about proximity.
Two different words to describe the same concept, which is the redefining of personal lines insurance by the way the insurer connects with the insured.
VideoTech enables a return to the “across the table” interaction with an insurer, whether that be for assessing a claim, confirming an identity, collecting needs or explaining a policy.
Vis.io have made their platform easy to use and low cost for insurers who want to embrace engagement insurance.
And, as well as an improved relationship with their customers, there are massive cost efficiency gains for insurers.
Having already progressed through two accelerators; 01Ventures in London and Prosais in Paris, Vis.io is currently raising a seed round from a combination of angels and French government grants. After they close this round in February, Tom plans to move the business to London and prepare for Series A.
Other Insurance Tech firms operating in the Video Tech space include;
LiveMed, who have developed a a video tech solution to verify identities, sign documents, explain policies and make claims. I have just interviewed Yair David, co-founder of LiveMed and they will be subject to a research note in a couple of weeks time.
360Globalnet, with their “disrupt without disruption” tagline, they offer a video tech platform and a crowdsourced UK network of assessors for quick response to a site visit.
Roundcube, a wholly owned subsidiary of Dutch based insurance tech vendor CCS. Their insurance claim solution uses a mobile app to make it easy and immediate to collect data and evidence for the claims handler.
Previous research notes relevant to this week’s article;
By Rick Huckstep, Founding Partner, Daily Fintech Advisers.
Daily Fintech Advisers provide strategic consulting to organizations with business and investment interests in Fintech.