There is one thing however that has remained constant and that is with each new technology, first we do things differently, then we do different things. – David A. Smith
Doing things differently
This quote is indicative of most aspects
of claims processing today. The evolution of
claims management systems coupled with
the use of data and analytics has not only
changed how we work, but also what we do.
However, the procurement, processing and
utilization of police reports has trailed be-
hind in terms of progress. When it comes to
efficiency, fast access to police report data is
critical. Today, more than 35 percent of po-
lice report orders can be fulfilled immedi-
ately with both the image of the report and
its data in a digital form returned directly
into a carrier’s claims management system.
Carriers used to obtained reports directly
from police agencies using mail or other means. Then, they began to leverage
third-party vendors who installed fax
machines in the police departments, deployed couriers, and built regional mail
centers in an effort to reduce turn-around
time from approximately 18 to 10 days.
When the report comes in, an adjuster
typically reviews it and may rekey some
data into the claims system. In some cases,
the data elements are captured and used,
while others are placed in a folder and for-
gotten. A recent poll of claims profession-
als found only 55 percent of the carriers ex-
pend any effort to rekey some of the data.
Consider the expense incurred in acquiring these reports and the value of the data to
a claim file. What could be done differently
to increase the return on investment?
Police departments are quickly embracing
more digital processes, which insurers can
leverage on the backend. Although we are
still in the early stages of real-time electronic
crash reporting, rapid adoption and expansion is expected over the next three to five
years. Many cruisers are equipped with lap-tops and software that allow officers to fill out
reports when responding to accidents. Police
departments like the technology because
officers can complete and update reports
faster with greater accuracy than handwritten reports, while increasing officer safety
Real-time access is made possible by combining on-the-scene accident reporting
software with online contributory databases.
The software allows critical validation rules
to assist the officer in making sure the appropriate and essential data is captured correctly.
Think of the potential. As soon as a
claim is filed, up to 35 percent of the time
adjusters could pull up the report on their
screens, print it out and quickly utilize the
information for claims investigations. This
real-time interaction could allow carriers
to resolve claims faster. Think of how dig-
itized data elements from the report could
be leveraged for advanced analytics – from
identifying new trends in claims to devel-
oping new workflows for faster processing.
Having data available in a consis-
tent format could provide new insights
into loss exposures, loss location, injury
causation and liability assessment. The
information could be used to alert an
adjuster to a potentially severe file that
could be routed to a more senior handler,
or passed directly to an automated triage
process for inspection and resolution.
Data elements could also be used for
predictive analytics in other areas. Actuarial departments could develop models to
identify trends in accident reports predicative of future events and make proactive plans on how to mitigate potential
changes in the insurance environment.
Consumers expect real-time quality service. In order to meet those expectations,
carriers must embrace tools that enable
similar performance. The insurance industry is entering into a new era of real-time
crash reports by tapping into at-the-scene
police reporting technology. Claims organizations will be able to resolve claims
faster at a lower cost. In the end, accessing
crash reports in real-time will give carriers
access to actionable information throughout the claims handling process, ultimately leading to better results and a more
competitive position in the market.
Todd Fannin (todd.fannin@lexisnexis.
com) is director of insurance claims at
LexisNexis Risk Solutions, where he
works with claims leaders to create the
solutions that help customers improve
claims workflow processes and manage
their bottom line. For more information,
Changing the Claims Process
with Digitized Police Report Data