When Uber Comes for Claims
Why you are not safe from the “Uberfication” of your industry.
By Wesley Todd
In today’s technological environment, we are all in a secret battle against software. Perhaps the scariest thing about the battle is that the assailants often are unknown, and they strike when we least expect it. Without any notice, they enter an industry and threaten to destroy it.
But you are an insurance professional, and you don’t have anything to worry about, right? Your profession requires knowledge and skill. Technology cannot eat your job.
Think again. You are not immune from a tectonic shift in your industry, like the one Uber created in the taxi cab industry. Let me show you why you are not safe from the “Uberfication” of your industry.
Just Add Data
By now, we all have heard of Uber. It’s a mobile application that allows passengers to submit a trip request via their smartphones. The request then is routed to a nearby Uber driver who then uses his own vehicle to pick up and transport the passenger. Uber launched in San Francisco in 2011, and it is now operating in more than 400 cities.
Uber’s ability to match supply with demand hinges on data. Uber provides passengers with the closest available reliable driver. Uber does this by mastering location data, qualifying drivers, and allowing passengers to review drivers on a scale of one to five.
You probably think that Uber cannot transform the insurance claims industry like it transformed the taxi cab industry. After all, handling insurance claims is much more complex than hailing a cab, right?
Not exactly. Just as Uber transformed a traditional taxi cab service by adding data, “Uber for Insurance Claims” can provide insurers with a breakthrough service with data. “Uber for Insurance Claims” can leverage large amounts of metrics-revealing data to qualify vendors, then match insurers with the right claims professional, engineer, or attorney for a particular claim. “Uber for Insurance Claims” also can develop analytics and deploy predictive modeling that will transform the handling of a claim.
If Uber can transform and automate the taxi cab industry with data and technology, “Uber for Insurance Claims” can use the same approach to create an algorithm for claims handling.
But I’m the Driver, Not the Taxi Company
You probably still think your job is safe even in the face of “Uber for Insurance Claims” because you think of yourself as the taxi driver, not the taxi company. But you forgot one key fact. Before we know it, Uber will replace its taxi drivers with driverless cars. “Uber for Insurance Claims” surely will do the same. By utilizing truckloads of data, “Uber for Insurance Claims” will be able to determine the outcome of a claim before the loss professional does. “Uber for Insurance Claims” will deploy drones to investigate claims, and it will deploy software to handle just about everything else. Eventually, “Uber for Insurance Claims” will automate the entire claims process from end to end.
Uber will eventually replace drivers with driverless cars. If “Uber for Insurance Claims” follows suit and completely automates the claims process, where does that leave you?
Think Like Uber
As we have seen from the Uber analogy, technology can eliminate your job. Everyone is at risk. To save yourself from extinction due to the Uberfication of insurance claims, you must think like Uber. Surely if someone out there is going to create “Uber for Insurance Claims,” he is going to need insurance claims expertise. “Uber for Insurance Claims” will need insurance experts like you to architect the data, analytics, and models needed to create the new insurance claims ecosystem.
In fact, if you are a service provider on the front lines of claims handling, you should lead the Uberfication of insurance claims. Initially, you will be able to receive a larger share of the revenue than you do currently. In time, you could be the engineer of the algorithm and automation that leads to huge increases in insurer profits.
Uber’s last round of funding valued it at $51 billion. Just imagine the possibilities for insurance claims, an industry much larger than the taxi cab industry. If you don’t create “Uber for Insurance Claims” or lend your expertise to its creation, someone else will.
And eventually, your job will be at stake.