2020…That’s A Wrap
The 3 Cs of 2020
2020 has been an almost unbearable year in general, and particularly so for insurers. From the rise of a dangerous & prolific global pandemic to an undeniably extreme year for tumultuous weather, I didn’t know what was coming next. In hindsight when I think of 2020, what will come to mind in the workspace part of my brain will be COVID-19, CATS, and COSTS.
Impacts to P&C insurance were, and continue to be, broad:
- business interruption challenges
- workplace environment disruption
- shifting employee/resource models
- virtual and socially distant claims handling
- long-term or permanent changes to workplace facilities and facilities management
- market volatility
- loss ratio and earnings deterioration
Thankfully, the rapid increase in differentiated insurtech solutions and service providers like Seek Now helped offset some of the short-term impacts and longer-term costs. Swift deployment of our expert field inspection staff and our estimate-ready inspection reports helped carriers solve one of their largest and unforeseen operational challenges…continuing to service their customers at time of loss while grounding (or significantly curtailing) the field activities of claims personnel
Catastrophic claims activity was also unprecedented this year. From elevated spring storm activity to wildfires, tornadoes, torrential rains and flooding, a derecho or two, and a few minor earthquakes. Not to mention a record prediction of 13-19 named Atlantic storms…we are now at 30.
The advent of technology-based solutions that utilize AI, ML, AR/VR, deep learning and data -- copious amounts of property specific data like that collected by Seek Now Field Inspectors -- has never been greater nor more important to our industry as we all seek to do more with less while not compromising on quality or service.
The obvious elephant remaining in the 2020 room is… Cost. Each of these relatively unexpected events result in equally unforeseen costs that must be managed, shifted, or absorbed. For example, did you know the cost of lumber has increased on average 91% since March? So, what happened? Most obviously, there were CATS and claims, but there were also COVID-19-related manufacturing shut-downs and supply chain interruptions combined with higher than average demand for materials from homebound homeowners puttering with remodeling projects at precisely the same time. Who would have thought?
Anyway, that is where the big benefit comes into play from solution providers like Seek Now. Despite increased costs associated with grounding field staff and pursuing alternative means of doing business, and despite the added burden of CAT and other event-related claim costs, one cost category saw improvement -- LAE costs. Claims organizations suddenly took a serious look at more cost-effective claim inspection alternatives than traditional field staff or independent adjusting services. Virtual claim handling methods have become increasingly more prevalent, first, out of necessity during early COVID-19, then reaffirmed during CATS, and solidified after the proof came in -- that we offer quick, quality inspection data. This supreme service is more cost effective than the outdated independent adjusting models and more importantly, the positive impact on the customer experience is well documented in the statistics.
What will 2021 bring? While we recognize these are all unforeseen circumstances, our model was built years ago with this type of scale in mind. In fact, our model stood the test of all of these challenges and our work product solidified us as the market trend leader. Stay tuned for big announcements in 2021. After years of R&D and development we will be introducing new technology solutions in the form of AI, virtual and augmented reality, advanced algorithmic routing; all to shave even more days away from the cycle.