Auto insurance: Artificial Intelligence is transforming pre-inspection of vehicles

Auto insurance: Artificial Intelligence is transforming pre-inspection of vehicles

By Ravinder Kumar

Auto insurance like other segments of the insurance industry is adopting a higher level of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and digitalisation in an attempt to become more efficient and transparent. How the implementation of AI is transforming pre-inspection of vehicles.

With nearly 180 million vehicles in India, the general insurance industry is constantly looking for ways to make auto insurance easier and faster for vehicle owners. And it may have just found the perfect solution – artificial intelligence (AI).

The new-age technology is helping insurance companies deal with every aspect of auto insurance – from pre-insurance to post-insurance – and in the process transform business processes for the better. All it needs is a smartphone and an app.

Here’s how the pre-inspection stage of auto insurance works.

Pre-inspection refers to the inspection of a vehicle before an insurance company approves the policy. It helps determine the vehicle’s physical condition, detects any preexisting damages and prevents fraudulent claims including those not covered by the insurer. It also plays an important role in determining premiums and accepting or rejecting an application.

AI-enabled pre-inspection eliminates the on-site inspection of vehicles by insurance personnel.

AI-enabled pre-inspection eliminates the on-site inspection of vehicles by insurance personnel. Instead, owners log into an app on their phones, click images and shoot videos of their vehicles, and transmit those to the insurance company. In fact, the app automatically verifies the pictures and videos against preset guidelines. In case an image does not meet the specified guidelines, the owner is requested to take the picture again. Once the images and videos are taken, the app creates a case file, which is then shared with the company whose in-house surveyors do a quality check on the vehicle.

While inspection for auto insurance is not mandatory, it is required in case of an ownership change, a switch from Third Party to comprehensive or additional coverage, or at the time of accident claim. Pre-inspection is also a prerequisite for break-in insurance wherein auto insurance is not renewed by the vehicle owner on time, leading to its expiry, and necessitating a new application and mandatory pre-inspection.

AI is seen as an essential technology towards automating the pre-inspection process and thereby increase employee efficiency, accuracy and productivity as well as customer engagement and satisfaction.

Prior to the emergence of AI, the authorised surveyor or insurance representative personally took down details about the car such as chassis and registration numbers, and took pictures of the vehicle and visually documented its condition at the time. However, this manual process was prone to procedural delays and inefficiencies, high costs, an element of risk and customer dissatisfaction.

The use of AI in auto insurance goes beyond reducing traditional ways of vehicle inspection.

At a time when Covid-19 has adversely affected the automobile and auto insurance sectors, AI is seen as an essential technology towards automating the pre-inspection process and thereby increase employee efficiency, accuracy and productivity as well as customer engagement and satisfaction. AI quickly assesses damage to the vehicle, cuts processing time from days to minutes, lowers overhead costs such as manual inspection, ensures efficient use of resources, enhances business scalability, and reduces fraud and human error. It also helps keep on-site personnel safe and healthy, especially in this pandemic. Thus, AI plays a significant role in reviving business, increasing sales and turning the fortunes of both industries.

How does a prospective customer manage an AI-enabled real-time pre-inspection of his/her vehicle? Here is a step-by-step guide:

  1. Customer details such as name, phone number, vehicle number etc., are acquired through Case Create API.
  2. The customer receives automated calls, SMS and WhatsApp messages with inspection details.
  3. The application guides the customer to complete the inspection using his/her mobile phone.
  4. The pictures and videos of the vehicle sent by the customer are checked for quality parameters.
  5. The case status is submitted using an automated response from API for issuing the policy.
  6. A policy purchase is triggered following pre-inspection, verification and a payment link is sent to the customer.

The entire process takes no more than 30 minutes.

While no data is available on remote pre-inspection of vehicles by the auto insurance sector, the number should be running into lakhs. However, there are reports of general insurance companies using AI-enabled platforms to conduct more than three lakh remote inspections over a period of two years. To put this into perspective, for every 100 renewals there are about 30 lapsed policies. These require physical inspection of the vehicles and documentation, which can take anywhere from two to five working days. This is where a touchless technology such as AI can be adopted to renew or revive policies in the shortest possible time and for the best outcomes.

Going forward, general insurance companies will depend more on AI-enabled insurance service platforms to expedite pre-inspection and post-inspection in the auto insurance process, streamline after-sales and customer service, improve the bottom line, and accelerate the digital transformation of auto insurance in India.

Also Read: Auto finance in India: Where are we now and what’s the way forward?

(Ravinder Kumar is Founder and CEO of WIMWIsure.)

(Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the author’s and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of Autofintechs.com. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.)

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