March 31st, 2014
Now that virtually everyone seems to have a smartphone, more areas of our lives and finances are becoming mobile. This revolution of connection has even extended to the way you can do business with your car insurance company.
Esurance announced the arrival of a video app that allows policyholders to communicate directly with a representative after an automobile accident. The insurance company maintains that the app will enable drivers to receive a claim estimate in minutes. With an emphasis on the customer, Esurance intends to reduce the stress and time it takes to file a claim and process reimbursement after an accident.
In addition to making life easier for policyholders, the app could potentially eliminate the need for appraisers to do on-site inspections when determining an estimate. This saves time for both drivers and insurance appraisers and could get drivers back on the road sooner after an accident.
"Many consumers are already using Facetime, Skype and other apps to communicate virtually, and we sought to recreate that type of experience and apply it in a way that was a win/win for Esurance and its customers," Joe Laurentino, Esurance material damage vice president, told Insurance Networking News.
How it works
The entire appraisal process can be conducted with a smartphone that a policyholder would use to show the vehicle's damage to an appraiser. Appraisers could also instruct policyholders where and how to shoot the video so the damage can be assessed properly and accurately. These video chat appraisals are set up by appointment at the convenience of the claimant, which means they don't have to wait for an appraisal and leave their car while it is being repaired. At the end of the video session, a claimant can receive an estimate and an electronic payment can be sent immediately.
The Esurance app, which also has other features that make it easier than ever for policyholders to file a claim and get paid sooner, is available for free download for most smartphones. The app is available for both Esurance policyholders and non-policyholders who have a claim with the company.
Mobile apps on the rise
Most car insurance companies are taking advantage of electronic platforms to connect with consumers and process claims faster to make the insurance industry more efficient and user friendly. The evolution of the auto insurance quote to claim process is quickly turning around the headache that was once associated with getting reimbursed after getting into an accident and filing a claim.
The mobile trend and popularity among auto insurance companies and policyholders has resulted in an explosion of growth for tech companies. SnapSheet is a company that allows users to update their insurance claims by uploading photos and getting pertinent information to appraisers, Tech Crunch reported. By the end of this year, the company expects that it will process 300,000 insurance claims nationwide through its mobile app. As more consumers catch on to the simplicity of mobile insurance appraisals and claims, it is unlikely the rise of insurance apps will be a dying trend.