A recent article addressing virtual adjustment of State Farm’s 34,000 broken pipe claims in Texas caught my attention. State Farm Adjusters Go Virtual as More Than 34,000 Claims Roll in for Texas Winter Storm, is worthy of consideration by all property claims adjusters.

Are virtual claims adjustment techniques the new reality and accepted method of claims adjustment?

The article notes:

Wood had some cracked pipes and lots of water inside his house. After a quick video chat tour, Jefferson-Fields said she could have an estimate for his claim within about an hour without him having to wait for the company’s field person to show up.

Wood was impressed with the virtual experience.

‘I am utterly amazed by the technology,’ he said. ‘It is just awesome and gives you a quicker response because there’s just so many field people they can put out here.’

State Farm is doing this because of the need for distance during the pandemic, and because of the huge number of Texans with damage.

For just this storm, just this one insurance company has already gotten 34,300 claims. State Farm says most of those are because of busted pipes. For perspective, for all of last year—nationwide—State Farm had about 3,800 broken pipe claims.

If you are with another insurer and prefer this kind of distanced approach, ask if they have a similar program.

A property claims estimate within an hour? That is prompt. If the check is then sent the same day as an undisputed amount, what is wrong with that?

I wrote in Good Faith Performance Requires Prompt Payment of Undisputed Amounts of Benefits:

The title to this blog probably has many insurance claims managers saying under their breath, ‘No joke, Chip. Tell me something I was not taught on the first week of the job I have been doing for my adult life.’ But, what happens when things go wrong and those undisputed benefits do not get paid—can you get out of this mess without being held accountable? Sorta like being caught “red handed” and praying that nobody is going to call you for the foul.

State Farm is using technology which is available to speed up the claims process for a catastrophe that has a significant demand for adjustment. Given the circumstances of social distancing, it is even more appealing. To me, this appears to be a good claims trend as an initial method of claims investigation.

What do you think? Should public adjusters and other estimators start using this adjustment technique? What is the downside?

Join me at 2 pm today for a discussion of this topic and to see other methods of how State Farm tries to influence advertising and public relations to put its best foot forward.

Thought For The Day

The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency.
—Bill Gates