Why Computers May Handle Your Next Property Damage Claim

The nation’s second largest auto insurance company, GEICO, announced it would start using artificial intelligence (AI) in its auto claim and repair process. GEICO will use AI technology from a company named Tractable to review property damage estimates. GEICO promises quicker, more accurate estimates for its customers using AI and hopes to greatly speed up the claims process.  


Artificial intelligence builds on the concept that computers can think for themselves, learn, and ultimately behave like a human. While this may sound futuristic (or like the Terminator movies) AI is already in our lives. Many large companies use AI technology for their chat services on their websites. If you use any streaming services like Netflix or Spotify, the suggestions you get on what to watch or listen is AI and machine learning technology. These systems look at what you watch or listen, learn your behaviors, and suggest other things you may like.  


Some insurance companies use AI to streamline and automate processes. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg for AI in the insurance context. The use of AI to review property damage photographs and estimates is the next step in speeding up insurance claims. So how does it work?  


According to Tractable, its AI technology looks at historical claims–millions of them–and learns how to evaluate property damage like a human appraiser would. The insurance company reviews the property damage estimate with AI, then agrees on repairs with the auto body shop, or decides if the vehicle is a total loss. But Tractable says AI technology can do this task in seconds, thus speeding up the process.  


How will this affect you? In addition to getting quicker estimates, AI technology should also, in theory, provide more consistent and accurate evaluations because it takes human subjectivity out of the equation. If there is a dispute over an estimate, insurance companies will still have humans available to help.  


Artificial intelligence will undoubtedly disrupt many industries, and the insurance industry is no exception to that. How quickly that happens is still to be seen. The insurance industry has been traditionally slow in adapting to new technology like AI, but with younger, more tech-savvy generations beginning to drive, smarter technology will be expected. AI in the claims process is undoubtedly just the start.