12:18 PM

Improving the customer claims experience with virtual tools

By Martha Frye, Senior Vice President of Personal Lines Claims

When tropical storm Ana formed east of Bermuda on May 23, it kicked off the start of what the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicts will be an above normal 2021 Atlantic hurricane season. While we hope forecasters are wrong, Nationwide is prepared to serve our customers whenever and wherever disasters happen, and technology is helping us do so.

One of the biggest challenges all insurers face when responding to a disaster is access to impacted areas. Local infrastructure is usually severely disrupted, and hazards like flooded streets and downed powerlines are significant safety concerns.

But in 2020, with necessary COVID-19 protocols and record-breaking catastrophe events, Nationwide proved that remote inspection tools and new technology can increase the speed at which we connect with our customers, reduce the time to inspect their property and cut the time it takes to get them an estimate. Last year, Nationwide managed over 90 percent of homeowner claims virtually, and technology allowed us to handle multiple events, like hurricanes or wildfires, with claim professionals from across the country, improving response times for customers.

Nationwide customers tell us they value speed and communication during a claim above all else. With our expanded use of remote inspection tools, Nationwide is staying focused on customers by contacting them quickly, keeping them informed and partnering with them to settle their claim in a fast and reassuring way.

Our adjusters are using remote tools to collaborate with customers via video to evaluate interior damage and ask questions. Cutting-edge technology also allows homeowners to take 8-12 smartphone photos of their home, which are then used to obtain a 3D rendering of roof and exterior elevations, including accurate measurements of roof pitch, windows, surface areas and other openings. Adjusters can also order aeriel imagery of a customer’s roof and call on ladder inspection vendors to capture additional information as needed.

Additionally, at Nationwide, we’ve implemented two-way texting that enables quick and easy conversations between our claim associate and customer. This enables customers to send us images and files via text that are directly uploaded to their file, keeping our customer’s claim moving forward.

To help our customers get back to normal as quickly as possible, Nationwide is also employing new digital payment capabilities that get payments to customers faster.1 Aside from traditional payment choices, we now offer the ability to issue digital disbursements via JP Morgan Chase Portal and Zelle. Capabilities also exist to issue direct payment to an On Your Side Property Repair Network vendor with customer consent.

During catastrophes, Nationwide is still sending claims experts from our national catastrophe team into impacted areas to inspect damage, collect information and meet with customers, but enhanced communications tools and technology are helping us protect our customers when they need us most. Both virtually and onsite, Nationwide claims professionals are ready to assist with extraordinary care2.

Check out Nationwide’s emergency preparation resources for tips on staying safe during different types of disasters.

1Restrictions may apply given the specifics of the loss.
2Each claim is handled on its individual facts and circumstances. Individual experience may differ.