Your insurance adjuster may soon be a drone or an app

Your insurance agent may start looking a bit more … robotic in the months and years to come. As we continue to inhabit an increasingly digitized world, a growing number of our interactions will be not with our fellow humans, but with machines. And that's certainly the case when it comes to your insurance company. As per the 2017 Future of Claims Study survey by LexisNexis Risk Solutions, these companies are looking to "virtual" or "touchless" methods of handling claims. In fact, a solid 38 percent of insurers are said to no longer send human employees for physical inspections. Instead, they're using drones and apps.

Faster and more efficient than their human counterparts, drones (and the photos they take), apps, and artificial intelligence are revolutionizing the insurance industry. As the Wall Street Journal noted, filing a claim has traditionally involved a long and rather arduous process, taking weeks and many a phone call to resolve. But now, drones and other technology could be injecting the industry with some much-needed efficiency.

As per the LexisNexis survey, about 40 percent of car insurers do not use employees to physically inspect damage, and as the Journal reported, "Claims that rely on greater automation can be handled in two to three days compared with 10 to 15 days for a more traditional approach that involves an in-person visit."

And new-fangled insurance companies like Lemonade have made headlines for promising to resolve claims in a matter of seconds.

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In the insurance world, time is money. The faster you can settle a claim, typically the less you can settle it for, so there is a direct financial incentive, said Matthew Josefowicz, chief executive of insurance-technology consulting firm Novarica. He pointed out that water damage and similar claims can get worse if they're not addressed immediately.

That said, there's certainly some skepticism when it comes to relying too heavily on machines to resolve what often comes down to human error. As Andrew Newman, president of reinsurance broker Willis Re told the Journal,Its great to speed up certain parts of the process, [but] to think that one photograph, one piece of code or one algorithm is the Holy Grail, I think is a bit of a misnomer."