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Visual Intelligence – the Future of Claims Reporting?

A picture says more than a thousand words is a famous saying and with snapchat, Pinterest etc., we seem to have arrived into a world where more and more communication is done visually. Whether this is more than in the past is to be seen, as images have played an important role throughout history in communicating stories. So, the question is not if images are meaningful or important. In insurance claims one of the topics these days is if images can be used as the primary source of filing, communicating and describing the damage.

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Simplifying the claims process with the support of technology

Visual Intelligence (VI), as a subdiscipline of Artificial Intelligence (AI) has also resulted in a whole lot of new possibilities to use computing capabilities to read and integrate images. When I helped to create one of the first systems of this kind some eight years ago, we faced a lot of challenges that today are more easily overcome with the progression in technology.  VI more recently has been powerful in recognizing our faces and simplifies our shopping, but will it also simplify our claims process?

Images in claims have one big advantage over words and text, everyone can take an image. And a couple of images of a damaged car will tell a claims expert a lot more than a few sentences, but… this is not the whole story and will not always give the full picture.

We see a clear benefit in VI as an aide and supporting technology in the claims process. It can make damage descriptions in self-service a lot easier and convenient for the consumer. It provides an extra set of information to claims experts and its downsides can be mitigated. But it usually requires additional inputs to complete the picture. The main source of input remains the person who files the claim, and in the years to come, more and more telematics will start playing a role.

Telematics and VI are nicely complementary. VI can show us what damage we can see on the outside, telematics helps to determine if beyond the surface additional damages were incurred that don’t meet the eye. Telematics is more difficult to fake. Images can be manipulated; it doesn’t take a deep fake to add a scratch to a panel and “trick” the machine. Of course, the technology is also there to analyse tampering (automatically), but it’s a risk we need to look into when we let more and more decisions to be taken automatically. Images can show small damages that telematics is struggling to detect. Telematics will give you the necessary “depth”, as not all aspects of damage are visible from the outside, and in many situations, almost nothing looks damaged, as this video illustrates:

Combine technology

For both technologies applies; use them to in combination to make the claims process better and easier to the customer first, don’t make them the centre of your process, they are a means to an end, not the end itself. At spearhead we have integrated both promising innovations in the FNOL as the combination of data makes a process easier and more robust. To make a long story short, telematics will over time replace the human input as the primary source of information in the claims process, VI processed images will continue to provide easy and useful detail and confirmation, especially in the case of light, super visual damages.

About the author


Vehicle Telematics not only redefines the way drivers interact with their cars, it also redefines the way Insurers and Fleet Operators should interact with their customers, especially in the 'moment of truth'​, when an accident happens.

Spearheads Telematics solutions allow Automotive Insurances as well as Fleet, Leasing and Car Rental Companies to leave behind the limitations of today’s analog and inefficient First Notification of Loss and claims handling processes, and enable them to progress to a digital, automated and smart Claims and Vehicle Life-Cycle Management 4.0. While delivering to their customers innovative and best in class services that reflect the changes in customer behavior towards a more flexible, autonomous, self-service oriented and digital way to communicate and interact.

Spearhead is focusing on innovative, globally scaling Telematics solutions in combination with Smart Data and Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence and Statistical Models.