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Aerial Measuring Helped State Farm Through CAT-Heavy Spring

Making things easier on the back-end allowed the company to pay more attention on the customer service side, CAT team manager Sherry Roche tells I&T.

For our claims digital issue, I reached out to a number of insurance companies to ask how technology enabled their responses the major catastrophes that dominated the first part of the year. One of the insurers I reached out to was State Farm. However, the day I was supposed to interview them, my son was born. So, I didn't get them in my article — but I was able to reconnect with them yesterday. Following is my chat with Sherry Roche, CAT team manager.

Insurance & Technology: Have State Farm's response capabilities been tested by the busy spring?

Sherry Roche: State Farm actually has a very large group of CAT employees that we have available to meet the demands of these cats throughout the country. We've been able to staff them the way we need to.

I&T: Have you deployed any new technologies to help along the way?

SR: Some tech we've introduced this year has made things more efficient. The big one is aerial measuring services. We have used a vendor called Eagleview, we're testing some other ones, and we're also using a product that's available in our estimating program Xactimate.

I&T: How do these technologies fit into the claims process?

SR: A lot of the storms have been significant in terms of devastation. These services allow us to look at what it was like before, and we can build it in our estimating program without a whole lot of burden on the policyholders. In addition, when we have areas that have significant hail damage, we have adjusters that are out all day long. It can be hot on the roofs. They're able to have these measurements when they go out there, saving them time. It's safer for them with the heat.

I&T: How does this help on the customer service side?

SR: When you have someone who's lost everything, it can be a challenge to say, "What did your front door look like?" We've been able to see more people, faster than we would've in the past. It's also been beneficial to us when we're working with our policyholders' contractors, helping them write contracts and do repairs to the home.

Nathan Golia is senior editor of Insurance & Technology. He joined the publication in 2010 as associate editor and covers all aspects of the nexus between insurance and information technology, including mobility, distribution, core systems, customer interaction, and risk ... View Full Bio

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