A new survey released by Solera has found that 78 per cent of consumers would favour a repair shop that provides more digital channels to quote, book and track repairs, while 76 per cent trust automotive claims driven entirely by artificial intelligence (AI).
Solera also identified crucial barriers to AI adoption for car insurers, enterprise body shops and Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) dealer networks.
The research surveyed 1500 “tech-savvy” consumers, 500 enterprise body shops and OEM dealer networks, and 500 global insurance companies across North America, Europe and Asia Pacific.
Solera says that since 2016, millennials have represented the largest generation in the workforce. Their expectations and prolific use of digital tools influence purchasing and retention decisions in all categories, including automotive insurance and repairs.
According to Solera’s survey, most claimants have previous experience using automotive digital claims technology – 56 per cent had submitted a claim online and 51 per cent had used digital technology to track the status of a claim. However, many more were seeking a fully automated experience, with 72 per cent of respondents citing confidence in an automated claims and “repair journey”.
“We’ve reached a point where leading companies are placing top priority on adapting and integrating cutting edge technology to differentiate and optimise customer experience. Those that don’t will face competitive challenges,” said Evan Davies, Chief Technology Officer at Solera. “This survey simply underscores what Solera has known to be true for some time – automated processes have the power to increase customer satisfaction and even customer retention.”
Solera says survey findings show that 67 per cent of consumers would switch insurers for a faster digital experience and 73 per cent would choose an insurer using AI to process claims quicker.
According to the company, there are challenges to upgrading “legacy” systems and the survey says those barriers differed among respondents. While cost was cited as the top barrier among car insurers (52 per cent) and enterprise body shops/OEMs (41 per cent), a deeper analysis of the data showed that large insurers must overcome distinct obstacles compared to other market participants.
Large insurers cite time-to-market (62 per cent), upskilling the existing workforce (52 per cent) and scalability (52 per cent) as their largest challenges. Body shops and OEM dealers are more concerned with challenges related to systems and business stability. Thirty-five percent of body shops and OEM dealers identified the constraints of legacy IT systems, unknown return on investment, and time-to-market as key challenges to incorporating AI.
“Widescale adoption of any revolutionary technology presents inevitable challenges and concerns for small and large businesses, which is why it’s even more critical that these companies invest with a proven and leading technology provider,” said Davies.
According to Solera, prior to 2020 and COVID-19, the use of modern technologies, particularly those eliminating in-person contact, were considered ‘nice to have’. Now, in many cases, it is crucial that businesses provide customers with touchless interactions. Following the pandemic, as a driver of digital transformation, the highest ranked catalysts for car insurers were growth strategies (36 per cent), employee safety and remote working (34 per cent), and customer demand for digital experiences (33 per cent). Body shops and OEMs cited employee safety, remote working, and demand from customers to engage via online channels as main drivers (37 per cent), with 36 per cent citing a desire to modernise the workflow.
“It is clear that organisations [must] understand how AI can build resilience and improve customer journeys,” added Davies. “Finding the right blend of data and technology is the key to optimising investments to unlock speed, intelligence and efficiency at scale. Only then can our industry see the highest return on digitisation through a faster, more accurate repair claims process.”