Commentary/Opinion

Crash Detection: Connecting the Dots Reveals the Future

Over the past year several seemingly unrelated announcements involving crash detection have surfaced. Taken alone, none of them would necessarily lead industry participants to identify a trend. But taken together and understood in the context of the new and rapidly changing environment in which we live and work, they reveal a dramatically different future for driver and personal safety as well as the auto claims and insurance process and experience.

  • CCC and Sfara announce partnership for crash detection and claims STP
  • Reuters Events. Connected Claims USA Conference 2022 featured a Plenary Panel discussion on “Connected Claims in the Cloud: First Notice of Incident (FNOI) becomes On-Ramp to the Digital Claims Highway”.
  • Panelists included Brad Metzger, Strategy Director, American Family, Nino Tarantino, GM of Insurance, Sfara, Joe Armeni, VP Telematics Business Development, CCC Intelligent Solutions, Marlene Dailey, Director, National Insurance Consulting Claims Practice Lead, RSM US LLP and moderator Stephen Applebaum, Managing Partner, Insurance Solutions Group
  • CCC announces Zendrive partnership; Zendrive Joins CCC Network to offer insurers instant mobile crash detection data
  • Rapidly changing carparc features a doubling of EV penetration and proliferation of ADAS features; all driving up average repair costs by over 50%
  • eDriving unveils Solera Mentor crash detection powered by Sfara for commercial fleets
  • Inflation hits insurance and collision repair industry; Insurer loss ratios deteriorate to 108; auto premiums rise 14%
  • Rising auto insurance costs increases consumer shopping; carriers seek differentiators, including UBI, PAYD and driver safety programs of various kinds
  • A number of Telematics and Mobile service providers begin to reference and offer “crash detection” in conjunction with driver safety and/or auto insurance claims, including Arity, Life360, Sentiance and Cambridge Mobile Telematics
  • Apple and Google announce crash detection on newer models and Apple iPhone, Apple Watch and Google Pixel and Android phones; plagued with false positive problems they have followed up with improvements to the technology to address complaints.
  • Progressive announces Accident Response available to all policyholders, not just those in UBI programs
  • NVDIA announces AI speeds insurance claims estimates from CCC Intelligent Solutions for better policyholder experiences
  • Sfara expands emergency service capabilities to nearly 40% of the world’s population
  • Allianz announces expansion of Accident Detection in the My Allianz app for use by all customers from the scene of an accident

Until recently, crash detection has been narrowly offered through insurer UBI programs or more broadly as emergency assistance as spotlighted with Apple’s devices, despite its flaws. In these instances, only severe crashes are accurately detected which represents a much smaller percentage of accidents while more than 70% of insurance claims are considered minor to moderate damages and/or injuries. Insurers like Progressive and now Allianz are beginning to offer crash detection to all drivers and competitors are likely to follow suit, sharply driving up adoption. However, the single greatest game-changer is highly accurate, smartphone-based low and higher speed accident detection. This means that annoying and costly false positive alerts will be suppressed.

The auto insurance industry will never return to its pre-pandemic state and will continue to face growing competitive challenges and continuing changes in consumer behavior and the automotive and transportation landscape, all driven by relentless advances in technology. Telematics will evolve from being a novelty used for pricing and marketing, adopted by only a small fraction of all policyholders to represent an enterprise wide set of solutions that will usher in a new and better age for auto insurance, impacting the majority of policyholders.

Specifically, real-time crash detection integrated with AI-enabled claims process management platforms will dramatically improve outcomes for auto carriers and claimants.

Stephen Applebaum and Alan Demers

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