Pre-inspection images are a critical step in the battle against fraudulent / inflated insurance claims. Blurry shots, missing angles and outdated images are all just a few of the regular issues that can cause additional costs or allow for users to mislead insurers. With the ability to save insurance companies literally billions, we wanted to share 4 common mistakes in vehicle pre-inspection images and how to avoid them.
“Even with instructional ‘1 pagers’ sent to clients, the quality and consistency of the images frequently didn’t fit the requirements. Facing problems like blurry, out of frame or too far away and poor quality images, often lead to a much longer review time and additional work for both the client and the salesperson” told Mikko Pilt from ERGO insurance.
Why are pre-inspection photos even necessary?
Without pre-inspection images there is no comparison opportunity when reviewing the alleged damage to a vehicle following a claim. Taking the damage “at face value” may work in a small trusted community or in some small cases, but when building a business to scale internationally, the ability to be defrauded is enormous without this simple step.
The act of requiring pre-inspection images adds a well understood layer of security for insurers and the users as they are able to establish a foundation on which they can claim any damages in the future.
However, simply being able to add images may not be good enough. With the ongoing challenges of face-to-face contact and the shift to online/digital services, uploading inaccurate or inconclusive images can reopen the opportunity for ‘bad actors’ to defraud insurers. Having a bad pre-inspection process can be just as bad as not having one at all!
4 Common Mistakes in Pre-Inspection Images
Having an inconclusive set of photos that are conveniently missing the angle where the damage was or images that are blurred or of such low resolution that any analysis is impossible is the most common mistake. This issue may or may not be intentional, but leads to the same result of either the insurer paying out on inflated claims or the creation of an angry customer who feels defrauded themselves by not receiving the cover they expected. The outcome is a long term loss to insurance companies as they pay out more or lose once loyal customers to competitors with superior services.
This is potentially solvable with a detailed step-by-step guide for clients to follow, however low resolution images or users intentionally avoiding certain angles are only avoidable from in-person checks or a specialised solution designed for the process.
Bad Quality Images
Similar to the first mistake, insurers are constantly being bombarded with images that are irrelevant or just plain useless by customers that aren’t offered any guidance. Vehicles that are too dirty to distinguish damage or a photo album of useless images to search through are just a few of the countless examples of insurers needing to waste time and valuable resources going back and forth with increasingly frustrated customers. Trading emails requesting specific images even from genuine customers is a drain on resources and can lead to high customer and employee churn. A regular issue currently not always solvable with a step-by-step guide, these mistakes can be avoided with in-person checks or a solution designed to offer real-time feedback and guide the user with image capture.
Uploading Old Images
Recording a ‘time of capture’ is the simplest way to ensure that the images being uploaded are recent and valid views of how the vehicle currently looks. However the ability to upload outdated images is another very common approach for businesses new to the digital space or those simply unaware of the technical abilities of some customers looking to defraud on a claim.
Is your current process confirming that the vehicle is actually the one in the claim? The ability to upload high quality images of a similar vehicle is yet another great way for fraudsters to misrepresent the state of the vehicle by showing what appears to be an undamaged car that looks the same. Ensuring the car VIN and the car shown are the one and the same could be recorded via a video request or similar technical solutions offered with specialised solutions.
The process of taking pre-inspection vehicle images is one of the most underappreciated aspects to building a strong and positive relationship with a customer. By developing a trusted foundation for claims in the future, insurers are able to confidently process claims and customers can feel supported. Additionally, it can save businesses hundreds of thousands in wasted salary hours and even more in fraudulent/inflated claims.
By selecting a solution that is designed to automate the pre-inspection process, insurance companies can confidently ensure that all users are uploading relevant, accurate and detailed images in a guided format without any additional assistance. The AI solution developed by DriveX, has a proven process of automating image capture in a client friendly way that saves sales hours and reduces fraudulent inflated claims by up to 90%.