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Weathering the cost of Mother Nature in 2022

Verifying media at source to use in the claims process

With every passing year, it seems that Mother Nature excels herself and throws increasingly violent storms, deeper snow, stronger hurricanes and twisters, torrential floods and more ferocious wildfires in the USA. Record weather events are perpetually broken year on year, and each season brings its own challenges across the States.

With record snowfall in December and January across California’s Sierra Nevada and Washington DC and hurricane-force winds that sparked historically destructive fires near Boulder, Superior and Louisville at New Year, 2022 is stacking up to be another challenging year for the insurance industry.

Winter storms caused $1.1 billion in insured losses in 2020 in 2021 according to insurer Aon. In the first half of 2021, they caused a record $15.1 billion in insured losses, almost totally due to the February 12 to 22 winter storms that affected large areas of the country, especially Texas. Estimated losses were as high as $20 billion – with the final cost to insurers unknown until the beginning of 2022 at the earliest, as the price of lumber impacts repairs and business income interruptions are still being processed.

But what if you could speed up that process by using evidencing technology? It’s a fact that we’ve never been more equipped to take video and photo footage – every device we own has a camera. But by the same token, there are immeasurable ways to tamper with those devices and the footage they capture. With natural disaster insurance claims running into billions, media (video and photo footage) is being embedded into the claims process as ‘proof’ of damage or loss, and with that comes an increased risk of fraud where media hasn’t been certified.

Unless footage is verified at source, images can be easily altered – the metadata changed, photoshopped, a video clip shortened or stolen from another online source - all to provide ‘proof’ in an insurance claim. The importance for insurers of being able to trust what they see, embed the footage into enterprise workflow and store it safely for use in the claims process must be combined with the need to understand the difference between certified and circumstantial evidence. Certified media can be proven to be tamper-proof – unaltered from the point at which it was taken. Failure to verify media in this way leaves insurers open to fraud.

Growing amounts of visual media is being used to certify claims, check the repair of buildings and verify the condition of property caught in hurricanes or other natural disasters. In addition, the insurance industry has embraced the use of apps to help manage claims, to speed up the processes and make the user experience more friendly. But these apps have no way of certifying the media within them and in turn can open up the risk of relying upon videos and photos that have been tampered with – the desire to provide the best user experience is opening them up further to fraud on a large scale.

So how can insurers ensure that what they see and capture in the claims process is real?

Working with eviid, insurance companies have been able to introduce a verified video element to insurance company claims - and has seen, that where claims are of a value of less than £2,000, a shocking 40% of claimants have walked away from completing the claim at all. At least in the first instance, video verification has the ability to reduce low-level fraud.

Through the capture, verification, upload and storage of video and photos within the eviid media platform – video and photo content is certified, and insurance companies can be sure that what they’re seeing within their enterprise workflow is real. For insurers, it offers a way to verify footage taken ‘in situ’ – in potentially precarious or sensitive life-threatening natural disaster situations. The technology also allows for any sensitive footage to be ‘locked’ within the workflow so that those with access permissions can review it, but it’s not widely available to everyone to do so.

Eviid also provides the ability to work remotely and remove the need for loss adjustors to go to site. It connects those in a disaster zone to a live call with a colleague in an office via the desktop or it can take video and photos via an app which can be automatically uploaded to the workflow media hub. Measurements can also be taken by a person in the office ‘driving’ the user’s phone via the app.

Insurers can deploy the complete eviid media platform or take the verification element and embed it into existing enterprise workflow solutions providing real choice for insurers without any replacement of IT systems.

Using eviid's verification technology, the risk of fraud is reduced, and the enterprise workflow allows an efficient claims cycle.

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