CCC apps assist shops with increased vehicle complexity
Increasing vehicle complexity means shop personnel may inadvertently overlook required repair procedures that could vary from one vehicle to the next. Materials used and the repair methods recommended by each vehicle’s OEM are in constant flux. And although a relatively small percentage of the vehicle population is equipped with ADAS, with 50 percent of 2018 vehicles having the technology, “that number is ramping up quickly,” said Susanna Gotsch, director and analyst for CCC Information Services.
“Repair costs for those newest vehicles are rising faster,” she said. “The electronics content is higher, with more parts replacement required. They are typically placed on the perimeter of the vehicle so they can pick up on the surroundings of the vehicle, but that means they are in high-exposure areas and often need to be replaced.”
Additional parts and new labor operations for pre- and post-repair scans and calibrations mean that it will take a couple years before insurance underwriting departments catch up and adjust premiums to account for any changes in severity costs, said Dan Risley, vice president of quality repair and market development, CCC.
“The next layer is, ‘How do we fix it? Where do we get the information to do it, and what tools do we need?’”
Some OEMs, such as Chrysler, which announced the same at the January CIC meeting, require their certified repair shops to scan all vehicles, Risley said. Those often turn up surprising results, such as a taillight R&I to refinish a bedside scratch triggering a DTC not present during the pre-scan.
“Even though it seems like old news, there are still so many shops that are not looking at procedures on a regular basis,” said Mark Fincher, vice president of market solutions.
CCC’s Repair Methods product allows estimators and technicians to quickly access OEM repair procedures, while its Checklist product, released in late 2017, helps shops document them. It’s an important consideration, such as the John Eagle case showed, with how an improper repair can appear in litigation years later.
“Because each repair is unique, it should have a checklist that is unique as well. The shop can make it dynamic to the repair, able to capture additional information such as photos and notes, and have it tied to the workflow so if it doesn’t get completed, the technician can’t move the car to the next phase.”
CCC’s Checklist can “force-feed SOPs” to require a technician to take a picture with a cell phone of the sectioning and welds that were done on a vehicle, Risley said.
“So not only do you have documented proof of what you’ve done, but it does two other things. It gives you the ability to go back and audit your staff: You can’t be in the shop every day, watching every repair on every panel. But if you have the photos and the documentation, you can go back and audit two weeks’ or a month’s worth of work very quickly. And it also provides a training tool for the shop to use with the technician. Having that documentation, those photos in front of you, is critical to protect your business.”
Consumer photo apps using AI increase accuracy
Using heat map technology that analyzes a photo taken of collision damage by an insured’s cell phone, Smart Estimate allows for a more efficient and accurate process, Fincher said.
For a consumer using an insurer’s quick estimate smart phone application, templates guide them to take photos from various angles of the damage that allow accurate photo analysis by computer. Damage that would be difficult for a human eye to detect is easily discovered by a computer that examines each pixel to compare against undamaged panels and prepopulate a baseline estimate with suggestions for human estimators to review, edit and advance.
“We are seeing amazing results in the accuracy of what we’re able to detect through those AI models in photoanalytics,” Fincher said. “And you don’t need the same precision of a line-by-line estimate to identify an obvious total loss, which allows insurers to more effectively direct that work to the appropriate channel.”
If used to process total losses, the technology could result in fewer obvious totals being towed to the shop, reducing wasted time and use of storage space, along with the work needed to write a full sheet and condition the vehicle, he said.
“We see very applicable use cases for the repair facility to take photos of the vehicle and have the system determine if it’s a total loss or not. We’ll be working with repair facilities in 2019 to do some testing on that and validate those use cases.”
Accident Advisor is latest application of AI, provides FNOL
Introduced in January at the Consumer Electronics Show, Accident Advisor is a mobile app that uses telematics to transmit crash data to automakers in real-time in the minutes following a collision. Volvo Car USA is the first OEM to use the app. Risley said he hopes it will be the first of many.
“We are working with Volvo to detect that crash pulse, and we can send the text message immediately to the customer,” he said. “The customer can start that Accident Advisor experience, which asks them if they’re OK, and guides them through capturing the information about the claim itself, in some cases. But for the damage from that vehicle, we can pass it through to the desk appraiser, who can begin to write the estimate. Anything that is visible [through the motorist’s photos], we can see as the appraiser would, and we will add that to the estimate that there is a high degree of confidence that the part is actually damaged, as we detect from the heat maps.”
If the consumers so choose, they can be connected to their participating insurer to begin the claim process, which will include being provided with a list of vehicle repair facilities, including certified Volvo repair centers.