Bitesize InsurTech: Photocert
April 12, 2021 Hélène Miravalls
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Photocert validates the authenticity of pictures and videos and provides image analysis to insurers for underwriting and claims.
The business was founded in 2016 but only became insurance focused in 2019 after participating in the Techstars accelerator program. Its objective is to improve customer experience, reduce operational costs and reduce fraud in both underwriting and claims.
Photocert uses computer vision and AI modules to extract and interpret relevant data about damage and estimate value. It uses the Ethereum blockchain to store the image certifications and their associated data through smart contracts. It uses trusted timestamping servers to legally certify the authenticity of photos by verifying date, time, source device, and GPS location.
There are two main use cases:
- The self-serve claims motor platform, which allows policyholders to register and submit a motor claim, authenticating pictures on the spot. This allows claims handlers to monitor multiple cases at the same time, avoid unnecessary inspections, and set up a real-time First Notice of Loss (FNOL) as well as a faster initial assessment. This platform was implemented in 2019 with ITAS Mutua, an Italian insurer.
- The contents underwriting platform, which enables policyholders to receive a tailored contents quote through a mobile app with a guided interface to authenticate pictures and recognise objects (e.g. jewellery, tech products). Where necessary, the app asks for more information (e.g. certificates, product model number).
Photocert solutions are integrated into insurers’ tech stacks through APIs. The product is modular and can be customised to the needs of any client.
The Oxbow Partners View
Reducing manual intervention from underwriting and claims processes is critical for any insurer. In our recent InsurTech Impact 25 paper we argued that full automation should be the goal for any process in any line of business, but that intelligent digital enhancement of manual processes was a reasonable and often more realistic goal in the short term.
Photocert could be a useful tool to enhance both underwriting and claims processes. By digitising the ‘front end’ of underwriting and claims processes, insurers can build structured decisioning logic to work out which cases can be handled fully automatically, and which require exception handling (i.e. escalation to a human).
The focus on fraud is interesting. Data from the Association of British Insurers (ABI) shows fraudulent insurance claims cost the UK industry at least £1.2bn in 2019. It is interesting to see a blockchain use case in action – almost a rarity compared to the heady days of 2017/2018.
Many InsurTechs are operating in this space. For example, Impact 25 Members Tractable, Bdeo, and Omni:us. More can be found in this Magellan collection.
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