USAA & Google Cloud work together to speed auto claims

In collaboration with Google Cloud, USAA is using machine learning (ML) to speed up the auto claims process, obtaining near-real-time damage estimates from digital images.

Traditionally, assessing auto damage claims has been a time-intensive, laborious process. A claims adjuster needs to physically inspect each vehicle, determine the parts that need replacement, and understand the labor required for repair. They then submit a report to the insurer, who must approve the estimate before sharing it with the repair shop and car owner. This process can sometimes take weeks from beginning to end.

Digitizing and moving to the cloud greatly streamlines this process. The appraiser takes photos of the car and uploads them to Google Cloud where, by applying machine learning, they can identify the damage in real-time and send that data to USAA and then into the Mitchell Estimating platform. Mitchell’s software searches parts and labor databases, applies the information to their estimate, and returns that estimate directly to USAA. Appraisers will review the estimate and make adjustments as needed. The new, cloud-based process will allow for faster and more cost-efficient estimates.

“This technology now gives claims teams the opportunity to focus more deeply on connecting and providing guidance to our members, during what can often be a trying time,” said Ramon Lopez, USAA VP Innovation.

Early results are promising, as USAA has been able to predict high-level damage across a diverse vehicle set with great accuracy. We’ve also worked with USAA employees across the evolving digital environment, providing direct engineer-to-engineer collaboration with our own ML experts. USAA plans to add even more features to streamline the claims process for its customers, so that eventually, the majority of low-complexity assessments will be touchless – allowing appraisers to focus on more complex cases that best utilize their expertise.

“Innovation at USAA is not about technology for the sake of technology,” said Lopez. “It’s about enabling our businesses to keep pace with member expectations and needs, all while maintaining the level of service our members deserve.”