Photo Opportunity: Solera, collision community say industry will move toward photo estimation

Toronto, Ontario ⁠— Solera executives worldwide have predicted that the COVID-19 response has accelerated the digitization of auto claims.

During a Solera webinar on Apr. 15, Regional Managing Director Ramon Suarez, who oversees the U.S. and Latin America, said he had “no doubt” industry digitization has been sped up as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I don’t think things will come back to where they were,” he said.

The industry has been forced to adopt new technologies that might have still been in pilot or testing phases, Suarez said. The pandemic has offered an opportunity to test the value of those systems and help customers.

Emerging from the pandemic, “claims will be more efficiently managed,” Suarez predicted. The friction and “effort to get one claim done” would be “significantly lower” than in the past.

Collision repairers, stakeholders, and insurers would all be affected, according to Suarez.

“All will come out of this having a better understanding and much deeper use of digital solutions to manage their claims,” he said.

Facilities across Canada⁠, and across the globe⁠, have adapted to service amid the pandemic⁠—though it has not been an easy process. Last week, Jeff Labanovich, CARSTAR Canada’s general manager told Collision Repair the pandemic shift was an uncharted one.

“We don’t exactly have a playbook for this kind of thing,” he said. “We have strategies for other catastrophes—for natural disasters and whatnot—but a global pandemic is uncharted territory.”

He said the industry should be prepared to make pandemic practices routine, even after the virus passes.

“We’ve had to adapt in some drastic ways during the pandemic and there’s a very real chance many of these services—like curbside pick-up and vehicle delivery—could become permanent,” he said. “When that happens, we want to be ready to perfect our practices.”

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