Wednesday Wisdom: Michel Martineau, Desjardins VP of claims on touchless processing

Toronto, Ontario ⁠— Amid the pandemic the industry has been spurred to dive into the world of touchless estimation practices. While sector members may have their own lists of pros and cons when it comes to photo estimation, Desjardins’ Vice President of Claims, Michel Martineau says it’s time to embrace touchless processing.

CR: The pandemic has brought on a rise in the popularity of photo-estimation. What are Desjardins’ thoughts on this process? 

MM: It is something that is clearly now a reality. A few years back it was more of a vision of the future, but now we use photo estimation with our bodyshop network and internally. 

Desjardins has been providing the ability to use photo-based estimating for more than a year now. With the use of our app the user is instructed to complete the tenfold steps to take the right pictures at the right angles and so on. We do provide the ability to implement photo estimation and it is really appreciated by clients and, of course, the company. 

CR: Of course there are some drawbacks with photo-estimation. Do you have any concerns?

MM: I would say one drawback is the photo quality of the pictures we receive. Sometimes we need additional pictures to ensure we’re making the right assessment on the amount for damages. 

Other than that, I would say the technology nowadays is becoming so good that there is no major drawback, it is something that is there to see. And another thing is that we will see a higher level of accuracy using those technologies. 

Do you think photo-estimation will be the new norm post-pandemic like every collision repair facility will start using it?

MM: I would say it certainly is going to move into that direction, for sure. 

I would say at the same time, we want to be considerate of the client’s needs and the way they want to be taken care of. So, of course it’s going to become the norm⁠—for me it’s clear⁠—but at the same time we want to adjust and when there’s the need and client’s situation requires it, we also need to be there to do it more the traditional way. 

Do you think you would be more inclined to work with a facility with photo-estimation procedures in place?

MM: In 2020, I would say yes. It is something that is really important that needs to be more and more a part of the equipment that’s part of the process. I would absolutely say yes.

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