- Where Insurance & Technology Meet

Tomorrow’s FNOL Has Arrived Early

by Stephen Applebaum and Alan Demers

As digitization, mobility and connected vehicle technologies transform auto insurance, a better FNOL solution is now critical – and it’s here.

Claims are frequently cited as “the moment of truth,” and FNOL (First Notice of Loss) is where all claims begin. Now, new technology through an innovative industry collaboration on a blockchain platform is being leveraged to enable FNOL data exchange between insurers – and eventually other claim ecosystem partners.

RAPID X is the trade name for RiskStream’s First Notice of Loss Data Sharing application, which has been developed with and for the property and casualty insurance industry by the RiskStream Collaborative, an industry nonprofit affiliated with The Institutes. Rapid X was introduced earlier this year, and the insurtech space has since lit up with numerous efforts to modernize the traditional process of reporting and starting an insurance claim.

The Institutes’ RiskStream Collaborative has a different approach, which focuses on creating an ecosystem within the risk management and insurance industry that leverages a scalable, enterprise-level blockchain/distributed ledger technology framework to streamline the flow and verification of data. The effort lowers operating costs, drives efficiency from improved processes and enhances the customer experience.

This capability is perfectly positioned for the next generation of advancements in claims. As the insurance industry strives to prevent and detect accidents through telematics and crash notification, these features accelerate the tempo of FNOL and claims reporting. Immediate sharing of claim notification via RAPID X will enable all stakeholders to coordinate more immediately, no longer waiting until the end of the claim process to reconcile information vital to subrogation.

Greater efficiency and less redundancy in individual processes are just a couple of benefits. Consider a minor auto accident between two drivers, where both insurance companies have separate loss intake processes, individual claims investigations and duplicated, related process steps. A common customer complaint concerns the number of times they have to describe how the accident happened, not to mention the overall confusion created from interactions with two or more carriers and their various specialized adjusters. RAPID X shares data between insurers to create a universal FNOL among carriers, setting the stage for streamlined data-sharing processes.

FNOL and Claims Process Transformation: Why It Matters

P&C insurance is going through an unparalleled period of change that has attracted exciting, record-setting insurtech investments. One of the most discussed areas is FNOL, the first step in the claims process.

Automation initiatives encompass everything from the use of sensor technology to detect damages to leveraging artificial intelligence to predict and automate intake. Still, the vast majority – some 80% of policyholders and claimants – prefer to speak with a live representative today, generally at an insurer’s contact center.

Historically, reporting a claim can take 30 minutes or longer, through a series of questions and an iterative conversation. Each carrier has had to create their own individual FNOL record.

RAPID X allows for the creation of a single, universal FNOL record shared by all parties involved in that claim. Data changes can only be made by the information owners, ensuring that things are accurately captured. A carrier can’t change the data on another carrier’s policy holder.

Industry savings from the use of RAPID X have been conservatively estimated to range between $60 million and $120 million annually, depending on the extent of industry adoption. In any  event, the opportunity is significant.

Industry Leaders Join Forces

The Institutes’ RiskStream Collaborative is an unprecedented, industry-led consortium collaborating to unlock the potential of blockchain. It is the risk management and insurance industry’s first and largest enterprise-level blockchain consortium, which is developing insurance-specific use cases via Canopy, a custom blockchain architecture. RiskStream is a network-based, nonprofit organization affiliated with The Institutes, which provides professional development, research and educational services to the insurance industry. The Institutes’ board includes senior executives of companies that write a significant percentage of the U.S. personal auto market. 

The RiskStream Collaborative offers insurance solutions for personal lines, commercial lines, reinsurance and life and annuities. Members (carriers, brokers or reinsurers) lead all areas of RiskStream’s governance and activity. For example, members work with RiskStream staff to design use cases on behalf of the industry and then work with RiskStream staff and service providers to develop and test the buildout of applications. The Collaborative aims to expand its network of members and connect insurance-oriented organizations in 2022 to create greater efficiencies and achieve growth opportunities through additional blockchain innovations.

How It Works

RAPID X is built on an underlying blockchain technology similar to that which powers Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to share, confirm and verify transactions without a centralized authority. The key distinction is that RiskStream’s platform is not public. Instead, it’s a private, permissioned platform called Canopy, which was designed by the industry through RiskStream Collaborative technology governance. The Canopy platform is SOC2-certified and meets industry ISO standards. It provides the ability to safely and securely share information, saving time and effort while maintaining individual control.

Each company has a node on the private decentralized network, on which it can create, update, reconcile and share loss records. Simple liability determination and agreement can also be input and tracked. FNOL is just the beginning, with a number of other use cases up next; proof of insurance, claim verification, investigation, evaluation, settlement and total loss determination and salvage title processing, to name a few.

The Bigger Picture: Blockchain as Ecosystem Enabler

RAPID X is only the beginning. Integration among carriers and other claims ecosystem partners is the future of efficient claims processing and will significantly benefit all stakeholders, including claimants.

The future vision and development road map for the Canopy blockchain platform leverages the technology and active carrier support to create a multi-party platform that will support the broader insurance industry ecosystem, including service providers and partners. Essentially, RiskStream is “laying the plumbing” for data exchanges between entities and facilitating network collaboration and coordination, as well. This is neither easy nor simple, but RiskStream CollaboratIve is uniquely qualified to accomplish such a feat both privately and securely.

To learn more, please reach out to [email protected].

About the Authors

Stephen E. Applebaum, Managing Partner, Insurance Solutions Group, is a subject matter expert and thought leader providing consulting, advisory, research and strategic M&A services to participants across the entire North American property/casualty insurance ecosystem focused on insurance information technology, claims, innovation, disruption, supply chain, vendor and performance management. Mr. Applebaum is also a Senior Advisor to Waller Helms Advisors.  WHA is the premier investment banking boutique focused on the crossroads of the Insurance, Healthcare and Investment Services sectors.

Stephen is a frequent chairman, guest speaker and panelist at insurance industry conferences and contributor to major insurance industry publications and has a passion for coaching, mentoring, business process innovation and constructive transformation, applying disruptive technology, and managing organizational change in the North American property/casualty insurance industry and trading partner communities. He can be reached at [email protected].

Alan Demers is founder and president of InsurTech Consulting LLC, with 30 years of P&C insurance claims experience, providing consultative services focused on innovating claims. After initiating and leading claims innovation at Nationwide, Demers collaborates in the forefront of InsurTech, partnering with insurance leaders, startups, design thinking experts and service providers to modernize personal, commercial and specialty claims.

As Vice President of Claims Innovation at Nationwide, Alan conceptualized a vision and road map to build next-generation claims, automating and digitizing claims experiences, progressing from inception through prototype testing. He served as a founding member of the Corporate Innovation Council and played a key leadership role in establishing goals, practices and an innovative culture at Nationwide.

Alan is an accomplished executive leader and has worked for two separate Fortune 100 insurance companies in a number of corporate, national and regional leadership roles among personal, commercial, non-standard and specialty lines claims. Prior to leading claims innovation, he served as head of claims for Nationwide’s commercial agribusiness and non-standard claims. Other noteworthy roles include: field vice president, regional claims officer and national catastrophe director, quality assurance director.

Alan began his career with Aetna as a claim adjuster and advanced to a corporate claim consultant, prior to joining Nationwide in 1995.