Canadian Underwriter

Message from the President

December 8, 2016   by Heather Matthews, President, Canadian Independent Adjusters' Association

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I am thrilled to be penning my first message as CIAA president. I would hazard to say that I am sitting as president of the independent adjusters association at a time of tremendous change in both the insurance industry and the adjusting profession.

Who would have guessed that 30+ years ago when I entered this industry that we would be talking about the legalization of marijuana and how that will impact claims. Who would have imagined that a small flying object called a drone could provide photographs and measurements of buildings and complete loss sites controlled from the ground. Who would have imagined that facial recognition technology would be used to verify policy holders, that social media such as Facebook and Twitter would play such instrumental and influential roles in major claims catastrophes. Autonomous vehicles, that is a topic unto itself in regard to the impact and changes that they will have on society, regulators and the insurance industry.

95 percent of the Canadian population has Internet access and 28 million have mobile devices-my 80-year-old mother has one of those mobile devices and sends text messages! We are surrounded by technology and changes that are evolving by the minute and we need to look at ways to utilize that technology coupled with adjusting skills to provide a better customer experience. Customers will soon be at a point where they are willing and able to handle less complex claims entirely through digital self- serve channels. We already see that in the life and health space.

Heather Matthews, President, Canadian Independent Adjusters' Association Management Centre, Crawford and Company, photographed at her Kitchener offices.

Heather Matthews, President, Canadian Independent Adjusters’ Association

Customer expectations are being defined outside of the insurance industry. Uber and Amazon are just two examples of where speed and convenience have put those companies in the spotlight and set new standards in delivery. As people interact with other more technologically advanced businesses it increases the pressure on us-the insurance industry-to bring those technologies to bear on improving that customer experience.

The possibilities are endless and I believe that we are just seeing the beginning of these exciting and sometimes disruptive technologies. The world is transforming and evolving very quickly and we as adjusters must transform and evolve as well. We are really at a crossroads in the claims and insurance industry. One direction leads to utilizing very technical claims adjusting skills for losses such as cyber. The other direction leads to using technology and data to settle claims.

As professionals we need to stay ahead of the trends by investing in training and hiring many disciplines and capabilities to address new risks. My first official duty as president was attending the Canadian Independent Adjusters’ Association & Canadian Insurance Claims Managers’ Association Saskatchewan Chapter’s Education Conference in Saskatoon on September 28th-a big shout out to Justin Braaten, CIAA Saskatchewan Region President and his organizing committee for putting on an excellent event with top rate speakers. Saskatchewan Region is investing in training and education for the insurance industry and their attendees were both adjusters and claims managers. The event was very well attended and topped off by Greg Johnson the Tornado Hunter sharing stories and phenomenal photographs and video of his storm chasing. Not only does Greg show the wrath of Mother Nature, he also brings home the human element and the devastation that we as insurance professionals are entrusted to resolve.

Heather Matthews, President, Canadian Independent Adjusters' Association

Heather Matthews, President, Canadian Independent Adjusters’ Association

With all of the changes smoldering around our profession I believe that another of the fundamental things that we need to undertake is healthy, transparent conversations. We need to create a stronger dialogue with our customers to better understand their current and future challenges and be in a better position to address these changes. All of these disruptions in technology and changes that we speak, write and read about are not only affecting the adjusting profession, it is affecting the insurance industry as a whole. We must work with our business partners to collaboratively provide solutions to improve the customer experience and be known in the future as the industry that sets the new standards.

Heather Matthews, President, Canadian Independent Adjusters’ Association