Two drivers after a car traffic assess the scene.

Insurers Want to Speed Up Auto Claims with A.I.

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Once the shock of an auto accident wears off, come some practical questions: how long will it take to get a repair estimate and get my vehicle back on the road?

U.S. insurers are beginning to use artificial intelligence to generate auto repair estimates, shortening the time it takes to settle claims, according to the New York Times.

The apps, backed by A.I., eliminate the need to make appointments with appraisers and take a separate trip to a body shop. 

Today’s photo-based estimates have evolved from the virtual claims that became commonplace five years ago. Those photo attachment claims had several pitfalls, writes the Times:

Insurance companies liked photo-based estimates because appraisers who could average only four in-person estimates a day could complete as many as 15 virtual ones by staying in the office and scrolling through customer-supplied photos on a computer monitor. However, once damaged cars got into body shops, those estimates proved far less accurate than those done in person. Insurance companies were bedeviled by costs that surpassed estimates — called claim supplements — sometimes running as much as 50 percent higher. Customers were frustrated by unexpected delays. And body shops hated being caught in the middle.

Today’s algorithms, trained in image classification, provide estimates in a few seconds, according to the Times. The companies developing the A.I. say the algorithms learn and adapt more quickly than human experts. 

A.I. damage estimating apps are not yet in wide use.

But there could soon come a day where you’ll have an auto repair estimate before the tow truck arrives.

Read the full story on A.I. auto claims at nytimes.com.