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Authored by Katie Feldt, Marketing Communications, ImageSoft

The song was “Smoke” by A Thousand Horses.

I had the radio turned up just enough to quietly sing along and calm my nerves as I drove to my first internship interview. I was navigating the two-lane road of my downtown Detroit college campus, where two lanes were for flowing traffic, and the curb-side lane was reserved for metered parking. I was one right-turn from my destination when a curb-parked car pulled out, indenting the passenger side of my newly-leased Jeep.

Great – now I was going to need another job that paid more than just college credit to get my car fixed.

Despite fearing I would be late for my interview, I pulled over to the side and started walking over to the girl who was assessing her damaged headlight. “I don’t have time for this!” she yelled. “I’m going to be late for my med exam!” Before I could say anything, she was back in her car and on the road. Although stunned, I was able to write down her license plate number and file a police report.

People Don’t Want to go to Court – They Want to Move On with their Lives

Naïve me thought the stressful part of this scenario would be finding a trusted repair shop to fix my car and explaining the situation to my car-enthusiast dad. But when my insurer called to say the other party’s insurance company was disputing my claim, I lost sleep for nights. “You might have to go to court,” said my insurance rep. “I won’t know when for a few more weeks. Let me work on this and hopefully it will resolve before then.”

Court?! I was a college student – I didn’t have the time, money or general know-how to “go to court.”

But back six or seven years ago, that was the only option. If online dispute resolution (ODR) had been an insurance staple and my insurer said I could take care of this dispute from my laptop, in between classes, I probably wouldn’t have fretted as much. But the looming unknown, coupled with all my life’s other stressors, had me at wit’s end – I hated insurance!

Whether you’re covering a college student, a full-time worker, a retiree, or anyone in between, the apprehensions and fogged perceptions are the same. Not only do people feel they’re fighting the other party but, oftentimes, even their own insurer!

We want our case to be handled and our claims to be paid out without anything more than a lunchbreak phone call or the occasional email communication. We want to feel confident that someone else has our back.

Online Dispute Resolution Turns Down the Heat While Turning Around Cases

Providing ODR as a means to closing out low-payment claims, structured settlements and other insurance disputes removes much of the angst that insureds feel when fighting for reimbursements. Meeting them where they are with an intuitive approach to securely exchanging files, video calling, instant messaging or otherwise communicating with insurers, mediators and other parties makes their time feel valued and the customer feel all-around cared for and truly covered.

The true beauty of ODR is that it’s just as much for insurers as it is for claimants – just in different ways. 360-degree case management from an intuitive dashboard helps agents stay on top of open cases and quickly navigate to portals, such as those to see uploaded evidence or payments made. Notifications also alert them when new messages have been received, so they can respond promptly. And once settlements have been reached, the settlement builder does all the heavy lifting in drafting up the settlement. If you couple this with electronic signatures, your claims process stays digital while parties close out their case with one-click eSignatures from their mobile devices.

Best of all, you’ll be able to see the tangible results from faster and more convenient customer service with our ODR platform’s built-in metrics. I wouldn’t be surprised if you see an uptick in the case volume you experience – both from referrals and naturally faster processing times.

I Survived My Insurance Case Without ODR, But I Wouldn’t Recommend It

After taking pictures of my damaged Jeep, emailing them to myself to download on my laptop and then finally emailing them to my insurer, it was clear that this accident was not my fault – contrary to what the other party had been claiming for weeks. I wouldn’t have known that, of course, since I had no way of being in constant communication with my agent or looped in on the contexts of the case – I was very much in the dark, which contributed to many sleepless nights and even some animosity toward my insurance rep.

I will say that, in my case, things worked out. Not only did the case close without me having to go to court, but I also ended up landing that internship – my then-manager was so impressed by how calmly I responded to the accident while still committing to my interview that he brought me on as his summer intern. That internship introduced me to a network of people and set my career trajectory – all getting me to where I am today, telling this story to illustrate a cause I feel so strongly about.

Compared to other cases involving severe car accidents and injuries, worker’s compensation, natural disasters or other heartbreaking stories, my case was minor and I am fortunate. So I can only imagine the stress others are under when the stakes are high and compounded with an ill-managed insurance process.

De-Escalate Case Management for Insurance Disputes

If you would like to learn more about de-escalating your insured’s claims disputes down to a more manageable, less stressful process, I would encourage you to visit this webpage. From here, you can request a hassle-free, cost-free demo to see ODR for insurance in action, or just talk through your questions with one of our insurance-focused representatives.

To learn more about making your overall insurance business processes more robust, accessible and user-friendly, please visit the insurance center on our website.