Dear Member,

Everyone is talking about technology – it makes sense, our lives are more and more driven by technological advancements. I can remember when we got our first computer at home, and when I started as a loss adjuster there were no computers on desks, typing was all done by a typing pool. The office mobile phone in the mid-90s was a large brick.

My daughter can’t imagine a world that doesn’t have tablets, or laptops or iPhones (or equivalent). When she is my age, in the distant future, cars will drive themselves (they already do but in trials), maybe batteries will have so long a charge as to seem infinite (no more cellphone dying), fridges will restock themselves, maybe food will be a small square of Soylent Green.

And loss adjusting will be an algorithm that self programmes based on trends and data mining. You won’t even need people to programme the computer, let alone people to adjust the claims.

I don’t want to scaremonger – who actually knows what will happen. But we all do know that the only thing that is constant is change. Insurers are continually looking to save costs on procurement, and loss adjusters’ fees are a procured cost that can be managed.

I visited ANZIIF in March to talk further about the development of the loss adjusting exam delivery. The new skills units are the way of the future, on-line interactive learning. Exams are set from a bank of questions, but randomised so no two exams are the same. The answers are randomised so that no two questions look the same to students sitting side by side. All without human decision-making.

Having said that, at this stage the questions are still written by a person and the randomisation process is still coded by a person. But once the process is set up then the system can substantially run itself. If an exam can do that, why can’t automation undertake a loss adjuster’s interview on a straight forward claim? Why can’t a bot ask questions on a $2,000 claim and save the cost of a loss adjuster? Identify those items that should be replaced and automatically send vouchers. And if on a $2,000 claim, why not a $20,000 claim or a $50,000 claim?

So what then for the loss adjuster? We can’t stop the change that will happen, but loss adjusting is about people helping people. I don’t know how you ever replace the human element (without a huge shift to robot AI), especially on building claims. You can decide that the human element is not as important, like closing bank branches and shifting people on-line. But, as long as we can provide a quality service, each of us as individual loss adjusters, then we can provide a product and a service that is wanted.