15:42 PM

Customer focus, technology guide American Family Insurance claims approach

Taking care of customers with claims during this time requires innovation and care

When faced with the pandemic’s shelter in place orders and physical distancing protocols, American Family Insurance has adapted to ensure customers receive caring claim service that’s safe for them and employees alike. This has meant a variety of innovative approaches as the company adapts to serve customers when they need it most.

“For customers, filing a claim is often a new and stressful experience,” said Tim Constien, vice president of claims adjusting services for the American Family Insurance group. “Communication, which is important in the best of times, is critical now.”

To make sure customers understand their choices and how the claim process will work at this time of physical distancing, among the first priorities is an explanation of options.

Virtual first
“We’re emphasizing virtual first,” Constien, said. “With health and safety being our top priority, any time we can work with our customer to adjust a claim virtually, that’s what we do.”

This virtual approach means different things, depending on the type of claim and the damage. For example, with vehicle damage, customers may:

  • Send photos electronically through the MyAmFam mobile app or our collaboration platform. Using these tools can streamline and expedite the claims-handling process.
  • Send photos, videos or a write up via email.
  • Submit photos from a body shop if they visited one prior to the virtual guidance. Adjusters then work with the shop to create an estimate.

When it comes to property claims, depending on the type and extent of damage, customers can submit claims electronically as above. They can also:

  • Connect with their adjuster on a completely digital platform which includes video collaboration in real time, sharing of documents, electronic signatures where required and electronic payments.
  • Leverage digital imagery tools to photograph and upload photos of their home to help the property adjuster build their estimate.

The virtual approach to claim handling can require working closely with customers in a new way, for example, coaching them on how to identify hail damage. In addition, customers will get a phone call to walk them through the estimate and payment process, ending with an emailed estimate.

“Customers have been very receptive about being part of the claim process in way they traditionally have not been,” said Constien.

On-site inspections
While American Family has been able to handle approximately 80% of auto claims and about 50% of property claims virtually in recent weeks, there are still cases where an in-person inspection is merited – more often for property claims to ensure an accurate and complete claim resolution.

When an inspection is needed, the first step is to talk with the customer to gauge their comfort level and provide choices:

  • Delay the inspection until a time when all parties are comfortable with it.
  • ​Complete the inspection while adhering to strict physical distancing measures. Handle all documentation virtually.

American Family Insurance was moving to a more virtual environment for claims and the pandemic sped up the adoption. Because the company is focused on providing customers efficiency and choice, many of these approaches are likely to carry forward even after the pandemic-related restrictions are limited.


About the American Family Insurance Group
Based in Madison, Wisconsin, American Family Insurance has been serving customers since 1927. We inspire, protect and restore dreams through our insurance products, exceptional service from our agency owners and employees, community investment and creative partnerships to address societal challenges. We act on our belief in diversity and inclusion by constantly evolving to meet customer needs and preferences. American Family Insurance group is the nation’s 13th-largest property/casualty insurance group, ranking No. 306 on the Fortune 500 list. The group sells American Family-brand products, primarily through exclusive agency owners in 19 states. The American Family Insurance group also includes CONNECT, powered by American Family Insurance (formerly Ameriprise Auto & Home), The GeneralHomesite and Main Street America. Across these companies the group has more than 13,500 employees nationwide.