ILC ARTICLE

ILC Industry leader interview: Neil Garrett, Sales Director, Solera | Audatex UK South Africa, & the Nordics


Which areas of business do you think offer the greatest opportunities right now, and how are you capitalizing on them?

AI and the chance digitalize the claims process further, both from a Repairer and Insurer perspective.

The latest research from Solera showed that trust and adoptions of AI-driven claims and repairs is surging. It also identified rapid acceleration of AI adoption among global car insurers, enterprise body shops and Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) dealer networks to deliver on consumer expectations.

Our Qapter ® suite of AI-powered solutions is at the forefront of this wave. We are working with our global partners to bring AI directly into the workflow where it can deliver the greatest value. In the UK we’ve already begun show casing elements of the Qapter suite to our customers, we are in the process of aligning the global Qapter workflow to meet the needs of the UK market. The first solutions that will be available to our UK customers, include Qapter Guided Image Capture and Intelligent Triage.

How have you added resilience and adaptability to your business over the past few years?

We are in the process of consolidating the hosting of our European products to Equinix data centers in The Netherlands and Italy. Equinix is known as the world’s leading digital infrastructure company, providing the world’s largest network of interconnected data centers. Equinix data centers meet certification and compliance standards while ensuring high-performance, network reliability, redundancy and low latency while also maximizing energy efficiency and environmental sustainability.

Our teams have been working on the migration for the past year across all Solera entities globally and we’ve recently completed the migration in the UK to add additional resilience and improve performance for our customers across our full portfolio of solutions.

We are also building our support and sales teams, every member of our sales team has over 10 years experience within the crash repair or insurance industry. We are constantly looking to bring in industry experts to support our team and remain at the forefront of estimating globally. Recent fantastic new editions to the team include Tim Davies and Joe Baynham.

How has your business philosophy evolved since you began in the industry?

A focus now for many is the need for stronger, deeper partnerships with many companies involved in the vehicle claims process, from salvage companies to parts providers. No company is an island. Through the global pandemic our industry showed true resilience and unity through many of the programs and initiatives that we’re brought together in a matter of weeks to keep the industry moving. That ethos has continued, and at Audatex we continue to look at opportunities to support the industry beyond today.

How has your business philosophy evolved since you began in the industry?

For the UK, the idea that insurers are rich, profit-making fat cats. Fact is, motor insurance often operates at a loss. The UK motor insurance market is expected to record underwriting losses for 2019, according to EY’s UK Motor Insurance Results, despite having the best result in 2018 since records began.

When looking at other markets I oversee for example  South Africa it would be that insurance is an option not a necessity! Africa is largely untapped from an insurance perspective, and there is a growing middle class who have growing insurance needs. The perception that many South Africans have is that insurance, specifically short-term insurance, is not necessary. This is possibly due to affordability issues and the high unemployment rate. The problem is further exacerbated as the uninsured market has grown over the past three years due to COVID-19 and other factors, such as the unrest as people become more selective when it comes to insured perils. There are many insurers that offer competitive insurance premiums and coverage, which addresses some of the customer objections to insurance, The reality is that even with some of the measures the insures have taken, the uninsured market is still growing.

Consumer attitudes are changing. How is the insurance industry evolving to meet their demands?

Digital claims processing. It’s become a number-one priority and business-critical function. Consumers are now more inclined to report online when possible. Again, our recent Innovation Index supports this, showing almost half (49%) of consumers now desire a fully digital, self-serve experience, and 43% prefer a hybrid experience – leaving only 8% not looking for a digital first experience.

Digital transformation projects have been fast-tracked to bring processes online – from FNOL to settlement – to optimize processes, improve business resilience, speed up decision-making, and increase staff productivity.

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