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Will the Future of Conducting Home Inspections be Touchless?

Topics
Mobile
Author
Brian Levine
Publication Date
27 May 2020

Will the Future of Conducting Home Inspections be Touchless?

Thinking Through Your Digital Strategy

Insurance companies that are thinking about their digital strategy should consider how the customer experience fits in. Today, that means thinking about ways that you can reduce touch for safer interactions – but also how you can make a more convenient experience for everyone involved – from the insurance company, to the customer, to the field representatives.

One way that insurance companies can evolve is to take a look at the interaction that is often the first in establishing an ongoing relationship with policy holders: the home inspection process. This is an especially important interaction when insurers consider the lifetime value of a first time homeowner - a relationship that can extend years or decades into the future. Furthermore, when a new homeowner chooses your insurance provider for their policy, it may open the door for additional policies as the customer’s needs change. 

When done right, kicking off the homeowners policy process digitally can increase the chances that future interactions will also be digital, making interactions more efficient for both the insurer and policyholder. These days, one of the best ways to start that relationship off on the right foot is considering how to make the home inspection process as touchless as possible. 

Conducting Virtual Home Inspections Remotely

Upon seeking a new homeowner’s policy, insurers may need to conduct a home inspection to assess the condition of a customer’s home. They may be looking at the basement, gutters, roof, siding, HVAC, plumbing, fireplace/chimney, and windows, to name a few.

But this process is riddled with human to human interaction and touch that in today’s new landscape may not be safe. 

Let’s look at the steps that insurance companies and their home inspection reps make and propose how they could be touchless.

OLD WAY: Homeowners research potential insurers and communicate with them about the process for obtaining a home insurance quote. A time and date is scheduled for inspection.

TOUCHLESS WAY: While this step isn’t riddled with touch, think about the experience your customers must take to schedule an appointment. Is your website optimized? Do you have an integrated calendar so that users can easily see when you are available (so they don’t have to wait to speak with you or a representative to book an inspection)? By taking some friction out of this experience, you’re showing your customers that you are easy to work with and trustworthy.

OLD WAY: On the day of the inspection, the homeowner will greet the inspector and bring them to the first area of inspection. All parties may shake hands, exchange business cards, etc. exposing them to germs.

TOUCHLESS WAY: What if you could conduct a fully virtual home inspection remotely, without ever needing to put your inspectors or homeowners at risk? By creating a mobile app, you could easily enable the homeowners to take pictures and videos of their home for evaluation. While this is especially important in today’s climate, this also enables the homeowners to take pictures and videos of their home on their own timeline (great for the working professional or busy mom running errands who may not have time to attend a day appointment).

OLD WAY: Throughout the inspection, the home inspector is going to be touching lots of surfaces. 

TOUCHLESS WAY: In the last step, we mentioned that by creating a mobile app, you could easily enable the homeowners to take pictures and videos of their home for evaluation. You could even consider including a form with a checklist that they have to fill out before the evaluation to make sure that you have all the information about the home to avoid missing any issues. The checklist could ensure that the current homeowners “check” whether they have a fireplace, the last time they cleaned their gutters, etc. It would be important for the mobile app to provide instructions for homeowners, such as “provide proof of anti-theft devices.” The app could make certain fields required, too, so that homeowners cannot skip any critical parts of the process – similar to the same level of detail that a home inspector would provide.

OLD WAY: Homeowners will likely be in close contact with the home inspector to understand what the inspector is analyzing. 

TOUCHLESS WAY: After the home inspector reviews the pictures, videos, and comments submitted via mobile app, they can provide comments and feedback within the app or through integrations with popular communications platforms – which could be made available to the homeowners for analysis and discussion with their insurance provider. For more complicated inspection, there could even be video communication so the inspector could guide the home owner or ask them questions. 

OLD WAY: At the end of the inspection, a receipt and workup of the findings may be exchanged with the homeowner.

TOUCHLESS WAY: Again, by making the report and findings available via digital means, the user will always have access to the inspection. Unlike paperwork, which could be lost or misplaced, digital options allow homeowners to easily come back to the report at any time. 

OLD WAY: Homeowners may be required to sign paperwork acknowledging that the home inspection occurred.

TOUCHLESS WAY: By integrating digital identity verification into your mobile app, you can be sure that only the true homeowners sign off on any necessary paperwork.

OLD WAY: Then, an insurance agent will contact the homeowner with a new quote.

TOUCHLESS WAY: Assess your process for providing a quote. Are there ways this could be done digitally? Could you take some of the friction out of the process by integrating video conferencing in your mobile app so that users can discuss the quote with their agent in a safer way?

An Opportunity to Improve Customer Engagement with Touchless, Digital Inspections 

While all of the above are opportunities to take touch out of the inspection process, a fully digital inspection would lead to a wealth of new opportunities to engage your customers. For example:

  • This inspection platform could evolve with your customer into a home maintenance app with personalized guidance based on the information they supplied during the inspection process.
  • It can become a complete home record (from inspection to maintenance to future upgrades) that lives with the home facilitating future sales and purchases by your customers.
  • The app could also be a way to offer your customers discounts for good house behaviors, such as keeping up with home maintenance, etc. 

Digital Methods Are Here to Stay

It’s likely that your customers will begin to demand more touchless transactions – don’t wait until it’s too late.

Mobiquity can help you digitally transform your insurance company to reduce the risks to your customers and agents. We’ve built a series of accelerators to help companies kickstart their mobile app strategy – whether you’ve never had a mobile app before or are looking to enhance your current app to meet the demands of the new landscape, we can help.

Not sure what app features would be important to your customers? We can help with that, too. Our proprietary Friction Report analysis analyzes thousands of the most widely used insurance mobile apps to help you discern what mobile app features customers like and dislike so that you can create a meaningful solution for your customers. Request the Friction Report now.

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