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Craig Cmehil has just posted Part 2 of the Nanomonk session he videoed on 11th July. It’s an instructuve session at many levels, not least because it references ESME (ahem – I have an interest) but more so because Adobe demonstrated a motor vehicle accident visualization that I believe has the potential for changing the way insurance companies respond to claims settlements. 

In the demonstration, which appears about two-thirds to three-quarter of the way through the video, Adobe shows how animation and slick transitioning change the user experience to give them more of a real world look and feel. In the car accident scenario, the user can select the make and model of the vehicle, click on parts of the vehicle where damage occurred and ‘draw’ the scene that describes how the accident occurred. While not as good as a Qik video (for example) it provides a decent approximation.

While the user is doing this, they’re adding to the store of data available to the insurance company and Adobe said something to the effect that it could be used to analyze accident patterns. While that’s an interesting idea it doesn’t represent a solution to a business problem.

I was watching the session over a live Ustream link and using the Ustream chat room, I asked whether this might be used in settlement claims processes to assist assessors in ascribing responsibility. This would be an alternative to the existing common practice where insurers often take a 50/50 approach simply to avoid expensive litigation. ‘Good question’ was the answer aka ‘We haven’t thought about that.’

My thinking is that visualizations of this kind might form the basis for not only discovering patterns of accident occurrence, but also provide a foundation for changing the shape of costs incurred both for insurers and their customers. Current paper based processes provide the same basic information, but the lack of visualization makes it very difficult to be certain what happened. Also, even where customers ‘agree’ about an incident, each has their own interpretation. The combination of explanations, visualizations, business process improvement and analysis should allow for a more accurate representation of what happens in these scenarios. In that regard, the Flex based animation and visualization provides a valuable starting point for exploring this possibility. 

But FAR more important than any of this is the potential to engage process experts with the development people. Seeing this idea sparked a thought in my mind. How much better might it be if process and development people came together much earlier in the development cycle to co-develop ideas?

The very fact that Adobe said ‘good question’ is enough for me to know that this is definitely a topic worth exploring. But it requires the goodwill of both sides to recognize and value the input each can provide. Are we ready?

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