Jason Verlen doesn’t see his work as a day job. Rather, he views it as more of a contribution to the upcoming groundbreaking technological revolution.
As Senior Vice President of Product Strategy and Management at CCC, Verlen’s team uses data mining and analytics to provide customers with modern tools to protect themselves before, during and after a vehicle collision. This passion and forward-thinking mindset is not out of character. Verlen earned a degree in computer science before most schools even offered the field of study.
Verlen might be enthusiastic about the future of transportation and safety, but he’s not naive regarding the power of technology. After all, the potential of AI and mobile integration is largely what CCC has based its predictive models around. He told us that you won’t find him handing the robots of our future full reign anytime soon. He’d rather regale his future grandchildren with details of the estimates and repairs process before the Internet of Things even existed.
How is your team reshaping the auto and casualty insurance?
We are looking at every single aspect of the vehicle lifecycle related to insurance and collision. We’re injecting key technologies across the spectrum to create a modernized consumer experience. This includes using telematics for vehicle underwriting and detecting accidents to enabling insurers and auto original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to reach out to customers involved in a collision proactively.
We guide people through the experience of getting an estimate or working through a total loss. We advise on the repair process and ask for customer feedback. The experience allows the consumer to directly interact with all the players in the process (insurer, repairer and OEM) through a self-service capability at his own pace.
What makes reshaping the auto and manufacturing space more challenging than reshaping a more modern, cloud-based industry?
This industry has a deep history of operating in certain ways. It relies on a network integration of various areas such as insurers and repair shops, and is highly regulated. You must look at it holistically to create real change. There are few, if any, magic bullets.
A narrow focus on any one particular step or process does not yield demonstrable improvement in experience or efficiency. Instead, we focus on collective improvement for each participant in the network and most importantly, for the consumer.
Humans become more efficient and consistent with this technology.’’
How are you using AI/machine learning to improve the field?
I have a long history in predictive analytics and artificial intelligence from my days at both SPSS and IBM. My view has always been quite practical. I don’t believe AI and AI alone solves many problems. Instead, you need to combine AI with other innovations, particularly IoT (in this case telematics) and mobile. When those three systems are used in innovative ways, you can make amazing changes to experience and process efficiency.
For example, we use mobile so that users can take the right pictures of a damaged vehicle. We then apply AI to these images to build an initial estimate for a skilled human reviewer to interact with. Note the combination of AI and mobile; not just AI. Additionally, AI alone doesn’t build that first estimate. AI combined with the estimating log itself is key. The estimating logic knows how cars are repaired.
Lastly, the adjustor can interact with that AI and that estimate through a well-designed user experience. The result is a more efficient process to build estimates. Humans become more efficient and consistent with this technology.
Tell us a bit about CCC ELEVATE. Where do you see it going in the next year?
Meeting your business goals and objectives can be challenging while also staying on top of current trends and delivering a consistent, quality customer experience. CCC ELEVATE is a highly personalized consulting service in which advisors help businesses reach their goals by understanding their overall objectives and discovering ways to optimize processes and technology.
ELEVATE helps your facility better define staff roles and responsibilities, creates standardized operating procedures, improves customer experience, maximizes ROI, optimizes current processes and manages new hire onboarding.
We enjoy putting people in innovation-focused roles...’’
What makes you different than other companies in the space that are also using advanced software techniques to update auto-related systems?
I have had the honor of being a senior leader for some great software companies. And with all respect to those great organizations, they came nowhere close to the singular focus on customer success CCC has. It borders on religion. The software solution is just merely a means to that end.
We also enjoy putting people in innovation-focused roles without any deliverables on given timelines. We do this through our innovation foundry. Many of our advancements have come from this facility and willingness to experiment. Not everything has a timeline. Not everything has a project plan. Not everything has a roadmap. We are very comfortable with this reality of game changing innovation. Our executives have experience driving fundamental change dealing with many unknowns.
How have views about driver safety evolved as companies use software to program what used to be more manual tests?
I am enthusiastic about the increased focus on safety and the use of innovation to create a safer transportation experience. Nevertheless, I emphasize with great humility that we must never hand over complete control to machines. There is no such thing as perfect AI. There never will be. We have focused on the interaction of AI and humans to achieve the best result.