Social media has become woven into the fabric of society, with 77 percent of Americans having social media accounts, including 90 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds. The average person spends two hours a day on social media. Hidden within the sea of tweets, snaps, and posts on these social platforms is valuable information for the claims process.
Fundamental tool for analyzing claims
When an adjuster handles a claim, questions often arise about a person or entity involved. Though it may not necessarily be a suspicious claim, there can be missing details or information you want to verify before you proceed with paying the claim.
While adjusters can discover answers to some of these questions or concerns through loss history reports or researching public records such as police reports, incident reports, or court records, other important details may be difficult to find by those means. That’s where social media comes in.
It’s a tool that gives claims handlers unique insights into an individual’s lifestyle, social activity, and affiliations that may not appear in a public records search. These insights may include favorite places, hobbies, people or organizations they associate with, and pre- and post-loss activity.
Likewise, social media provides details on entities such as a business, third-party provider, or professional firm, as 88 percent of businesses use social media.
Uncovering information from a social profile can either validate paying a claim or provide critical insights for a more detailed SIU referral.
Unique aspects of social media data
Three key characteristics can make social media unique and valuable for adjusters and SIUs:
- It’s self-reported. Social media information is generally provided firsthand from the person you’re researching. Though you still have to verify them, social posts can be more accurate and valuable because the information comes directly from the source.
- It’s unfiltered. Social media posts often reveal relevant information that someone may not typically disclose on record, such as an older post that divulges a preexisting injury.
- It’s fresh information. People regularly update their social feeds with new posts and photos, providing insights into their latest activity.
There are several use cases for this type of information, such as casualty and disability claims. If an insured reports a severely injured shoulder on a claim yet posts a video on Instagram bowling with friends, then you may have vital evidence in connection with denial of the claim.
For auto and property lines, information from social media can help determine the legitimacy of lost or stolen property claims. For example, if an insured reports a lost or stolen laptop yet days earlier posted on social media about the computer not working properly, you can triage the claim and refer it to SIU for further investigation.
You can also discover pertinent information about a business or third-party provider by reading customer reviews or comments on its social profiles or third-party review sites. There may be a pattern of complaints that raises a red flag about such an entity that warrants further investigation or SIU involvement.
Sifting through the noise
Of course, social media investigations do present some challenges. For one, there’s an abundance of information to filter through on a social profile. The average person has seven social media accounts, so finding those accounts and sifting through them for pertinent information can be extremely time-consuming for busy adjusters and SIU professionals.
Likewise, it’s not easy to find the correct profile of the person you want to investigate. Hundreds of social media profiles may have the same name, and Facebook estimates there are 270 million fake or duplicate accounts.
That’s why third-party social media solutions are helpful. They have tools to assist with entity resolution to help determine the right profiles with fewer false positives. Sophisticated search algorithms can also narrow the scope of a search and comb social media for vital information and commonalities among individuals and groups.
An adjuster may take several hours to find information manually that a social media search tool can find in minutes. Those saved hours can be put to better use bringing a claim to successful closure.
The right tools aid claim decisions
Social media is a newer yet increasingly valuable tool for uncovering critical information that can be useful in handling claims. The information is unique from other data sources and can help mitigate those blind spots that claims handlers often encounter.
With the right process and solution, these searches can help adjusters be more efficient and effective at making claims decisions, referring cases to SIU, and separating questionable individuals and entities from trustworthy ones.