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Rugged Mobile Technology Improves Connectivity, Durability for Amica Insurance

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As the oldest car insurer in the U.S., Amica is a step above the competition when it comes to customer service. J.D. Power and Associates has ranked it highest in customer satisfaction among national auto insurers 12 years in a row.

Embracing technology helps Amica provide excellent customer service and improve efficiency. Amica was one of the first auto insurers to issue laptops to insurance appraisers. The goal was simple: improve efficiency and increase customer satisfaction by cutting out pen and paper from the insurance claim process.

“The Toughbook 18 really stood out to me because it had the functionality and the flexibility of a tablet and a clamshell, but it’s also rugged and lightweight.”

In theory, writing appraisals at a vehicle site should eliminate second appointments with customers. Of course, it does not always work that way. More than 20 percent of Amica’s issued business laptops failed in the field. Of the laptops that did not fail, many experienced connectivity problems that forced appraisers to waste time ‘babysitting’ during the upload process.

In 2007, Amica’s Claims Department had enough. Staff began a search for ruggedized notebook computers that could be used both in and out of vehicles without failing or frustrating appraisers. This time around Amica’s staff didn’t want problems and created a pilot program to test out options.

Vehicle-mounted laptops, like those police use, had a draw in terms of pure usefulness. Other concerns were hassle-free upgrades and the safety of vehicle drivers. Two people checked out Panasonic’s Toughbook 18 convertible tablet PCs before letting ten insurance appraisers use them for six months. Appraisers were impressed by the end of the pilot program and Amica decided to officially adopt the rugged notebook as the national solution.

“The Toughbook 18 really stood out to me because it had the functionality and the flexibility of a tablet and a clamshell, but it’s also rugged and lightweight,” says Larry Brown, Senior Systems Engineer with Amica.

Getting appraisers on board and trained with the new equipment was simple. Amica set up one training session on how to lock and disengage the laptop from the vehicle mount. Appraisers who participated in the pilot programs then helped conduct training for their peers.

The Toughbook has been great for Amica. In the first two years of implementation there was only one equipment failure – that is a failure rate .02 percent down from 20 percent.

With Toughbook 18 mobile computers, appraisers are more productive in less time. Average cycle times, or the amount of time it takes for a customer to receive payment, has reduced by 24 percent. The average inspections completed in a day are up 27 percent, meaning an appraiser can handle one or two additional claims per day. Claims are now settled faster, and customers receive payment faster.

Amica has been very happy with the success of Panasonic’s technology and continues to use the Toughbook line of mobile computers. In 2010, Amica donated its original line of ruggedized computers to a local police station and upgraded to using Toughbook 19 convertible tablets PCs with enhanced processors and embedded 3G wireless connection.

To learn more about Amica’s rugged mobile deployment, we encourage you to view the full case study on the Panasonic Solutions for Business website.

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