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VCA Spotlight – Lee Picano – Founder and CTO

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“I want to be able to apply solutions for our clients/partners and see that we have made a difference…”

Meet Lee Picano, VCA’s founder and chief of technology. Actually, Lee’s experience and roles are, as he explains, “tightly woven into the fabric of VCA.”

Lee’s entrepreneurial and vital spirit was evident early in his life.

The insurance connection was a natural for Lee; his father had been an insurance adjuster, and Lee participated in conversations – and often activities – to help his father as he grew up. Lee describes how on many nights, he helped his dad review surveillance footage for insurance reports, affectionately calling it the family ‘popcorn and video’ night.

Lee’s father instilled in him a strong work ethic, as well as a substantial knowledge base of the insurance industry, and Lee worked with his dad for over 3 years as an insurance adjuster. Yet, he was eager to break out on his own, independently, and make a mark.

Lee saw almost immediately how technology could be an answer for many of the issues that insurance companies struggled with in the 2000s. He recognized how the industry was mired in old practices, lagging behind other industries eager to embrace new solutions. After working with insurance carriers and observing where their pain points were, Lee recognized how IT could play an important role. Lee immersed himself in learning software design and development, graduating at the top of his class from the Canadian Institute of Computer Technology. He then further expanded his experiences, becoming lead developer and then team lead at two tech companies, including Toronto’s ProServeIT for over a decade.

The merging of Lee’s insurance experiences, with the deep knowledge of how technology can help provide business solutions, became the fertile ground upon which Virtual Claims Adjuster would grow.  Lee placed his efforts, energy and intrinsic knowledge of the industry and its pain points into the birth of VCA Software. When an insurance industry magazine did a piece on the growing company and its work with insurance companies, it sparked enough interest that Lee realized the tremendous value that technology would have for the future of insurance. This was 2002.

Software-as-a-Service did not exist. Yet Lee’s instinct was that if he could convince insurance companies to trust that data can be stored in the cloud, insurers would see great benefits. The upsides for the risk-averse insurance industry were not having to worry about issues like uptime, data storage, backups and liabilities. Lee would market his technology solutions as a new business model specifically for the insurance industry.

“Many companies are focused on revenue. At VCA, we stay focused on client experiences and opportunities that can help their growth.”

Fast-forward to today. As Lee looks back, he sees the dramatic changes: what took an average of 16 days to work through Lloyd’s Bordereau requirements, now takes minutes. What took adjusters 4-5 months to finish after Hurricane Katrina hit, is now 3-6 weeks. And today, with VCA, what used to take claims handlers 4 days, is automatically and instantly assigned through VCA software.

Throughout the development of VCA, the main mission that remained ingrained in everything Lee set forth to do was seeing the client not as a source of revenue, but as a partner. The focus for Lee and his team is client experience. Maintaining communication, empowering support personnel to developing relationships with clients so problems are solved quickly, and offering speedy resolutions to problems, remains a big differentiator between VCA and other insuretech providers.

What about the future? What will the 2020’s hold? Simple. Making clients’ lives easier and more productive. “We are focused on opportunities that help our clients grow. We will continue to expand features and functionalities and innovations to increase their efficiencies – and billing hours.“

On a personal note, Lee and his wife just celebrated 25 years of marriage and have three children. The family likes to be active, which has been challenging during Covid. Hiking nearby with their two Australian shepherds is top of their list, and the family plans to travel, another passion, as soon as circumstances allow. Lee is also a big car aficionado and often takes his favorite car to local car shows.

Year-end message from the CEO

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For insurers in the US and across the Americas – and for all of us – 2020 has been a very challenging time.

My primary thoughts always turn towards people – the people who are our customers, and those who are under my care as employees. We seek first to take care of those as best as we can, and VCA is no exception. We have attempted to understand the moment we were in, help those in our life manage that moment, and discern how to move forward. As the pandemic continues to unfold, people remain our first concern.

Awakening to digital solutions

With those thoughts in mind, the light inherent in 2020 has been how dramatically we have pivoted towards new business solutions, and how those solutions have increasingly been digital. Covid-19 has forced the industry to rapidly accelerate plans to reduce reliance on sub-optimal processes, many of which the insurance industry has relied upon for decades. Our industry seems to be on the verge of a paradigm shift, as insurers see the benefits of using insurtech to streamline their operations across the ecosystem.

Redefining the insurer-insuretech provider relationship

New digital insurance technologies are being incorporated into claims management. Smart devices, IoT technology, digital home mapping and even drones are allowing insurers to reduce costs, improve efficiencies, and create a consistent experience across all points of contact. VCA will continue to re-define and reimagine the insurance claims process.

New partnerships, new innovations
Virtual Claims Adjuster continues to take advantage of emerging technologies to build innovative claims management solutions. We are dedicated to improving core metrics in ways previously unavailable or unexplored. To that end, we seek technology partners in this digital transformation that will enhance insurers’ experiences with more capabilities and faster solutions. One way is our exploring of new technologies that could assess damage rapidly, and with accurate data, when claims staff are unable to get on-site.

Create a foundation for growth
Our goal at VCA is to continue to improve the metrics of great service, the speed of claims resolution, and the simplicity of processes. As 2021 comes into view for us, our biggest goal is to empower our customers to meet the challenges the next year will bring.

Wishing you all a happy, healthy and safe holiday season,

John Varghese

Person using a laptop on a desk

5 tips to simplify your claims assigning process

By Blog, Claims Management, Insurance Trends, Uncategorized, Workflow No Comments

Insurance claims adjusting is increasingly moving to innovative software that can help them process and assign claims more quickly, especially in this exceptionally busy season, and amidst the pandemic.

It’s the year of COVID and natural disasters

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to be a problem we are all grappling with, however it has expedited innovative and technological solutions to error-prone manual processes that over 50% of insurance providers are still entrenched in. COVID has forced many claims processors to look at how automation can make their claims assignment process more agile, productive and efficient. 

Secondly, this year offered one of the most volatile weather and natural event seasons in history. With the increased volume of claims in a record 2020 storm year, you need a claims management system that can handle them, while also adjusting to seasonal challenges – without increasing wait times or affecting quality. Systems with automated claims assignment features can provide the keys to achieving customer satisfaction and lower claims costs. 

How to move more quickly through claims assignment

Are you still stuck in the decades-long mentality of complex, time-consuming, manual claims processing and assignment processes? These outdated, error-prone and time-eating tasks lead to bottlenecks, inefficiencies and disappointed clients at a time when customers are demanding convenience, visibility and communication. Streamlined claims assignment through software automation is increasingly the answer.

Look for a software provider with tools that are: 1) easy and intuitive to use; 2) move the user quickly from initial input to completion; and 3) provide a reservoir of information they can tap into with a click. 

VCA’s simplified screens allow the user to navigate through the assigning process in just a few clicks. Users have access to information pertinent to the claim: which adjusters and teams are closest to the loss, star ratings and open claims, utilizations, and more. Want to assign a loss to an adjuster who currently has a lower claim count? Want to be sure you are assigning a loss to the correct team? VCA shows you who is out there, where they are on the map, how busy they are and who would be the most efficient choice. 

Visual makes it fast – map-based claims tools for claims assignment

Let’s face it. Most of us are more visual than mathematical. A map, and icons on a map, are immediately understood. With VCA’s map-based tool, a user clicks on the map, sees where the loss is located, and sees where adjusters and teams are in relation to that loss. 

A mapping feature saves time: A user can click on the loss icon and obtain all the info on that loss. It also plots where adjusters are, and lists their information, on the map. To process, just click on the name of the adjuster you want to manage the loss and click ‘assign.’ Done. Our innovative software uses easy-to-recognize symbols (like a map) to compel immediate understanding – making claims assignment intuitive and fast!

Know whether adjusters can handle more claims, or are too busy for you

Does your software allow you to see real-time stats on individual adjusters or teams that you are sending your claims to? Are you still using email, or the phone, to get them? If you send out your claims, do you know whether that adjuster can handle his/her own claim count – plus yours?  

VCA speeds up claims assignment time by giving you info on each adjuster’s or team’s status including: how many claims are assigned to him/her, open claims, and total claims. You can even limit the amount of claims you send. When assigning to teams, you can see all the members within the teams, at a glance. Armed with that knowledge, you can confidently assign claims.

Automated features take out the extra (costly) touches

Want to go one step further? Automate the entire assignment process. VCA’s Automatic Claims Distribution removes the last bits of manual process in claims assignment. Our system will automatically assign claims to the closest adjuster who not only has the capacity to handle the volume, but also has a high ranking in productivity and output.

New losses can be set up with criteria to properly assign a claim including: star rating, utilization, or distance from the loss. It’s simple: Access the system administration and set up the criteria most important to you in assigning a claim. In this way, you can triage thousands of claims in minutes. Once claims have been assigned, your email that lets clients know who their claims adjuster is, gets sent automatically.

Using automation, you are freed from performing manual and repetitive tasks. You have more time for decision-making. And, you can go the extra mile to create memorable customer experiences.

See VCA’s Visual Mapping Assignment Tool in action 

To help, we have been offering free, customer-exclusive webinars throughout the pandemic crisis – so you can discover new ways to streamline your claims management process.

In this 20 minute webinar on-demand, take a deep dive into VCA’s Visual Mapping Assignment Tool. 

Join Matt Barrett, Senior Claims Specialist and learn about:

☑ Traditional claims assignment

☑ Visual direct assignment

☑ Visual team queue assignment

☑ Automated claims distribution

Watch: Claims Assignment Tools for CAT Season Relief

CEO Update

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Change has come, and we’ve entered a new normal for the insurance market.

The pandemic has been our industry’s opportunity to quietly step up during a crisis and pivot to meet the needs of carriers. Climate change has created a new reality for the industry as well – with events in greater numbers and intensity.

Weather events like hurricanes, tornadoes, freakish storms and fires has made this a sobering year in so many ways.
Yet, in spite of these challenges, VCA and the insurance industry continue to be dedicated to finding the best ways to help clients negotiate through tragedy. In recent years, more and more insurers have been making the shift to digital claims management. That progress has been accelerated due to the pandemic.

Business-as-usual is no longer an option. As claims management vendors, we need to be adaptable so that we can offer our customers the best product with the best service. During these last two quarters, in spite of the pandemic, we at VCA have demonstrated to our clients that our service level and responsiveness remained top-notch. VCA continues to ride this wave of change and innovation by adding new product enhancements, completing bi-directional integrations with Hover and Encircle, and enhancing others, like Quickbooks.

Without a doubt, we’ve entered a new norm and there is no turning back. VCA re-dedicates itself to provide our clients with the tools to serve customers and maintain operations in this new environment. As we head into the final stretch of 2020 and face more of mother nature’s wrath, we’re here to help every step of the way.

Lastly, I am always encouraged when people reach out to me to share their ideas. I would like to encourage you to reach out with your questions, concerns and comments—ideas on how we can better serve our industry.

Please, send me an email, reach out through my page on LinkedIn and message me! Let’s talk.