If you‘ve ever been in a car accident, you know how it feels to wait for your claim payment to arrive. Insurance companies love to hold the money as long as possible to keep every penny of interest.
Progressive Insurance is the notable exception to the industry rule: It tries to pay as quickly as it can – by getting claims adjusters out of the office and onto the street where they can interact with clients. The logic behind such a radical notion? Happier customers and more productive claims reps will more than make up for the lost interest revenue.
At Progressive, that radical notion is based on IRV, which stands for “immediate response vehicle,” a fleet of SUVs loaded with enough communications gear – ...view middle of the document...
Not only did the program help improve customer retention by 20% last year; it has helped Progressive shave labor costs. Progressive’s mobile adjusters can handle nearly twice the workload they could a decade ago. IRVs have also helped revenues climb from $1.8 billion to more than $9 billion during that period.
A wireless laptop provides around the clock access to Progressive’s mainframe computer. An adjuster can type a claim while sitting in a body shop and go over it with the policy-holder right on the screen. The laptops also let agents use fax machines around the country as printers when a satellite office needs a hard copy instead of email.
Agents spend hours every day talking to clients, auto shops, and other adjusters on their cell phones, but it’s the two-way radio feature that gets the most use. Dispatchers monitor agents’ locations, sending the closest adjuster to investigate a scene. Digital cameras let agents snap as many pictures as they need, upload them to Progressive’s computers for storage, and share them with the managers if necessary. Some adjusters even film short videos that are used to document traffic patterns at accident prone intersections.
Each IRV includes an ink-jet printer to spit out paper copies of estimates, claims, and, of course, checks.
1. What is Progressive’s business? [list]
2. What is critical to the success of the business? [list]
3. How does Progressive’s use of hardware contribute to these success factors? [table]
4. How does all of this use of hardware benefit customers? [table]
5. Relate Moore’s law to this case. [list or table]
 (Adapted from “The Check is in the Car,” Business 2.0, July 2003, pp. 44-45)