Mitchell releases 2013 insurance industry predictions

Executives at leading property and casualty claims technology provider forecast latest trends.

The average industry cost to repair auto collision damage will increase. This will occur in part, to the softening of salvage values, putting more borderline vehicles in the 'repairable' column rather than 'total loss' and an overall inflation of labor, parts and paint in 2013. This will also occur from an increase in the cost of raw materials (such as paint mica and chemicals) as well as plastics and steel prices. In addition, we expect to see an increase in average hourly body shop labor charges if the economy continues to recover in 2013.

There will be a rise in healthcare ePayment solutions: More carriers will use ePayment systems to gain a competitive advantage. They will work with the provider community to be better aligned with changes in healthcare regulation that promote eBill, eRemittance and ePayment through electronic funds transfer (EFT). ePayment systems provide the capacity to substantially lower transaction expenses, decrease the burden on adjusters and call centers, and enable similar benefits to accrue to medical provider trading partners.

There will be increased attention on keeping out-of-network costs down: Despite increased efforts to direct injured workers to network providers, many state regulations or employer programs offer the flexibility to use providers of their choice, which puts workers' comp insurance payers in the challenging out-of-network territory. Therefore, such payers will leverage third-party negotiation services to settle out-of-network claims. Tapping into an outside team of skilled negotiators will help workers' comp insurance payers and providers reach mutually beneficial agreements. The negotiation process will be accelerated, and insurance payers will achieve an average of 30 to 40 percent success rates in negotiating out-of-network charges.

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