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In light of COVID-19, USAA has accelerated its technology strategy to offer new and updated services to accommodate the changing world and member expectations. This includes plans to broaden telematics programs as well as a move to a fully virtual experience for nearly all claims.


“I’m proud of the work we’ve done to adjust the ways we interact with our members in these unprecedented times,” said Jim Syring, Property & Casualty President. “As we serve the military community, USAA will continue to offer safe and convenient options, while providing the high level of service our members deserve.”


Driving behavior shifts and increased interest in usage-based insurance

Data from USAA’s voluntary SafePilot program shows that miles driven have been consistently lower since March 11 for a group of participants in four states.* The trend peaked as major cities issued stay-at-home orders between March 22-24, and driving volumes are still down nearly 28% from early March.


On average, for each trip a participant took during the time period of March-June, SafePilot data has shown the following insight into driving behavior:


  • Speeding: With fewer cars on the road, speeding increased by up to 10% when compared to pre-stay-at-home time period.
  • Distraction: Although speeding events rose, distracted driving habits remained consistent, with drivers continuing activities such as smartphone use while on the roads.
  • Hard acceleration and braking: Hard acceleration decreased roughly 7-10% and hard braking decreased roughly under 5% when compared to Feb.-early March, likely due to less traffic and maintained speed.

USAA’s 2020 Safe Driving and Technologies Report shows that embracing certain technologies on the road can lead to safer driving behaviors, thus decreasing likelihood of wrecks and financial stress. For more details, download the 2020 Safe Driving and Technologies Report below.


Amid less driving and increased financial hardship, people are showing more interest in telematics and usage-based insurance plans. Quotes for telematics-based insurance are up nearly 3%, and telematics-based insurance policies written are up nearly 3.5%; USAA plans to launch SafePilot in more states by end of year to accommodate demand.


Claims process nearly 100% virtual

Due to COVID-19 and stay-at-home orders, USAA accelerated its move to virtual claims. Currently, almost all estimating for both auto and property is done virtually when permitted. Members are now able to engage and interact live with adjusters to view damages and discuss the claims process, in addition to filing claims via both desktop and mobile technologies. In some cases, claims completion times have gone from hours to seconds.


Property Claims

USAA recently launched a tool to fully virtually collaborate with members on the claims experience, utilizing video technology. There have been roughly 1500 uses of virtual property estimating year-to-date, and early signs indicate decreased time to claims resolution and increased efficiency for adjusters and members.


Auto Claims

In 2019, USAA appraisers worked to streamline photo estimating. In March-June 2020, the number of virtual estimates written by USAA appraisers increased by nearly 100,000 estimates when compared to 2019. The increase in virtual auto claims has further enhanced image-to-estimate machine learning capabilities, reducing time from image-to-estimate-to-payment to under 15 minutes in some cases, and expected to eventually reduce time to just a few seconds.


Additional technical capabilities

With the need for acceleration of virtual claims, USAA expedited and launched additional improvements to insurance service, including:

  • Non-members can now check the status of their claim online, allowing for a more digital experience for both members and non-members alike
  • Property underwriting has launched a new service for members, allowing many of them to complete a home inspection virtually without an inspector on site, when permitted
  • USAA is working on the next phase of its joint blockchain solution to streamline inter-company insurance payments, based on increased need for a fully virtual process

*SafePilot is currently available in four states: Texas, Ohio, Arizona and Virginia.




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