GlobalData Plc

3D printing will revolutionize claims management

Replicating lost or damaged items using 3D printing technology is fast becoming a reality with endless possibilities.

Claims handler SBS Insurance Services has become the first to offer 3D printing technology to repair or replicate damaged, lost, or stolen jewelry for HNW clients. Working on behalf of insurers, the technology enables items to be replaced with like-for-like as oppose to a new-for-old item of similar value and design, or receiving a cash settlement.

The system works by using photographs and descriptions of the unique item to develop a CAD model. With the policyholder’s approval of design the item is then assembled, polished, and hand-finished before being hallmarked with an SBS symbol to ensure traceability and validation of weight and quality. Only metallic jewelry can be 3D printed, however precious stones can be handcrafted to the pieces once they have set. The service has been developed in collaboration with Birmingham City University’s Jewelry Industry Innovation Centre.

Results have shown that items are replaced faster, cheaper, and with higher levels of customer satisfaction compared to finding an equivalent. It allows the item to be identically replicated, which is important for sentimental items such as family heirlooms. The material value of the new item will be the same as that of the original, as it is created from the same weight and quality of materials. However the newly created items will not retain the intrinsic value from being an antique or rare piece from a specific manufacturer. However each will still be a bespoke creation in its own right.

Scanning and 3D modelling items before loss or damage would further improve the effectiveness of claims processing for clients. 3D technology will transform the future of contents insurance claims, not just for jewelry but across a wide range of printable items in the future.

By Danielle Cripps, General Insurance Analyst

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