SAN DIEGO, CA--(Marketwired - Dec 11, 2013) - Mitchell, a leading provider of technology, connectivity and information solutions to the Property & Casualty (P&C) claims and Collision Repair industries, today released its industry predictions for 2014. The company forecasts a shift in operational efficiency as new technology and resources improve processes, while increased new vehicle sales and favorable financing will drive down the value of used vehicles. The predictions focus on the auto repair and body, insurance, claims and payer ecosystems.

"As the amount of data rises throughout the Property and Casualty and Collision Repair industries, more organizations will find ways to leverage this information to improve operations and contain costs," said Greg Horn, Vice President of Industry Relations for Mitchell. "The rate of data coming in is too large and too fast to ignore, making technology and insights into business intelligence and predictive modeling a top priority for everyone."

The broad industry and specific predictions from the company's core Auto Physical Damage, Auto Causality and Workers' Compensation divisions include:

Predictive technologies will improve cycle time, outcomes and customer satisfaction - P&C payers will look to leverage the vast quantities of data to help improve operational efficiencies and reduce claim costs. The ability to easily integrate and access business intelligence and predictive models will be at the top of the priority list, with many P&C payers planning to upgrade outdated technology in 2014. Integrating business intelligence in existing applications and processes, such as bill review, will allow payers to gain insight and take action to automate workflow, measure provider performance and outcomes, and mitigate claims with the potential for high severity or narcotics abuse.

Triaging and predictive technologies will begin to deliver more demonstrable results as these resources mature and the industry harnesses the power of Big Data. As an example, by leveraging key models, insurers can more effectively identify cases with elements of fraud that can be transferred to Special Investigative Units.

Healthcare reform will add more competition along with delays in the P&C market - Providing insurance to a million uninsured and expanding Medicaid eligibility all at one time will likely cause an impact in P&C. Potential delays and gaps in treatment will occur when the same amount of providers and healthcare delivery are available to serve medical needs of so many new patients introduced into the healthcare system. Additionally, the use of PPOs will accelerate as more patients gain access to primary care physicians within plans as the first line of treatment and referral.

Total loss claims will increase - Robust new vehicle sales will continue to cause used car values to soften. As our new vehicle sales volume is on record to exceed 16 million new sales (back to pre-recession levels), the value of used vehicles will suffer because of easy new vehicle finance terms. This, combined with a spike in lease return vehicles, will result in a higher percentage of claims resulting in total losses.

Recovering economy will spark higher labor rates - Retail hourly labor rates for both body labor as well as paint and materials costs will rise, as the cost of acquisition of qualified technicians and the paint and materials from suppliers rise. The recession helped delay increases in hourly labor rates charged by collision repair shops, but rising costs for materials, healthcare and other costs of business will force shops to raise hourly rates.

Workers' Compensation industry will struggle to manage cost shifting and over utilization - As attention on provider performance increases, particularly with respect to Opioid drugs and physician-dispensed drugs, workers' comp insurance payers have a challenge of keeping pharmacy-related costs down. Therefore, pharmacy benefit management will play an increasing role in the overall cost containment program and solutions that provide analytics on provider performance will become vital.

Additionally, managing the cost of durable medical equipment (DME) will be a hot topic in 2014 due to increasing costs and potential overuse. Payers will be challenged to control the escalating costs associated with these medical devices. DME, implant and other ancillary network services will play an increasing role in the overall cost containment program for payers as costs for these items continue to escalate.

About Mitchell
Mitchell is uniquely positioned to simplify, enhance and accelerate claims handling processes across the P&C industry through deep workflow solutions that include unparalleled access to data, advanced analytics and decision support tools. Our expert workflow and adjusting solutions advance the claims management process by enabling automotive physical damage, bodily injury and workers' compensation clients to process claims more accurately, consistently, and cost-effectively.

Mitchell's solutions provide an expert level of decision support and connectivity within the claims organization and with industry partners to achieve optimal outcomes. Mitchell's comprehensive solution portfolio and robust SaaS infrastructure enables tens of millions of electronic transactions to be processed each month for over 300 insurance companies, including the majority of the top 25 insurance carriers, and over 30,000 collision repair facilities. With an expanding global footprint, Mitchell products are currently utilized in the Americas, Europe and Asia. Mitchell is headquartered in San Diego, California, and has 2,000 employees. For more information, please visit