US20150095071A1 - Systems and Methods for Identifying a Subrogation Opportunity for a Potential Subrogation Claim - Google Patents

Systems and Methods for Identifying a Subrogation Opportunity for a Potential Subrogation Claim Download PDF

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US20150095071A1
US20150095071A1 US14/040,705 US201314040705A US2015095071A1 US 20150095071 A1 US20150095071 A1 US 20150095071A1 US 201314040705 A US201314040705 A US 201314040705A US 2015095071 A1 US2015095071 A1 US 2015095071A1
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subrogation
product
database
products
score
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US14/040,705
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Duane Michael Battcher
David Brent Riggs
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Donan Engineering Co Inc
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Donan Engineering Co., Inc.
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    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06QDATA PROCESSING SYSTEMS OR METHODS, SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES; SYSTEMS OR METHODS SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • G06Q40/00Finance; Insurance; Tax strategies; Processing of corporate or income taxes
    • G06Q40/08Insurance, e.g. risk analysis or pensions
    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06FELECTRIC DIGITAL DATA PROCESSING
    • G06F16/00Information retrieval; Database structures therefor; File system structures therefor
    • G06F16/50Information retrieval; Database structures therefor; File system structures therefor of still image data
    • G06F16/53Querying
    • G06F16/532Query formulation, e.g. graphical querying
    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06FELECTRIC DIGITAL DATA PROCESSING
    • G06F16/00Information retrieval; Database structures therefor; File system structures therefor
    • G06F16/50Information retrieval; Database structures therefor; File system structures therefor of still image data
    • G06F16/58Retrieval characterised by using metadata, e.g. metadata not derived from the content or metadata generated manually
    • G06F16/5866Retrieval characterised by using metadata, e.g. metadata not derived from the content or metadata generated manually using information manually generated, e.g. tags, keywords, comments, manually generated location and time information
    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06FELECTRIC DIGITAL DATA PROCESSING
    • G06F17/00Digital computing or data processing equipment or methods, specially adapted for specific functions
    • G06F17/50Computer-aided design
    • G06F17/5004Architectural design, e.g. building design
    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06TIMAGE DATA PROCESSING OR GENERATION, IN GENERAL
    • G06T7/00Image analysis
    • G06T7/0002Inspection of images, e.g. flaw detection
    • G06T7/0004Industrial image inspection
    • G06T7/001Industrial image inspection using an image reference approach
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04LTRANSMISSION OF DIGITAL INFORMATION, e.g. TELEGRAPHIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04L67/00Network-specific arrangements or communication protocols supporting networked applications
    • H04L67/10Network-specific arrangements or communication protocols supporting networked applications in which an application is distributed across nodes in the network
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04WWIRELESS COMMUNICATION NETWORKS
    • H04W4/00Services specially adapted for wireless communication networks; Facilities therefor
    • H04W4/02Services making use of location information
    • H04W4/04Services making use of location information using association of physical positions and logical data in a dedicated environment, e.g. buildings or vehicles

Abstract

Methods and apparatus are disclosed for determining a subrogation score for a potential subrogation claim. The systems and methods described herein provide a user, such as a claims adjuster, with the tools to retrieve and communicate information related to one or more products likely to have caused a property loss. The systems and methods may further determine a subrogation score indicative of subrogation opportunity for a potential subrogation claim relative to the one or more products. The subrogation score may be based on information in at least one database. The subrogation score may be provided to the user such as an insurance carrier. The user may then decide whether to proceed with further investigative analyses (e.g., component testing of the one or more products) pursuant to a potential subrogation claim. Additional systems and methods disclosed herein facilitate the insurance carrier's submission of the one or more products for component testing.

Description

    CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS AND CLAIM TO PRIORITY
  • This non-provisional application claims priority to and benefit under 35 U.S.C. §119(e) to U.S. Provisional Application No. 61/884,105 filed on Sep. 29, 2013, entitled “Systems and methods for identifying loss characteristics of products and determining subrogation opportunity relative to the products,” the disclosure of which is incorporated by reference herein in its entirety.
  • STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH
  • None.
  • REFERENCE TO SEQUENTIAL LISTING, ETC
  • None.
  • BACKGROUND
  • Present embodiments are related to a system and method for determining subrogation opportunity for a potential subrogation claim relative to one or more products.
  • In a typical insurance claim scenario, insured party reports a loss to their insurance carrier. The insurance carrier assigns an adjuster to assess the loss and estimate the cost of restoration, including repair, and/or replacement. In many instances, the adjuster assesses the loss and determines the parameters for restoration of the loss. Due to the emergency nature of the loss, the adjuster is generally focused on preparing an estimate for restoration costs, and may not have readily accessible tools to determine subrogation opportunity for a potential subrogation claim relative to one or more products likely to have caused the loss. For example, an insured party may have property loss due to water in the basement and report this loss to their insurance carrier. The insurance carrier's adjuster may assess the loss to the insured property and estimate the cost of restoration. In some instances, the insurance carrier may provide the insured party with funds for the estimated restoration costs. The insured party, in turn, may have the repair, replacement, and/or restoration work done independently, or contract a restoration company and/or contractor approved by the insurance carrier to perform the work. In order to efficiently validate and process claims, insurance companies may often provide restoration and/or reparation funds to the insured party and may lose a potential subrogation opportunity.
  • Further, the underlying cause of the water in the basement may have been a malfunctioning sump pump, dishwasher, water heater, and/or washing machine. A number of factors such as a manufacturer's defect, improper installation, and/or improper maintenance, could have caused one or more of these products to malfunction. As a result, the insurance carrier may have paid for losses that may have been caused by the actions of third parties. In such situations, the insurance carrier would like to identify the underlying cause of the property loss, and seek reimbursement from the third party by filing a subrogation claim. This may lead to a considerable reduction of costs to the insurance carrier.
  • The determination as to whether an insurance claim may be subject to a subrogation claim is based on a careful analysis of one or more factors. For example, once the insurance adjuster prepares an estimate, loss restoration may proceed swiftly, whereby potentially significant evidence may be lost. Capturing and preserving evidence from the affected area in a timely manner is therefore an important factor. Other factors may include maintaining an updated database of product-related information (e.g., Statute of Repose database for a state in which the loss occurred, a Consumer Product Safety database, a historical database, and a new trends database). Therefore, it is desirable to have a system and method for readily determining a subrogation score indicative of subrogation opportunity for a potential subrogation claim relative to one or more products. The systems and methods disclosed herein facilitate the insurance adjuster's ability to identify data related to product identifiers of the products (e.g., serial number, product barcode, UPC code, make, model and year of the sump pump, dishwasher, water heater, and/or washing machine), and provide the product identifiers to one or more servers. The one or more servers may compare the received product identifiers with product data to determine if the products have been subject to recalls, have known defects, have been subject to component testing, and/or if similar products have been a subject of past subrogation claims. Based at least in part on such factors, a subrogation score may be determined. In some implementations a subrogation report may be generated based on the subrogation score. The insurance carrier, and/or the insurance adjuster, may then readily make a determination whether to proceed with a subrogation project. The methods and systems disclosed herein facilitate the submission of a subrogation project.
  • SUMMARY
  • The specification describes systems and methods for determining a subrogation score for a potential subrogation claim. As discussed, the systems and methods described herein provide a user, such as an insurance claims adjuster, with the tools to retrieve and communicate information related to one or more products likely to have caused a property loss. The systems and methods may further determine a subrogation score indicative of subrogation opportunity for a potential subrogation claim relative to the one or more products. The subrogation score may be based on information in at least one database. The subrogation score may be provided to the user such as an insurance carrier. The user may then decide whether to proceed with further investigative analyses (e.g., component testing of the one or more products) pursuant to a potential subrogation claim. Additional systems and methods disclosed herein facilitate the insurance carrier's submission of the one or more products for component testing.
  • In some implementations, a method is described that includes: receiving, via an application on a computing device of a user, one or more product identifiers, the one or more product identifiers identifying one or more products likely to have contributed to a loss; searching at least one database for product data related to the one or more product identifiers, the at least one database including one or more of a Statute of Repose database, a Consumer Product Safety database, a historical database and a new trends database; retrieving, via one or more servers, the product data from the at least one database; determining, based on the retrieved product data, a subrogation score for each of the one or more products, the subrogation score indicative of subrogation opportunity for a potential subrogation claim relative to the one or more products; and providing the subrogation score to the user.
  • This method and other implementations of the technology disclosed can each optionally include one or more of the following features.
  • In some implementations the product identifiers may include at least one product attribute for each of said one or more products. In some implementations the at least one product attribute may include one or more of a make, model, year of manufacture, year of purchase, age, photograph, video recording, audio recording, and product description related to said one or more products.
  • The method may further comprise identifying a claim identifier, the claim identifier identifying the potential subrogation claim related to the loss. In some implementations the claim identifier may include one or more of an insured party identifier, the insured party identifier identifying a beneficiary of the insurance claim, a date identifier, the date identifier identifying the date the loss occurred, and a geographical identifier, the geographical identifier identifying a physical location where the loss occurred.
  • The method may further comprise providing, via the application on the computing device of the user, a selectable option to submit the one or more products for component testing. In some implementations the method may further comprise receiving, via the application on the computing device of the user, an affirmative user selection of the selectable option to submit the one or more products for component testing. The method may further comprise responding to the affirmative user selection of the selectable option to submit by prompting the user to enter one or more claim identifiers. In some implementations the method may further comprise generating a confirmation number for the one or more products for component testing. In some implementations the method may further comprise responding to the affirmative user selection by providing shipping information to the user to ship the one or more products for the component testing. In some implementations the method may further comprise responding to the affirmative user selection by providing evidence collection recommendations related to the one or more products for the component testing. The method may further comprise receiving, via the application on the computing device of the user, an affirmative user selection of the selectable option to not submit the one or more products for component testing.
  • In some implementations determining the subrogation score may include generating a subrogation report for each of the one or more products based on the subrogation score.
  • The method may further comprise associating the subrogation score with each of the one or more product identifiers in a subrogation database.
  • In some implementations the at least one database may include a new trends database, and the method may further comprise comparing the subrogation score to a threshold. The method may further comprise determining, based on the comparison of subrogation score to the threshold, a new trend factor, the new trend factor indicative of recent occurrences of the one or more products in the new trends database. The method may further comprise adjusting the subrogation score based on the new trend factor.
  • In some implementations the at least one database may include a Statute of Repose database, and the method may further comprise identifying a state for applying the Statute of Repose. The method may further comprise identifying a statutory time limit for the identified state in the Statute of Repose database, and adjusting the subrogation score based on comparison of the statutory time limit and an elapsed time from purchase date of the one or more products.
  • In some implementations the retrieved product data may include one or more of product recall information, manufacturing defect information, and a product warning.
  • In some implementations the one or more products may include one or more of roofing material, an appliance, electrical components, and plumbing components.
  • In some implementations the one or more product identifiers may include one or more of a product barcode, serial number, and UPC code.
  • In some implementations, a method, implemented on a mobile device, is described that includes: identifying, via the user-interface on the mobile application, one or more product identifiers, the one or more product identifiers identifying one or more products likely to have contributed to a loss; providing, via one or more servers, the one or more product identifiers to a central server; prompting the central server to search at least one database for product data related to the one or more products, the at least one database including one or more of a Statute of Repose database, a Consumer Product Safety database, a historical database and a new trends database; receiving, from the central server, a subrogation score based on the one or more products identifiers, the subrogation score indicative of subrogation opportunity for a potential subrogation claim relative to the one or more products; and displaying the subrogation score via the mobile application.
  • Other implementations may include a non-transitory computer readable storage medium storing computer instructions executable by a processor to perform the various methods described herein. Another implementation may include implementing the disclosed method and apparatus on an application running on a computing device (e.g., a mobile application on a mobile device, a downloadable application on a desktop computer, and so forth). Yet another implementation may include a network comprising a communication environment in optional combination with one or more third party databases, wherein the communication environment comprises communication infrastructure capable of data exchange from and between one or more servers and a plurality of client devices in the field. The one or more servers may include a central command and/or or distributed information resources.
  • In general, one aspect of the technology described herein can be embodied in methods that include retrieving on-site data pertaining to product identifiers of one or more products likely to have contributed to a loss. This may be accomplished via a computer application running on a computing device of a user. This data is then uploaded to the system and correlated to and synthesized with available metrics from at least one database to determine a subrogation score. The retrieval of data is achieved within a short window of opportunity so as not to lose any evidence.
  • The details of one or more embodiments of the technology disclosed in this specification are set forth in the accompanying drawings and the description below. Additional features, aspects, and advantages of the technology disclosed will become apparent from the description, the drawings and the claims.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • FIG. 1 illustrates a block diagram of an example environment for determining a subrogation score for a subrogation opportunity.
  • FIGS. 2A-2B illustrate example methods of receiving a product identifier.
  • FIG. 3A is a table illustrating example methods of determining a base score.
  • FIG. 3B is a table illustrating example methods of determining a new trend factor.
  • FIG. 3C is a table illustrating example methods of determining a recall factor.
  • FIG. 3D is a table illustrating example methods of determining a statute factor.
  • FIG. 3E is a table illustrating example methods of determining a subrogation score.
  • FIG. 3F is a table illustrating example methods of providing a subrogation score.
  • FIGS. 4A-4E illustrate example graphical user interfaces for providing a subrogation score.
  • FIG. 5 illustrates a flow diagram of an example process for determining a subrogation score for one or more products implemented on one or more servers.
  • FIG. 6 illustrates a flow diagram of an example process for determining a subrogation score for one or more products implemented on a mobile device.
  • FIG. 7 illustrates a flow diagram of an example process for submitting a subrogation project.
  • FIG. 8 illustrates a block diagram of an example computer system.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • Present embodiments are related to systems and methods for determining a subrogation score for one or more products. The subrogation score may be indicative of subrogation opportunity for a potential subrogation claim relative to the one or more products. In the event of a property loss, an insurance carrier responds to a filed claim by sending an adjuster to assess the property loss. In most instances, the adjuster assesses the loss and prepares an estimate for restoration costs. The insurance provider may compensate the insured party for the estimated amount. The insured party may take steps toward restoration of the property. As a result, the adjuster's focus is typically on determining if the loss is an insured loss, and preparing an estimate for the restoration costs. The adjuster, being out in the field, may identify one or more products likely to have contributed to the loss. However, the adjuster may not always have the tools to determine if one or more products that contributed to the loss has the potential of being the subject of a subrogation claim. This may occur, for instance, when the adjuster does not have access to information related to product recalls, manufacturing defects, and so forth. For example, the adjuster may respond to a claim related to property loss resulting from water in a basement. The adjuster may arrive at the physical location and assess the property loss in the basement and prepare an estimate for restoration costs. The adjuster may additionally identify one or more products (e.g., a sump pump, an air conditioning unit, water heating unit, supply lines, plumbing components, and so forth) that are likely to have contributed to the loss. However, without access to a database, the adjuster may not be able to determine subrogation opportunity for a subrogation claim relative to the one or more products. For example, one or more of the products may have been subject to a product recall. As another example, one or more of the products may have certain manufacturing defects and/or persistent malfunctions that have been reported. Also, for example, one or more of the products may have been used and/or installed in a negligent manner. As another example, one or more of the products may have been the subject of component testing in the past that is indicative of a product defect. The insurance adjuster may not have the tools to identify such potential alternative causes of the loss. Instead, based on the estimate for restoration costs prepared by the insurance adjuster, the insurance carrier may pay the insured party for restoration of the property. The insured party may proceed with restoration efforts, thereby eliminating valuable evidence needed for a subrogation claim. Accordingly, a subrogation opportunity for a potential subrogation claim relative to the one or more products may be lost. Consequently, insurance companies may pay for losses for which third parties, such as product manufacturers and/or distributors, may be responsible.
  • The determination as to whether a product may be a subject of a potential subrogation claim is based on a careful analysis of one or more factors. Capturing and preserving evidence related to the property loss in a timely manner is one such factor. For example, if a water heater malfunctions during winter, the insured person is likely to expect a quick response from the insurance carrier in terms of a replacement heater, and/or repair time. In such circumstances, the insurance carrier and/or the owner may opt to restore the water heating capability at the earliest opportunity. The water heater may therefore get removed, repaired, and/or replaced, and evidence as to the cause of the property loss may be eliminated. As a result, the insurance carrier may lose subrogation opportunity for a potential subrogation claim relative to the one or more products.
  • It is therefore desirable to have a system and method for readily determining a subrogation score for a potential subrogation claim and provide the subrogation score to an insurance carrier. An insurance adjuster may assess the loss, retrieve data related to product identifiers of one or more products likely to have caused the loss, and provide such data to the system. The received data may be compared to existing data in at least one database to determine a subrogation score. In some implementations a subrogation report may be generated and provided to the insurance carrier and/or the adjuster with a selectable option to submit the one or more products for further component testing.
  • In general, one aspect of the technology described herein can be embodied in methods that include retrieving and updating, on-site data pertaining to product identifiers. This may be accomplished via a computer application running on a user's mobile device. This data is then uploaded to the system and correlated to and synthesized with available metrics from a product database to determine subrogation opportunity for a potential subrogation claim relative to the one or more products. The retrieval and update of data is achieved within a short window of opportunity so as not to lose any evidence.
  • These and other particular embodiments will be described in more detail with the help of the figures.
  • FIG. 1 illustrates a block diagram of an example environment for determining a subrogation score for a subrogation opportunity. The process environment 100 includes a subrogation opportunity processing system 110, and one or more client devices 160. The process environment 100 also includes a network 120 that allows for communication between various components of the process environment 100. The example environment 100 further includes a subrogation database 130, a subrogation scoring system 140, and optionally, a subrogation report generator 145. In some implementations, the subrogation report generator 145 may be included in the subrogation scoring system 140. In some implementations one or more components, or parts thereof, of the process environment 100 may reside on the client device.
  • During operation, the subrogation opportunity processing system 110 may receive one or more products identifiers via an application on a computing device of a user. The one or more product identifiers may include a serial number, a product barcode, a UPC number, a file name associated with a product, and so forth. For example, a water heater may be uniquely identified by a serial number, a model number, and/or a universal product code (“UPC”). In some implementations a given product of the one or more products may be uniquely identified by a product barcode. In such instances the product identifier may be data obtained from the product barcode. A product identifier may also be a file name uniquely associated with a data file. For example, the file may be a JPEG file that includes a digital photograph of impact on a roof. The file may be associated with a unique product identifier such as “IDXYZ1234_roof_side.jpg”, where “XYZ1234” may be a claim number. In some implementations the digital photograph may be the product identifier for the roof. In some implementation a product identifier may be uniquely associated with a product (e.g., product barcode, serial number, UPC number).
  • In some implementations the product identifier may include at least one product attribute for each of said one or more products. The product attribute may be a description of the product, or the product attribute may be related to one or more components of the product that may have contributed to the loss. The at least one product attribute may include one or more of a year of manufacture, year of purchase, age, photograph, video, and audio recording. In some implementations the product attribute may not be uniquely associated with a product. For example, several appliances may share the same year of manufacture. Also, the heating element of a water heater is a product attribute that is not unique to a water heater. Generally speaking, the one or more products may include any product that may be identified as a potential cause of the loss. Such products may include, but are not limited to, roofing material, an appliance, electrical components, plumbing components, and so forth.
  • In some implementations a claim identifier may be identified. The claim identifier may identify a potential subrogation claim related to a loss. For example, the claim identifier may be a claim number associated with the potential subrogation claim. As another example, the claim identifier may be the insurance adjuster's company information. Also, for example, the claim identifier may be a combination of the claim number associated with the potential subrogation claim and the insurance identification number for the insured party.
  • In some implementations the claim identifier may include additional data related to the potential subrogation claim. In some implementations the claim identifier may include an insured party identifier, where the insured party identifier may identify an insured party that has suffered the loss. For example, the insured party may be an insured person that filed an insurance claim for the loss, and the insured party identifier may be the person's insurance policy number. In some implementations the claim identifier may include a date identifier, the date identifier identifying the date the loss occurred. For example, the date identifier may be in a format such as <12192012> indicating that the loss occurred on Dec. 19, 2012.
  • In some implementations the claim identifier may include a geographical identifier, the geographical identifier identifying a physical location where the loss occurred. The geographical identifier may be geolocational data, including data from a GPS, or a Wi-Fi network. The geographical identifier may also be the physical address of the location where the loss occurred.
  • The one or more product identifiers may be identified by the user. For example, an adjuster may be at a physical location where a loss may have occurred. In some implementations a mobile application may be installed on a mobile device of the adjuster. The adjuster may access the mobile application and enter data related to the one or more products identifiers. For example, the adjuster may upload the one or more product identifiers either automatically (e.g., scanning a product barcode with an optical scanner, taking an image) or manually (e.g., entering data, such as a product serial number, via a virtual keyboard) through an appropriate user interface on the application on the computing device.
  • The entry of data related to the product identifiers, and/or the claim identifier, could be done in one of many embodiments, including a menu and icon driven approach to enable the user to provide the product identifiers, and/or claim identifier, including estimating the extent and type of property loss, and uploading photos, videos, audio, text, and other documents. In some implementations, the menu and icon driven approach may also be enhanced to provide menus and icons of a generic nature, and also those customized for a particular type of product. For example, the menus and icons for an air conditioning unit may be configured differently than the menus and icons for a water heater. In some implementations, the menus and icons may be presented in an interactive manner wherein a particular input into a field data value prompts a further enquiry from the system. For example, the user may enter the model and serial number for a water heater into the system. Based on data in the subrogation database 130, the system may prompt the user to enter additional information such as the year of make. In some implementations, the user may be allowed to create data fields to enter specific kinds of data. For example, the user may inspect property loss and identify one or more product identifiers for the product, and create data fields to enter data related to one or more product identifiers. In such implementations, the systems may generate a field for data entry based on a previously entered data stored in the subrogation database 130. For example, the user may be prompted to “enter the product bar code”, or to “enter model number”. The user may respond, for example, by scanning the product bar code and/or entering it manually.
  • The network 120 may include components with memory for storage of data and software applications, a processor for accessing data and executing applications, and components that facilitate communication over the network 120 in the process environment 100. In some implementations, when the one or more products identifiers are received by the subrogation opportunity processing system 110, the one or more products identifiers may be stored and/or indexed in the subrogation database for future retrieval. Such storing and/or indexing may be based on one or more of the claim identifier, and/or product identifier.
  • In some implementations, upon receipt of the one or more product identifiers, the subrogation opportunity processing system 110 may extract the product identifiers, and/or claim identifier for the one or more products, and initiate a search of at least one database for product data related to the one or more products. In some implementations the network 120 may communicate with the subrogation opportunity processing system 110 and prompt the user to input additional information to facilitate the search.
  • The subrogation database 130 stores product data for one or more products. The at least one database includes historical data indicative of results of past component testing. Product data may include product data retrieved from one or more external product databases 150 such as databases maintained by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (“CPSC”), Consumer Federation of America (“CFA”), and National Highway Safety Administration (“NHSA”). For example, the CPSC website provides information related to product recalls. A “Recall Summary” may provide the name of the product, the nature of the defect and/or hazard, a report on incidents and/or injuries, recommended remedies, and where applicable, the names of the seller, distributor, manufacturer, importer, and so forth. The subrogation opportunity processing system 110 may retrieve this information from the CPSC website and store it in the subrogation database 130. In some implementations the subrogation opportunity processing system 110 may periodically scan websites such as the CPSC website for information related to products.
  • In some implementations the subrogation database 130 may store product data for one or more products based on the results of past component testing. For example, a water heater may have been the subject of a past inquiry. Engineers may have performed an origin and cause analysis for the water heater to determine what caused the water heater to malfunction and/or which components of the water heater failed. The results of such analysis, including evidentiary facts, may be stored in the subrogation database 130. In some implementations the subrogation database 130 may additionally include details of current and potential component testing.
  • The subrogation database 130 may be appropriately indexed to enable efficient search features. In some implementations the indexing may be based on the type of product, the manufacturer, the distributor, the make, model and/or year, the type of defects, the components that may have failed, and so forth. In some implementations the indexing may be based on the price of the product, and/or the replacement cost for the product. Indexing may also be based on geographic regions, insurance providers, and/or the type of consumer. Additional and/or alternative methods of indexing may be utilized such as the source of the information related to the product identifiers and/or product data. The subrogation database 130 may additionally and/or alternatively include a record of data regarding field data input, data field created by a user, etc. The record may further include time stamp data and session identification data that facilitate indexing of documents and other multimedia content.
  • The product identifier and the product data are then processed by the subrogation opportunity processing system 110 as disclosed herein. Clients and a variety of end users interact with the subrogation opportunity processing system 110 through the client devices 160. The client devices 160 include memory for storage of data and software applications, a processor for accessing data and executing applications, and components that facilitate communication over the network 120 in the process environment 100. The client devices 160 execute applications, such as application 165, that allow clients to interact with the visual displays and other information provided by the subrogation opportunity processing system 110.
  • As the volume of product data stored in the subrogation database 130 increases, the subrogation opportunity processing system 110 is able to identify failure trends, newly emergent trends, and better determine subrogation potential. Populating the subrogation database 130 with results of component testing is also useful in maintaining an updated database about products and specific factors that may increase the subrogation opportunity for a potential subrogation claim relative to the product.
  • Referring to FIG. 2A, an example method of receiving a product identifier is illustrated. A graphical user interface 200 on a mobile application is illustrated. The graphical user interface 200 illustrated here allows the user to input the product barcode 220 by capturing a digital image of the barcode via a camera. The user may be presented with a prompt 210, such as “Tap to focus”. The user may respond by focusing the camera over the product barcode 220 and by tapping the screen on the mobile device. The focus indicator 230 indicates if the image of the barcode is in focus. The focus indicator 230 may be red to indicate that the image is out of focus, and may turn green when the image is in focus. Once the image of the product barcode 220 is captured, it may be transmitted to the subrogation opportunity processing system 110 for further processing. In some implementations, one or more databases may be searched for product data related to the transmitted barcode.
  • Referring to FIG. 2B, another example method of receiving a product identifier is illustrated. A graphical user interface 200 on a mobile application is illustrated. The graphical user interface 200 illustrated here allows the user to input the product barcode 240 by scanning the barcode with an optical scanner, and/or via manual entry of the product barcode 240. The optical scanner may be an external device operationally connected to the mobile device. In some implementations, the mobile application may be configured to include optical scanning capabilities. In some implementations, the mobile application may be configured to communicate with an independent optical scanning mobile application to receive the digital record of the barcode 240. In some implementations the user may be presented with a prompt 260, such as “Scan”. The user may respond by scanning the product barcode 240 using an optical scanner. A scan indicator 250 may indicate if the optical scanner is able to capture the product barcode 240. Once the product barcode 240 is captured, it may be transmitted to the subrogation opportunity processing system 110 for further processing. In some implementations, one or more databases may be searched for product data related to the transmitted barcode.
  • The graphical user interface 200 illustrated here may allow the user to input the product barcode 240 via manual entry of the product barcode 240. In some implementations the user may be presented with a prompt 280, such as “Manual Entry”. The user may respond by entering the number 280 associated with the product barcode 240. For example, the user may input the number <658072753072> associated with the product barcode 240 by using the virtual keyboard 270. In some implementations the user may use an audio interface to speak the barcode and the mobile application may store it in digital audio form. In some implementations such digital audio may be transcribed to obtain the product barcode.
  • In some implementations the product data may be retrieved from the at least one database. For example, the subrogation database 130 may be searched for product data related to the make and/or model of an appliance. The subrogation database 130 may have stored product data indicating that the appliance was subject to a manufacturer's recall. Such product data may be retrieved from the subrogation database 130 by the subrogation opportunity processing system 110. As another example, an image of a faulty product may be submitted to the subrogation database 130 and the subrogation opportunity processing system 110 may search the subrogation database 130 for product data that matches the submitted image. Such matching product data may be retrieved from the subrogation database 130 by the subrogation opportunity processing system 110.
  • In some implementations a subrogation score may be determined for each of said one or more products. The subrogation score may be indicative of subrogation opportunity for a potential subrogation claim relative to said one or more products. In some implementations the subrogation score may be determined by the subrogation scoring system 140. In some implementations the subrogation scoring system 140 may include a subrogation report generator 145. The subrogation score may be based on product data retrieved from at least one database, including a Statute of Repose database, a Consumer Product Safety database, a historical database and a new trends database.
  • In some implementations the subrogation database 130 may be configured to receive and process product data from one or more external product databases 150 via network 120. Such product data may be directly or indirectly transferred, processed, and stored in the subrogation database 130. The subrogation opportunity processing system 110 may receive, process and/or synthesize the product data from the at least one database and provide the results of the synthesis to the subrogation scoring system 140. As product identifiers are entered by the user, this data may be compared to product data in the subrogation database 130 by the subrogation opportunity processing system 110 and provided to the subrogation scoring system 140. The subrogation scoring system 140 may determine a subrogation score and provide it to the subrogation opportunity processing system 110. The subrogation opportunity processing system 110 may communicate the subrogation score to the client via the network 120. In some implementations the subrogation opportunity processing system 110 may include one or more client interfaces tailored to different users. Such interfaces may include the logic to tailor the subrogation report based on a particular user.
  • For example, the product identifiers, such as the make, model, and/or year, may indicate that the product is generally prone to manufacturing defects. Accordingly a subrogation score more indicative of the subrogation opportunity for a potential subrogation claim may be associated with the given product. As another example, the product data may indicate that a given product has been recalled by the manufacturer. Accordingly a subrogation score more indicative of the subrogation opportunity for a potential subrogation claim may be associated with the given product. On the other hand, product data may indicate that a given product has not been subject to any recalls by the manufacturer. Accordingly a subrogation score less indicative of the subrogation opportunity for a potential subrogation claim may be associated with the given product.
  • Also, for example, the subrogation score may be based on an analysis of past and present component testing. In some implementations the subrogation opportunity processing system 110 may identify trends in product defects based on component testing data and optionally store information related to such trends in a new trends database. For example, component testing may indicate that water heaters from a particular manufacturer include a component that fails within the first five years of use, but rarely within the first two years of use. Such data may not be available from an external product database 150. The subrogation opportunity processing system 110 may provide such information to the subrogation scoring system 140 which may accordingly assign a subrogation score more indicative of the subrogation opportunity for a potential subrogation claim with a water heater that has been in use for four years than with a water heater that is in its first year of use. As another example, the frequency of product data related to a sump pump may not be statistically significant over a period of say, 15 years. However, an observable spike may be seen when the frequency of product data is limited to the last six months. Such data may be stored in the new trends database. In some implementations the new trends database may be included in the subrogation database 130.
  • In some implementations the subrogation scoring system 140 may determine the subrogation score based on an analysis of past subrogation claims. A record of past subrogation claims may be maintained, for example, in a historical database. The historical database may, in some implementations, be included in the subrogation database 130. For example, the subrogation database 130 may include associations between product identifiers and past subrogation claims. In some implementations the associations may be additionally refined based on the outcome of a subrogation claim. For example, the subrogation database 130 may include data indicative of whether a subrogation claim was successful, and/or the claim amount from a past subrogation claim. Such data may be retrieved from one or more external databases 150. Accordingly a subrogation score more indicative of the subrogation opportunity for a potential subrogation claim may be associated with a given product that is associated with one or more successful past subrogation claims. On the other hand, a subrogation score less indicative of the subrogation opportunity for a potential subrogation claim may be associated with a given product that is associated with one or more unsuccessful past subrogation claims. The number of successes and/or failures may be an additional criterion in the determination of the subrogation score. For example, a record of a successful past subrogation opportunity for a potential subrogation claim may add to the subrogation score for a given product, whereas a record of an unsuccessful past subrogation opportunity for a potential subrogation claim may diminish the subrogation score for the given product. Likewise, a subrogation score more indicative of the subrogation opportunity for a potential subrogation claim may be associated with a given product that is associated with a record of one or more successful past subrogation opportunities with a subrogation claim amount that is more than a threshold value. Also, a subrogation score less indicative of the subrogation opportunity for a potential subrogation claim may be associated with a given product that is associated with a record of one or more unsuccessful past subrogation opportunities with a subrogation claim amount that is less than the threshold value.
  • In some implementations a median claim amount may be determined and a standard deviation from the median claim amount may be utilized to determine the subrogation score. For example, a larger positive deviation from the median claim amount may be more indicative of a subrogation opportunity for a potential subrogation claim whereas a larger negative deviation from the median claim amount may be less indicative of a subrogation opportunity for a potential subrogation claim. Accordingly, a subrogation score more indicative of the subrogation opportunity for a potential subrogation claim may be associated with a given product that is associated with a larger positive deviation from the median claim amount. On the other hand, a subrogation score less indicative of the subrogation opportunity for a potential subrogation claim may be associated with a given product that is associated with a larger negative deviation from the median claim amount.
  • In some implementations the subrogation scoring system 140 may determine the subrogation score based on a comparison of the replacement and/or repair costs to the insurance carrier and the expected subrogation opportunity for a potential subrogation claim. For example, the subrogation database 130 may store information related to the restoration costs for a given product. The subrogation database 130 may additionally store data indicative of component testing costs, arbitration costs, product shipping costs (e.g., to ship the product to a component testing laboratory) related to the one or more products in a potential subrogation claim. In some implementations the subrogation opportunity processing system 110 may determine an estimated cost for pursuing a potential subrogation claim. The subrogation opportunity processing system 110 may compare the replacement and/or repair costs to the insurance carrier and the expected costs for pursuing a potential subrogation claim. For example, the subrogation opportunity processing system 110 may determine the difference between the restoration costs to the insurance carrier and the expected costs for pursuing a potential subrogation claim. A larger positive difference may be more indicative of a subrogation opportunity for a potential subrogation claim whereas a larger negative difference may be less indicative of a subrogation opportunity for a potential subrogation claim. Such information may then be provided to the subrogation scoring system 140, which may determine that a subrogation score more indicative of the subrogation opportunity for a potential subrogation claim may be associated with a given product that is associated with a larger positive difference. On the other hand, a subrogation score less indicative of the subrogation opportunity for a potential subrogation claim may be associated with a given product that is associated with a larger negative difference.
  • In some implementations the retrieved product data may be provided to the subrogation report generator 145 for further processing. For example, the product identifiers may be compared to the retrieved product data by the subrogation opportunity processing system 110. After comparing the product identifiers to the product data, the subrogation opportunity processing system 110 may forward the results of the comparison to the subrogation report generator 145. A subrogation report details the results of the origin and cause analysis for the loss based on failure analysis. For example, a water heater may have malfunctioned. Analysis may reveal that the malfunctioning was caused by the failure of two components. The analysis may further reveal that the failure of the first component was due to a manufacturing defect. This may be based, at least in part, on data received from the CPSC website. It may be additionally determined that the second component has been subjected to frequent component testing in the past. This may be based, at least in part, on data in the historical database. The subrogation report may provide such information to the insurance carrier. The insurance carrier may then make a determination as to whether a subrogation claim related to the water heater may be proper. In some implementations the subrogation report may be tailored based on one or more factors such as the product, the insurance provider, the type of potential subrogation claim, the type of defect, and so forth.
  • The subrogation scoring system 140 may determine a subrogation score and provide it to the subrogation report generator 145. The subrogation report generator 145 may generate a report based on the subrogation score and provide the subrogation report to the subrogation opportunity processing system 110. The subrogation opportunity processing system 110 may communicate the subrogation report to the client via the network 120. In some implementations the subrogation opportunity processing system 110 may include one or more client interfaces tailored to different users. Such interfaces may include the logic to tailor the subrogation report based on a particular user.
  • In some implementations the external database 150 may include a Statute of Repose database. A statute of repose provides a date upon which a legal action no longer exists. It cuts off an injured person's right of action even before it accrues. In the area of product liability, a statute of repose may bar a remedy even before a cause of action arises. For example, a malfunctioning water heater may cause property loss to a basement. The statute of limitations may set a time limit from the time the property loss occurs, whereas a statute of repose may set a time limit from the date the water heater was purchased. As a result, if the property loss occurs after the statute of repose time limit, then no cause of action may exist. Similarly, statutes of repose may impose an absolute bar to actions against product manufacturers within a time limit from the delivery of the product to the consumer. Additionally, a statute of repose deadline is typically stricter than a statute of limitations deadline, and may therefore be critical in the determination of a subrogation opportunity for a potential subrogation claim.
  • In some implementations the subrogation opportunity processing system 110 may identify a state for applying the Statute of Repose. The state may be determined based on existing state laws. In some implementations the state may be identified based on a claim identifier such as a geographical identifier. The state may be the state where the loss occurred and/or the state in which the product originated (e.g., based purchased, manufactured, and/or where a construction was substantially completed). The subrogation opportunity processing system 110 may search the statute of repose limitations for the identified state, and retrieve the appropriate statute of repose time limit from a Statute of Repose database. The subrogation opportunity processing system 110 may identify an age of the product (e.g., based on the product attributes), and compare the statute of repose time limit to the age of the product. Such comparison information may be provided to the subrogation scoring system 140 which may adjust the subrogation score based on such comparison.
  • In some implementations determining the subrogation score further includes determining a base score. The base score may be based on a frequency of occurrence of the one or more products in the historical database, and a record, in the historical database, of one or more of a manufacturer's defect, an installation error, and/or improper maintenance. As discussed herein, such a record may be stored based on the results of past subrogation opportunities.
  • Referring to FIG. 3A, a table illustrates example methods of determining the base score. In FIG. 3A, the rows are labeled by product identifiers P1, . . . , P11 and the columns are labeled as C1 through C6. A position XY will refer to the entry in row X and column Y. The entry “1000” in Row P1 and Column C1 represents the number of appearances (“A”) of the product identified as P1 in the historical database. The entry “5” in Row P1 and Column C2 represents the number of past subrogation opportunities based on a manufacturer's defect in the product identified as P1. The entry “12” in Row P1 and Column C3 represents the number of past subrogation opportunities based on an installation error for the product identified as P1. The entry “13” in Row P1 and Column C4 represents the number of past subrogation opportunities based on improper maintenance of the product identified as P1. The entry “20” in Row P1 and Column C5 represents the number of past subrogation opportunities based on a percentage of destructive testing of the product identified as P1. The number of past subrogation opportunities (“B”) may be calculated as the sum of the past subrogation opportunities based on a manufacturer's defect, an installation error, an improper maintenance, and a percentage of destructive testing, of the product identified as P1. In our example, the sum B for the product identified as P1 is equal to 5+12+13+20=50. The entry “50/1000” in Row P1 and Column C6 represents the base score determined as a ratio of B/A, with B=50 and A=1000. The entry “5%” in Row P1 and Column C7 represents the base score as a percentage. The remaining entries in the table in FIG. 3A may be computed in like manner.
  • In some implementations the subrogation scoring system 140 may determine one or more additional factors to adjust the subrogation score. In some implementations the subrogation score may be based on one or more of a statute factor, a new trend factor, and a recall factor.
  • The new trend factor is indicative of recent occurrences of the product in the subrogation database. For example, the number of occurrences of the product data related to a sump pump may not be statistically significant over a period of say, 15 years. However, an observable spike may be seen when the number of occurrences of the product data is limited to the last six months. Such data may be stored in the new trends database. In some implementations the scoring system 140 may determine if the subrogation score is less than a first threshold, determine a new trend factor, and adjust the subrogation score based on a comparison of the first threshold and the new trend factor.
  • For example, the new trend factor may be determined by first determining if the base score for the product is less than a first threshold percentage. If the base score is less than a first threshold percentage, then the subrogation scoring system 140 may determine the number of occurrences of the product in the new trends database. In some implementations the new trends database may include product data that is filtered based on a time stamp data associated with the product, and determining that the time stamp data pertains to a predetermined time interval. For example, depending on the product, the time interval may be three months or five years. If the number of occurrences of the product in the new trends database exceeds a second threshold number, the new trend factor may be determined to be a multiplier, such as 2. If the number of occurrences of the product in the new trends database is determined not to exceed the second threshold number, the new trend factor may be determined to be 1. In some implementations the multiplier may depend on the predetermined time interval. For example, two time intervals may be identified. A higher multiplier may be associated with the more recent time interval, and a lower multiplier may be associated with the earlier time interval. Likewise, the multiplier may depend on the first threshold percentage and/or the second threshold number. A higher multiplier may be associated with a higher first threshold percentage (resp., second threshold number) and a lower multiplier may be associated with a lower first threshold percentage (resp., second threshold number).
  • Referring to FIG. 3B, a table illustrates example methods of determining the new trend factor. In FIG. 3B, the rows are labeled by product identifiers P1, . . . , P11 and the columns are labeled as C1 through C3. A position XY will refer to the entry in row X and column Y. Column C1 indicates a determination as to whether the base score for the indicated product is less than a first threshold percentage (e.g., 40%). The entry “Y” in Row P1 and Column C1 indicates that the base score for the product identified as P1 is less than 40%. This may be determined based on the entry of “5%” in Row P1 and Column C7 of the table in FIG. 3A that represents the base score for the product identified as P1 as a percentage. Column C2 indicates a determination as to whether the number of entries in a new trends database (e.g., within a shorter time threshold such as in the last three months) is greater than a second threshold number (e.g. 20). The entry “Y” in Row P1 and Column C2 indicates that the number of entries for the product identified as P1 during the last three months exceeds 20. Accordingly, the entry “2” in Row P1 and Column C3 indicates that the new trend factor for the product identified as P1 is 2.
  • The recall factor is indicative of the frequency of recall for the product based at least in part on data retrieved from a recall database. In some implementations the recall database may be the CPSC database. The recall factor may be determined by comparing the product identifiers with the product data in the recall database. For example, the subrogation opportunity processing system 110 may search the CPSC database based on criteria including one or more of a type of product, an item description, and a model. Additionally, the historical database may be searched for a product brand, and a product manufacturer. The results of the search may be compared with the product identifiers. If the comparison yields a matching of data that exceeds a third threshold percentage, then the recall factor may be determined to be a multiplier, such as 2. If the comparison yields a matching of data that does not exceed the third threshold percentage, the new trend factor may be determined to be 1. In some implementations the multiplier may depend on the third threshold percentage. For example, two third threshold percentages may be identified. A higher multiplier may be associated with the higher third threshold percentage (e.g., a multiplier such as 3 associated with a third threshold percentage of 90%), and a lower multiplier may be associated with the lower third threshold percentage (e.g., a multiplier such as 1.5 associated with a third threshold percentage of 70%).
  • Referring to FIG. 3C, a table illustrates example methods of determining the recall factor. In FIG. 3C, the rows are labeled by product identifiers P1, . . . , P11 and the columns are labeled as C1 and C2. A position XY will refer to the entry in row X and column Y. Column C1 indicates a determination as to whether the comparison of the product data retrieved from the CPSC database and the product identifiers yields a matching of data that exceeds a third threshold percentage (e.g., 80%). The entry “N” in Row P1 and Column C1 indicates that the matching of data for the product identified as P1 is less than 80%. Accordingly, the entry “1” in Row P1 and Column C2 indicates that the recall factor for the product identified as P1 is 1.
  • In some implementations the subrogation score may be adjusted based on a statute factor. For example, the subrogation opportunity processing system 110 may identify a state for applying a Statute of Repose, and identify a statutory time limit for the identified state in the Statute of Repose database. The statute factor is based on comparison of the statutory time limit and an elapsed time from purchase date of said one or more products. For example, the scoring system 140 may determine if age of the one or more products exceeds the statutory time limit, determining the statute factor to be ½ when the age exceeds the statutory time limit, and determine the statute factor to be 1 when the age does not exceed said statutory time limit. A division factor other than ½ may be utilized to adjust the subrogation score.
  • Referring to FIG. 3D, a table illustrates example methods of determining the statute factor. In FIG. 3D, the rows are labeled by product identifiers P1, . . . , P11 and the columns are labeled as C1 and C2. A position XY will refer to the entry in row X and column Y. Column C1 indicates a determination as to whether the age of the product exceeds the statutory limit as provided by the statute of repose for the relevant state. The entry “N” in Row P1 and Column C1 indicates that the age of the product identified as P1 does not exceed the statutory limit. Accordingly, the entry “1” in Row P1 and Column C2 indicates that the statute factor for the product identified as P1 is 1. Likewise, the entry “Y” in Row P2 and Column C1 indicates that the age of the product identified as P2 exceeds the statutory limit. Accordingly, the entry “½” in Row P2 and Column C2 indicates that the statute factor for the product identified as P2 is ½.
  • In some implementations the subrogation score may be adjusted based on one or more of the statute factor, the new trend factor, and the recall factor. In some implementations the adjustment may be based on multiplying the subrogation score by one or more of the statute factor, the new trend factor, and the recall factor. In some implementations the subrogation score may be scaled logarithmically. The logarithmic scaling may be utilized, for example, to determine a suitable distribution for past determinations of subrogation scores for products in the historical database. Such a distribution and/or scaling may be periodically revised to reflect new entries in the historical database.
  • Referring to FIG. 3E, a table illustrates example methods of determining the subrogation score. In FIG. 3E, the columns are labeled by product identifiers P1, . . . , P11 and the rows are labeled as R1 through R5. A position XY will refer to the entry in row X and column Y. Column P1 represents the numerical values associated with the product identified as P1. For example, the entry “0.05” in Row R1 and Column P1 represents the base score for the product identified as P1 as illustrated in the entry of “0.05” in Row P1 and Column C6 of the table in FIG. 3A, expressed as a decimal number. The entry “1” in Row R2 and Column P1 represents the recall factor for the product identified as P1 as illustrated in the entry of “1” in Row P1 and Column C2 of the table in FIG. 3C. The entry “2” in Row R3 and Column P1 represents the new trends factor for the product identified as P1 as illustrated in the entry of “2” in Row P1 and Column C3 of the table in FIG. 3B. The entry “1” in Row R4 and Column P1 represents the statute factor for the product identified as P1 as illustrated in the entry of “1” in Row P1 and Column C2 of the table in FIG. 3D. The product of the entries in rows R2 through R5 of Column P1 of FIG. 3E (e.g., 5×1×2×1=0.1) is illustrated in the entry in Row R5 and Column P1. Accordingly, in some implementations, the subrogation scoring system 140 may associate a subrogation score of 0.1 with the product identified as P1. In some implementations the entries in Row R5 may be additionally scaled. Scaling may be achieved, for example, by taking an appropriate logarithm of the subrogation scores.
  • In some implementations a graded scoring scale may be identified. Such a graded scoring scale may be based, for example, on a record of historical subrogation scores. In some implementations a distribution may be determined based on the record of historical subrogation scores. Such a distribution may facilitate the division of the entire range of historical subrogation scores into a graded scoring scale.
  • Referring to FIG. 3F, a graph illustrates an example method of providing a subrogation score. In some implementations a graded scoring scale may be determined. The range of values from 0 through 1.6 may be grouped into smaller ranges, such as 0 to 0.5, 0.6 to 0.8, 0.9 to 1.1, 1.2 to 1.4, and 1.5 or higher. For example, subrogation scores in the range from 0 to 0.5 may be indicative of a “low” subrogation opportunity for a potential subrogation claim for products; subrogation scores in the range from 0.6 to 0.8 may be indicative of a “below average” subrogation opportunity for a potential subrogation claim for products; subrogation scores in the range from 0.9 to 1.1 may be indicative of an “average” subrogation opportunity for a potential subrogation claim for products; subrogation scores in the range from 1.2 to 1.4 may be indicative of an “above average” subrogation opportunity for a potential subrogation claim for products; and subrogation scores that are 1.5 or higher may be indicative of a “high” subrogation opportunity for a potential subrogation claim for products.
  • In some implementations the subrogation scoring system 140 may provide the subrogation score to the subrogation opportunity processing system 110. In some implementations the subrogation score may be provided to the user by the subrogation opportunity processing system 110. In some implementations the subrogation report generator 145 may generate a subrogation report based on the subrogation score, and optionally include the subrogation score in the subrogation report.
  • In some implementations the subrogation scoring system 140 may determine a rating based on the subrogation score. For example, the subrogation score may indicate that a first product is associated with a “high” rating whereas a second product is associated with an “average” rating based on a subrogation score more indicative of the subrogation opportunity for a potential subrogation claim associated with the first product, and a subrogation score less indicative of the subrogation opportunity for a potential subrogation claim associated with the second product. In some implementations the subrogation score and/or subrogation report may be annotated with ratings that are indicative of a success rate of past subrogation claims.
  • In some implementations the subrogation score and/or the subrogation report may be associated with the one or more product identifiers and stored in a database such as the subrogation database 130. The association may be stored with additional timestamp data indicating the date of loss. The subrogation database may be indexed based at least in part on such stored associations.
  • Referring to FIGS. 4A-4E, example graphical user interfaces for providing a subrogation score are illustrated. The subrogation scores may be provided to the user via the mobile application, such as application 165 running on the user's mobile device, such as client device 160. Each of FIGS. 4A-4E illustrate a graphical user interface 400 on a mobile application. Each interface illustrated herein may be equipped with a first selectable option 430 with an option to “Proceed”. Selection of the option to “Proceed” may be an indication that the user wishes to proceed with submission of a product for component testing. Each interface illustrated herein may be additionally equipped with a second selectable option 440 with an option to “Cancel”. Selection of the option to “Cancel” may be an indication that the user does not wish to proceed with submission of a product for component testing.
  • FIG. 4A illustrates one representation of a subrogation score for a product with a high subrogation score indicative of a high subrogation opportunity for a potential subrogation claim. The subrogation score may be provided with a rating of “High” 420 a. In some implementations the subrogation score may also be illustrated using the graded scale as discussed with reference to FIG. 3F. For example, a graphical representation of the high scoring range of 1.5 or higher (with reference to FIG. 3F) may be represented by a bar graph 410 a.
  • FIG. 4B illustrates one representation of a subrogation score for a product with an above average subrogation score indicative of an above average subrogation opportunity for a potential subrogation claim. The subrogation score may be provided with a rating of “Above Average” 420 b. In some implementations the subrogation score may also be illustrated using the graded scale as discussed with reference to FIG. 3F. For example, a graphical representation of the above average scoring range of 1.2 to 1.4 (with reference to FIG. 3F) may be represented by a bar graph 410 b.
  • FIG. 4C illustrates one representation of a subrogation score for a product with an average subrogation score indicative of an average subrogation opportunity for a potential subrogation claim. The subrogation score may be provided with a rating of “Average” 420 c. In some implementations the subrogation score may also be illustrated using the graded scale as discussed with reference to FIG. 3F. For example, a graphical representation of the average range of 0.9 to 1.1 (with reference to FIG. 3F) may be represented by a bar graph 410 c.
  • FIG. 4D illustrates one representation of a subrogation score for a product with a below average subrogation score indicative of a below average subrogation opportunity for a potential subrogation claim. The subrogation score may be provided with a rating of “Below Average” 420 d. In some implementations the subrogation score may also be illustrated using the graded scale as discussed with reference to FIG. 3F. For example, a graphical representation of the below average scoring range of 0.6 to 0.8 (with reference to FIG. 3F) may be represented by a bar graph 410 d.
  • FIG. 4E illustrates one representation of a subrogation score for a product with a low subrogation score indicative of a low subrogation opportunity for a potential subrogation claim. The subrogation score may be provided with a rating of “Low” 420 e. In some implementations the subrogation score may also be illustrated using the graded scale as discussed with reference to FIG. 3F. For example, a graphical representation of the low scoring range of 0 to 0.5 (with reference to FIG. 3F) may be represented by a bar graph 410 e.
  • In some implementations where a number and/or percentage is utilized to determine a rating and/or a subrogation score, the subrogation opportunity processing system 110 and/or subrogation report generator 145 may identify a threshold number and/or percentage to determine if the rating and/or a subrogation score satisfy such threshold. In some implementations the threshold may be a fixed threshold. In some implementations the threshold may be based on the one or more products, product identifiers, product data, present or past subrogation claims, results of present or past component testing, and so forth. For example, statistical analysis may be performed on present and past subrogation claims to determine a statistically significant threshold.
  • Many other configurations are possible having more or fewer components than the environment shown in FIG. 1. For example, in some environments the subrogation report generator 145 and the subrogation scoring system 140 may be independent components of environment 100. In some environments, the subrogation database 130 may further include a historical database and a new trends database. In some environments, one or more of the historical database and the new trends database may be independent components of the system.
  • Referring to FIG. 5, a flow chart illustrates an example process for determining a subrogation score for one or more products implemented on one or more servers. For convenience, the method 500-540 will be described with respect to a system that performs at least parts of the method. Other implementations may perform the steps in a different order, omit certain steps, and/or perform different and/or additional steps than those illustrated in FIG. 5. For convenience, aspects of FIG. 5 will be described with reference to a system of one or more computers that perform the process. The system may include, for example, one or more components of FIG. 1.
  • At step 500, one or more products identifiers may be received. The one or more products identifiers may include one or more product identifiers identifying one or more products. For example, an insurance adjuster may respond to an insurance claim and arrive to find water in the basement, and may identify property loss as a result of the water. The insurance adjuster may identify one or more products that may be likely to have caused the property loss in the basement, such as a faulty water heater, a dishwasher, a clothes washer, and sump pump. The insurance adjuster may then gather data related to the one or more products. The data may be gathered by taking photographs, scanning product barcodes, and/or by manually entering data (e.g., product serial number, model number, UPC) into data fields provided in a mobile application, such as application 165. The received data may be provided to the subrogation opportunity processing system 110.
  • At step 510, at least one database may be searched for product data related to the one or more product identifiers. For example, the subrogation opportunity processing system 110 may search a historical database for historical data related to component testing related to the one or more product barcodes. Also, for example, the subrogation opportunity processing system 110 may identify a state relevant to applying the Statute of Repose (e.g., based on a geographical identifier) and search the Statute of Repose limitations for the identified state. As another example, the subrogation opportunity processing system 110 may search external product databases 150 such as databases maintained by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (“CPSC”), Consumer Federation of America (“CFA”), and National Highway Safety Administration (“NHSA”) for product recall data.
  • At step 520, product data may be retrieved from the at least one database. For example, product data may be retrieved from a historical database including results of past and present component testing. In some implementations the subrogation opportunity processing system 110 may identify trends in product defects based on component testing data and optionally store information related to such trends in a new trends database. For example, component testing may indicate that water heaters from a particular manufacturer include a component that fails within the first five years of use, but rarely within the first two years of use. Such data may not be available from an external product database 150. The subrogation opportunity processing system 110 may provide such information to the subrogation scoring system 140 which may accordingly assign a subrogation score more indicative of the subrogation opportunity for a potential subrogation claim with a water heater that has been in use for four years than with a water heater that is in its first year of use. As another example, the frequency of product data related to a sump pump may not be statistically significant over a period of say, 15 years. However, an observable spike may be seen when the frequency of product data is limited to the last six months. Such data may be stored in the new trends database. In some implementations the new trends database may be included in the subrogation database 130.
  • At step 530, a subrogation score for the one or more products identifiers may be determined based on the retrieved product data. The subrogation score may be indicative of subrogation opportunity for a potential subrogation claim. In some implementations the subrogation score may be determined by the subrogation scoring system 140. In some implementations the subrogation scoring system 140 may include a subrogation report generator 145. The subrogation score may be based on product data retrieved from at least one database, including a Statute of Repose database, a Consumer Product Safety database, a historical database and a new trends database.
  • At step 540, the subrogation score may be provided to the user. The subrogation score may be provided, for instance, to an insurance carrier. The subrogation score may provide an indication to the insurance carrier as to whether to pursue a subrogation claim relative to the one or more products. In some implementations the subrogation score may be provided via a graphical user interface in the mobile application running on the user's mobile device.
  • Referring to FIG. 6, a flow chart illustrates an example process for determining a subrogation score for one or more products implemented on a mobile application. For convenience, the method 600-640 will be described with respect to a system that performs at least parts of the method. Other implementations may perform the steps in a different order, omit certain steps, and/or perform different and/or additional steps than those illustrated in FIG. 6. For convenience, aspects of FIG. 6 will be described with reference to a system of one or more computers that perform the process. The system may include, for example, one or more components of FIG. 1.
  • At step 600, one or more products identifiers may be identified via a mobile device. A mobile application configured to run on the mobile device may be utilized to identify the one or more product identifiers. The one or more products identifiers may identify one or more products. For example, an insurance adjuster may respond to an insurance claim and arrive to find water in the basement, and may identify property loss as a result of the water. The insurance adjuster may identify one or more products that may be likely to have caused the property loss in the basement, such as a faulty water heater, a dishwasher, a clothes washer, and sump pump. The insurance adjuster may then gather data related to the one or more products. The data may be gathered by taking photographs, scanning product barcodes, and/or by manually entering data (e.g., product serial number, model number, UPC) into data fields provided in a mobile application, such as application 165. Step 600 may have one or more aspects in common with step 500 of FIG. 5.
  • At step 610, the one or more product identifiers may provided to a central server. For example, the product identifier for a product barcode may be provided to the subrogation opportunity processing system 110.
  • At step 620, the mobile application running on the mobile device may prompt the central server to search at least one database for product data related to the one or more product identifiers. In some implementations the receipt of the one or more product identifiers by the central server may be the prompt to the central server to search the at least one database. For example, the subrogation opportunity processing system 110 may receive one or more product identifiers and search the historical database for historical data related to component testing related to the one or more product barcodes. Also, for example, the subrogation opportunity processing system 110 may identify a state where the loss occurred (e.g., based on a geographical identifier) and search the statute of repose limitations for the identified state. As another example, the subrogation opportunity processing system 110 may search external product databases 150 such as databases maintained by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (“CPSC”), Consumer Federation of America (“CFA”), and National Highway Safety Administration (“NHSA”) for product recall data. Step 620 may have one or more aspects in common with step 510 of FIG. 5.
  • At step 630, a subrogation score for the one or more products is received from the central server. The subrogation score may be indicative of subrogation opportunity for a potential subrogation claim relative to the one or more products. In some implementations the subrogation score may be determined by the subrogation scoring system 140. In some implementations the subrogation scoring system 140 may include a subrogation report generator 145. The subrogation score may be based on product data retrieved from at least one database, including a Statute of Repose database, a Consumer Product Safety database, a historical database and a new trends database. Step 630 may have one or more aspects in common with step 530 of FIG. 5.
  • At step 640, the subrogation score may be displayed via the mobile device. The subrogation score may be provided via one or more user interfaces on the mobile device, and the mobile application may be configured to interact with such user interfaces. The one or more user interfaces may include a graphical user interface. The subrogation score may be provided, for instance, to an insurance carrier. The subrogation score may provide an indication to the insurance carrier as to whether to pursue a subrogation claim relative to the one or more products.
  • Referring to FIG. 7, flow diagram illustrates an example process for submitting a subrogation project. For convenience, the method 700-770 will be described with respect to a system that performs at least parts of the method. Other implementations may perform the steps in a different order, omit certain steps, and/or perform different and/or additional steps than those illustrated in FIG. 7. For convenience, aspects of FIG. 7 will be described with reference to a system of one or more computers that perform the process. The system may include, for example, one or more components of FIG. 1.
  • At step 700, a subrogation score and/or a subrogation report is provided to a user. The subrogation score and/or the subrogation report may include a selectable option to submit the one or more products identifiers for component testing.
  • At step 710, the user is provided with a selectable option as to whether it wants to submit a project as a subrogation project. The user may decide, based at least in part on the subrogation score, to not pursue a subrogation project. For example, if the one or more products related to the potential subrogation claim are associated with a subrogation score indicative of a potentially “low” indication of subrogation opportunity for a potential subrogation claim, then the user may decide not to submit the project as a subrogation project. The subrogation opportunity processing system 110 may receive, via the application on the computing device of the user, an affirmative user selection of the selectable option to not submit the one or more products identifiers for component testing. Based on such a decision by the user, at step 720 a, the one or more products identifiers may be associated with the subrogation report and stored in the subrogation database.
  • On the other hand, the user may decide, based at least in part on the subrogation report, to pursue a subrogation project related to the product. For example, if the one or more products related to the potential subrogation claim are associated with a subrogation score indicative of a potentially “high” indication of subrogation opportunity for a potential subrogation claim, then the user may decide to submit the project as a subrogation project. The subrogation opportunity processing system 110 may receive, via the application on the computing device of the user, an affirmative user selection of the selectable option to submit the one or more products identifiers for component testing. Based on such a decision by the insurance carrier, at step 720 b, the system may prompt the user to enter claim information, including information related to the insured party, the claim number and the date of loss.
  • At step 730, the user may be provided with a choice as to whether it wants assistance in shipping the product for component testing. The user may decide to ship the product to a component testing laboratory. Based on such a decision by the user, at step 740 a, the system may provide the user with information related to packaging and shipment of the product so as to preserve the evidence. In some implementations the user may be prompted to take photographs of the product, and/or enter information related to the product. The user may also be provided with the shipment address.
  • On the other hand, the user may decide to utilize the processes disclosed herein to ship the product for component testing. Based on such a decision by the user, at step 740 b, the system prompts the user to enter the origin and destination information for shipping purposes. In some implementations, at least the destination information may be provided as a selectable menu of options based on the one or more subrogation project types and/or products. For example, if the target product is a water heater, it may be shipped to a component testing laboratory that has expertise in analyzing water heaters. On the other hand, if the target product is an air conditioning unit, it may be shipped to a component testing laboratory that has expertise in analyzing air conditioning units. The user may be prompted to provide location information for the product. In some implementations such location information may be identified using geolocation data such as that received via GPS, cell tower, and/or a Wi-Fi network, and the user may be provided with the identified location, and additionally prompted to verify the identified location.
  • From either of the two steps 740 a and 740 b, the process flows to step 750 where a confirmation number is generated and provided to the user. Additionally, evidence preservation recommendations may be made to the user so that the product may be shipped for component testing within a short window of opportunity so as not to lose potential evidence. The evidence preservation recommendations may include information on packaging the product and possibly extracting and/or removing one or more components from the product before shipping the product.
  • At step 760, evidence characteristics may be captured. For example, a photograph of the evidence may be taken. The photograph may be further annotated with the confirmation number received in step 750.
  • At step 770, the evidence characteristics may be provided to the subrogation opportunity processing system 110, and/or stored in the subrogation database 130.
  • FIG. 8 is a block diagram of an example computer system 800 for determining a subrogation opportunity for a potential subrogation claim relative to one or more products. Computer system 800 may include one or more processors 835 which may communicate with a number of peripheral devices via bus subsystem 815. Peripheral devices may include, for example, a memory system 820 and a file system 825, user interface input devices 810, user interface output devices 805, and a network interface system 830. The input and output devices allow user interaction with computer system 800. Network interface system 830 provides an interface to outside networks and may be coupled to corresponding interface devices in other computer systems.
  • User interface input devices 810 may include devices such as a keyboard, a mouse, and a touchscreen. User interface input devices 810 may also include audio input devices, and/or other types of input devices including mobile devices such as client device 160. User interface output devices 805 may include devices such as a display (e.g., on a computing device 160), a printer, and a fax machine. User input devices 810 may also include, for example, a scanning device for digitally scanning a product barcode. Also, for example, user input devices 810 may include a camera for taking photographs.
  • Memory system 820 may include a number of conventional memory systems including a main random access memory (RAM) for storage of instructions and data during program execution and a read only memory (ROM) in which fixed instructions are stored. File system 825 may provide persistent storage for program and data files, and may include a hard disk drive, and/or an optical drive. Other conventional file storage systems may be used. The memory system 820 and the file system 825 may include the logic to determine the subrogation score, and/or generate a subrogation report. Also, for example, the memory system 820 and the file system 825 may include the logic to implement the processes disclosed in steps 500-540, steps 600-640, and/or steps 700-770. These software modules are generally executed by processor 835 alone or in combination with other processors.
  • Bus subsystem 815 provides a mechanism for letting the various components and subsystems of computer system 800 communicate with each other as intended.
  • Computer system 800 may be of varying types including a workstation, server, or any other data processing system or computing device, including a mobile device. The description of computer system 800 depicted in FIG. 8 is intended only as a specific example for purposes of illustrating some implementations, and represents one of several possible configurations.
  • While there has been described and illustrated particular implementations of a system and method for determining subrogation opportunity for a potential subrogation claim, it will be apparent to those skilled in the art that variations and modifications may be possible without deviating from the broad spirit and principle of the present invention, which shall be limited solely by the scope of the claims appended hereto.
  • It should also be understood that, unless clearly indicated to the contrary, in any methods claimed herein that include more than one step or act, the order of the steps or acts of the method is not necessarily limited to the order in which the steps or acts of the method are recited.
  • In the claims, as well as in the specification above, all transitional phrases such as “comprising,” “including,” “carrying,” “having,” “containing,” “involving,” “holding,” “composed of,” and the like are to be understood to be open-ended, i.e., to mean including but not limited to. Only the transitional phrases “consisting of” and “consisting essentially of” shall be closed or semi-closed transitional phrases, respectively, as set forth in the United States Patent Office Manual of Patent Examining Procedures, Section 2111.03.
  • It is understood that these examples are intended in an illustrative rather than in a limiting sense. Computer-assisted processing is implicated in the described embodiments. It is contemplated that modifications and combinations will readily occur, which modifications and combinations will be within the scope of the following claims.

Claims (21)

What is claimed is:
1. A computer implemented method comprising:
receiving, via an application on a computing device of a user, one or more product identifiers, the one or more product identifiers identifying one or more products likely to have contributed to a loss;
searching at least one database for product data related to said one or more product identifiers, said at least one database including one or more of a Statute of Repose database, a Consumer Product Safety database, a historical database and a new trends database;
retrieving, via one or more servers, said product data from said at least one database;
determining, based on said retrieved product data, a subrogation score for each of said one or more products, said subrogation score indicative of subrogation opportunity for a potential subrogation claim relative to said one or more products; and
providing said subrogation score to said user.
2. The method of claim 1, wherein said product identifiers include at least one product attribute for each of said one or more products.
3. The method of claim 1, further comprising identifying a claim identifier, said claim identifier identifying said potential subrogation claim related to said loss.
4. The method of claim 1, further comprising providing, via the application on the computing device of the user, a selectable option to submit said one or more products for component testing.
5. The method of claim 4, further comprising receiving, via the application on the computing device of the user, an affirmative user selection of the selectable option to submit said one or more products for component testing.
6. The method of claim 5, further comprising responding to the affirmative user selection of the selectable option to submit by prompting the user to enter one or more claim identifiers.
7. The method of claim 6, further comprising generating a confirmation number for the one or more products for component testing.
8. The method of claim 7, further comprising responding to the affirmative user selection by providing shipping information to the user to ship the one or more products for the component testing.
9. The method of claim 7, further comprising responding to the affirmative user selection by providing evidence collection recommendations related to the one or more products for the component testing.
10. The method of claim 6, further comprising receiving, via the application on the computing device of the user, an affirmative user selection of the selectable option to not submit said one or more products for component testing.
11. The method of claim 1, wherein determining said subrogation score includes generating a subrogation report for each of said one or more products based on said subrogation score.
12. The method of claim 1, further comprising associating said subrogation score with each of said one or more product identifiers in a subrogation database.
13. The method of claim 1, wherein the at least one database includes a new trends database, and further comprising:
comparing said subrogation score to a threshold;
determining, based on said comparison of subrogation score to said threshold, a new trend factor, the new trend factor indicative of recent occurrences of said one or more products in the new trends database; and
adjusting the subrogation score based on the new trend factor.
14. The method of claim 1, wherein the at least one database includes a Statute of Repose database, and further comprising:
identifying a state for applying said Statute of Repose;
identifying a statutory time limit for said state in said Statute of Repose database; and
adjusting the subrogation score based on comparison of said statutory time limit and an elapsed time from purchase date of said one or more products.
15. The method of claim 3, wherein said claim identifier includes one or more of:
an insured party identifier, the insured party identifier identifying a beneficiary of the insurance claim,
a date identifier, the date identifier identifying the date said loss occurred, and
a geographical identifier, the geographical identifier identifying a physical location where said loss occurred.
16. The method of claim 1, wherein said retrieved product data includes one or more of product recall information, a manufacturing defect information, and a product warning.
17. The method of claim 1, wherein said one or more products include one or more of roofing material, an appliance, electrical components, and plumbing components.
18. The method of claim 1, wherein said one or more product identifiers includes one or more of a product barcode, serial number, and UPC code.
19. The method of claim 2, wherein said at least one product attribute includes one or more of a make, model, year of manufacture, year of purchase, age, photograph, video recording, audio recording, and product description related to said one or more products.
20. A method for generating a subrogation report implemented on a mobile device, comprising:
identifying, via the user-interface on the mobile application, one or more product identifiers, the one or more product identifiers identifying one or more products likely to have contributed to a loss;
providing, via one or more servers, said one or more product identifiers to a central server;
prompting said central server to search at least one database for product data related to said one or more products, said at least one database including one or more of a Statute of Repose database, a Consumer Product Safety database, a historical database and a new trends database;
receiving, from said central server, a subrogation score based on said one or more products identifiers, said subrogation score indicative of subrogation opportunity for a potential subrogation claim relative to said one or more products; and
displaying said subrogation score via the mobile application.
21. A non-transitory computer readable storage medium storing computer instructions executable by a processor to perform a method comprising:
receiving, via an application on a computing device of a user, one or more product identifiers, the one or more product identifiers identifying one or more products likely to have contributed to a loss;
searching at least one database for product data related to said one or more product identifiers, said at least one database including one or more of a Statute of Repose database, a Consumer Product Safety database, a historical database and a new trends database;
retrieving, via one or more servers, said product data from said at least one database;
determining, based on said retrieved product data, a subrogation score for each of said one or more products, said subrogation score indicative of subrogation opportunity for a potential subrogation claim relative to said one or more products; and
providing said subrogation score to said user.
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