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Zurich surveyors a hard act to follow with their innovative use of Toughbooks

At a glance

  • Insurer renews commitment to using mobile laptops on safety inspections
  • Surveyors also employ latest HTC smartphones to capture high-resolution photographs, as well as tether Toughbook to internet
  • Technology allows surveyors to ensure that work is carried out accurately and efficiently, with customers being able to act quickly on survey findings

From polar explorers to police forces across the UK, the use of Panasonic’s Toughbook allows for information to be easily and accurately collected on the go and, sometimes, in the most inhospitable environments.

This is why Zurich, at a cost of more than £1 million, recently renewed its 500-plus Toughbooks used by its engineering surveyors and reaffirmed its commitment to speed, excellence and accuracy. They are so sturdy that the Toughbook, pictured right, reportedly saved a member of the US 82nd Airborne in Iraq by stopping a bullet.

The functionality of these Toughbooks, which have been used by Zurich now for more than 10 years, gives the insurer’s surveyors a significant edge – allowing them to stay ahead of the game.

Indeed, the uplift in productivity with the new batch of Toughbooks means brokers and their clients get a faster and more reliable service.

Zurich surveyors

Zurich’s surveyors perform more than 3.5 million safety inspections a year on items ranging from escalators, lifts and industrial machinery to kettles and computers.

The Toughbooks have an embedded Lotus Notes reporting system that allows surveyors to work offline and input data directly. This is particularly relevant as surveyors can often find themselves in lift shafts, factories, shop or offices with no internet connection, rendering online reporting systems useless.

The Toughbooks also contain a library of technical data detailing all of the different tools and equipment they inspect. This, in addition to the reporting functionality, improves the speed and accuracy at which surveyors can work and prevents the need to re-key data at a later date.

Big picture

The one area where Toughbooks fall down is their camera. As such, Zurich has issued their surveyors with the latest HTC smartphone with an in-built five megapixel camera.

This gives surveyors the camera they need and also allows them to use the 3G capability of the smartphone to tether the Toughbook to the internet as required. Once a report is completed it can be submitted by surveyors out in the field, ensuring a quick turnaround on the time it takes for clients to receive information.

The Toughbook is not just a work management system. The full reporting capability sets it apart from other technologies and enables surveyors to work in real time. The HTC smartphone ensures high-resolution photography can sit alongside inspection reports where appropriate and means the internet can be accessed remotely.

Zurich is the only insurer to have made such a bold investment in the specialised Toughbook technology used by its surveyors. This has increased productivity and ensured work is carried out accurately and efficiently. For brokers, this means their clients get a better service and can act on survey findings more quickly.

Image © Getty

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