7 steps to better accident management
1. Put Drivers First
According to a recent survey conducted by the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM), 86% of fleets had to deal an on‐road incident involving at least one of their drivers in the last year. While it is important to make an assessment of the vehicle and begin insurance proceedings following a collision, supporting the driver emotionally and physically should be a fleet’s main concern.
“Accident management solutions can support fleet management by ensuring the driver is put first in the event of a collision,” says Nick Williams, general manager of RAC Accident Services.
“The priority should be to make sure the driver is safe, that they have onward travel, and crucially that they know what to do following an accident. Drivers can suffer shock and disorientation, so it’s vital that given instructions are clear.”
2. Around the Clock Support
This is essential. Any accident management supplier who doesn’t offer around the‐clock support should be avoided.
Volkswagen Financial Services provides Driverline 24/7, a service designed specifically for its fleet customers, to provide support in a range of situations at all hours, 365 days a year.
If a driver is involved in an accident, a phone call to Driverline 24/7 will put them in contact with a trained operator who can offer emotional support and practical advice for dealing with any vehicle repairs, such as directions to the nearest garage. This kind of around‐the clock support can be particularly beneficial for workers in remote locations by helping them to feel safe and connected, and allows repair work to begin on the vehicle as quickly as possible.
3. Consider Outsourcing to Specialists
Outsourcing to a specialist can have significant advantages if you don’t have expertise in managing the claims and repair process.
“Outsourcing accident management services avoids the diversion of time and resources away from core business activities,” explains Mark Young, account director at Accident Exchange.
“The claims process is multi‐faceted; it’s not just about organising repairs but also monitoring the downtime and managing the potential costs incurred.
An outsourced accident management service handles the entire process from first notification from the driver through the repair process to repatriation.
They will also provide legal services as required which minimises disruption to business, whilst saving money and freeing up time to get on with other things,” he adds.
4. Leverage Better Rates
Accident management services are also often offered as part of fleet management or rental package, and there can be a number of advantages to using these existing partnerships. These include the ability to leverage a better rate for repairs and higher standards as workshops will be keen to retain the business of large leasing and fleet management companies.
“As fleet and rental suppliers like FleetEurope have significant buying power, thanks to a guaranteed higher volume of work from multiple clients, we are able to agree favourable rates on labour, parts and paint which would otherwise be unavailable to the wider market,” says Michael Cooke, operations manager at FleetEurope. “The fleet management supplier can ensure repairers return vehicles to manufacturer standards, which in turn aids customer duty of care obligations.”
5. Access to Replacement Vehicles
Should a vehicle need a more serious repair, a replacement vehicle may be required to keep deliveries and employees moving. Fleet management companies can provide a further value‐add service by the provision of replacement vehicles, either from a pool of available vehicles, or supplied via a partner organisation.
FleetEurope refers repair work to Selsia Accident Management, which in turn works with Kindertons Accident Management to provide replacement vehicles. Each stage of the accident management process is handled by a third party with the relevant skills, knowledge and experience. This is foundation for these types of partnerships, and offers clients the advantageous position of working with industry experts in different fields, without the additional admin and cost of working with three separate suppliers.
6. Evidence Provided by Telematics
Telematics and video products can provide invaluable evidence when a driver needs to make a claim, and are offered by a variety of providers. CMS Supatrak has developed a combined video and telematics system to deliver real‐time crash reconstruction information to incident management centres, referred by insurance companies as first notification of loss centres (FNOL centres).
The system automatically identifies a potential road safety incident and starts sending back video and telematics data 20 seconds before and 10 seconds after the logged alert. In addition to the automated alerts, drivers can manually create an incident by pressing a button inside the vehicle.
When an incident is identified, the system will automatically create an alert, which generates an email with the video footage embedded and a text message, if required. This information is securely stored, ready to be used if a disagreement about liability for an accident arises.
7. Protection Against Whiplash Fraud
The issue of fraudulent whiplash claims is one of the most significant problems facing the insurance industry; in the UK, false neck‐injury claims are estimated to costs motorists £2.5bn per year. Insurance telematics provider Scope Technology has launched a new platform that could help tackle the issue of fraudulent whiplash claims.
By using crash‐related algorithms, Scope Technology can determine the vehicle impact zone, angle and severity of each impact. By mapping this against a huge bank of crash data and research on physical injury, the likelihood of physical injuries can be gauged. This technology could greatly improve the efficiency and accuracy of the claims handling process for the insurer, and therefore the client. In addition, the newly improved system, which transmits vehicle information and accident analysis to a central platform in real‐time, can enable faster medical attention for drivers in cases of genuine injury.
Benefits of a ‘one stop shop’ service
Infrastructure support services provider Amey has outsourced its accident management needs to Selsia since July 2013. According to team leader Kerry Patmore, Selsia Accident Management was selected as the provider of choice because of the extensive UK coverage of its sites and the ‘one stop shop’ management services available.
“We have noticed a huge improvement in the reduction of administration and repair times by working with Selsia,” Ms Patmore explains.
“It has helped Amey to streamline its administration process with no more time wasted chasing many suppliers for estimates, images andinvoices. The online vehicle tracking service is used to give live time updates on vehicle repairs which have resulted in fewer phone calls being made,” she adds.