No one ever predicted that an accident would happen. The damage, injury, and stress that accompany these unexpected events can add further complications to an already difficult situation. As an insurer, you face the difficult task of getting accurate information as quickly as possible so that you can manage claims costs and additional expenses while helping policyholders when they need it. As such, the management of accident sites is a complexyet crucial piece of the puzzle in the accident claims process.
This claims process presents a number of key challenges, including obtaining accident details and data, safely transporting the vehicle, and ensuring the vehicle is delivered to the preferred location. In addition, for around half of the accidents, the coordination of the recovery of non-running vehicles must first be carried out from the place of the accident, then again from the storage center.
Let’s take a look at each of these challenges in more detail:
- Obtaining details and data of the accident at the scene – The scene of an accident is where the first notice of loss (FNOL) begins, but it can be extremely difficult to get relevant details and data for a few days. This makes it difficult, if not impossible, to obtain an accurate assessment of the condition of the vehicle immediately after the incident, an assessment that could otherwise help streamline the assessment and resolution of claims.
- Transportation of the vehicle from the premises – If details, data and FNOL are not captured at the crash scene, the vehicle is captured by a tow which is usually organized by the police and delivered to a tank yard. This is explained by unnecessary loss due to the typical five or six days of accumulated storage, fees, rental of space and secondary towing which can total up to $ 1,050 per accident.
- Vehicle delivery to preferred location – By not receiving the details of the accident scene, you also lose control of where the vehicle is stored. Additionally, since nearly half of all accidents happen outside of normal repair shop hours, these vehicles need to be secured for a period of time before they can be delivered to a preferred repair shop. It may take up to a week for the vehicle to be finally released and transported to the appropriate location.
- Coordinate the recovery of non-running vehicles – The process of recovering an unusable vehicle from an accident scene or from a storage facility can also be complex and time consuming. Organizing primary and secondary tows, collecting and completing all documents necessary to release vehicles from storage, reviewing and validating storage charges and authorizing cash payments for release vehicles require constant communication with towing companies, storage facilities and policyholders.
Streamline the complaints process
An accurate assessment of the condition of a vehicle at the scene of the accident is crucial to streamline appraisal processes, determine losses and properly route the vehicle. At this critical moment, two small process changes can make all the difference. First, usable digital photographs must be captured at the scene of the accident. High-quality photos that meet desktop appraisal inspection standards provide a clear, time-stamped record of damage to the vehicle. Second, these photos need to be ingested quickly and efficiently into your digital claims management process to speed up assessment. In fact, these two simple steps can save you time and money on tens of thousands of accident claims annually.
This is because when your claims manager can inspect the photos captured at the scene of the accident – rather than in the repair shop, salvage yard or other location – he or she can make an immediate determination of the loss. total much faster and get the vehicle to the right destination. -off location. This streamlined digital workflow and having usable evidence earlier in the claims process can result in a potential three to four times return on costs and expenses of the losses impacted. Additionally, the ability to leverage photos when the complaint file is first launched creates transparency and accountability throughout the process of evaluating, documenting and retrieving the complaint.
Abilities to consider
To maximize the impact of digital photos on some of the top auto claims challenges, consider the following:
- Digitally route photos. Make digital photos accessible as shareable links and available for download or attachment to other investigation files to simplify documentation and claim collection. Allowing claims handlers to access vehicle status based on photos can help avoid in-store diversions, delays, and other additional expenses.
- Integrate and extend. Confirm that photos can be integrated or shared with your chosen inspection method or complaint system to provide even more benefits, such as reduced cycle times by speeding up the review process. These integrations could also include use in document review, field tracking inspection, or artificial intelligence inspection models.
You face a myriad of challenges throughout the auto accident claims process. Fortunately, there are levers available to disaster organizations to help them save time, frustration, and money. When high-quality, shareable photos of the crash scene are incorporated into the digital claims process, claims officers can quickly assess the condition of the vehicle to determine total loss.
Digitally ingesting photos early in the claims cycle can help you avoid store diversions, delays, and other added costs like unnecessary storage days. Additionally, in the event of a fraudulent damage claim, photos can provide quick and clear resolution.
It’s a time that a photo is worth not only a thousand words, but potentially hundreds of dollars and several days saved by auto disaster.
Steve Medeiros ([email protected]) is vice president of accident management at Agero.