According to the latest statistics from fleet insurers, the key to keeping the cost of motor claims down is to make the first notification of loss (FNOL) as soon after the incident as practically possible
“We used to have a saying, ‘don’t delay, report the same day’, but now it really is ‘report within the hour’,” says Doug Jenkins, motor risk control manager at AXA Insurance.
“Now we know that if we’re not capturing incident information, certainly within the first three hours after an incident, then we could be struggling later.”
Time is of the essence for fleet managers and drivers. As soon as the incident is reported it triggers an event that says’ the first person to get to the third-party wins’. The fleet insurer needs to get to the third party first so that they can manage the service, recovery and repairs for the third party.
If a fleet insurer loses that race, it affects the entire claims journey, from validation, deployment of services and cost control of areas such as protracted vehicle repairs and costly hire car rates, to unpredictable personal injury claims and legal fees, as well as fraud.
“If a claim is reported late, we lose the opportunity to intervene as the third party may already be in a credit hire vehicle, which can result in a significant cost,” says Rhona McGregor, head of claims relationship management at Zurich Global Corporate UK.
The typical nightmare scenario when an incident occurs is that no attempt has been made to reach the third party, or the event goes completely unreported.
In these circumstances insurers have seen claims that should have cost £5000 go up to £50,000.
“Poor management of incidents leads to claims leakage, where costs can spiral due to delays in authorising repairs, lengthy and protracted repairs that result in higher replacement vehicle costs and lengthy liability decisions.
“Delays in reporting the incident drastically reduce the opportunity to capture and control the third-party costs, and failing to capture the third party can result in an increase in the entire cost of the incident by 965%.”
If it is safe to do so drivers should be recording the following details at the scene of the incident:
- Third-party name, address and contact details.
- Witness/passenger name and contact details – ensuring they take note of the number of passengers in the third-party vehicle.
- Chain of events.
- Vehicle registration(s).
- Smartphone pictures of vehicle positions at the scene, as well as close-up photographs of the damage.
- Whether all vehicles were roadworthy following the incident.
- Road markings
- Weather conditions
- Follow up events- policy attendance, witness assistance at the scene
Incident packs and ‘bump’ cards provide a simple way of prompting drivers to follow procedure after an incident, as well as ensuring both they and the third party have all the relevant details needed to for a speedy resolution.
Packs can be stored in the vehicle and outline what a driver should do in the event of an accident, while cards can be stuck to windscreens and come with a check-list section to be completed by the company driver. They can both contain a corresponding pre-printed section with the fleet’s details and insurance information to give straight to the third party.
Drivers also need to understand how FNOL impacts on the business and its bottom line and be periodically reminded of good practice.
“It is important for fleet managers to continually educate their drivers on the importance of good and prompt reporting,” says Nick Williams, managing director of RAC Accident Services.
“Some of our best fleet managers email the team once a month reminding them of what to do if they are involved in an incident. This regular communication is excellent as it keeps FNOL front of mind.”
To begin your claim or to make an enquiry regarding a potential claim please contact us or call our team on 01270 758 062.
We are here to help you every step of the way.