“You can’t make an omelet without breaking eggs” – as the saying goes. Annoying only if this happens in the fleet in the form of an accident or other damage. Costs can quickly skyrocket here. A claims management system that simplifies internal communication processes and supports the fleet manager in initiating and controlling the relevant processes is therefore essential.
Efficient claims management can avoid unnecessary costs in the long term, both direct and consequential. In addition, efficient claims management can ensure greater safety in the fleet in general if it is exercised preventively. But how do corporate fleets ensure smooth claims management and what steps are needed to achieve this? We tell you how to proceed in the event of damage.
Step 1 - The damage assessment
After the accident and ensuring the health of all involved, the damage should be recorded. This initial inventory is done on site by the driver and should always be done in writing so that the insurance company can later realistically estimate the costs.
Comprehensive damage assessment is not always possible due to the exceptional situation. Damage apps are a big help here, as drivers can quickly press an emergency call button, report the damage to the fleet manager, access an emergency checklist and take initial pictures of the accident scene and damage . On the one hand, they facilitate the initial on-site inventory, and on the other, they provide an important documentation basis for subsequent claims processing by the fleet manager and the insurance company. In addition to apps, regular safety briefings are important, providing training on proper behavior during an accident and emphasizing the importance of good documentation.
Step 2 - Notification of damage to the insurance company
The information collected serves as the basis for reporting claims to the insurance company. This can be done in writing, but also by telephone or digitally. More and more insurance companies are offering forms online or via app in which pictures can be uploaded and information about the damage can be provided. Thus, a quick damage report is possible. Once the claim is received and processed by the insurance company, coverage checks are performed, among other things, and in some cases, appraisers are called in.
Step 3 - The organization of the repair
As soon as the insurance company covers the damage, you should organize the repair of the company car. This can be done by the fleet manager himself or by a service provider. This step is critical, as it is not uncommon for many fleets to experience repair delays here.
Therefore, you should not wait until a claim occurs to have the widest possible network of partners at your disposal. If the employee is dependent on a company car, you should provide him or her with a replacement car for the duration of the repair. It is more favorable if the vehicle to be repaired is a pool vehicle, since the company car driver receives immediate access here, provided the pool inventory permits it.
Step 4 - The damage evaluation
Efficient claims management means that responsibilities are clarified in advance and the processing of the claim is also handled quickly internally. Controlling in particular plays an important role here. The evaluation of damage costs and the impact on the overall value of the vehicle (especially relevant for leased vehicles) are just two aspects of many that need to be closely considered after a claim has been filed. In addition, it makes sense to analyze conspicuities or accumulations of damage types or the timing of damage so that the fleet manager can react accordingly; whether in the form of improved safety equipment such as a rearview camera or increased training for company car drivers.
How optimal procurement can simplify claims management
Forewarned is forearmed, and that also applies to efficient claims management. This means that fleet managers should already factor in risk management when purchasing company cars. This means that the vehicles should be up to date in all technical and safety aspects.
In addition, regular training courses on driving style, compliance with the owner’s liability obligations through driver’s license checks and UVV driver instruction, as well as so-called bonus systems that reward accident-free driving, can ensure that the loss rate in the fleet is reduced.
Safe on the road: Driver training in accordance with UVV
Carano’s e-learning course trains drivers in the safe use of company vehicles. All results are fully documented and serve as evidence in the event of a claim.
Why digital solutions support efficient claims management
Digitization has long since arrived in the fleet and supports those responsible in streamlining communication processes and thus saving time and costs in the long term. Especially in the area of claims management, digital solutions can help speed up settlement times. In addition, software offers the option of storing all relevant documents relating to the damage, such as pictures, repair releases or expert reports.
Comprehensive reporting is costly and a decisive cost factor, especially in the management of large fleets. Software solutions that automatically keep an eye on vehicle costs, evaluate damage or remind drivers of safety-relevant deadlines such as carrying out UVV or driver’s license checks offer a lot of savings potential in the long term.
What are the advantages of outsourcing claims management?
In many fleets, service providers handle claims, saving fleet managers a lot of time. But here, too, it is important to consider outsourcing carefully, as the choice on the market is diverse.
This checklist for reviewing external claims management service providers can help with the selection process:
- Service hours and service hotlines
- Help with damage abroad
- Service packages, e.g. communication with workshop, fast procurement of a replacement car
- Reporting options
- How much time does the fleet manager still have to invest himself?
Whether a leasing provider, a fleet company or a car insurance company handles the claim is ultimately a matter of discretion. It is important to carefully examine internal capacities before outsourcing claims management.
Small fleets in particular, in which not every position can be filled by a specialist, benefit from outsourcing and can devote themselves better to other fleet-related topics thanks to the reduced workload. Particularly when it comes to legal expertise, fleet managers should not be afraid to call in an expert service provider to handle the claim, in order to be able to assess and minimize possible later legal costs ahead of time.
Damage happens, and as long as it does not have serious health consequences, it can usually be tolerated. However, with preventive measures, the support of a digital solution, and accurate evaluation, the costly internal processes and the resulting costs can be well regulated. If you want to outsource claims management completely, you can call on the support of a service provider. However, this step should be well thought out and organized.