Specialist coach fleet insurance broker, McCarron Coates, is advising fleet managers that a claim reported 25-30 days after it occurred can easily cost more than four times the sum it would have cost if the claim had been reported on day one.
In a period of rampant claims inflation – riding at 17.4% even at the end of 2022 and the highest for five years – McCarron Coates says coach operators have no alternative but to face the influences affecting the global and UK economy but do have the option of taking pro-active action that can mitigate the macro environment’s impacts on their premiums.
The award-winning broker highlights the global impacts as being the legacy of COVID-19, compounded by labour shortages, rising energy prices and a scarcity of raw materials caused by the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. Added to this is the higher repair cost of electric vehicles, vis a vis those with an internal combustion engine, and lingering labour backlogs that may affect operations and increase costs. The persistent pressure on energy prices can further strain budgets, according to McCarron Coates’ Claims Manager, Steve Stockley.
It is a complex and challenging environment but one in which McCarron Coates says fleet managers can adopt self-help strategies. By promptly reporting claims and taking proactive steps to control costs, operators can safeguard their financial stability and continue to navigate the current trying times with greater resilience.
“The clock is literally ticking from the moment the collision takes place,” says McCarron Coates’ director Ian McCarron. “The minute an insurer loses control of the claim to a third party, that third party can start adding in significant costs – car hire, medical treatment for injuries, inflated repair costs and the like.
“The more a company or individual can do to control the cost of their claim and keep things in their own insurer’s hands, the more they can exercise a positive influence on their renewal premium. One practical and highly useful thing that anyone involved in an incident can do is to report the claim immediately.”
The reality for many is that reporting a claim into a central call centre can literally take 45 minutes or an hour, or not even be accomplished within that timeframe, leading the operator to give up and try again another day. Caller response times were woeful pre-pandemic and even worse now.
If on the road, the driver needs to be able to move their vehicle and get back to the depot or their destination. The golden hours in which they could report a claim are often lost because their insurer’s claims reporting system is too slow, overloaded and unresponsive.
McCarron Coates established its own in-house claims team, to ensure its customers were in the best possible position to avoid this type of scenario and receive ongoing advice as to how to prevent claims from occurring in the first place.
Avoiding the call centre route entirely, McCarron Coates’ clients have an App that enables them to quickly capture absolutely all the information they need to move their claim forward, direct from the roadside where the incident occurred. The App has voice-to-text capacities, can collate photographs, gives a precise GPS location for the incident and guides the driver through all they need to submit, to get the claim moving there and then.
Improving day one reporting to around 80% of cases, can see a net average 18% saving on premiums. The average of day one reporting through a call centre is around 30%, according to experts.1
In addition, recognising that some drivers struggle with technology or the English language, QR codes have been placed inside the vehicles of some clients’ vehicles, allowing drivers to simply scan the code to get a claim underway.
“We are doing all we can to offer our clients a suite of facilities that can make day one claims reporting a reality,” says Steve Stockley. “Our claims team is always here to assist and capture all relevant information, so that we keep control of the claim and its cost. In these times of massive claims inflation, that is the strategy that all coach operators should be adopting.”
1 Source = Insure Apps (insureapps.co.uk)