June 6, 2016

How to manage your fleet accidents more effectively

Accident management can be improved by appointing the professionals

No-one sets out with the intention of having an accident in a company vehicle, but with ever-congested roads, rising numbers of road users and busy work schedules, the occasional coming together is an almost inevitable fact of fleet life.

One of the most common places for fleet accidents, incidentally, is in the corporate car park, at low speed, typically from reversing manoeuvres. It seems we are not quite as good at going backwards as we are at going forward!

However, managing the process around a road traffic accident or damage to a company vehicle, be it on the road or in the car park, can be a lengthy, frustrating and time-consuming affair. And having your drivers off the road for an unnecessary length of time can cost you, and them, money.

It can also be difficult to obtain quick responses from repairers and insurers to the extent and cost of the damage, and a reliable estimate of when the vehicle will be back on the road.

What’s needed is a smarter, quicker and more effective way of handling the incident – which is why using an accident management service can be much more efficient and cost effective than trying to manage it yourself.

car accident guide

    You can download this guide as a PDF to share with your drivers – click here to get your copy

What to do in the event of an accident

When one of your company drivers has had an accident or an incident that requires the intervention of your accident management provider, if you have one, all he or she should have to do is phone a dedicated accident management number provided – at any time of the day or night.

With the best accident management service providers, there should be no distinction between in-hours and out-of-hours services, with call response times, standards of service provision and network attendance remaining consistently high regardless of the time of day.

It should also be standard practice to provide your drivers with a set of the company policy rules to follow in the event of an accident.

For CLM clients who use our accident management service, we provide them with 24/7 contact numbers and full details of what to do in the event of an accident occurring.

Company policy for drivers

Typically, company policy in the event of an accident should be along the following lines:

1Stop in a safe place.

2Call the Police – If anyone has been injured in the car accident, you should call the Police and, if necessary, an ambulance as soon as possible.

3Exchange particulars and obtain name, address, contact telephone number, registration number and full insurance details from all third parties. Never admit liability.

4Gather details of all witnesses including name, address, and contact telephone numbers.

5If possible, and if it is safe to do so, take photographs, or draw a diagram, of the accident location including road layout and markings.

6Notify all incidents immediately to your accident management provider, if you have one, including relevant information such as accident damage, theft from vehicle, stolen vehicles, vandalism, fire or glass damage.

7Follow their instructions as to the next steps, depending on the condition of your vehicle. If you are a CLM client and unsure about any part of the incident process we will be pleased to advise you.

8Your accident management provider should advise on the recovery of un-driveable vehicles and provide guidance regarding temporary replacement vehicles.

9All repairs should be carried out at an approved repairer in line with your accident management policy.

10Your accident management provider should issue a damage estimate, authorise repairs, regularly monitor work being carried out, and keep clients updated regarding the estimated repair completion date.

11All third party correspondence should be forwarded immediately, and unanswered, your accident management provider – or in the case of CLM accident management clients, directly to us at CLM.

12If the incident is not your fault, you accident management provider should pursue the third party to obtain re-imbursement for costs incurred, and can assist you in obtaining compensation for any losses you may have sustained.

Benefits from using an accident management service

There are multiple benefits from using an acknowledged accident management service rather than trying to manage your drivers’ accidents in-house.

For example, your accident management provider will ensure that your vehicle repairs are carried out as quickly as possible, and not held up at the repairer.

Faster repair time means that vehicle off-road time, along with overall cost, is considerably reduced, factors which most insurance companies take into account when negotiating renewal premiums with fleet customers.

Your provider’s specialist engineers should assess vehicle damage and decide upon the best, and quickest, way to manage it. Reducing the cost of repairs and minimising vehicle off-road time should be key priorities.

Repairs should be typically authorised within four hours of receiving repairer estimates and progress should be monitored until the vehicle is returned to the driver.

Your accident management provider should be able to offer an extensive network of mobile repairers and fixed body shops, to provide the widest driver choice and a full nationwide coverage with multiple repair options.

The aim should be to perform all mobile repairs within 24 hours of the incident to avoid downtime and the need for replacement vehicles. Where mobile repairs are not practical, then the target should be 24 hour repair with a fixed bodyshop.

Where the repair is more complicated, then jobs should be allocated to the most appropriate supplier. This may be the organisation with the most skill in a specialist area or one which has a geographical advantage for the driver.

SMART (Small Area Repair Technique) technology should be used wherever possible to reduce costs and speed up repair times.

Online management reporting provides a clear picture

Your accident management provider should be able to provide you with access to online reports to show you the most common types of accidents your drivers are having, the numbers involved and their costs, plus those that are the most expensive and time-consuming to put right.

Accident management analysis of this kind allows decision-makers to look at driver dynamics, whether the drivers share any particular characteristics or locations, and whether most accidents involve family members with access to company vehicles.

The online reports available should also include a summary of all claims; a summary of all live claims; and an engineer savings report, which highlights how the use of expert engineers can produce savings against repairers’ estimates.

In addition, where it is provided, an uninsured loss recovery report should detail the amount of money that claims executives have been able to recover for drivers’ non-fault accidents.

Helping you recover your uninsured losses

Where you incur losses for which you are uninsured, such as expenses incurred through an accident that is no fault of your own, your accident management provider should be able to provide a dedicated in-house uninsured loss recovery team to recover any loss related to each accident.

This can be compensation for the excess on your policy, cost of car hire, taxis, public transport, phone calls, or even damage to clothes.

All elements of a claim should be commenced simultaneously on the day of receipt and a claims handler should take full ownership of the matter, seeing it through to a logical conclusion and ensuring that all aspects are addressed in accordance with client instructions.

Benefits of using an accident management provider

The key benefits of using a professional accident management service are many, including:

  • Professional management of an incident from start to finish
  • Round the clock support for your drivers
  • Fastest resolution of an accident or damage claim
  • As little vehicle downtime as possible
  • No need for drivers to fill in manual report forms
  • Expert claim handlers to oversee the whole incident
  • Experienced team of engineers to evaluate damage
  • Lowest possible repair costs
  • 24-hour mobile repairs wherever appropriate
  • SMART (Small Area Repair Technique) technology used
  • Progress monitored until vehicle returned
  • Non-fault hire vehicle of equivalent status
  • Extensive suite of online reports via dedicated web portal
  • Uninsured loss recovery service to recover relevant costs
  • Genuine parts used as standard on all repairs
  • Repairs guaranteed for three years

If you would like to discuss how CLM can help you with the more effective management of accidents on your fleet, please get in touch.