Claim quickly, says specialist insurance broker

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Specialist fleet insurance broker McCarron Coates is urging coach operators to act swiftly when making insurance claims. It says submitting a claim on day one can put them in a better position. The firm cites figures which show a claim reported 25-30 days after it occurred can easily cost around four times the sum it would have cost if reported on day one.

Although the swift reporting message has been appropriate for some time, it has never been more relevant, the broker says, as claims inflation was at 17.4% at the end of 2022, the highest for five years, and the average cost of a motor claim soared from £4,502 in 2019 to £6,280 in 2022.
“It is also true to say lingering labour backlogs may affect operations and increase costs, whilst the persistent pressure on energy prices can further strain budgets,” said McCarron Coates’ Claims Manager Steve Stockley.

“Raw materials shortages due to geopolitical tensions can lead to supply chain disruptions and inflated material costs. Moreover, the repair and maintenance of electric vehicles can be costlier to manage than is the case with traditional internal combustion engined vehicles, making it imperative for fleet managers to be vigilant in managing claim expenses.”

“The clock is literally ticking from the moment a collision takes place,” added McCarron Coates’ director Ian McCarron, “and the impacts on the cost of a claim are palpable. 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. It’s as simple as that.”

However, reporting a claim quickly often means being able to contact the right person, and drivers required to contact an insurer call centre, or whose brokers have been absorbed into large centralised control centres, are hampered by ‘woeful caller response times’ which have worsened since the pandemic, says McCarron Coates. As well as its own in-house call centres, McCarron Coates’ has an app that enables quick information capture to move a claim forward, including voice to text capacities, the ability to add photographs, and a precise GPS location for the incident. To assist drivers who struggle with technology or English, QR codes have been placed inside some clients’ vehicles, allowing drivers to scan the code to start a claim.

“It’s all about encouraging day one reporting. If a client can do this in around 80% of cases, the net average saving on premiums is around 18%. However, the average of day one reporting through a call centre is around 30%, according to experts,” the firm says.

Ian McCarron added: “In a time of huge claims inflation, allowing a claim to drift can lead to a very nasty shock at renewal, when insurers seek to recoup the losses they had not factored in, caused solely by late reporting.”