Here’s a typical scenario: A driver reverses into another vehicle, makes a note of the other vehicle’s registration number, but fails to get the third party’s phone number. A day later, he contacts the fleet department with the details.
The fleet manager has no way of contacting the third party, leaving them at the mercy of a credit hire company. All they can do is wait.
Two months later, they are hit with a bill for £4,000.
Had the driver contacted the fleet manager immediately and recorded all the necessary information, it could have been a different story.
But what the driver does at the scene of an accident isn’t the only part of the accident management process where acting quickly can minimise costs.
Making sure the repairer assesses the damage and carries out the repair in an acceptable timeframe is key.
For van fleets relying on engineers out on the road each day, reducing a vehicle’s downtime by a day could outweigh the cost of the repair.
Some fleet managers choose to handle the accident management process themselves, but others turn to specialist providers – either through their leasing company or directly with an accident management company.
The provider will usually handle the entire process, from the driver’s initial call through to the claim being finalised and the vehicle being back on the road.
However, some providers will let fleet managers pick and choose what services they want.
It’s even possible to include telematics in the traditional accident management service.
Turn the page to see the process an accident management company goes through, followed by a detailed look at how to reduce the cost of accidents and whether an in-house or outsourced approach is right for your fleet.
Stage one: recording the incident
Fast accurate reporting can save you time and money
Fleet managers need to have policies in place about how quickly an accident must be reported and how a driver goes about reporting it.
This should be covered as part of an employee’s induction and be included in the driver handbook.
Ideally, drivers should notify the fleet department, or accident management provider if the process is outsourced, at the scene of the accident or as soon afterwards as is safe.
If a company has a number of leasing providers, it may be useful to outsource to an accident management company so a driver has one number to call.
“Accident management providers will employ service centre agents who are trained to deal with distressed drivers,” says Jim Monteith, head of accident services at RAC.
“They can spend the right amount of time on the phone with each driver to accurately capture incident detail, assess liability, and to understand potential indemnity restrictions, whilst providing re-assurances following nasty accidents.”