The research conducted by FMG Support highlights the current cultural level of apathy and acceptance within the industry for over-charging, as well as the need to drive change in order to save costs and improve customer service.
This is the central subject for FMG Support’s forthcoming Fleet Progression Forum at the end of October, which will be chaired by former Minister for Transport, Michael Portillo and features representation from organisations including Zurich, Enterprise Rent-a-Car, GE Capital Solutions and credit hire company, CCL UK Group Plc.
In 2006, FMG Support handled over 60,000 incidents for its customers. The total amount that would have been originally invoiced was over £20 million.
However, FMG Support’s expert analysts, working in conjunction with its third party claims management team, in-house engineers, and network of approved partner support repair and body shops analysed each incident in detail.
They then identified where costs savings could be made, based on original estimates, and by delivering an appropriate, fair and responsible service and price.
In addition to intervening in and rejecting false claims on behalf of its clients, the whole process stripped out over £2.5 million of unnecessary costs.
Examples of savings on fault claims included polishing out scratches to vehicles that would have been painted, challenging unfitted parts being charged to the customer, as well as inflated labour rates and using second hand parts but charging for new ones.
In some incidents FMG Support saved thousands of pounds for its customers, and insurance companies by referring certain cases to its own solicitor panel, when the company became suspicious of inflated claims; especially when the severity of an injury claim was not commensurate with the incident circumstances.
One particular area which FMG Support confronted on behalf of its customers involved the interaction with credit hire companies; an issue that has caused controversy within the industry for years.
In a number of incidents, FMG Support challenged the initial daily rate for the proposed credit hire vehicle, as well as the duration of the period the vehicle would be required for, and in many cases saving clients as much as 20% on initial quotations.
FMG Support also acted for its customers on claims for diminution, the reduction in a vehicle’s value after a significant repair.
In several cases independent engineers carried out the initial physical assessment of vehicles involved in incidents where no reference was made to diminution figures in their reports.
However, FMG Support used its in-house engineers and state-of-the art digital imaging to provide alternative estimates based on physical assessments, and in some cases reduced the diminution figure by up to 50%, saving customers thousands of pounds.
Commenting on the research, Nick Brown, chief executive, FMG Support said: “It is clear that within the industry there is a level of acceptance where over-charging is seen as common-place, and insurance companies are viewed as ‘fair game’ when it comes to taking the brunt of the costs; but ultimately it is the customers that suffer.
"This has led to widespread animosity within the industry. However, FMG Support’s research proves what can be achieved by an honest and fair approach to dealing with incidents, where all parties involved within the chain receive fair and appropriate compensation. The reality is that everyone benefits, and most of all, the customer receives a premium level of service.”