The developer of a smartphone app that helps company car and van drivers record critical information at the scene of the accident says it will revolutionise the market.
Typically, fleets have employed a ‘bump card’ and a disposable camera to document details when they are involved in a collision.
However, with companies being targeted by so-called ‘crash for cash’ fraudsters and suffering from spiralling insurance costs, it is hoped smartphone technology could offer them much-needed protection by offering indisputable information.
“The UK’s compensation culture has been characterised by insurance companies selling on personal injury claims to lawyers and consumers being encouraged to claim for non-existent injuries. As a result, insurance premiums are increasing exponentially,” said Roland Maguire, director of iAccident. “The Government’s proposed ban on referral fees for personal injury claims only addresses part of the overall problem.”
The iAccident app, which has been developed by mobile marketing specialist 2ergo for iPhone and Android, is free for consumers to download and has been built to be as user-friendly as possible.
But as well as being launched under the brand iAccident, the app is also available on a white label basis to allow industry providers to distribute it to customers under their own brand.
As a white label product, the set-up fee to the provider is £10,000, plus a download fee per handset dependent on the number of drivers. It incorporates GPS functionality so that accident data is recorded accurately and all images are time and geo-location stamped.
Encrypted reports are submitted directly to the iAccident database. It’s compatible with systems used by all insurance companies and drivers simply submit their reports online from their smartphone.
They can have the report for-warded to their own insurer, fleet manager or have iAccident deal with it on their behalf through its UK-based, 24-hour call centre.
“We think this could completely revolutionise accident management,” said Maguire.
“It enables you to capture key information and I believe within three to four years the majority of accidents will be reported this way.”
There are a few alternatives on the market, though the accident management apps from the likes of Direct Line and Aviva are purely for private motorists. However, Ford and Total Accident Management offer fleets access to the technology, along with Lex Autolease through its mobile web service Lex Autolease interactive (LAi).
The free Ford accident management app for iPhone and Android is part of its no-fee accident management programme.
Lex Autolease developed LAi for iPhone, Android and Blackberry in response to the growing appetite for remote access to its online booking and quotation service.
As well as giving drivers the power to remotely book in repairs and request new tyres and replacement windscreens, they can also report accidents, while drivers can access a ‘help me now’ function 24 hours a day in the event of an emergency.
Lex Autolease says the app has been downloaded more than 3,000 times since its July launch.
Total Accident Management’s solution is called Total Response. It says the white label 3G and Android phone app can be used with more than 90% of company mobile phone and PDA devices on the market.
With the accident of every driver in their fleet being reported and recorded in the same format, Total says the accident management process is much quicker and simpler.
The app is a new addition to Total’s offering of accident management services and will shortly be available to be incorporated into any fleet accident management package.