Outsourcing your accident repair managementReturn to news
18th August 2016
At what point should I consider outsourcing my accident repairs and how do they work?
A fleet manager’s job is difficult enough these days where responsibilities include vehicle acquisitions, de-fleeting, logistics management, personnel issues, driver risk management and training, servicing, telematics, duty of care compliance and licence checking. The last thing a fleet manager needs is the added complication, cost and hassle of having to manage accident repairs, a problem which becomes even greater the larger and more vehicle diverse the fleet becomes. This is where the appointment of an accident repair management company like Selsia, which works alongside a fleet transport team and centrally manages accident repairs through a national network of approved bodyshops comes into its own, particularly when fleet sizes start to exceed 100 vehicles.
Fleet operators not using such services could be costing their companies a considerable amount of money in administration and repair costs. On top of this, fleets can be hit with vehicle loss of use costs, which could amount to up to £500 per day in lost opportunities, missed deadlines, lost customers and hires. It’s also a little known fact that the actual repair of accident damaged vehicles is only 52% of the total cost of a claim so the other 48% needs to be managed diligently. If these other costs can be reduced by at least 50% by using a credible centrally managed accident repair organisation like Selsia, this needs to be seriously considered. Another important point is that in the litigious and claims conscious culture of today, high profile fleets can be exposed to third party claims. Accident repair management companies can also include third party intervention and uninsured loss recovery services as an additional service to their core repair management services. They can also, if required, copy the fleet’s insurers in on any first notification of loss incidents, allowing prompt intervention to reduce the fleet’s exposure to claims.
The leading accident repair organisations like Selsia do not actually charge their fleet clients for their management services as they are funded by their approved network of bodyshops. It’s very much like a cooperative of quality repairers who provide highly professional accident repair services but they are not in a position to offer national solutions unless they are part of a larger, professionally managed network which offers them business opportunities through their marketing, sales and operational services. For the fleet operator, these companies have already invested a significant amount of time and effort in finding, auditing and approving the best car, van and heavy commercial vehicle repairers across the UK and Ireland, which can, in itself be a major problem for fleets. And because these repairers are already receiving significant volumes of work from these repair management companies, the benefits of national scale to get the fleet clients the best possible rates and services are already in place. This includes competitive and standardised labour rates, parts and paint prices regardless of where in the UK a fleet vehicle needs to be repaired. This standardisation of rates and prices enables average repair costs to be reduced and helps towards tighter budgetary control. Also, the removal of the hassle of progress chasing repairs allows the fleet management team to get on with more productive work. Another major benefit is in accounts management. Instead of fleets having to set up accounts with multiple bodyshops across the country and receiving multiple invoices, a good repair management company will also offer a central invoicing facility which reduces financial management costs and eases administration.
Repair management companies will use online repair management portals to manage accident repairs from start to finish. Their 24 hour call centres can record all the details of an incident onto a portal and the closest approved repairer on the network will be notified of the case. The repairer then contacts the driver or depot to arrange an estimate and these are uploaded, together with quality images, onto the portal for authorisation by the fleet management team, insurance company or assessors. While the repair is being completed, the repair management company will be progress chasing behind the scenes and sorting out any queries throughout the repair process and the portal will be continuously updated to allow the fleet management team to track repair progress and plan for when the vehicle will be back in service. Considering the exponential growth of van registrations over the next few years due to online shopping and long term rentals in particular, this is a significant service benefit for these types of fleets. Management information and KPIs covering average repair costs and repair completion times are also available from these online portals. Some of the additional services these companies can provide include salvage management, telematics, vehicle movements and de-fleeting services to avoid end of lease penalties for bodywork damage beyond BVRLA fair wear and tear guidelines.
The number of quality bodyshops in the UK which are PAS 125, BS10125, vehicle manufacturer and insurance approved has fallen considerably in the past decade and there will continue to be capacity issues as the UK’s van population in particular increases. Business-critical fleets and other work providers will be under extreme pressure to have their vehicles repaired and this will only be effectively achieved when they work alongside a credible centrally managed accident repair network like Selsia where touch points are reduced significantly. The benefits of fast, cost effective repairs, reduced vehicle loss of use and a substantial decrease in administration and management costs will quickly be realised.