By John Wolford
Did you know that your fleet can cut its net spending on accident repairs by more than 20% without any additional investment?
This isn’t a trick question, but for many fleet managers it means gaining the cooperation of another department in their organization.
The way to do it is to increase your recovery of accident expenses from at-fault, third-party drivers. CEI’s record can serve as a benchmark: our Loss Recovery Department finds recovery potential in one out of every four accident claims we handle, and collects around 95% of the dollars we pursue in less than 60 days.
That means fleets should be offsetting their accident repair expenses by as much 24% every year, year after year. Think about it: a 1,000-vehicle fleet with a 25% accident rate might spend $625,000 a year on collision repairs. Optimal loss recovery could offset that spending by as much as $150,000.
Most fleet departments rely on their organization’s risk management department to recover accident losses, and a good many of those do all the recovery with in-house resources. Whoever is responsible, CEI has found that many fleets don’t come near to maximizing their recovery potential. Why not? There are several reasons:
It’s not the highest priority. When it comes to responding to accidents, the highest priority for most fleets is getting their vehicles back on the road as quickly as possible. Once that’s done, it’s back to handling all the other tasks they’re responsible for, and that often puts loss recovery at or near the bottom of the pile.
It’s frustrating. Drivers and their insurers would rather not pay out, and use every method possible to minimize or avoid paying. That means spending extra hours, over weeks and even months, trying to overcome the next hurdle they put between fleet and a check. At CEI, we’ve seen fleets with hundreds of thousands of dollars in claims that have been abandoned out of frustration.
It takes special expertise and knowledge. Loss recovery is a paralegal activity that depends on knowing the different recovery standards in every state and province, access to the latest tech systems used by the insurance industry, knowledge of the precise documentary standards and requirements, and negotiating skills. Most organizations don’t have all of that.
The solution is to partner with a fleet services provider with a cracker-jack loss recovery department. If they work like CEI, they don’t get paid unless and until they recover, which means the service more than pays for itself.