Archive

  1. ClaimsTech ILC Event Highlights Piece – By Paul Sell

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    We are pleased to be able to share with you this insightful and engaging piece by Paul Sell, Ex Aviva and now Director of Service Certainty & CCO RightIndem that he has put together off the back of our recent ClaimsTech event.

    CLICK TO READ THE EVENT HIGHLIGHTS DOCUMENT

    With 23 years at Aviva and 10 years’ experience in the claims market under his belt, Paul is not only an experienced claims professional but brings passion and energy to those he works with.

    He is equally able to help ambitious companies grow as well as helping all parties in the supply market with navigating change, embracing technology and creating new propositions.

    Read on for an overview of the recent ILC ClaimsTech event and his thoughts on the huge technological changes that are affecting the claims industry.

    CLICK TO READ THE EVENT HIGHLIGHTS DOCUMENT

  2. ClaimsTech 2019: Speaker Insight – Dr Nicola Millard, Principal Innovation Partner at BT

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    We were delighted to be joined at our recent ClaimsTech conference by Dr Nicola Millard, Principal Innovation Partner at BT.

    She explored the trends transforming digital customer experience highlighting the ‘3 Us’ test – useful, usable and used. However, quoting professor Alan Dix, Birmingham University, she declared ‘What is useful and usable isn’t always used!’

    To watch her in action on the day click here 

    Highlighting research – The Digital Customer 2017 – and the ever-increasing trend for digital customers, Nicola said, ‘Customers are seeking simplicity: digital customers want easy journeys – and that is likely even more relevant when it comes to insurance.’

    Nicola went on to focus on how smartphones are becoming more important in the digital experience and how apps have previously provided a ‘solution’ yet often missed the mark. To this end, Nicola pointed at how micro-apps were now becoming the ‘go to’ customer engagement solution, providing quick, personalised, omni-channel, fully integrated interaction.

    ‘Omni channel solutions are important because customers make decisions on engagement at each stage of the journey based on their motivation, context and attitude,’ explained Nicola. ‘Customers in crisis do not deal well with complexity – they want a simple and straightforward service which is more often than not a phone call, and that’s regardless of generational behaviours.’

    One area Nicola drew attention to as a real opportunity for customer engagement was video which she claimed can ‘transform the customer experience’. Referring to it as personalised video as a service, Nicola highlighted how one major financial services provider has achieved a 400% increase in loan sales by implementing such strategy.

    For another video clip from her presentation just click here

    BT itself has implemented SightCall, allowing it to deliver a ‘see what I see’ experience to the customer, saving on simple connectivity solutions.

    Nicola then described how ‘chat is where it’s at’, citing how 65% of the research participants want chat support when faced with a problem.

    She also referenced how 73% believe chatbots will help companies improve their customer service yet how 74% were in favour of human agents checking the more complicated responses.

    ‘Chatbots certainly have appeal but with checks and balances from human agents. They work for simple queries by steering customer through the ‘known knowns’ but currently struggle with complexity – intelligent routing is the key to customer experience,’ explained Nicola.

    Nicola rounded her session by pointing to how consumers are impressed by proactive service and more open to sharing information if it is of benefit to them but warned: ‘engage with customers but do not annoy them – too much contact just becomes creepy.’

    A highly informative and insightful presentation with some very positive delegate feedback post event.

  3. Industry Leader Interview: Mick Jennings, Managing Director, Nationwide Vehicle Recovery Assistance

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    Nationwide Vehicle Recovery Assistance is a prime illustration of the saying ‘great oaks from little acorns grow’ and is testament to one man’s recognition of a void within the industry and a strong determination to fix it. Here we speak with Mick Jennings, one of the unsung heroes of the motor claims repair industry and founder of the UK’s, and one of Europe’s, largest vehicle transportation networks.

    The idea for Nationwide Vehicle Recovery Assistance (NVRA) was formulated by founder and managing director, Mick Jennings in 2010 whilst he was training to become an OEM insurance franchise operator. With some 25 years’ experience from within the automotive space already under his belt – the vast majority being within the vehicle recovery sector but also having spent time within repairer and claims circles – Mick was only too aware of many of the industry’s inter-connected, yet often disjointed, processes and it was this that led him to his ‘eureka’ moment.

    ‘When I started looking more in depth at the overall claims process and, more specifically, how a vehicle was managed right from the point of incident it became obvious there was tremendous leakage within the system,’ explained Mick. ‘I immediately set about creating a solution to the problem and here we are today.’

    Working in partnership

    And that ‘today’ sees NVRA providing its services to 32 vehicle manufacturers, seven insurance companies, three truck manufacturers, eight accident aftercare organisations, a number of large bodyshop groups and several salvage operators. The business directly employs more than 200 staff and has some 1,000 PAS43 accredited recovery agents across the UK with access to 40,000 recovery vehicles under its umbrella. Contributing to part of that impressive set-up is Mick’s own recovery outfit – LJ Transportation – which operates 250 recovery vehicles alone and this year (2019) celebrates its 10-year anniversary.

    In a typical day across the NVRA network in the UK between 400-500 recoveries are made. And it doesn’t stop there because NVRA also provides vehicle repatriation coverage across several regions within Europe and has a European headquarters in Holland.

    Start-up

    In his typical understated style, Mick makes the start-up of NVRA sound a doddle – ‘I started with a little transit recovery van and we went from there’. However, Mick’s simple explanation is a far cry from the reality which entailed years of hard work, tireless education of the supply chain and a willingness to disrupt the roadside recovery, vehicle storage and general vehicle movement sectors. At the same time, Mick also put his money where his mouth is and invested significant sums into ownership of recovery units; creation of a robust and trustworthy network of operators; and developing an IT infrastructure, including some highly intelligent technology, to support it all.

    ‘Our very first client was Scania who utilised our services for fuel transfer,’ explained Mick, who puts that jump-start purely down to his past reputation within the industry. ‘The real breakthrough started to come when we got talking with vehicle manufacturers and explaining how they were losing work at first notification of loss (FNOL) stage.’

    Volumes of repair

    Mick said, ‘One of the first vehicle manufacturers to talk to us had a great body and paint programme in place but simply couldn’t understand why they were not managing greater volumes of repair through their own approved network despite the fact they were handling a good proportion of FNOL.

    ‘On investigation, it turned out that this particular vehicle manufacturer sub-let their recovery to national solutions provider who, in turn, sub-contracted the work to regional recovery fleets. The result was huge leakage from the system as many of these local providers had their own commercial relationships in place with repairers, storage and salvage operators. When we explained this to vehicle manufacturer in question and illustrated just how we could help resolve the issue it was as if someone had switched a lightbulb on.

    ‘It was a classic case of you don’t know what you don’t know.’

     Quadrupled volume

    On adoption of Mick’s recovery management solution, the vehicle manufacturer in question quadrupled the volume of repairs going through its own network within three months. It’s been a similar story for many subsequent vehicle manufacturers opting to use NVRA’s services since. ‘We’re now at a place where we can guarantee zero leakage from any network, as long as we receive FNOL,’ said Mick. And the same NVRA provisions are now very much a part of insurance companies’ armoury alike.

    A key to the success has been NVRA’s ‘holistic’ approach to vehicle recovery and its consideration to the supply chain, both upstream and downstream, that it serves. ‘Leakage within any process or system creates cost,’ explained Mick, ‘and the vehicle claims process is most certainly no exception to this rule, in fact arguably more prone to it than many other sectors.’

    With this in mind, one of Mick’s very first tasks when he started NVRA was to establish a call centre – something which remains core to the business today in managing communications on behalf of clients. The business provides round the clock coverage, ensuring it recovers vehicles and provides temporary storage ready for next day process activation by those parties involved in the claims process ie claims handler and repairer or salvage agent. It’s a vital piece of the jigsaw to ensure the business achieves any given clients service level agreement.

    Specialist teams

    In a bid to continue to support its customers, over the years Mick has built a specialist team around him to ensure that all aspects of the surrounding supply chain are catered for including vehicle manufacturers, insurance, claims, commercial vehicles, salvage, repair and now even electric vehicle specialists. The latter has seen the creation of a dedicated EV recovery network.

    ‘Each party wants to achieve the same overarching goal of catering for the customers’ needs in the most timely, efficient and cost-effective way but each entity wants something slightly different out of that equation,’ explained Mick. ‘Our job is to help initiate the claims process and pave the way for the rest of the supply chain to deliver on their specific function.’

    According to Mick, NVRA’s role is simple: enable insurers to mitigate costs through the elimination of unnecessary vehicle movements and full management of vehicle storage; allow vehicle manufacturers to retain the direct relationship with their customers and own brand vehicles; and ensure bodyshops only get work directed onsite which is repairable – anything else goes straight to most of the major salvage companies.

    Way beyond

    But NVRA’s service provision goes way beyond ‘simple’ recovery and distribution of vehicles. With agile, intelligent and secure IT supporting operations, NVRA’s business partners have API capabilities to allow real time data transfer and intelligence to be shared.

    Moreover, and this is where the most important element of any claim lies, NVRA’s technology means it can connect direct to a driver in the event of an accident. This it does via text message to provide reassurance, pinpoint exact location, make the driver aware of the process currently taking place, and explain exactly who is on their way and what will happen. It’s a real jewel in the crown and another fine illustration of how the business takes a holistic approach to its operations and understands the ‘stress’ points relevant to all parties.

    This understanding nature of the business is also part of the reason NVRA provides implant service operators to specific clients and offers bodyshops a direct dial inward service for out of hours calls – it’s all designed to provide a seamless solution and create a ‘pain-free’ customer experience.

    ‘Quite simply, our role is to reduce unnecessary friction, remove layers of cost and speed claims settlements for all parties,’ said Mick. ‘I’m very proud of what the team has created here but one thing is for sure we do not stand still – we might be big, but we are agile enough to move at speed in order to adapt and evolve with the market. And in the ever-evolving automotive space, you need to be just that.’

  4. Industry Leader Interview – Mark Bull FIMI, Managing Director of Auto Body Projects and Trend Tracker Limited

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    We’ve been chatting to Mark Bull FIMI, Managing Director of Auto Body Projects and Trend Tracker Limited.

    How did you get to where you are today?

    I guess it started back in 1979 when I first entered the automotive industry as an apprentice with Leicestershire Co-operative. In a relatively short time-frame I rose from being an apprentice to a position of group manager for fleet, transport and retail garages, including a number of bodyshops, by the time I parted with the company in 1996.

    I then enjoyed 7 years at the RMI as National Manager for the Bodyshop Services and Independent Garages divisions, before moving back into the commercial world as UK Network Manager at Zurich Insurance.

    In 2006 an opportunity arose to become director at Auto Body Professionals Club where I remained as co-owner until July 2017.  In conjunction, I also became owner/director of Auto Body Projects, which I continue to trade through today.

    Having decided to move on to pastures new following a challenging period toward the latter end of my time as co-owner of Auto Body Professionals Club, I now enjoy a healthy work/life balance and have been delighted with ‘project Trend Tracker’; an opportunity that I saw approximately 18 months ago, which added to my Auto Body Projects consultancy business.

    What’s the biggest challenge facing the industry?

    There are many challenges faced by body repairers, motor insurers and suppliers alike, but to deal with these and to appreciate respective positions, one of the biggest challenges continues to be that of communication and positive engagement by all stakeholders.

    How are you and your business dealing with this?

    Trend Tracker’s recently published ‘Future of the UK Car Body Repair Market 2019-2024’ provides independent market research and analysis around many of the challenges, which aids constructive dialogue to be based on evidence, rather than hearsay.

    Via Auto Body Projects, the aim is to engage with like-minded people/businesses in open and transparent dialogue to develop a more rounded understanding of respective positions and requirements.

    You’ve become a strategic partner for the new ARC 360 event, explain your reasons why?

    Firstly, I was delighted to be approached to be a strategic partner and it appears clear to me the market is seeking an innovative, fresh and a more dynamic approach to networking; ARC 360 is a vehicle that has an aspiration to listen to what the market wants and deliver upon it. That’s the simple attraction for me, helping to deliver what the market wants.

    Out of your business achievements, what are you most proud of and why? 

    That’s a difficult one as I’ve enjoyed much of my working career, always looking to enhance each business that I’ve had the privilege of working for, but with the Trend Tracker market report being my most recent accomplishment, I’m extremely proud of the final result – the final ‘Future of the UK Body Repair Market’ report – which analyses where we are today within the accident repair and motor insurance industries.

    What advice would you give to anyone starting out in the industry? 

    Be willing, be aspirational, be hard working, ethical in your approach and never doubt your own abilities; be knowledgeable, likeable and respectful along the way and don’t tolerate mediocrity, it’ll only hold you back!  …and if you become unhappy with those around you, move on!

    If you could change anything what would you do to make the industry “Better tomorrow”?

    Although the motor insurance and repair industries have been labeled as dysfunctional, I feel that both do an incredible job in their respective markets. Embrace new technologies, develop creative solutions and encourage meaningful cross-business or cross-industry communication.

    What’s your top tip for being productive?

    That’s fairly simple, application and focus.

    What gadget can’t you live without?

    I’d like to think I’m not dependent on gadgets, I’m not materialistic in that way, however we’ve all become slaves to our smartphones, so that’s the go-to gadget I guess; I do prefer to pick-up my guitar though!

    Talent or Perseverance? 

    Perseverance. If you have the talent, perseverance will see it shine through.

    What do you do to switch off or escape from work?

    Just the norm here. I’m a big Leeds United fan and that’s far more stressful than anything related to work!  Music, especially live music, golf, sport, theatre and holidays with family are the other extra-curricular activities that I enjoy when switching off, ooh and I’ve been known to like the odd beer to relax as well!

  5. World’s Largest Car Rental Provider Introduces Entegral Technology Solution

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    Integrated Software Platform Drives Insurance Replacement Collaboration

    Enterprise Holdings today launched Entegral, the new name for its integrated software solution that streamlines the post-accident process to assist service providers working to get their customer on their way and back into a vehicle.

    The technology platform, formerly known as ARMS® Business Solutions (ABS), enables communication and collaboration between tens of thousands of collision repair shops, insurance providers and other industry professionals around the world.

    “The insurance claims process is complex, and with Entegral, our goal is to connect everyone involved so they can work quickly and efficiently to make things easier for customers,” said Olly Chambers, Head of Commercial Development, Entegral Europe.

    “In fact, our customers will continue to receive the same great services they are accustomed to with no interruption. However, the new name captures the spirit of the technology, combining the strength of Enterprise, the integral role we play in the industry and the integrity we strive to bring to every customer and partner interaction.”

    Owned by Enterprise Holdings, the world’s largest car rental provider and operator of the Enterprise Rent-A-Car brand, Entegral complements the value of Enterprise’s acclaimed Automated Rental Management System (ARMS) software.

    Introduced in 1999, ARMS connects insurance providers, collision repair shops and dealership partners so they can efficiently and effectively manage their rental programs from their desktops. Entegral helps manage the claims process beyond car rental and enhances the customer experience from the moment after an accident to the completion of the claim.

    Entegral is used by more than 50 leading insurance providers, a number of OEMs and more than 20,000 bodyshops globally. It is an industry-leading source of data and insight and, as more technology is integrated in cars, Entegral will become one of the industry’s most trusted sources of repair provider capability.

    “Entegral is a solutions-based platform,” said Chris Ashworth, Managing Director for Entegral Europe. “We remain steadfast in our longtime commitment of safeguarding the privacy of collision repair data, and also to supporting open access to data, benefiting all parties involved.”

    In addition, Enterprise Holdings has made an investment in Entegral and relies on the platform to support its fleet of more than two million vehicles, using its software in practical application every day on the largest fleet in the world.

    The Entegral system builds upon Enterprise’s more than 60-year legacy of helping customers get where they need to go after their vehicle is lost or damaged. It started with the company’s flagship business, car rental, in 1957, then grew with the founding of ARMS and, later, the merger of Cyncast Inc. and Performance Gateway, LLC, both acquired by Enterprise Holdings in 2007 and 2014, respectively.

    From there, Enterprise took a long-term approach to further invest significantly in research and technology to ensure a successful pairing of the two renowned applications. The pairing in 2017 formed the foundation of the ABS platform, now named Entegral.

    Entegral is headquartered in Madison, Wisconsin, and has made investments in talent and technology in Madison, Wisconsin; St. Louis, Missouri; Anaheim, California; and the UK.

    For more information about Entegral, visit www.entegral.co.uk

    About Enterprise Holdings

    Enterprise Holdings, Inc., manages the largest and most diverse privately-owned fleet in the world through an integrated network of more than 10,000 fully staffed neighborhood and airport rental locations. This global network of independent regional subsidiaries and franchises also operates the Enterprise Rent-A-Carbrand – as well as the National Car Rentaland Alamo Rent A Carbrands – in 100 countries and territories. Combined, Enterprise Holdings and its affiliate Enterprise Fleet Management, which currently manage more than two million vehicles and employ 100,000 worldwide, accounted for $25.9 billion in revenue in fiscal year 2019. Enterprise Holdings currently is ranked as one of America’s Largest Private Companiesand if it were publicly traded, would rank on Fortune’slist of the 500 largest American public companies.

  6. New research highlights how vehicle damage patterns act as fraud indicators in staged accidents

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    23/09/19

     

    As part of its sponsorship of the 2019 Institute of Traffic Accident Investigators [ITAI] Crash Test and Research Day, e2e Total Loss Vehicle Management [e2e] arranged for specific research to be undertaken into low speed, fraudulent, staged accidents.  Analysis from the crash tests has shown how the forensic examination of vehicle damage patterns can be used to identify staged accidents and support insurers in detecting and repudiating fraudulent ‘Crash for Cash’ claims.  Anecdotally, when forensic examiners are instructed on appropriately assessed claims, the instruction to success ratio in terms of identifying fraud is 1:2.  Currently, however, forensic examiners are not typically instructed on low speed crash claims. 

         

    A staged accident is where fraudsters crash their own vehicles together to mimic damage from a genuine crash.  They then go on to make an insurance claim fabricating the details of the accident. Together with vehicle damage, the claim may include personal injury, the need for car hire at excessive daily rates, recovery and storage.   The Crash Test Day research carefully replicated some staged accidents and genuine accidents using identical vehicles and accident scenarios in order to compare the resulting damage patterns.  The differing damage patterns showed clear evidence of a genuine collision and a staged collision. 

     

    Insurers can draw on their standard fraud indicators, together with available engineering evidence at FNOL in order to root out potential staged accidents.  e2e is offering to facilitate training for FNOL claims handlers and vehicle accidental damage assessors, provided by the ITAI, at its member sites across the UK or insurer offices.  The training will equip attendees to understand what to look for in the claim account related to profile of damage, location, angle of engagement and numerous other engineering indicators, in order to identify potential Crash for Cash and confidently instruct a forensic examination of the vehicle(s).  

     

    Neil Joslin, Chief Operating Officer at e2e said: “Our insurer clients are challenged by rising motor claims costs and motor fraud.  According to the latest ABI statistics, motor claims fraud cost insurers £629 million in 2018.  We saw an opportunity, through our partnership with the ITAI, to facilitate crash tests that would interrogate low impact collisions and we hoped to provide critical insights into staged accidents.  We are delighted that the research has highlighted claims fraud indicators that can be of value to the insurance counter fraud community.”  

     

    Chair of the ITAI, Jon Stubbs, comments: “We were pleased to conduct this research for e2e and demonstrate some of the engineering fraud indicators available to insurers to combat ‘Crash for Cash’ fraud.  Our members are forensic experts who will examine vehicle surface damage and contact points together with structural damage.  Much can be learned from the vehicle’s post-crash condition and additional consideration is given to many aspects such as vehicle dynamics, impact speeds, air bag and seatbelt pre-tensioner deployment to assist with consistency of claimed circumstances and occupancy.  The key is instructing the forensic examination as early as possible in the claims process to avoid loss or deterioration of evidence.”

     

    -Ends-

     

    Editors notes:

    Example Crash Test and Damage Patterns

    In a typical staged accident, the claimant will state they were established on the road and travelling straight ahead normally, when a vehicle pulled out of a side road and hits the side of their vehicle.  When staging the collision the fraudsters will drive one vehicle into the side of another whilst it is stationary.  The research shows that the damage this creates is a localised area of impact and vertically aligned contact marks on the claimant vehicle.  These vertical marks indicate that the struck vehicle was stationary at the time of impact.  In a genuine collision there would be a broad area of scuff marks which extend from the initial point of contact along the length of the vehicle in a front to rear direction.  The damage patterns are therefore not consistent with the claimant’s account of the accident and indicate a staged accident.

     

    Further evidence can be sourced from the defendant vehicle in the claim.  The contact marks on the striking vehicle in a staged accident will also be localised with no horizontal abrasion marks extending across its front.  In a genuine collision, there should be horizontal contact and abrasion marks extending from one side of the vehicle to the other, depending on the direction of travel of the claimant vehicle. The direction in which these contact and abrasion markings were caused should also be a consideration, as they may not travel in the right direction and indicate unrelated damage, or that the collision did not occur in the manner that has been suggested.  Such analysis is specialised and outside the scope of most damage assessors.  

     

                         

         Staged impact claimant vehicle                                      Genuine impact claimant vehicle

     

    Further evidence can be sourced from the defendant vehicle in the claim.  The contact marks on the striking vehicle in a staged accident will also be localised with no horizontal abrasion marks extending across its front.  In a genuine collision, there should be horizontal contact and abrasion marks extending from one side of the vehicle to the other, depending on the direction of travel of the claimant vehicle. The direction in which these contact and abrasion markings were caused should also be a consideration, as they may not travel in the right direction and indicate unrelated damage, or that the collision did not occur in the manner that has been suggested.  Such analysis is specialised and outside the scope of most damage assessors.  

                                   

     Staged impact defendant vehicle                                         Genuine impact defendant vehicle

     

    In a more sophisticated staged accident, the fraudster will try to create horizontal contact abrasion marking, to support the claimant vehicle was moving at the time of impact, by driving the claimant vehicle across the front of the defendant vehicle whilst they are still in contact.  This tactic can be identified because there are multiple impacts which create two areas of defined damage with horizontal contact marks overlaying the original vertical contact marks.

     

    For further information on e2e Total Loss Vehicle Management please visit www.e2etotalloss.com

    For further information on the Institute of Traffic Accident Investigators please visit www.itai.org

     

     

  7. Interview with Richard Steer, CEO, Steer Automotive Group

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    Industry Leader Interview – Richard Steer, CEO, Steer Automotive Group

    Making a measurable difference

    As if acquiring a bodyshop group, adding more sites to it and undertaking a complete business transformation strategy starting with a major rebrand wasn’t enough – how about conquering Everest Base Camp in the meantime too?

    Welcome to the world of serial industry entrepreneur, Richard Steer ex-managing director of LKQ Coatings and now owner of Steer Automotive Group. Here, we catch up with Richard to find out more about his whirlwind re-entry into the bodyshop domain.

    Richard’s industry links go back some 30 years when he first started out with ICI Paints but this latest chapter begins back in July 2018 when, following a chance conversation with then owner of Baldwins Repair Group – Steve Warner, Richard’s interest was piqued and he acquired the four-site accident repair group.

    He officially took up post at Baldwins Repair Group on 1 August 2018. This was then soon followed by the acquisition of Quicks ASR and Prestige Car Refinishing in Northampton, as well as the wheels being put in motion for the opening of a new site in Brackley. That site opened in April 2019.

    And all this at the same time raising £20,000 for the Royal British Legion with what Richard labelled as his ‘Big Hill Challenge’ which saw him trek to Everest Base Camp.

    To say it was a busy end to 2018 and a flying start to 2019 is quite an understatement.

    Paddling his own canoe

    So with eight sites, a host of insurer and vehicle manufacturer approvals, and 200 people currently operating under the Steer Automotive Group banner – a major group rebrand which took place in January 2019 and a cornerstone of the business transformation strategy – Richard is well on the way to fulfilling his key aim of ‘paddling his own canoe again’.

    ‘People might know me from my time within the distribution sector – most recently establishing and heading-up Euro Car Parts, LKQ Coatings operation, and previous to that, through my own distribution business – JCA Coatings,’ [which ECP acquired, along with five others, in 2013] explained Richard. ‘However, prior to that I ran a successful bodyshop for four years so I’m not a total stranger to this world.’

    However, clearly what does set Richard apart is his ‘journey’ to get to where he is today – a place, it’s fair to say, many within the industry certainly didn’t foresee him arriving at.

    ‘I’ve been fortunate to experience a variety of organisations – from corporate life to private equity owned companies and now back to owning my own business. Each has helped to shape the businessman I am today,’ explained Richard, who it’s no surprise to say has an infinite eye for detail and knows the ‘numbers’ of his business and the wider industry inside out.

    ‘The repair industry is changing at a faster pace than ever before and with that stems opportunity. It is our mission to create something unique, hence our motto of delivering a ‘measurably different repair experience’. The key components of repair do not change – labour, parts and paint – and, fundamentally, repairers are all selling the same thing but what is different is the way in which you deliver it.’

    Time is the key

    The key here, according to Richard, is time. ‘Time is the driver within the repair industry – your hour is critical,’ explained Richard. ‘As someone once told me, ‘you can’t sell today’s time tomorrow’ and I have taken that piece of advice with me throughout my career.’

    However, as you might imagine with his business pedigree, Richard is very aware of the pitfalls of focusing too much attention purely on time and points to how repairers and work partners can all too often be ‘too busy’ focusing on arguably irrelevant KPIs and labour rates whilst overall brand experience, operating culture and service levels suffer.

    ‘There has to be trust within any partnership and that is earned,’ explained Richard. ‘Too often within this industry we get hardwired in focusing on a certain area when the reality is, we need to take a far more holistic approach and looking at the whole picture.

    ‘I think much of this comes down to engagement and we, as repairers, need to ensure we’re at the ‘top table’ having these high-level discussions with other industry stakeholders.

    ‘Part of our key strategic aim is to work in true partnership with our clients to ensure we’re providing a consistent brand experience that matches the different and changing needs of our customers – both the insurer and the driver.’

    Removal of frictional costs

    A key component of that proposition delivery is the removal of any frictional costs, an area Richard believes provides one of the greatest opportunities, industry wide, to bring about improvements.

    ‘The overriding aim of any supply chain is to operate as one seamless entity with each individual component adding value along the way. By removing duplication of processes and managing our own individual areas of expertise, naturally the entire system speeds up and assists in removing the unnecessary additional costs,’ explained Richard. ‘If we can get a driver back in their car quicker, safely and economically, then our customers are happy.

    Along with focusing attentions on the opportunity to add value back into the supply chain, Richard is also addressing what he believes to be one of the industry’s greatest challenges – skills shortages and a ‘chronic lack of staff’. His pro-active stance now sees the business evaluating the creation of the Steer Automotive Group training academy and apprenticeship programme in order to develop its own talent pool to drive a sustainable business.

    The business has also introduced a wide range of initiatives and employee benefits aimed at improving employee engagement, which claims Richard is ‘already reaping rewards’.

    Taking stock

    With the business already having undergone such a rapid transformation and with Richard’s entrepreneurial spirit now guiding the way, there are many within the industry trying to second guess Steer Automotive Group’s next move or long-term strategy but for now, at least, it’s all about taking stock.

    ‘Our initial target was eight sites with a £25m turnover which is our current run rate,’ said Richard. ‘It’s now time to take stock, assess the status quo and ensure we’re in line with our overriding strategy of providing ‘a measurably different repair experience’. We want our core proposition finely tuned before we consider our next move.’

    Richard continued, ‘There is no rigid plan in place to get to a certain scale and the market is simply too fluid at present to allow that anyway. However, I do see lots of opportunities to work with our customers to meet their evolving needs and we’re exploring different ways in which we can do this. These opportunities will drive our growth strategy.’

  8. Rob Smale – Navigating the changes ahead for the Motor Claims Community

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    Rob Smale is a highly experienced Non Executive Director who has had a huge impact on the Claims Industry over the past 23 years.

    His experience of leading large change projects especially in the motor claims arena makes his insight and expertise valuable to companies who want to be prepared, informed and ready to navigate the changes that we are facing into as a claims community.

    Click on the below button to find out in more detail how he feels the forthcoming adoption of digital technologies will play out for the motor claims industry.

    Rob Smale PDF

    Rob’s experience and expertise are second to none. To contact Rob and discuss how he could help your organisation in the future please connect with him on LinkedIn.

  9. S&G Response announced as new ILC Motor Corporate Partner

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    We’re excited to announce that we have a new Corporate Partner. S&G Response provides industry leading automotive solutions, to stakeholders in the UK motor market including insurers, brokers, intermediaries and motor manufacturers.

    Having recently celebrated their 10thanniversary, S&G Response have over a decade of experience in managing automotive services, delivering bespoke solutions that undertake the challenges their clients face. As drivers of digital innovation, S&G Response have a strong focus on providing a first class customer journey through technology, convenience and 360° feedback.

    S&G Response boasts an established repair network of 235 accredited repairers, inclusive of a 58 strong specialist HGV repair network.

    Over 78,000 claims were processed in 2017 and the following year saw a whopping 120,000 claims processed. Presently, in 2019, the business is set for further growth with some teams having more than doubled in size.

    S&G Response is now ranked 68 among the 75 Best Companies to work for in the North-West.  From the encouragement of progression through learning and professional qualifications, to fundraising and awareness building for charities and local community initiatives, it is clear S&G Response is leading by example in all areas.

    ‘Innovative Simplicity’ is the cornerstone of S&G Response, both in people, process and Service provision.

    Andy Whatmough,Director of Director at S&G Response said:

    “ILC has proven itself to be the pre-eminent forum for claims professionals and we a delighted to join a host of existing customers and suppliers in supporting the ambitions of the organisation.  Having attended a number of ILC events over the years we enjoyed the calibre of the debate from the various stakeholders with the insurance sector.  Furthermore, we were drawn by the attention on Corporate & Social Responsibility with a focus on raising money for good causes which is something that aligns with our own core values.”

    Chris Ashworth, Chairman & Founder of ILC, said:

    “It’s great to welcome S & G Response as one of our Corporate Partners. Their commitment to technological innovation, focus on customer centricity and industry leading status will be hugely beneficial for all of the ILC community. We are really looking forward to their involvement in our forthcoming motor events – ARC 360 this year and then our Motor Networking Lunch and Motor Claims Conference in 2020.”

    At ILC conferences and events, Corporate Partners take advantage of a wide range of sponsorship opportunities to build brand awareness. Corporate Partners are also members of ILC Round-Table Forums where leaders in the industry debate important topics.

    S&G Response joins a group of prestigious companies from within the Motor Claims Industry.

    Contact:

    For more information about becoming an ILC Corporate Partner, please contact Rachael Hunt (rachael@iloveclaims.com)

  10. Interview with Ryan Mandell, Director of Claims Performance, Mitchell International Inc

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    Mark Hadaway, Co-founder of ARC360 and ILC team member has been chatting to Ryan Mandell, Director of Claims Performance, Auto Physical Damage Solutions, Mitchell International Inc – one of our Motor Conference speakers.

    Mitchell International’s director of claims performance, Auto Physical Damage Solutions, Ryan Mandell is a man with his finger on the pulse of the industry, both in North America and across the globe.

    Having worked his way up from the shop floor and seeing the industry from several different perspectives en route to where he is now, Ryan believes that the one thing that really counts in today’s often challenging world of automotive claims is a ‘proper and safe’ repair.

    With exposure to insurance, OEM and repair markets, Ryan’s observations of the industry are relatively straightforward: ‘There is, without doubt, going to be more focus on proper and safe repairs as we continue to move into the technological automotive era. And we at Mitchell want to be at the very heart of that.’

    OEM key area of focus

    With already strong ties to OEMs, including OEM specific repair methodology on its estimating platform as well as OEM parts listings, Ryan strongly believes this is a key area for continued focus in the future, not just for Mitchell but the industry as a whole. OEMs are also looking to enter into the repair space by providing greater oversight and influence over the collision repair process, in order to enhance their customer experience and develop brand loyalty – something that is of great commercial value ($5bn per percentage point of overall automotive market share) to them.

    ‘We are focused on furthering our partnerships with OEMs by highlighting to users of our systems OEM approved repair networks and, also, ensuring OEM data is at the forefront of repair activity,’ explained Ryan. As part of this effort, Mitchell has introduced critical repair methods/parts descriptions within some of its estimating solutions aimed at helping to facilitate proper and safe repairs.

    Innovative technology influencing change

    The driving force behind this alignment with OEMs has been accelerated in recent years by the rapid increase of innovative technology, and advanced construction materials and methodologies. This has resulted, certainly across North America, in an unequivocal increase in repair costs. In the US market, this has been further influenced by the ‘massive shift away’ from passenger cars to SUVs and light trucks, resulting in 12-15% uplift in average repair costs over the past two years.

    Without doubt we are seeing repair costs increase,’ said Ryan, ‘but with that, as advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) becomes increasingly ubiquitous, we anticipate volumes will start to decrease. Interestingly, accident frequency has been relatively flat in the past few years, off-setting the impact of ADAS, as a result of the rise in distracted driving.’

    He continued, ‘However, we do envisage claims decreasing in the coming years but as this happens there will likely be a rise in severity, and therefore individual job costs, as increasingly complex systems and technologies are impacted. Take a BMW, for example, a repair on a 2019 model is a completely different repair to what would have been specified on a 2010 model, and likely double the cost.’

    Rising parts prices contributing to costs

    Rising parts prices is one contributing factor for the increase in repair costs according to Ryan. He referenced how the industry parts price index had seen relatively consistent inflation between 2003 – 2013, stagnating in 2014, before increasing significantly year-on-year since. He also aligned this with the fact that in 2018, some 43.2% of estimates included vehicles constructed with some kind of ‘special materials’ – lightweight substrates such as aluminium and carbon fibre that reduce the overall weight of the vehicle and provide greater energy absorption, but also reduce the repairability of the components themselves in the event of an accident. This compared to 6.45% in 2012.

    ‘Modern vehicle repair is as much about, if not more, what we cannot physically see as what we can,’ said Ryan. The requirement for diagnostic scanning is also now apparent in around one third of estimates today and this, according to Ryan, is a critical area that provides insight into the systems impacted in a collision and the steps needed to fully execute a proper and safe repair.

    Fully automated processes on the way

    This is one of the reasons the much-heralded advent of fully automated processes, including estimate generation and approval, is truly yet to have landed. However, it is undoubtedly on the way and Mitchell, through a wide range of partnerships with insurance carriers, has been feeding its artificial intelligence systems with hundreds of millions of historical images and data in readiness.

    ‘We could implement a fully automated claims journey tomorrow, but the fidelity level would not be where we need it to be,’ explained Ryan, ‘in reality we are a couple of years away from achieving a completely automated process, but there is no doubt it is coming.’

    It is the idea of extracting humans out of the loop that is often met with resistance within the market but according to Ryan this should not be feared – and, in fact, in his opinion, embraced as it will add actually add human value back into the process. ‘Fully automated estimating processes will only really be suitable for low severity/low complexity claims. There will still be a sub-set of collisions requiring human expertise allowing assessors and engineers to get back to what they really want to do and use their expertise,’ said Ryan.

    ‘We must remember, vehicle repair is so highly complex, with many decisions made during every process, human intervention will undoubtedly be required on certain highly involved cases providing the best outcome for all concerned.’

    Technician roles to become highly sought after

    Ryan firmly believes that despite the current skills crisis throughout the industry, the role of vehicle technician will once again become a highly sought-after vocation, but it will take a concerted effort from the industry to achieve it. ‘With all that is happening with advancements within automotive, I’m optimistic that in the next five years the role of a technician will be popular. The complexity of systems will attract a different type of technician but that will also have a positive impact on attracting more craft-oriented skillsets too. I just think the whole dynamic will change and eventually remuneration will start to increase.’

    Ryan too has a positive outlook for repairers and feels a great opportunity exists to truly understand repair capabilities. ‘There is lots of misinformation within the market about what can and cannot be done,’ explained Ryan. ‘I actually feel there is a great opportunity to be able to repair more with a greater focus on retaining the original integrity of the vehicle – a win for all in my opinion. Repair facilities that understand and embrace this will be the ones who benefit.’

    Despite this, more importantly than anything, Ryan remains resolute of the priority for the industry in general. He said, ‘We all have a responsibility to ensure proper and safe repairs. We need to refocus our attention to making sure we restore customers’ lives.’