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Four Benefits of Integrating Mobile Crash Detection and Accident Management

The accident claims experience is the moment of truth for any insurer, and it represents a crucial touchpoint for building customer loyalty. While accidents are stressful (and costly) events, only about half of drivers end up filing a claim. Of those, just one in ten provide first notice of loss (FNOL) from the accident scene. The result is a longer, less efficient claims process for all involved.

Current FNOL inputs tend to be rudimentary, often based on lengthy telephone conversations with the policyholder in the days following the accident and requiring additional verification and assessments. This delayed FNOL can lead to far higher costs and longer claims cycle times. When an insurer lacks FNOL and cannot initiate a primary tow, on scene police will instead contact a municipal tower to place the vehicle in storage, where it may sit for up to six days and require additional transport to the repair shop. This prolonged process is costly for the insurer – adding up to $1,050 to each claim – and frustrating to policyholders.

Mobile crash detection technology is designed to solve these problems. Today’s smartphones are equipped with sensors that can detect speed, direction and sudden stops caused by a crash the moment it occurs. However, detection alone is not enough. To reap the benefits of this technology, insurers must weave together the technical (e.g., machine learning algorithms, data, etc.) and the physical (e.g., human agents that dispatch emergency services, coordinate towing, etc.).

A cross-functional understanding is required to successfully bridge the divide between the innovation side of the business and those handling logistics on the claims side of the organization. If the technology is integrated within an insurer’s mobile application, it can notify an agent that a crash has occurred. This takes the decision to file a claim out of the driver’s hands and makes accident scene recovery more efficient. And that is the sweet spot where crash detection technology can offer several clear benefits for insurers and policyholders alike, including:

  1. Peace of mind for policyholders. If a crash is detected, the app will trigger a mobile alert on the driver’s phone to see if they’re okay and confirm if there’s been an accident. In the event the driver does not respond, an agent will call the driver directly. If they’re unable to connect with the driver, it’s assumed that they are unresponsive, and the agent will then work with local authorities to dispatch emergency services. Policyholders have peace of mind knowing that their insurer is looking out for them.
  2. More accurate liability determination. Subsequent crash reconstruction data not only sheds light on the collision itself but the events leading up to the crash – including whether the driver was talking, texting, or using an app on their phone, overall vehicle speed, if the brakes were engaged before the collision, etc. This data, coupled with the existing claims investigation process, empowers insurers to limit ambiguity in determining liability, reducing the chances of claims disputes and litigation.
  3. Reduced loss costs and expenses. In instances where a claim will be filed, agent-directed accident scene management best practices are initiated to control costs. This enables the insurer to capture more vehicles at the scene and tow them directly to direct repair program (DRP) facilities, saving insurers up to $850 per event compared to tows sourced by police or policyholders. This also reduces cycle time by keeping the vehicle “in-network” at DRP facilities.
  4. Quicker and easier claims process. Policyholders that do not require medical attention will be given an opportunity to begin the claims process sooner, expediting the claims resolution timeline. While the agent confirms accident details, the customer’s driving behavior data (customer permission, opt-in) collected from their smartphone is sent to the accident management platform. This provides much of the information needed to determine cause and assign liability, reducing the time and effort policyholders must commit to claims paperwork. Having this detailed and accurate information can expedite the claims process by an average of 3 to 5 days.

While some claims costs are inevitable following an accident, with the right processes in place many costs can be controlled for a more efficient, seamless and digital process. Mobile crash detection technology integrated within the accident management platform can be a powerful tool for enhancing policyholder touchpoints and giving insurers more control at the scene of an accident. From initial detection to the evidence gathering to the transport of the vehicle, the result is faster and less costly claims – not to mention more loyal customers.


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