Canadian Underwriter

Quebec auto insurance group launches online tool explaining steps of the claims settlement process

March 30, 2015   by Canadian Underwriter

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An auto insurance group in Quebec unveiled a new online tool on Monday that explains to drivers who’ve had an accident or had their car stolen, or suffered any other loss, what they need to know step by step.

Web tool guides drivers through the claims settlement process

The Groupement des assureurs automobiles (GAA) announced the auto claims settlement tool, a web resource that helps drivers through the claims settlement process, suggests several possible scenarios, and answers many of their questions. “It may not always seem obvious what needs to be done after suffering a loss that involves your car,” the GAA said in a release. “Should you call the police? Who establishes liability? Can you choose your repair shop? Do you get new parts or used parts? How is a total loss established?”

This user-friendly tool was designed to meet a need among consumers to be well-informed and well-prepared when something goes wrong, the release said, adding that questions about auto claims settlement accounted for nearly a quarter of all auto insurance calls received by the Insurance Information Centre (IIC) in 2014.

“We realized this topic was of great interest to drivers who call IIC,” said Line Crevier, supervisor, technical affairs and insurance information centre at GAA. “More specifically, the questions about claims settlement involved the direct compensation agreement, damage appraisal and the Fichier central des sinistres automobiles, a database that tracks losses. Our tool addresses and explains these three topics.” [click image below to enlarge]

The tool suggests several possible scenarios and answers questionsThe tool is broken down into four categories, each of which contains subcategories:

• At the time of the accident – fender bender, accident with injuries and theft or hit and run;

• Claim – collision, theft or hit and run, liability and claims file (FCSA);

• Damage appraisal – appraisal, total loss and flood damage vehicle; and

• Repairs – new or recycled parts and body shop.

For example, with a simple fender bender, there is no need to call the police. A joint report should be used to report the accident to the insurer. If the report is not handy, the GAA advises exchanging the following information with the other driver: name, address, telephone number, driver’s licence and registration certificate numbers, and insurer contact information.

In cases where a vehicle is declared a total loss, the insurer must give it a status, which will be registered with the Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ). A vehicle could be declared unrebuildable: the vehicle cannot be rebuilt, which means it cannot be repaired and made roadworthy, but it can be sold for parts. Alternatively, a severely damaged vehicle can be rebuilt. However, it must be inspected by a SAAQ-mandated garage before it can be registered and driven again.

In 2013 in Quebec alone, more than 600,000 auto insurance claims were made to insurers, the GAA reported in the release.

All auto insurers doing business in Quebec are members of GAA. The group’s mission is to actively participate in developing the automobile insurance industry in Quebec and to safeguard consumers’ interests, by guaranteeing them access to insurance, streamlining the claims settlement process and promoting fair and equitable premiums based on published statistical data.

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