January 31, 2016 by Angela Stelmakowich, Editor
An initiative born of the need to standardize items appearing on the first notice of loss (FNOL) assignment from the insurer to the repairer – first announced at last year’s Canadian Collision Industry Forum (CCIF) – is kicking into gear, with several insurers expected to adopt the new approach by mid-2016.
“Insurers involved are committed to moving to a new standard as is reasonable, and each insurer is working internally to define a plan to transition to the new approach,” past CCIF chairman Larry Jefferies reported to a record crowd assembled for the forum in Vaughan, Ontario on Friday.
“Many of the changes will happen by mid-2016; some will take a little longer. Once completed, all the repairers will see a nearly identical first page of the assignment form coming from the insurers,” Jefferies told the 600 attendees.
In 12 months time, he predicted, “you will have started to see the simplicity in getting that information and creating that better customer experience, improving the cycle time, and over time, reducing your non-productive labour costs.”
In a statement, the Automotive Industries Association of Canada (AIA) reports that five of Canada’s leading automobile insurers have agreed to 18 items that will form the basis of a common FNOL assignment to repairers.
“Building on multiple industry meetings and individual discussions with 10 insurers and repairers who collectively represent over 60% of collision repairs, CCIF secured the agreement in a September 9 meeting held in Toronto,” the statement notes. Since the agreement, other insurers have indicated their intention to adopt the shared 18 items as separate fields in their FNOL assignment to repairers, the statement adds.
“The biggest challenge is getting to go,” Jefferies told CCIF attendees Friday. A repairer could wait several days simply to get simple information like “a phone number, an email address or some low part of what you need to get the claim started as a repairer,” he pointed out.
The seed of the idea was planted about 18 months ago at a meeting in Vancouver, Jefferies said. The majority of insurers that sell auto insurance in Canada were invited to a subsequent, with representatives from about a dozen companies attending.
Since then, AIA has worked with a number of major property and casualty insurers to define a standard approach to the previously agreed 18 critical FNOL items to be presented in the assignment to the repairer, he told forum attendees.
While all insurers will continue to maintain individual approaches to the FNOL, “participating insurers will adopt all of the critical items listed below as separate fields as system changes permit,” AIA reports. “This is a major milestone to improving the collision claim and repair process for customers and the industry.”
The first assignment critical items list is as follows:
“For the industry, the goals are to get the car in faster and out faster, and reduce the need for calls and emails throughout the process. For repairers, a reduction in non-productive labour costs is a vital objective,” the AIA statement notes.
“At this point, Audatex has responded to the call for action for those insurers that are their customers through CCIF, and ensuring that they can meet the needs of both the insurers and the shops alike,” Jefferies said at the forum, by employing a team of experts to ensure that maximum efficiencies are gained in the claims-handling process.
“I don’t know of anywhere else in North America, for sure, maybe even the world, where this type of meeting has happened with the simple focus of how do we make things better for all stakeholders,” Jefferies said during the CCIF’s 2015 meeting.
AIA agrees. “Throughout 2015, the CCIF has led the first-ever collaborative project of auto insurers and repairers focused on advances for the industry and consumers,” the statement notes.
Program objectives include reducing the net promoter score assigned for the insurers by 10%, reducing car rental days to process the claim by one day, and reducing non-productive labour costs at the repairer level by 10%.
“So it’s truly a triple win,” Jefferies told forum attendees Friday.