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Aftersales: Accident management firmly back on the agenda thanks to 'racket' claims

The Crashworth Keynote Event in London on March 27 attracted around 100 senior figures from leading vehicle repair businesses, motor insurance companies and motor claims suppliers, with topics including aftermarket parts and the role of mobile technology.

The main sponsor was Euro Car Parts, which was bought last year by the world’s largest distributor of aftermarket collision parts, LKQ.

In the US, LKQ has transformed the market from 80% VM parts to 80% ‘alternative’ – reconditioned, remanufactured, refurbished or new aftermarket parts. Food for thought for UK dealers in particular.

Latest must-have gizmo

The must-have gizmo of last year was an app and insurers rushed to develop ‘press here if you have a claim’ solutions.

No prizes for spotting the obvious flaw: there is no incentive to download such an app until you have an accident, and if you do have a smash then downloading an app is unlikely to be high on your list of priorities.

Jacoby Thwaites, chief technologist at cloud specialist Ethertricity, predicts that things will be very different in the not-too-distant future.

“In the case of motor insurance it will be about ‘My Car’ apps,” he said.

“They will be branded by dealer group, vehicle manufacturer or maybe insurer and will use telematics to provide information about servicing needs, as well as holding registration documents etc.

"As a complete side effect, they will also enable options to ‘Insure Me’, ‘Insure My Son or Daughter’, ‘Insure My Friend’ and, perhaps most importantly, have a button marked ‘Make A Claim’.”

Peter Newman, business development exec at claims management software provider IT-Freedom, also highlights the increasing importance of telematics.

“Innovative companies such as InsureTheBox are being very successful with pay-as-you-go policies,” he notes.

“From the accident management perspective, the telematics box can automate the start of the first notice of loss process and provide the real story of what actually happened in an accident.”

Mark Bull, director of the Auto Body Professionals (ABP) Club, goes further. “Telematics is going to change the way insurers deal with customers,” he said.

“With the Court of Justice of the European Union ruling that different premiums for men and women constitutes discrimination, insurers will have to assess risk in a different way.

“VMs already have the ability to fit a ‘black box’ and within a couple of years I expect them to be fitted as standard. In conjunction with telematics there will also be on-board cameras recording the accident.

"The question is: Who does the information go to? To the VM, the insurer or whoever the driver wants it to? That is the interesting part.”

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