NZ in­sur­ers ‘slow to process ve­hi­cle claims’

Motor Equipment News - - PANEL PAINT -

The av­er­age time taken to re­pair a ve­hi­cle in New Zealand could be re­duced by a third if in­sur­ers re­duce un­nec­es­sary red tape, ac­cord­ing to a new in­dus­try sur­vey.

New re­search re­leased by the Col­li­sion Re­pair As­so­ci­a­tion (CRA), an in­dus­try body cov­er­ing hun­dreds of panel beat­ers from around NZ, shows the av­er­age time taken to re­pair a ve­hi­cle is around six days – of which more than two days is lost in ad­min­is­tra­tion be­tween the in­surer and ve­hi­cle re­pairer.

CRA gen­eral man­ager Neil Pritchard says the level of red tape re­quired for each re­pair is un­nec­es­sar­ily high, and means the cus­tomer is without their ve­hi­cle for longer than they should be.

“Un­der the cur­rent model, the typ­i­cal re­pair process re­quires the in­surer to ac­cept a claim for re­pairs, as­sess the ve­hi­cle, then au­tho­rise the panel beater to quote on the re­pairs. Once the es­ti­mate is ac­cepted the panel beater can be­gin re­pairs.

“The is­sue is there is no in­dus­try stan­dard cov­er­ing the doc­u­men­ta­tion re­quired for an in­sur­ance claim, and some in­sur­ers are reg­u­larly mak­ing re­quests for ad­di­tional in­for­ma­tion after the es­ti­mate has been sub­mit­ted by the re­pairer.

“The time taken up with com­plet­ing this ex­tra pa­per­work can be as long as the re­pair it­self; for the cus­tomer this means their car is off the road for up to twice as long as it needs to be,” he says.

Pritchard says some of the coun­try’s largest in­sur­ers have the long­est ad­min­is­tra­tion time with IAG, NZI, State and AMI group con­sid­ered by re­spon­dents the most bu­reau­cratic.

He says th­ese in­sur­ers re­quired doc­u­men­ta­tion after the claim was sub­mit­ted, mak­ing more ad­di­tional re­quests for dig­i­tal im­ages and copies of in­voices than com­pa­nies such as Med­i­cal As­sur­ance, FMG and Al­lianz, who were ranked as hav­ing the least red tape.

Pritchard says the cur­rent in­dus­try model for ve­hi­cle in­sur­ance which is used in NZ is not help­ing to speed up the re­pair.

“In the US, in­sur­ers are re­quired to pro­vide a suit­able re­place­ment ve­hi­cle while their cus­tomer’s ve­hi­cle is off the road – the daily cost of run­ning the ve­hi­cle pro­vides an in­cen­tive for the in­surer to ex­pe­dite the process.

“In NZ it is usu­ally the panel beater who pro­vides a cour­tesy car,” he says.

Pritchard says many poli­cies have a clause which pro­vides for cus­tomers to rent a new ve­hi­cle while their car is off the road, but this is not com­monly ex­er­cised.

Pritchard says the or­gan­i­sa­tion’s re­search shows Vero/AMP, Youi and Zurich were rated as the slow­est to as­sess, process and au­tho­rise claims, with Med­i­cal As­sur­ance, FMG and AA/SIS the fastest.

The CRA sur­vey also asked panel beat­ers which in­sur­ers they would be most like to rec­om­mend to friends and fam­ily.

NZ owned co­op­er­a­tive Farm­ers Mu­tual Group (FMG) was the most likely to be rec­om­mended.

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