Are Car Insurance companies using the latest technology to assist their insured clients? I have found an interesting story by Angelique Arde which is worth sharing:
“Discovery Insure has launched a free Blackberry application (app) that enables its policyholders to use their phones to lodge car accident claims.
To date more than 1 300 policyholders have already downloaded the app, which was launched in December last year.
For now the app is available only to policyholders with a Blackberry OS5 smartphone and higher, but Discovery plans to launch an iPhone app in the next few months and one for Android phones later in the year.
Anton Ossip, the chief executive of Discovery Insure, says the app – a first for the local insurance market – has been developed to speed up the claims process by helping policyholders to provide the insurer with all of the necessary data.
“The true test of an insurer is the time it takes to put the client back on the road,” Ossip says. Discovery Insure is aiming for a turn-around time of five days from the date of an accident to the date of authorisation to repair or replace your car, or pay you or your bank out should the vehicle be written off.
One of the big stumbling blocks to the speedy resolution of a claim is a lack of sufficiently detailed information from the scene of the accident, Ossip says.
Discovery Insure believes the app can be used to overcome this by cutting out, as much as possible, a lot of the “to and fro” that makes claiming so tedious.
How it works
If you have an accident, you open the app on your phone and log in using your Discovery.co.za username and password.
The app, which has the ability to log your GPS co-ordinates, prompts you to enter all the information you must gather at the accident scene. (This is especially helpful if you’re in shock and prone to overlooking important details.)
You’ll be required to enter the name, contact numbers and particulars of the other party to the accident, and to take photographs of his or her licence disc, driver’s licence or identity book, number plate and the damage to his or her vehicle. You’ll also need to submit photographs of the damage to your own car. Once you’ve entered all the information into the app, you hit “send” and the claim is lodged with Discovery Insure.
You will still need to go to a police station to report the accident and obtain a case number.
If you’ve been involved in a serious accident, the app has an emergency key you can press to get help. Within a minute, you’ll receive a call from Discovery Insure to determine the severity of the accident and it will send the appropriate emergency assistance.
“Accidents vary widely in severity – from bumper bashing to mangled metal. The app is designed for this range of scenarios,” Ossip says.
If it’s a “bumper bashing”, you won’t need a tow truck or emergency service, and there will be no need to use the emergency button.
Discovery Insure policyholders who have signed up for VitalityDrive enjoy the added benefit of what Ossip describes as “state-of-the-art safety features”, which are built into the DQ-Track device that is fitted to your car when you join VitalityDrive.
(VitalityDrive is an incentive-based programme – the equivalent of what Vitality is for members of Discovery Health.)
DQ-Track is a device that “reads” your driving behaviour by tracking things such as cornering, speeding, harsh braking and sudden impacts.
If you’re involved in a collision above predetermined G-forces, DQ-Track’s impact alert setting is activated, triggering an alert to the Discovery 911 call centre.
If the impact is below the threshold, the alert won’t be sent. And if the collision damages the device itself, an alert won’t be sent.
Ossip says the Blackberry app is not designed to replace the Discovery 911 call centre, which is available 24 hours a day. “Discovery 911 (0860 999 911) provides access to both medical and traditional insurance services, such as tow truck services.”
If your car can’t be driven from the scene of the accident, Discovery Insure will dispatch a hired car to you or take you to Avis to fetch one.
Car hire is a standard feature of car cover with Discovery Insure. Policyholders get up to 30 days’ free car hire from Avis. This applies to every accident.
“The principle behind our benefit is to keep our policyholders mobile. Our aim is that the trauma ends with the accident – normally it is just beginning, as the repair process is arduous,” Ossip says.
Discovery’s Insure’s operating model – the inclusion of atypical benefits and the introduction an incentive-based programme – is set to change the short-term insurance industry, he says.
Ninety-six percent of Discovery Insure’s 7 000-odd policyholders have joined VitalityDrive. This has enabled the insurer to glean a goldmine of data about the driving habits of its policyholders, Ossip says.
“Since June, Discovery Insure policyholders have travelled 14 million kilometres, made 30 000 fuel transactions and purchased 1.1 million litres of petrol. The kilometres travelled have given us valuable insights into driver behaviour, looking at age and gender differentials,” he says.
To download the app
You can only download the app if you have a Blackberry OS5 phone or higher. Go to the internet browser on your BlackBerry and type in http://www.discovery.co.za/apps/ blackberry-install
Out of range?
If you have an accident in an area that is out of cellphone range, the app will enable you to capture and store the data on your phone, and when you get back into cellphone range, the information will be fed through to the claims centre.
If, for whatever reason, you aren’t able to lodge your claim at the scene of the accident, you can do so after the fact by phoning the Discovery Insure call centre on 0860 751 751
[Story by Angelique Arde appeared on Iol.co.za]