At Traumasoft, we help EMS organizations generate revenue efficiently and increase profitability through the use of technology. In this article, we invited Melissa Wilder from Alternative Claims Management to share their insights on whether “you’re leaving money in your file cabinets”.
The year 2020 will go down in history for many things, but for EMS and paratransit operators, it will be known as one of the most challenging years we’ve ever faced. Drastic staff reductions combined with increased fixed costs, reduced revenues, all while trying to manage a budget?
Well…we have some good news. Unrecovered dollars may exist within your filing cabinets from past accidents where another party was at fault… and those dollars can be significant!
Don’t take our word for it, here are some actual examples: When our firm went back and reopened past claims for Superior Ambulance in Illinois, they were surprised that on one file alone there was $89,504.23 in downtime that they never knew they were entitled to. In another example, Max Care Ambulance in California sustained a total loss on a unit, and we recovered $60,234.40 in downtime. Lastly, Adjuvant Ambulance, of the great state of Texas was equally surprised when we recovered $38,394.89 in downtime for them.
“We are shocked by how many firms don’t realize or understand what they are entitled to recover from an accident where their driver was not at fault.” –Dan Miklos, SVP, Alternative Claims Management
When these unexpected events occur within your fleet, it’s important to have someone on your side to get maximum recovery and keep your operations running smoothly. While those numbers look good, downtime is not the only thing being left on the table. You are also entitled to diminution of value, which is the loss in market value to the unit after its been repaired. This can be a bit tricky to recover due to the age and miles of the vehicle, and any previous accident history. However, a skilled claims partner with a successful track record is key to winning this recovery for you.
Unfortunately, nothing is fair in love, war or the legislature. Another catchy phrase is the good the bad and the ugly. So, let’s start with the good part. Depending on your state’s statute of limitations, we can go back and reopen your previously worked claims, and like the others we mentioned earlier, recover some of the money left in those files. As for the nothing is fair part, if you are located in New Jersey or Alabama we can go back and review six (6) years of claim files; but if you are located in New York or California, we can only go back three (3) years.
Typically, property and casualty insurance adjusters don’t fully understand all the applicable laws or have the necessary experience to properly estimate specialty fleet vehicle damage. Carriers will always deny these claims, but they are not always right in their assessment. Too many times adjusters believe that because you have a spare unit available that you’re not entitled to downtime. The reality is, you incur downtime 365 days a year. They don’t get a free ride off of your good business sense, and you incur the expense for those spare vehicles. Acquisition costs, maintenance, licensing, insurance, certification and storage are real costs of having a spare unit, which is why the law supports the loss of use as a recoverable item.
How much can I collect?
Average results for our commercial clients can equal 1-3x the physical damage when loss of use/revenue and diminution of value are recovered. With that said, what you are entitled to and what shows up in your mailbox are two drastically different things. Insurance companies are motivated to pay the least amount possible and delay that payment as long as possible.
It can take dozens of phone calls and emails to settle some claims, which is why many fleet owners are leaving money on the table. The length of time the unit is down for repairs is a significant factor. Recovery can also be limited by policy limits, state statutes, liability determinations and supporting documentation. The key is knowing how to present sufficient information to support the demand, in a format the insurance companies will accept, while persistently following up.
Why can’t I collect from my insurance company for these items?
Typically, your insurance carrier will pay the physical damage minus your deductible, but rarely does your policy have coverage for loss of revenue/use or diminution of value. Keep in mind, they will subrogate against the at-fault carrier, but cannot pursue items NOT in your policy. Therefore, an outside firm is better suited to represent you in such matters.
How does this affect my insurance company or premiums?
This is a common question we hear, and the good news is, your insurance company will appreciate an outside firm handling your not-at-fault accidents! First, you will not be turning these claims into your carrier, so they do not have to work the claim, pay you for your physical damages and then subrogate against the at-fault carrier. You simply notify them for reporting purposes and let a claims management firm do all the heavy lifting. On your side of the fence, you will not pay out of pocket for your deductible, and these accidents will not be counted on your loss runs. This can help offset the rising insurance costs and keep your premiums low.
Your cost of damages and insurance premiums are increasing, but your recoveries are not. Engaging a firm with extensive experience in commercial fleet claims will ensure you are set up for success. Partnering with a claims subrogation partner who knows all applicable laws and insurance regulations, will improve your bottom line and ensure you aren’t leaving money on the table, or in your filing cabinets.
To check your state statute, learn more and request a no-cost claim analysis, visit www.AltClaim.com/comm-claims-analysis
Alternative Claims Management
Maximizing fleet damage recovery for over 20 years