November 01, 2011
Although some insurance providers believe amendments to the Road Traffic Act could increase the number of fraudulent claims, others are welcoming change as an opportunity to make the system more efficient.
Changes to the Act, debated in Parliament last week, would eliminate the need for police to attend all vehicle accidents.
Ed Albury, the claims manager at JS Johnson, said emerging businesses geared towards providing comprehensive and timely information could actually improve the process.
"Obviously with this act coming into play we'll have to look at alternatives," he told Guardian Business.
"We need to move quickly. Now we have the chance to provide a service that is better than what we had before. No doubt about it."
According to Albury, JS Johnson is currently in talks with Forensys, a new company which performs road-side checks after accidents.
Merlin Adderley, the president, said this firm is one of many that are entering into negotiations with Forensys.
Whether Forensys emerges as the company of choice for insurance companies remains to be seen.
Either way, Adderley felt the service is far more efficient than what was being offered by police.
"It eliminates the down time of your car," he explained.
"Once the information is uploaded to the site, the insurance company can start processing the claim."
He also pointed out the change will lead to a more comprehensive and accessible database for insurers. Not to mention the fact it also offers road-side assistance.
In regards to the idea that changes to the system will lead to criminal activity, Adderley said "fraud is fraud - the police wouldn't know either".
When Forensys arrives at a scene, it takes videos, photos and records audio of everyone involved in the accident.
He felt motorists interviewed right after the incident are in no better position to commit fraud than they would be if interviewed by police.
"Once we have that audio submitted to insurance companies and police, it helps reduce fraud," Adderley said.
"The persons won't have time to make up a story to give the insurance company."
Albury agreed with Adderley that fraud was not a particular concern at JS Johnson.
Police will still go to the scene of incidents that warrant their attention, he said, and the information after it's collected will end up in the hands of authorities.
As to whether the firm will join Forensys remains to be seen as the company is "mulling it over".
Regardless, the change will no doubt come at some additional cost to insurance providers, he added, especially if companies decide to put together their own teams to assess accidents.
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