CIC panel explores telematics “myths” – Repairer Driven News | CarTailz

Telematics still has a long way to go before it can live up to some of the hype surrounding it, agreed members of the Collision Industry Conference’s Future Disruptions Committee in a recent presentation.

Panelist Frank Terlep, founder of Auto Techcelerators; Jake Rodenroth, Operations Manager, North American Body Repair Program at Lucid Motors; and Jimmy Spears, Head of Automotive at Tractable, agreed that telematics holds promise for insurers, OEMs, consumers and even body shops.

During the 45-minute session, entitled “Myth Busters: The Real Truth about Telematics Today,” they also agreed that the data collected via smartphones and the vehicles themselves is of great value to truckers and can be particularly helpful in manufacturing Decisions at the beginning of the claims procedure.

Terlep started with a promotional video in which a driver is involved in an accident involving a vehicle. Within moments, a service contacts him to confirm the collision, offer medical assistance, and make arrangements to repair the damage. The service determines that the vehicle is not drivable, organizes a tow truck and rental car, gives the driver a choice of certified collision centers nearby, and even pre-orders parts they determine are needed.

Today, the panelists agreed that this is the stuff of the imagination.

“We worked with an OE when I was with a trucking company,” Spears said. After an accident, “we would listen to those phone calls. And we would try to be as real time as possible… [E]very one of [the calls] was kind of a disaster. And what I mean by disaster is that it never did what you wanted it to.”

“In real life, you’re not going to be having a conversation with your mirror if someone is knocking on your window trying to get your insurance information,” Spears said. “On the calls I was on, children were screaming in the background [seat]… nothing good was done. Nothing.”

He suggested that insurers have some advantage since they know an accident has happened, they know the vehicle is not drivable, and they may be able to offer their customers a “concierge” method of processing the claim.

“But I’m telling you, I would call that a myth. I think the video does a great job of showing what can happen. But what’s really happening is a completely different reality,” Spears said.

When asked by Terlep to rate how much telematics is involved in the claims process on a scale of one to ten, Spears responded with “a solid three”.

Where telematics best serves hauliers, Terlep said, is in assessing individual drivers’ risk factors when setting premiums and obtaining the claim form (FNOL), which can speed up the claims process.

“When it comes to insurers, the more data they can get, the better decisions they can make, while all of us… the more data we get that we can apply to our businesses and our businesses, the better decisions we can make,” he said, “So again, number one, I think data is critical from a telematics perspective for insurers.”

Body shops, on the other hand, don’t see much benefit from telematics, although they may someday, Terlep said.

“What can telematics do? What is it doing for business today? Well, not much in my opinion, not much at all,” he said. If he ran a business and the telematics could tell him “what exactly is wrong with this vehicle before it shows up at my facility, that would be pretty cool,” he said. The technology could also provide the workshop with all the OEM information needed to complete the repairs, he added.

But “that’s not here today, [and it’s] probably far away,” he said.

Telematics could be particularly helpful for a workshop that has an electric vehicle (EV) to repair, Rodenroth added.

While internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles can often drive under their own power, or at least be moved around, that’s not always the case with an electric vehicle, he said.

“It may be that the system turned everything off to protect everyone, the parking brake locked and now you have a £5,000 paperweight that people are using to try to figure out what to do with it,” he said . “Therefore, it would be tremendous to have these shop-perspective insights into the state of charge before the vehicle gets there.”

With the technology in place, Rodenroth said, stores should be aware that some savvy EV owners may have opportunities to inspect their vehicles while they’re out for repairs — in a sense, by looking over the shoulder of a store.

“It’s my fault because mine was in the store for a week. And I checked the thing every few days,” he said of the mobile app. “If you as a vehicle owner have the opportunity, trust me when I say you will review the app. Your car is in someone else’s care. They’ll check out the app to see where it is and what it’s doing with it. And did they change your radio station and all that stuff.”

OEMs that have an integrated way to collect data through vehicle telematics have the potential to do a lot more than they currently do, Terlep said.

For example, OEMs now have the ability to communicate directly with their customers, which could be used to share repair and service opportunities across their repair networks, increasing customer satisfaction and brand loyalty.

According to Spears, manufacturers are missing out on a significant opportunity to connect with their customers after they have been totaled and are looking for a new vehicle to meet their current needs.

As an example, consider a customer whose seven-year-old Honda Odyssey was declared a total loss. “It will never again be replaced by another seven-year-old Honda Odyssey, although you have been compensated for that,” he said. “Seven years later the children graduate from high school, [and] Now you are dealing with a completely different type of vehicle. Then people go shopping.”

Despite this “amazing ability” to incentivize loyalty to the brand, he said, “we don’t see them doing it. I think they’re doing a terrible job at it.”

However, OEMs are increasingly leveraging their access to telematics, by rolling out their own insurance, as Toyota and Tesla have done, or attempting to divest from carriers they now work with, Spears said.

“We need to get this new category where it’s like OEM/insurance,” he said. “Imagine if you could just slide them right into the insurance product at the point of sale, purchase, and maybe even fund that as a great experience. If you say we know a lot about you, we can give you discounts. I think there’s a lot of good to do there,” he said.

“But I know we really need to start thinking about this – especially with independently owned businesses – where do you start to align on the first claim? I think those programs, like an Audi-like program where you’re a certified business, are becoming increasingly important throughout the chain of things,” he said.


Featured Image: Frank Terlep, Founder of Auto Techcelerators and Co-Chair of the CIC Future Disruptions Committee, addresses the audience. (Dave LaChance/Repairer Driven News)

Members of the CIC Future Disruptions Committee, from left, Frank Terlep, the founder of Auto Techcelerators; Jake Rodenroth, Operations Manager, North American Body Repair Program at Lucid Motors; and Jimmy Spears, Head of Automotive at Tractable, dispel myths surrounding telematics during a CIC presentation Nov. 1 in Las Vegas. (Dave LaChance/Repairer Driven News)

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