How to Drive Down Your Accident Costs

Ryan Dicken

Ryan Dicken

Regional Sales Manager, The CEI Group

Ryan, what is CEI’s focus right now?

CEI’s focus right now is extending our technology to increase our customers’ benefits while decreasing their spend. One of the most common things we’re hearing from fleets is they need to spend less on their operations and still get more done and better results. We’re doing that by making it easier for fleets and their drivers to access our systems and get meaningful information. One way is to present more useful information on our dashboards. Another is to allow administrators and drivers to log into our applications faster by using their own company internet.

What does this do for them?

We’ve worked with our customers to capitalize on single sign-on technology. Instead of making our users go through a separate sign-on routine to reach CEI’s online programs, single sign-on allows them to access us directly from their own intranet. They just log into their own intranet, and they can navigate from there right to our services. That means there’s one less set of IDs and passwords to remember, and never any need for our customers or their drivers to retrieve or reset their information to reach us. Because it’s easier and faster to look up driver data or to authorize MVR reports, we have seen increased compliance and improved use of our applications, especially by drivers.

Will the drivers be able to see how they are ranked against other drivers?

Yes. That’s the first thing drivers will see when they go to their DriverCare myDriverCenter page. And we think it’s critical for drivers to have this kind of information right in front of their eyes, because it focuses their attention on improving their rating by improving their driving behavior. If they can see themselves in risk level three and among the more risky drivers in the fleet, they know that their management is seeing the same thing, so they start to realize they need to be a more cautious behind the wheel.

Do you have any examples of where this has been effective with your clients?

With DriverCare Risk Manager – our premier fleet risk management and safety service – we’ve seen fleet accident rates drop with some of our clients by as much as 40 percent, and actually sustain that reduction. The best part of all of that is that DriverCare is extremely cost-effective. It’s not very expensive to begin with, and the savings from the reduced costs of accidents are so dramatic that there is a tremendous return on investment.

A word that I’m hearing much more frequently from our prospective clients and even our current customers is, “unbundle.” CEI offers accident management services as well as fleet risk management and safety services. Over the last 10 to 15 years, there has been a trend for fleets to want to buy those services from one supplier, who bundles them with other fleet services, like leasing and maintenance. The concept was that they thought it would be less costly to manage just one relationship and write just one check for all of those different services.

Now, we’re seeing more fleets looking to back away from that concept, thinking maybe that isn’t the right way to go. The reason is that these different types of services rely on different core competencies: just because you offer a flexible leasing plan or a good maintenance program doesn’t mean you deliver the best accident management or driver safety services. And when those services are bundled, it can be hard to determine what you’re getting for what you pay. So we’re now responding to more requests for help from both our existing customers and prospects to break the numbers down and see whether bundling is actually delivering the best results, and whether unbundling can give them better results.

Having said that, we do have some great leasing companies as partners, and in our opinion, their fleet customers are getting the best of both worlds.

Let’s talk about subrogation.

A lot of prospective customers are reaching out and just simply asking about subrogation. They are not confident that their current provider is generating a high enough return from liable third party drivers. They are saying, “Please use your expertise and technology to help us get our money back.”

Our subrogation team really is second to none. I have spent time on the FMC side, and now coming over to the accident management side, I can say that, in my opinion, CEI has the best subro team in the industry. We have actually helped create a tool that interacts with some of the largest insurance companies for faster settlement and recovery of subrogation claims. So, when we are pursuing subrogation, instead of it taking ninety to 120 days to recover, we are seeing subrogation payouts in less than 60 days from the time we send the claim.

What are some of the other things that you do that saves the client money?

Effective use of online driver safety training. One of the biggest questions fleets ask today is how can we train our drivers, we need to do more training but we do not want to incur an exorbitant expense. With our DriverCare Risk Manager system, we offer unlimited access to our online training modules, both for preventive and remedial training. Our training is part of our DriverCare Risk Manager service that has cut accident rates by 20 to 40 percent for our clients. With a few fleets, that’s meant savings in the millions of dollars over a five-year period.

Do you help clients develop a safety policy?

Most clients already have safety policies, but some do not. For those companies that do not have a safety policy, we will absolutely assist them in developing one. What we have done is built a proprietary Safety Policy Matrix, based on an analysis of all our customers’ fleet safety policies. It is a kind of catalog of the approaches to key fleet safety issues our customers have taken, while keeping the identity of those fleets confidential. This enables us to help our clients expand or modify their policies as new safety challenges arise, like the use of mobile devices and how other fleets address those issues.

Another aspect of DriverCare Risk Manager includes building a customized online module of their safety policy and making it a key part of their safety program. The modules come with a test, and capturesdrivers’ scores with an acknowledgement to abide by the terms of the policy. When we bring on a new DriverCare Risk Manager client, that is one of the first aspects of the program their drivers see.

What is going on with safety policies with respect to distracted driving?

Every fleet we know of is restricting cell phone use and texting in some way or another. Very few of them, if any, allow drivers to use a hand-held device while driving, and some specify hands-free use or use of a hand-held device from the car only if it’s parked. There are some clients that don’t allow drivers to use any mobile communication devices from inside the car at all, even if it’s parked.

Companies that allow texting from behind the wheel are leaving themselves open for huge lawsuits, aren’t they?

Yes, and that exposure is one of the things I talk about when I meet with prospective customers. Some companies haven’t focused specifically on that risk, but it only takes one incident to expose you to a multi-million dollar liability. It only takes one catastrophic event to do significant, if not irreparable damage to a company’s image and brand, not to mention their bottom line.

What are the some of the most safety-conscious fleets doing?

We’re seeing some of them running their MVRs more frequently than on an annual basis. Some clients are even running their MVRs four times a year, once every quarter. They are also effectively capitalizing on the bundling of accident management and other data inputs (such as MVRs, traffic cameras, etc.) within our DriverCare Risk Management system. The second that an accident or other event occurs, the driver is immediately sent an email assigning them one or more remedial training lessons to complete by a certain date. The fleets who employ these comprehensive practices achieve the most significant reductions in their accident rates.


Ryan Dicken, Regional Sales Manager, The CEI Group Inc. has been in the Fleet Industry for over 11 years spending 10+ years on the Fleet Management Company side of the business. Ryan moved to The CEI Group in February of 2012 handling the Mid-West. Ryan is an avid golfer and a member of both NAFA and AFLA, residing in Lake in the Hills, IL with his wife and two children.