CEI’s Luann Dunkerley: Truck Fleets Can Save Time and Money by Outsourcing Accident Management

For the past few years CEI has been telling truck fleets that they can save time and mon­ey by out­sourc­ing their acci­dent man­age­ment activ­i­ties to you. How is that going?

Our expe­ri­ence in par­tic­u­lar over the last year has shown us that our mes­sage to truck fleets has been res­onat­ing. We actu­al­ly expe­ri­enced dou­ble dig­it growth in the past year, have signed on many new truck fleets and we have tru­ly made so many inroads in the indus­try that we could not be more pleased.

Give us some exam­ples of the sav­ings that your truck cus­tomers are enjoy­ing.

In the past year we saved our clients in the truck sec­tor near­ly $4 mil­lion dol­lars in repairs. We accom­plished this through our team of licensed phys­i­cal dam­age apprais­ers, who audit and scrub every sin­gle esti­mate that comes into our com­pa­ny. We are look­ing at labor costs by mar­ket, we are look­ing at parts costs, we are look­ing at the valid­i­ty of repair and we are able to nego­ti­ate on behalf of our clients to get our esti­mates in line so that we have accu­rate and fair esti­mates for our clients. It has been tru­ly a life­saver for a num­ber of our clients.

In work­ing with our truck and ser­vice fleet clients we have learned that most of our fleets have been “right-sized” as a result of poor eco­nom­ic con­di­tions back in 2008–2010. As a direct result, there are no longer spare vehi­cles to depend on when an acci­dent hap­pens. This places a pre­mi­um on more effi­cient man­age­ment of the repair process from start to fin­ish. CEI’s com­mit­ment to truck and ser­vice fleets is to man­age every claim to be sure we deliv­er a high-qual­i­ty repair, and that our ven­dors know that when one of those vehi­cles is in their shop it must get imme­di­ate ser­vice for the quick­est pos­si­ble turn­around.

Let’s talk about a spe­cif­ic fleet.

We signed a nation­al fleet at CEI near­ly one year ago. We recent­ly met with them and reviewed our per­for­mance over the past year. We were able to deliv­er to them over $500,000 in acci­dent dam­age recov­er­ies from third-par­ty, at-fault dri­vers. We were very pleased to hear the com­pa­ny rec­og­nize us for this accom­plish­ment.  They also told us that on top of the recov­ery of a half-mil­lion dol­lars they believe that CEI saved more than $100,000 in expens­es they would have incurred pur­su­ing those recov­er­ies with com­pa­ny resources. It was espe­cial­ly grat­i­fy­ing for them to tell us that in the one year since we start­ed work­ing togeth­er, CEI has exceed­ed every one of the promis­es we made.  We are very, very pleased with that suc­cess sto­ry.

When you call on a prospec­tive client, where are you see­ing that they are leav­ing mon­ey on the table if they are man­ag­ing their own acci­dents?  Where are those sav­ings?

What we are hear­ing from prospec­tive cus­tomers, as well as our own clients, in terms of the oppor­tu­ni­ty for sav­ings and cost is very inter­est­ing. For exam­ple, anoth­er client we’ve been work­ing with for one year recent­ly men­tioned that he has numer­ous loca­tions across the U.S. and in Cana­da. In the past, he said, he felt for­tu­nate if he was able to obtain an esti­mate involv­ing an acci­dent with one of his fleet vehi­cles. He admit­ted to me that he didn’t real­ly have any way of know­ing whether that esti­mate was writ­ten for a trans­mis­sion or whether the truck tru­ly need­ed a bumper. He real­ly didn’t know.  But, he told me, “Now, with CEI, I know that my trucks are being sent to qual­i­fied shops, and that you have a licensed apprais­er who is review­ing and scrub­bing my esti­mate line by line so I can be con­fi­dent that I am get­ting a true, need­ed repair. I nev­er had those kinds of checks and bal­ances in the past. To be hon­est, we rub­ber-stamped every esti­mate that came through here. We have seen tremen­dous cost sav­ings since we joined CEI.”

 How have you been able to help your clients achieve sav­ings through sub­ro­ga­tion?

 When we talk about sub­ro­ga­tion with prospec­tive truck and ser­vice fleet clients, we often find that they have a very lim­it­ed process in place, usu­al­ly with inter­nal staff.  Most also tell me that they are not sat­is­fied with the results they are achiev­ing. We signed a new prospect last year who told me that there is no ques­tion that the amount of work involved with recov­er­ing from insur­ance com­pa­nies who rep­re­sent third-par­ty at-fault dri­vers is extreme­ly tedious. Most com­pa­nies do not have the resources that are required for a high lev­el of suc­cess.

In one case, a client told me that soon after we began our part­ner­ship they rec­og­nized that we have such a method­i­cal and pre­cise pro­gram for col­lect­ing that they opened up a draw­er full of old sub­ro­ga­tion files they had giv­en up on. They asked if CEI could pos­si­bly assist. They had 80 files that were up to two years old that they had had no suc­cess at col­lect­ing on. We worked those files and deliv­ered on 45 of them. Our clients told us that they viewed that as found mon­ey for their com­pa­ny, mon­ey that they nev­er expect­ed to recov­er.

CEI stress­es the val­ue of its online acci­dent man­age­ment data that clients can access. What are your truck­ing clients say­ing about that?

Our clients are telling us that our web based appli­ca­tion, which is called Claim­sLink™ Express Lane, has been an extreme­ly pow­er­ful and trans­par­ent tool. I have one client who told me, “I am in that appli­ca­tion every sin­gle day fol­low­ing the entire life of my claim. I nev­er have to won­der if my claim is being fol­lowed up on. I see up to the minute report­ing and I can­not imag­ine being able to effec­tive­ly man­age my job with­out it.”


Luann Dunker­ley is nation­al man­ag­er of busi­ness devel­op­ment for truck and ser­vice fleets at the CEI Group, Inc.  She joined CEI in 2008 after a long career with Ryder Sys­tem, Inc., a glob­al provider of trans­porta­tion, logis­tics and sup­ply chain man­age­ment. In her last posi­tion at Ryder, she was a mar­ket devel­op­ment man­ag­er based in Philadel­phia, PA, with respon­si­bil­i­ty for leas­ing and financ­ing pro­grams for tar­get­ed accounts in the Delaware Val­ley.




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