CollisionSyzygy offers a comprehensive list of services that supports the insurance claim process and “brokers” this process between the insurance carrier and the repair shop. Through current and developmental technologies, CSI is striving to increase the efficiency of this process in order to “sell more profit” to both the insurer and the repair shop who are experiencing tremendous competition from existing and new entrants to the industry. In addition, CollisionSyzygy can help the smaller insurer take advantage of the economies of scale inherent in large volume claims processing by acting as a pathway in which claims are pooled from numerous sources and handled through the vast services network managed by CSI.
3.1 Summary of Claims Process
Program. In general, our services provide a unique pathway through which insurance companies are directly referred to certified, member repair shops nationwide using our ACT software. Each CollisionSyzygy repair shop must offer the following services to our insurance company clients:
- Free computerized estimates.
- Free digital images.
- Five percent discount on all repairs.
- Free towing within a 15-mile radius.
- Free vehicle storage for up to 30 days.
- Immediate status reports using CSI technology.
Direct Computer Link. CollisionSyzygy’s proprietary software allows insurance company claims staff to:
- Obtain first loss reports.
- Dispatch appraisals, inspections and reinspections.
- Obtain “real time” status of claims progress to permit assessment of average cost and savings of physical damage losses.
- System is dynamic, yet simple to use, so any authorized person or agent with a personal computer and Internet access can monitor the claims process.
Complete Appraisal Process. Vehicle inspections are scheduled within 48 hours of assignment estimates, and vehicle images are electronically transmitted, same day, to the insurance carrier.
Active Reinspection Program
- Random inspection of between 10% and 15% of all vehicles repaired by CollisionSyzygy shops are performed to ensure quality and accuracy of repairs.
- Any non-conforming, overpriced or unnecessary repairs, determined by a CSI inspector, result in a refund back to the insurance company.
Reinspection program results in maximizing savings on physical damage losses.
Internet Salvage Recovery and Bids (Available June, 2000)
- www.salvage.com is an online auction house by which insurance companies can post vehicle photos to receive bids from prospective buyers.
- Insurers can usually obtain bids or sell salvages BEFORE settling the claims process basing offers on real values rather than guesswork.
3.2 Competitive Comparison
CollisionSyzygy is positioning itself to sell “profit” to those insurers who have used the costly, traditional distribution methods involving agents, brokers, and direct writers (working for one company). Offering services that trim claims expenses, “loss adjustment expenses,” and streamline the automotive claim administration process for insurers will directly add profits.
Various competitors have begun their siege for market share in the industry. CCC Information Services, Inc. (CCC) has built its third party administrator (TPA) services around its claims software, boasting a yearly revenue of over $10 million for 1998. Other national competitors include Crawford & Company with $208 million in claim revenues for 1998, Gallagher Bassett Services ($134 million), INSpire Insurance Solutions ($85 million), and Hertz Claim Management ($18 million). With the exception of CCC, none of these competitors have automotive information systems that permit a national network. CollisionSyzygy has already established an operating national network which positions it to uniquely compete with these larger TPA organizations.
Carstation.com has been very successful in attracting investor capital and recently raised $74 million in a venture capital deal to promote and build its business.
3.3 Sales Literature
CollisionSyzygy has primarily used direct-mail pieces targeted at building the repair facility network. The initial mailer offered competition-free territories to body shops who became members of CollisionSyzygy. Body shops have to meet a stringent list of requirements to qualify for membership.
CollisionSyzygy technologies were described so that body shops considering membership could appreciate what the relationship would mean. A one-time membership fee was charged for the territory. A second generation version of the body shop brochure was later introduced. The one-time fee was dramatically decreased and a non-refundable application fee was added. Effectively, the membership fee in the original mailer was cut in half when contrasted with the two fees charged by the newer brochure. The idea was to build the body shop network without reducing the standards or requirements for membership.
Informing and attracting insurance companies to CollisionSyzygy’s services has been accomplished primarily with a high quality, spiral bound brochure piece bearing a colorful icon of CollisionSyzygy’s logo. The protocol for this advertising campaign is to mail the brochure to a targeted list of insurance carriers and follow up with individual phone calls to the claims executive.
Miscellaneous and Future Advertising
One successful manner of advertising for CollisionSyzygy has been its media press releases and client testimonials. An article in Hammer and Dolly magazine, April 1998, described the company’s process at length.
A press release in June 1999, mentioned the strategic alliance between Mitchell International and CollisionSyzygy. This new relationship added database estimating systems and electronic submission of images and reporting to CollisionSyzygy’s own proprietary software platform, which manages the entire claims process–from notification, to claims submission, to claims resolution and settlement.
Due to the speed and availability of information that the Internet provides, CollisionSyzygy plans to host most of its advertising via its website. Once operational, the marketing budget will focus on encouraging both repair shops and insurance companies to visit the website to discover how each might enjoy significant savings by using the CSI process.
The services provided by CollisionSyzygy involve advanced software technology, use of the Internet, and a growing network of pre-certified repair shops. Since services are accessed through the use of CollisionSyzygy’s proprietary software, high cost personnel, expensive office space, and other supporting costs can be minimized to increase overall profits for the insurance company. The repair facility can receive a steady stream of business referrals from CSI, averting the need to employ expensive marketing and advertising programs of its own.
Eventually, CollisionSyzygy expects to have as much as 99 percent of its business deriving from e-commerce over the Internet rather than direct distribution of its proprietary software to repair shops and insurers. As a precautionary measure, CollisionSyzygy ensures that all Internet users retain an up-to-date hardcopy version of its software in the event of an Internet or file server problem that could interrupt claims operations.
Currently, the insurance company notifies CollisionSyzygy of a claim assignment through computer input into CSI’s software. CollisionSyzygy then notifies the appropriate repair facility. The repair shop prepares the estimate and photo images and conveys them back to CSI for review and analysis by a staff auditor. If everything is in order, the insurance company is notified electronically that the claim is approved for payment. During this process, complete management and status reporting is available to all participants in the claims process.
- Revenue Sources:
- Fee charged insurance company for claim assignment.
- Referral fees from body shops.
- Body shop facilities prepay for 10 claim referrals in advance, on account.
- A referral fee of five dollars per referral, times 10 referrals, results in a $50 prepaid fee being paid to CollisionSyzygy by each body shop. After 10 claims have been referred by CollisionSyzygy, the body shop prepays another $50 on account.
- An appraiser’s fee is charged to insurance carrier on each claim.
- Transaction fees are billed to outside adjusters.
- Fees for salvage and sale of non-repairable vehicles are charged to both the seller (insurance company) and the buyer.
- In the future, this “auctioning” of vehicles will be accomplished very efficiently through the Internet, making this revenue source even more profitable.
- Two dollar warranty cost paid per claim.
- Fee paid to independent appraisers, offset by revenues created by the claim.
Technology in the industry is vital to achieving market share. It is the competitive tool that a company must use to survive this increasingly competitive industry. Technology will:
- Enhance the ease with which an insurer can outsource the claims process.
- Reduce the time needed to initiate the repair process. Currently, it takes between five days to two weeks to process a claim. This dampens the volume of business that can be processed and incurs certain costs that technology will virtually eliminate. For example, vehicle storage costs can be eliminated if a claim can be processed in a single day.
- Allow smaller insurers to enjoy volume-based discounts that were formerly reserved for their larger counterparts whose claims volume is significantly higher.
- Increase reporting access and allow a more accurate assessment of claims status.
- Increase the level of repair quality monitoring while decreasing the amount of time to perform quality inspections.
- Improve insurer’s image to customers by enhancing ability to deliver its “financial promise” made when its insurance product was purchased.
- Substituting e-commerce technologies for manual distribution of CollisionSyzygy’s ACT software. Broadening the ability to access the rather limited salvage disposal marketplace, as examples, will increase the volume of business, enhance the ability to process that business in a high quality fashion and, ultimately, increase CSI’s market share.
The software interfaces with UltraMate® and ImageMate® to offer the full technological program other competitors are striving to develop. This technology is being used to further distinguish CollisionSyzygy, Inc. as the only U.S.-based company providing generic services.
With the addition and enhancement of Internet delivery technologies, CollisionSyzygy will build upon its existing technology infrastructure to more efficiently offer its claims processing.
3.6 Future Services
CollisionSyzygy is working to develop the following future claims-related services. Estimated dates of availability are offered:
- Salvage Disposal through CollisionSyzygy’s website will greatly enhance the speed and promulgation of the auctioning process (October, 2000).
- First Notice of Loss – will use 24-hour/7-day access of call centers to report new claim information (January, 2002).
- Rental Management – uses CSI’s website for dispatching assignments to auto rental companies, monitoring for mitigation, and auditing of final billings (January, 2002).
- Claim Management – will be improved through Internet access to assist claim personnel in overseeing the entire claim process, including the dispatching of miscellaneous services with the proper authority to initiate those services more rapidly (January, 2001).
- Subrogation – uses CSI’s website for sending and receiving information and documentation to assist insurance companies in recovering damages from wrongful parties (April, 2001).