You may recall that ATX Group and Cross Country Automotive Services recently combined under the brand name Agero. ATX was an early entrant in the connected vehicle services market and Cross Country is well-known for roadside assistance.
David Ferrick, Agero’s president, insurance and automotive services, notes that for years the firm, as Cross Country, has partnered with auto insurance carriers for roadside assistance and claims management. Agero’s ATX unit partners with automakers to provide connected vehicle telematics services, e.g., Hyundai’s Blue Link.
Ferrick suggests that significant advantages can be gained by linking the two service offerings and including insurance carriers. When a crash occurs and a vehicle’s airbag deploys, the car is no longer drivable and must be towed. The sooner insurance policy benefits kick in, the better for the vehicle owner/policyholder, the carrier, and, potentially, the automaker. Providing carriers with access to connected vehicles can speed up what is otherwise a largely manual process, and lower costs.
For example, the carrier can determine more quickly (via access to vehicle diagnostics) whether or not a vehicle is totaled; minimize the time a vehicle spends in a storage facility; expedite access to a rental car; route a repairable vehicle to a dealer’s service facility, and generally improve the customer’s experience.
Ferrick says insurance carriers are enthusiastic at the prospect of closer ties with their customers. Automakers are weighing the potential benefits and the complexities, such as whether and/or how best to link to one carrier or many. Pilot testing is underway, though Ferrick cannot name the automaker(s) or carrier(s) involved.
Car owners may also have to be convinced of the value of instant access to a claims agent, but that’s a job for Dennis Haysbert, Flo (the Progressive lady) and others like them. To me it seems like an idea whose time is just around the corner.