For decades the car insurance credit hire sector has been the same old story; there’s a bump, the policyholder calls the insurer, gets a shiny replacement hire car, then the painful process of pricing and carrying out repairs drags on for months. There HAS to be a better way, and as the car market switches to electric powertrains, now is the time to build that better system, starting with a clean sheet of paper.
handl has launched Cogent Hire today with some bold aims;
• Ambition to reduce credit hire bills by at least 25%
• Targets near total removal of credit hire fraud
• Partnership with Europcar UK including electric vehicle supply
• Aims for zero litigation via alternative dispute resolution
• MD Kirsty McKno to lead the new business
“Cogent Hire breaks new ground in credit hire. We are the first credit hire company that aims for zero litigation, the first to target a near total removal of credit hire fraud, and the first fully collaborative credit hire model with insurers that will substantially reduce their costs.” Graham Pulford, CEO handl Group handl Group is launching a new credit hire business that will improve access to mobility for customers following an accident and remove much of the friction that has blighted relations between insurers and credit hire companies (CHCs).
The new business, branded Cogent Hire, will be led by newly-appointed managing director Kirsty McKno.
Kirsty, who stepped down as chair of the credit hire trade body the CHO at the end of 2020, has been working with handl Group to build Cogent Hire from scratch for today’s launch.
Kirsty (pictured) says the new company is future-proofed for the changes in vehicle claims management following the government’s injury reforms, including the launch of the new injury portal in May 2021 and the expected government response to Part II of the MoJ’s Whiplash Consultation, which directly impacts credit hire. The Cogent Hire team is already working with a number of insurers under confidentiality agreements and aims to make the business a pioneer for credit hire
in the post reform world.
But there is more exciting stuff that just Portal compliance. IE chatted with Kirsty to find out more;
“We have no legacy, so we are able to build a new system from scratch and that’s important because the existing credit hire sector isn’t working as well it could be. We have strategic alliances, including with Hills in respect of salvage, Verius and the Cotswold Group (utilising Cotswold’s ‘Heads Up’ technologies) on counter fraud measures, and fellow handl Group company, Claimspace, in dealing with disputed claims. It’s about reducing friction and improving the customer
experience by working cooperatively with insurers.”
LITTLE Q&A WITH COGENT
As many IE readers know, doing as many checks and asking key questions on that first FNOL call can rellay save time and money later in the claims process, Kirsty explained a bit more;
“Insurers dealing with Cogent Hire will see a number of changes to traditional credit hire, including fraud checks before and during hire, standard handling fees,
transparent hire rates and a partnership approach to repairs. By removing hidden extras, Cogent Hire will reduce the average credit hire bill by at least 25%. Tech based triage tools will ensure that vehicles are tracked correctly, hire periods are minimised and customers are able to quickly get back to their normal lives.”
IE wondered about green parts and scaling up electric vehicle repairs? For example, storing ten battery packs at one repair centre could be a significant fire risk, so as an industry we need to think about training, standards and safety.
“We do, because the repair of electric cars in volume is brand new. It’s one thing handling the odd electric or hybrid, but understanding basic stuff like who owns the battery pack vs the rest of the EV is something that we having to learn through mistakes sometimes. Then there’s the ADAS and telematics within modern cars, which offer so much useful data when it comes to estimating the repair, or deciding to class the car as a total loss. This data is something we are integrating into the FNOL triage, right from the start of the claim.
Let’s take it further into the future and start to think about the salvage value of battery packs. Over time, they lose their capacity to hold charge, so that devalues the pack, possibly by quite a margin ovber time. Then there are differences in battery efficiency from one car brand to another, or even one model within a range from the same manufacturer. It all affects the potential salvage value. There isn’t a universal formula you can apply to stuff like this but we need to start thinking about it now, working with insurers and repairers, to find the best way forward.”
Covid has really slowed down the UK court system, how can Cogent deal with that part of the chain?
“Claimspace will supply alternative dispute resolution (ADR) services to disputed cases, to avoid going to court. Kirsty added: “For Cogent Hire, litigated cases are a mark of failure, especially when faced with year-long delays in civil court cases as a result of the pandemic.”
“The pandemic underlined the value of collaboration. I have long believed that the conflict and tribalism that has characterised the credit hire industry’s relationship with insurers for decades doesn’t help customers. We have all seen a bit of bad behaviour on all sides, so I think it’s time to be grown-up about credit hire and start fixing the problem. Cogent’s launch today is the result of conversations for the last six months or so and it’s brilliant to have a clean sheet to start with when it comes to new ideas.”