What are Triage & Engineering in Motor Claims?
October 6, 2023

Together, triage and engineering are two of the most critical stages of the motor claims process.

A robust approach to these areas is vital for controlling claims costs, achieving right-first-time repair, and delivering swift claims journeys for your customers.

Here we discuss the core principles of triage and engineering, and how they can be simplified utilising intelligent claims technology.

What is meant by Triage in motor claims?

UK vehicle damage categories explained - total loss and write-off vehicles. Triage process.

In motor claims, triage is the process of identifying a vehicle’s damage severity, repair requirements, and deploying the most appropriate repair solution post-incident.

Some of the core elements include:

1- Vehicle damage inspection

The triage stage is when a vehicle’s damage is assessed for its severity. This can either be based on the policyholder’s description of the damage, images they provide of the vehicle, or a combination of the two. 

The claims handler conducting the triage will consider whether it’s safe and economical to repair the vehicle, or whether it’s a potential ‘total loss’ (write-off), and needs to be replaced. 

They will also consider whether the vehicle is roadworthy in its current condition, and can continue to be used while it awaits repair, or whether it’s unsafe to drive. This insight is key when seeking to utilise solutions like mobile repair, which are usually reserved for less severe cases of damage.

2- Identifying repair requirements

Once damage has been assessed, if repair is an option, the claims handler will identify the vehicle’s requirements.

This includes identifying which areas of the vehicle need repairing, and considering any unique or additional repair requirements. This might include identifying the presence of any onboard technologies like ADAS, or whether the vehicle is EV/Hybrid – and therefore needs expert attention & specialist recovery.

3- Deploying the most appropriate repair solution

Based on the vehicle’s unique repair requirements, the claims handler will deploy the most appropriate repair solution. This might include dispatching the vehicle to a bodyshop, or making use of mobile repair – depending on the scale of the damage, and vehicle requirements.

This deployment decision accounts for factors like the vehicle’s location, any specialist requirements, and the abilities & capacity of nearby repairers.

A right-first-time approach to this deployment is key to promoting fast, efficient, cost-effective repairs – and positive claims journeys. That’s why it’s so crucial to ensure the data used to inform triage decisions is accurate, accessible, and comprehensive.

What is engineering in motor claims?

Repair as a service - On-demand repair, triage, and engineering for motor claims

Repair engineering is another critical stage of the motor claims process, helping insurers maximise the quality and cost-efficiency of vehicle repairs.

The job of engineering is to ensure any repair methods used deliver best quality, fast turnaround, and best value. This might include specifying which parts are used, which parts are repaired vs replaced, and where any replacements are sourced.

All of this is conducted in-line with insurers’ own policies, ensuring that repairs meet their quality requirements, and any pre-approved cost-saving measures are utilised where possible.

1- Controlling costs in-line with insurers’ policies

A strong engineering process is vital for controlling the cost of vehicle repairs. Engineers look at repair estimates to ensure all suggested methods & parts provide the best possible value, in-line within insurers’ repair policies.

If they find a more efficient or cost-effective solution, engineers can suggest to repairers that these are utilised. This might include suggesting the use of ‘green’ or aftermarket parts where available, or utilising repair-over-replace methods like SMART.

However, alternative methods/parts will only be used if they can deliver the same high-quality, industry-standard repair – and fall within the insurers’ repair policies. Vehicle safety is always engineering’s ultimate priority, and all methods are checked against industry best practice.

Additionally, engineers ensure that only damage associated with the claim in question is repaired – eliminating unnecessary costs for insurers where pre-existing damage may be present.

2- Assessing the efficiency of repair methods

Another element of repair engineering is ensuring that repair methods are efficient, and deliver quicker turnaround for claims customers.

This might include looking at estimated lead times on parts/components, and suggesting quicker, alternative sources if they’re available. Again, this will be conducted in-line with insurers’ existing policies around repair methods and parts sourcing.

3- Achieving swift, high-quality repairs

Engineering seeks to maximise repair efficiency, while maintaining high quality standards in-line with insurers’ requirements.

Considerations like parts sourcing, and repair vs replace, help to provide quicker repair turnaround while also maintaining the quality of repairs completed.

Intelligent Triage & Engineering

Intelligent traige & engineering processes in motor claims - using technology to support vehicle damage assessment, and inform repair decisions

Intelligent triage & engineering utilise tech solutions to simplify some of the core elements of these processes.

This can help insurers & fleets to achieve faster, more accurate decision making, and more effective cost control strategies.

Intelligent Triage

Intelligent triage applies intuitive tech solutions to promote efficiency, and ensure data accuracy throughout the triage process. These include:

AI Damage Analysis

Visual Intelligence (VI) software can be implemented within image/video capture to speed up the identification of vehicle damage, and assist with total-loss decisions.

In more advanced applications, AI damage analysis could even provide an initial estimate of the cost to repair the vehicle – using live parts and repairer data.

Automated workflows

Triage workflows can be automated to improve efficiency within the claims handling process.

This may include automated tasks within your claims management system, which, once completed, immediately trigger the next stage of the process.

‘Smart Deployment’ decisions

Intelligent triage can apply insights & automations to your deployment decisions, helping you to identify the best repair solution the first time around.

This includes automatically suggesting appropriate repairers to the claims handler – based on vehicle requirements, location, and the availability of repair capacity.

Intelligent Engineering

Intelligent engineering focuses on using data-driven technology to inform cost control processes, parts purchasing strategies, and decisions on repair methods used.

This might involve integrating with insights platforms which monitor parts availability, costs, and lead times, and using these to promote data-driven engineering decisions.

Automated cost control assistance

By utilising parts cost/availability insights, intelligent engineering technology can automatically suggest cheaper or better value alternatives.

This makes it easier for engineers to identify cost-saving opportunities, and recommend these to repairers quickly.

Parts availability & lead times

Tracking parts availability allows you to improve lead times by utilising alternative suppliers when delays arise. This helps to reduce the number of parts on back-order by diversifying your supplier network.

Minimising credit hire periods

Intelligent engineering takes into account all factors influencing the cost/turnaround of claims – including the duration of credit vehicle hire periods, and how these impact the overall cost of the repair.

This is especially important when weighing up parts turnaround vs cost – helping you to identify which sourcing methods provide the best overall value when purchase price/delivery times are compared.

Activate Group: The faster, smarter repair management partner

Activate Group work with some of the UK’s most well-known insurers and fleets, delivering high-quality repair management & motor claims solutions – including intelligent triage & engineering.

Our triage process is supported by our self-developed damage assessment solution, Activate Assess, which provides qualitative visual data to support triage decisions, and identify total loss.

Our claims team prioritise cost-effective, right-first-time repair deployment – ensuring the most appropriate solutions are delivered to our customers the first time around.

Through our in-house engineering team, we ensure our customers always receive best quality, best value, and best possible turnaround on their repairs. Our engineers use live parts & repair insights to inform data-led engineering decisions – including where parts are sourced, and which repair methods are used.

These intelligent processes are supported by our UK-wide Activate Accident Repair network, as well as our in-house parts supplier & aggregator, Activate Parts.

This allows us to deliver a complete, end-to-end accident management solution – encompassing everything from incident reporting to repair completion.

Get in touch to learn more about Activate Group, and our award-winning accident management services:

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