Why A Specialty Insurance Provider Consolidated It’s Outsourcing To Fleet Response

In 2015, Bluefire Insurance, consolidated its subrogation work to a single vendor, Fleet Response. Five years later, Senior Vice President of Claims, Jim Hessburg is more certain than ever that it was a good decision.

“It’s their aggressiveness, timeliness and follow-up that attracted me,” says Hessburg. “The results have been such that I haven’t looked to change vendors since I’ve been with them.”

Bluefire is an MGA/GA subsidiary of Confie. It provides non-standard auto insurance policies in 10 states – mostly across the South and Southwest, but also California, Washington, Illinois and, most recently, Indiana.

Hessburg says the primary reason for outsourcing subrogation is to allow his adjusting staff to focus on customers and claims.

“We look at the claims process as an opportunity for us to capitalize on our core competencies – timely and accurate investigations for injury resolution and physical property damage resolution,” he says. “The economics of this business are such that you have to focus on driving the accuracy of your investigations. We’re trying to limit anything that keeps the adjusting staff away from the job of paying the right amount on every claim.”

He acknowledges that subrogation is important – but different.

“Operating in the non-standard environment, we have a high frequency of uninsured involvement, so that really complicates the recovery process,” he explains. “When you look at the industry averages for collecting from uninsured drivers, it’s a lot of work and little reward. We’re not a collection firm. We don’t have the internal processes set up to track the payment demand … or for collecting monthly or partial payments. It wouldn’t be the right focus for our organization given our size and scope of our business.”

So Hessburg has outsourced subrogation since about 2008, giving him a lot of experience with the companies that do it. “What you find with different vendors is that everybody wants the gravy and nobody wants to do the work,” he says. “People are good at collecting your straight rear-enders. But when you start looking at states where you’re arguing comparative negligence, it’s a different game.”

He learned about Fleet Response through colleagues at a previous job who went to work there. He says he knew how they approached their work, and that was enough to convince him to take a look.

What he found in Fleet Response was a company with a much broader set of capabilities than he had imagined, and a level of flexibility to meet his needs that he still finds surprising.

With expertise in claims management, safety, call center operations and data management, he describes it as like having a Swiss Army knife in your pocket.

For example, in early 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic threatened to shut down Bluefire’s call center in Tijuana, Mexico, Fleet Response put together a plan to handle that activity at its own call center in Cleveland.

“They were able to pick up the capacity for several hundred calls a day with the flip of a switch,” Hessburg says. “In the end, I didn’t need to take them up on it. But they were proactive in helping me address the problem. It’s great to have a business partner that will be there for you.”

Hessburg also highlights the importance of Fleet Response’s VISIBILITY portal, the interface that provides on-demand access to every detail of his business with Fleet Response.

“Their reporting is very strong. I can go in and run reports for anything I need. If I’m looking for something unusual, they’ll run ad hoc reports for me. The data is very, very good; it’s up-to-date and everything is in there,” he says – from the details of individual files to analytics he can use to manage his business.

While Hessburg appreciates the flexibility and visibility Fleet Response provides, what he values most is the personal accountability its people take when tending to his business. He declines to disclose financial results, but said the improvement Fleet Response has brought in subrogation returns is significant.

“They understand the importance of timeliness in processing outbound demands, and how follow-up increases the likelihood of recovery,” he says. “They operate their subrogation business with the kind of intensity that I operate my claims operations.

“And they aren’t just taking the gravy. They put in the work to get the harder dollars that other vendors are less inclined to work for. For my business, they’re the best I’ve seen.”

 

To discuss how Fleet Response’s highly customized services can support the needs of specialized insurance providers, contact Jodie Varner, Vice President of Client Engagement at Fleet Response, contact@fleetresponse.com.