How Data Delivers: Fleet Managers Talk About Success with Data-Driven Claims Management

Many companies thrive—or barely survive—because of their vehicle fleet.

If your business relies heavily on a fleet of trucks or cars, you’ve got to keep those vehicles safe on the road – while managing accidents, breakdowns, or driver issues. That begins with knowing the details on all your vehicles, drivers and accidents but also understanding the big picture. All that begins with data.

The story of two fleet managers

Fleet and risk managers are finding that smart data is the key to managing risk, controlling costs, reducing vehicle downtime, and protecting driver safety.

We spoke with fleet managers at two large companies for their inside stories on the value of partnering with Fleet Response’s data-driven claims management.

Mike Letters has partnered with Fleet Response for the past 13 years as fleet safety manager for Terminix, a global leader in pest management. Transportation is the lifeblood of the Terminix business model. “Everything we do is predicated on a vehicle being in operation,” says Mike.

In North America alone, the Terminix fleet includes about 10,000 vehicles ranging from sedans and pick-up trucks to 3/4 ton and box trucks, city cargo vans and large trailers. Mike partners with Fleet Response for driver training as well as accident management.

A fleet administrator with a communications and technology company manages four distinct vehicle fleets serving their satellite/TV/ internet service, their brand for smart home solutions, a 5G wireless network with trucks for building towers, and their sales teams. He oversees approximately 3,800 vehicles covering about 90 million miles a year, from rural roads to city streets.

His team takes care of “everything fleet,” from vehicle acquisition and disposal to outfitting, analysis, body repair, maintenance and more.  A primary part of his job is managing vehicle accident claims in partnership with Fleet Response. “In a business like ours, transportation is key,” he says. “If vehicles are down, it’s continually costing money. Downtime management is key.”

When stakes are high – data to the rescue

To keep the Terminix fleets on the road, Mike relies on Fleet Response for collision reporting and repair from cradle to grave – including recovery of damages, recovery of loss of use (subrogation), and support such as roadside assistance and windshield repair.

“But where I am most engaged with Fleet Response is on the safety side,” says Mike. “Their Driver History Profile program helps us screen our drivers from the time they are candidates until the time they leave us. That includes risk rating, motor vehicle record reviews, and performance ratings. Fleet Response data gives us a really clear snapshot of our overall fleet from a driver standpoint – so we can see who might be at risk of getting into an accident. That allows us to respond with support for those drivers before they get into an accident or have to leave the company because they no longer meet our safety standards.”

When it comes to managing accident claims, Mike has found Fleet Response VISIBILITY  to be a gamechanger for Terminix. VISIBILITY is a web-based portal providing real-time access to data and analytics – including claim and rental activity, repair updates, maintenance data, subrogation status, and fleet safety information, as well as a holistic look at driver history data.

“Fleet Response VISIBILITY is instrumental for us. It was an enormous leap forward in our relationship with Fleet Response and put them on a different level,” observes Mike. “The most valuable aspect of VISIBILITY is allowing not only our management team, but also the drivers themselves, to have direct access to everything about their driving performance. They can see their risk rating and any activity on their driving history, including their own state motor vehicle record. It allows them to understand where they are in relation to our standards, and it motivates them to become better drivers.”

When a driver moves from one safety level to another, VISIBILITY provides an electronic communication tree to notify the Terminix driver, the manager and safety manager. “VISIBILITY not only delivers the information – it manages it,” says Mike. “If something needs addressing, like an invalid driver’s license or an error with the license, it doesn’t get missed. There’s continual communication until the item is corrected. This is super helpful. If you don’t find out about issues like this until weeks or months later, it exposes companies and drivers to significant liability.”

Vehicle downtime = lost productivity + income

The fleet administrator works closely with Fleet Response on accidents, body repairs and subrogation to retrieve money from at-fault drivers’ insurance companies. With a proprietary mobile app, the company collects accident data and provides it directly to Fleet Response. Then they use Fleet Response VISIBLITY to open a claim and gather more information as needed.

“I use VISIBILITY daily,” he says. “It’s especially helpful to see the claims cycle time. From the time the claim is open, all the way through the estimate and repair, it tells us how much time we are losing on the vehicle use. VISIBILITY allows us to track all those data points and understand average downtime, tie a dollar amount to it and intervene when we need to provide more information in order to minimize downtime.”

Controlling costs by analyzing claims data

On the claims side of their business, the Terminix fleet management team monitors VISIBILITY dashboard data to see where costs are being incurred – and how to control them. The data helps them manage claims efficiently and avoid downtime, a major issue in a company reliant on vehicles to get the job done. “Fleet Response has done a tremendous job helping us with recovering loss of use where the other party was a fault, our vehicle is in the shop, and we need a rental. They help us recover a significant amount of that cost.”

He sees the greatest value in what the Fleet Response data uncovers via deeper granularity than other vendors offer – including their success on subrogation claims and more. “Fleet Response is really good at categorizing each claim, so we really understand where our biggest outliers are and our biggest opportunities to improve.”

Data for the long run

“At Terminix, we are getting more bottom-line conscientious about the number of vehicles we have, minimizing the number that are not 100 percent utilized. This puts a strain on the vehicles that are in use when they are out for repairs and maintenance and aren’t available. Our partnership with Fleet Response will become even more critical over the next four years as we fully transition our fleet to maximize capacity.”

Mike and his team at Terminix describe Fleet Response as nimble. “There’s nothing we present to them that they don’t try to satisfy for us. Their first reaction is ‘let’s see what we can do.’ Having worked with them for 13 years, we appreciate their dedication.”

He sees the cost-saving value in the data provided by Fleet Response. “It’s important to dive into the details to uncover the opportunities for savings when it comes to accidents or body repairs. You don’t always see that with other companies, where you may just get a list of canned reports. Fleet Response goes the extra mile to build customized reports showing exactly what you’re looking for.”

User-friendly platform and “old school” customer support

Both fleet managers agree: Fleet Response VISIBILITY is easy to use. The dashboard or “stat center” allows the user to easily add or remove different widgets or graphs that are easy to understand from a high level or dig into the trenches for deeper analysis.

In working with Terminix, Mike observes that Fleet Response isn’t restricted by a silo mentality when it comes to sharing tools that work for other industries or businesses.  “They get to know your business inside and out and then look to utilize other ideas that work for other customers, to create a full suite offering. For example, we really pushed them on driver qualification or DQ files on our regulated drivers. They had dabbled in it but when we pushed, they were driven to build on it and now it’s consumed by their other customers, too.”

Mike is also excited about Fleet Response’s newly released mobile version, Driver History Profile app. And he raves about the company’s customer service network, describing it as still offering the human touch, with frequent “old school” opportunities for personal conversations.

In his role managing fleets, he has grown to admire Fleet Response’s ability to adapt to unique business processes used by his company. “My claim adjustor is extremely knowledgeable. He understands what we like to repair, what we like to see, what we don’t like to see. Fleet Response tailors their customer experience to the business, which is something I really like.”

For companies looking to improve claims management, control costs and decrease downtime – both fleet managers give an enthusiastic thumbs-up to Fleet Response and their data-driven approach.  “I’ve been really close to their leadership team – they’re helpful and engaged,” Mike concludes. “Fleet Response is always trying to build the best product they can, and continually improving.”

To discuss your organization’s unique claims management and to schedule a demo of Fleet Response VISIBILITY. Contact Jeff Fender, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Fleet Response,