18 May Paragon Subrogation: A Customer’s View
Peter Gonnella has the advantage of a 20-year perspective on the subrogation field. He worked in risk management recovery for a national auto rental business and now plays a leadership role at one of the nation’s largest insurance companies as senior subrogation manager. He boils it down to a simple mission: collect as much money as possible as quickly as possible. “The sooner we get the money back, the sooner the company can put it back in the bank and get the deductible back to our insured, the better it is for everybody,” says Gonnella.
For the “bigger dollar” carrier-to-carrier claims that are simpler to facilitate, his growing staff of 130 handles the work in-house. But in some cases, they outsource to vendors. For that job, he has found Paragon Subrogation Services to be a trusted collection partner with proven results.
WHAT PARAGON BRINGS TO THE TABLE
Gonnella’s company began working with Paragon about eight years ago, initially seeking their expertise in recovering funds from auto claims involving California’s Med Pay insurance program – an often complex and time-consuming process.
But they soon came to rely on Paragon’s help with other business, especially during claim spikes or situations creating overflow work. And in some areas, such as the challenges of uninsured motorist claims, Paragon has proven to be a more cost-effective option. “Those claims take a lot of phone calls and a different set-up than we have,” explains Gonnella. Paragon can also take credit card payments and understands license suspensions in different states, and unique regulations on medical collections in states like California.
“I look at Paragon as an extension of our staff. When we don’t have enough people in-house to get it done and don’t want to wait on claims, we need a partner we can trust. I look for vendors that are one-stop-shops, which can handle nationwide collections, are good at it, and can manage medical and auto recovery and arbitration as well. Paragon can do all those things for us.”
NEXT WAVE TECHNOLOGY WITH FLEET RESPONSE
Gonella is excited about Paragon being acquired by Fleet Response, particularly when it comes to technology.
“In subrogation, whoever can leverage technology and data the best going forward, will have a competitive advantage in the industry. Especially with high turnover in the industry, with COVID upending the supply chain, and the rising repair costs on vehicles – it’s really squeezing expense ratios for all the carriers. There’s a big battle to be more efficient. You need the data to see where to put your resources, so you don’t end up spinning your wheels. When you focus your efforts on the right claims at the right time, you unlock some great potential.”
VISIBILITY AS A DATA POWER TOOL
Gonnella looks forward to Paragon integrating the Fleet Response VISIBILITY tool, a web-based portal providing real-time access to data and analytics – including claim and rental activity, repair updates, maintenance data, ﬂeet safety information, and subrogation status.
As Paragon prepares to integrate VISIBILITY, Fleet Response reached out to Gonnella to ask about the data points that matter most to his business. “In subrogation, cycle time is very important, because the sooner we recover money, the better it is for everyone,” explains Gonnella. “We need data that tells us if we referred a file to Paragon, how long did it take to collect it and how does that measure up against other collection workers? And what percentage of dollars are they collecting on? And how does it compare to what we recover on our own?”
Gonnella thrives on the challenge of bringing money back to the insurance company. “In subrogation, we’re a big part of making sure the business is profitable and keeping loss down so we can charge a competitive premium. Technology really is driving the future and I like the tech part of it, looking at analytics and seeing how we can drive down our cost of recovery.”
PERSONAL TOUCH AT PARAGON
With its family-owned culture, Paragon was an attractive partner for Gonnella and his company. Over the years, he has met personally with their President and CEO Ani Naccachian and her husband, Vice President and CFO Ray Naccachian. “I’m always looking for vendors who share the same values our corporation represents or that I represent as a person. You want to work with people who treat others with respect and put a high value on customer service and results. For me, it’s been all about the people at Paragon. I connect with them, and they give us the service we need. If there are issues, we can always work them out. It’s a good professional relationship that just clicks.”
When the acquisition by Fleet Response was in the works, Ani gave Gonella a huge amount of confidence in their continued service. “When we first learned about the acquisition, there was a level of nervousness, about how it would impact our business, our relationships there, and wondering when Ani and Ray would retire, and will we be comfortable with Fleet Response? But Ani reached out right away and reassured us with a lot of communication. That meant a lot. Her knowledge of the industry is second to none. She cares about her company and about our company, too.”
PARAGON + FLEET RESPONSE: “STRONGER TOGETHER”
Gonnella has learned that you can’t fall behind on subrogation files or get backlogged. It demands constant vigilance and a lot of correspondence – from making phone calls and sending letters and emails to transmitting documents. He’s been pleased with the way Paragon services files in a timely manner.
“There’s plenty of data out there that shows the sooner someone starts to recover on a file, the more successful they are,” he says. “And since we’ve grown to a point where we need to outsource files, we need people who can collect it properly but also be trusted to represent our company brand. They ask for money on our behalf, so they need to represent us well. Paragon does that. Now that they’re partners with Fleet Response and their expertise in technology, I see a great opportunity for the two companies to leverage each other’s strengths and be stronger together.”