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New Approach To Accident Management

Media release
February 24, 2004

New Approach To Accident Management Can Cut Fleet Costs By 40%

A fleet risk management company entering the New Zealand market can considerably reduce total fleet costs by slashing accident related costs by up to 40%.

SurePlan New Zealand, a joint venture between First Assistance NZ and SurePlan Australia, is a professional fleet risk management company designed to assist motor fleet owners and operators, vehicle leasing companies, motor vehicle distributors and insurance companies to manage vehicle accidents and costs for their clients. It is possibly the most advanced service of its kind to be offered in New Zealand.

Adrian Stone, managing director of SurePlan Australia since its formation in 1993, points out that the cost of a motor vehicle accident to a company is often underestimated.

“The true cost of a fleet vehicle accident can be up to four times the actual repair cost,” says Mr Stone. “In addition to the costs incurred for the actual repair of the vehicle, a company is also liable for costs relating to damage to other vehicles, occupational health and safety costs, workers’ compensation, cost of rental vehicles and productivity losses.”

As accident related costs are second only to lease ownership and fuel expenses in the total fleet costs, reducing these is key to managing rapidly escalating fleet costs.

“A simple concept,” says SurePlan NZ managing director, Murray Berkett. “However one that is often overlooked by attempts to reduce more transparent costs such as fuel expenses or fleet maintenance costs - two areas from which there is not a lot of fat to trim.”

“By introducing SurePlan into New Zealand we hope to educate the market and demonstrate that it is possible to substantially reduce fleet expenses by focusing on accident frequency and cost.”

SurePlan does this by implementing policies and procedures that help companies make savings by eliminating downtime due to fleet crashes, making their fleets safer by targeting risky drivers and dramatically cutting insurance costs (even without changing insurer) through recalibrating premiums.

As Berkett points out, it is usually a relatively small proportion of a company’s drivers contributing to the majority of crash related costs, so it makes sense to target these rather than putting whole fleets of drivers through often costly driving schools.

“It is in everybody’s best interests to find the fleet drivers most at risk and focus training efforts on them, rather than the usual shotgun approaches that cost too much for little apparent return,” said Berkett.

The 24 hour complete fleet risk management service handles the entire repair and claims process beginning when the call is made by the driver involved in the crash. SurePlan’s online FastTrack vehicle claims and accident management system links whole networks of parties (clients, assessors, repairers, insurers, tow trucks, hire cars) giving them all instant access to detailed accident data and enabling the repair process to be tracked and pre-agreed timeframes to be upheld.

Clients have round the clock access to detailed data including driver profiles, accident history and accident ratios enabling them to build up a valuable database of information regarding their fleets.
“Feedback from interested parties has been very positive and in fact we have already signed up a major leasing company as our first client,” concluded Berkett.

Prepared on behalf of SurePlan NZ by Donovan Boyd Communications.

Murray Berkett
Murray Berkett is a co founder and MD of First Assistance (First Rescue & Emergency NZ Ltd) and its subsidiary, SurePlan New Zealand Pty Ltd.
Murray has had a long and successful career in the auto industry that began in 1970 as an automotive technician.
Seven years later Murray began employment with the New Zealand Motor Corporation (NZMC) which spanned a decade and included roles in training, technical advising and sales and marketing.
In 1988 the Honda Motor Company purchased the distributorship from NZMC and moved the Head Office to Auckland where Murray held the position of General Manager Marketing and Service. In 1991 he completed his Diploma in Business Marketing at Auckland University and a year later he left the auto industry and began feasibility studies into the establishment of a dedicated assistance company.
In March 1993 First Assistance commenced trading in the provision of travel medical and technical support services and within the year expanded to offer general insurance services and automotive roadside assist services.
Currently the company, First Assistance (NZ) Ltd employs 72 staff with a multi million dollar turnover servicing a national and international client base.
In 2003 he formed a joint venture company with SurePlan Australia to establish SurePlan New Zealand to introduce vehicle risk accident management services to the NZ market. SurePlan NZ commenced trading in December 2003.

Adrian Stone is Founder and MD of the Stanford Pacific Group and its subsidiary, SurePlan Australia Pty Ltd.
Adrian began his working career in 1981 as a graduate (Bachelor of Science [Computer Science], University of Melbourne) with IBM Australia Ltd.
After a 10 year career with IBM which included marketing, sales, management consulting and executive roles, Adrian joined a family property and development and motor industry financing company which included a small insurance financing division in 1990 to advance the company through its next stage of growth.
Adrian was a key instigator of the accident management industry in Australia when he founded SurePlan Australia Pty Ltd in 1993, after forming an international alliance with The CEI Group (USA).
Widely regarded as a thought leader in the accident management, finance and insurance industries, Mr. Stone is consulted by government bodies and industry leaders who value his insights on the future direction of these industries.

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