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Focus on Citizens assist Police and Insurers to achieve Highest Level of Customer Service

by Derrick Wilson, Manager, Roanoke Accident Support Services Ltd.

A Collision Reporting Center (CRC) provides a high level of service to the citizens in the jurisdiction it serves by giving those citizens a voice and helping them to have an understanding of the process. This is the goal of the staff at Roanoke Accident Support Services Ltd. 

Granted, being involved in a collision is not a pleasant experience. However, being able to get the experience off your chest by taking part in a process to record the information for law enforcement and insurance, and truly understand your next steps in the collision process makes most people feel more at ease and accepting of a difficult situation. At the CRC, citizens are greeted by our empathetic staff and pertinent information required is confirmed before beginning the process. CRC personnel ensure that all reporting citizens have their Driver’s License, an unexpired vehicle registration and an in-date insurance ID card. An officer-provided collision exchange brochure is also requested.

Quote – “This center gives an opportunity for individuals involved in an accident to calm down after the traumatic incident, to be able to provide better reports for all parties involved.”  Seth M, insured with Virginia Farm Bureau.

Involved vehicles are photographed, providing insurers with information they require on the condition of the vehicle, damage and detailing important information insurers need to process claims and make proper value decisions. During this photo process stickers are applied to damaged areas notifying repair facilities of the recorded damage and helping to prevent possible fraudulent damage claims.

The Roanoke City Police and Roanoke County Police in Virginia are now piloting a program with the CRC where officers take on-scene photos and can refer citizens when vehicles are not drivable. This is creating even greater time saving opportunities for officers and increasing value added benefits for partner insurers.

The reporting process also allows citizens to have a voice in what took place as they are asked to provide a written statement and draw a brief and simple diagram of what happened from their point of view at the collision scene. Near the end of the process, a counselor interviews the citizen and asks detailed questions about what took place, documents injuries and all passengers and witness information is recorded. CRC associates are extremely efficient in this process as they have dealt with a great number of citizens reporting, so all of this takes place in a short period of time.

Quote – “Very fast and painless service.  Really appreciate the option to complete paperwork and questions in the office.”  M. Thomas, insured with Geico.

At the completion of the process, citizens are given proof of their reporting participation and are provided literature from their insurance provider offering them additional guidance on their next step. The citizens may also be assisted in reporting to their insurance at this time. The CRC process is truly an extension of an insurer’s customer service to their insured in a day and age where everything has become very impersonal. Insurers participating in the CRC program are provided with all collision information at once provided that their insured consents to the release of the collision report. This information saves insurers a great deal of time and telephone tag making it possible for them to handle claims more quickly. This assists in settling claims faster by shortening the claim window getting the citizen back on the road after a collision quicker.

Quote – “Very well taken care of.  J helped me every step of the way.   She answered all my questions very professionally.”  Carl N., insured with Nationwide.

To top all this off, the CRC program also frees up valuable time for police to handle higher priority calls for service or prevent additional collisions and helps to reduce officer and citizen roadside risk from secondary collisions. Citizens feel good about helping the police departments in their area by attending a CRC and will voice this during their visit. As more departments across the country are faced with budget constraints and the need to assign officers to more pro-active road safety and crime prevention programs in their communities, a CRC that will provide citizens with collision reporting services and early notice of loss information for their insurance companies could soon be coming to many more areas.  All CRC services are provided at no cost to police or citizens, and are funded by insurers partnering with the program. 

Quote – “I think the program is great, helps get us off the road so no further accidents will happen.”  L. Carleton, customer of Allstate.

Quote – “Great program for keeping the police doing important things for the community.  Fast and efficient.”  Eric M., insured with USAA.

The CRC provides a legitimate process to assist police in the area of collision reporting, while also providing citizens and their insurers a service that currently does not exist in many jurisdictions. Citizen support for this process in Roanoke has been very positive.  Roanoke County Chief of Police Hall recently told Board of Supervisors Members in the area the CRC has surpassed the department’s expectations of what the public's reaction would be to the process. The bottom line is that people understand the collision reporting process and have reacted favorably.