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CMA is proud to be the UK’s oldest vehicle claims specialist.  How proud?  Having been with CMA since formed in 1994, our MD had the following to say …

Thank you. The emails, phone calls and messages via LinkedIn following CMA’s (and thereby my) 25th anniversary are very much appreciated.

The 7 years I spent in the Met’ Police, 5 years in Bermuda with roles in Narcotics, Asset Forfeiture and ‘Emergency Response’ (frightening given what a lousy aim I am with anything but a shotgun), pale into insignificance when compared with 28 years ‘in insurance’ of which the past 25 have been with CMA.

Watching imposters and impersonators come and go, we have provided a steady, reliable source of claims handling to our clients, many I now consider friends. From the outset, I had a preference for vehicles. Aside of my early lack of technical knowledge in Property Claims (a pre-CMA client not being impressed with my ‘no TV Licence’ comments when an insured claimed burglary of a television), vehicles are associated with much more legislation, data, are in plain sight and high-value items.

As theft figures reduced in or about the year 2000, so did the number of Stolen Vehicle Squad officers … in some cases complete departments vanished. Whilst attempts to have the importance of vehicles to criminals was emphasised with phrases such as ‘vehicle enabled crime’, there never appeared to be any joined-up thinking associated with the issue. I find this bizarre, disappointing; a valuable asset with a unique identifier, the subject of disparate systems and multiple interested parties working in isolation; police, finance and insurance.

Collisions outnumbering thefts, often not requiring a report to the authorities provide a needle-in-a-haystack facility for the dishonest with multiple revenue streams.

Fraud was downgraded … sure, it is a crime but a priority or performance indicator? Unlikely. As recent statistics show, many appear willing to ‘give it a go’ because they can walk away at any time or, if rumbled, are unlikely to be pursued.

I doubt I will spend the next 25 years at CMA, a gradual relaxation of my duties has begun but handling and reviewing claims; how could I stop? Each is a fascinating story and the environment is one in which you never stop learning.

Over the years we have increased the insured’s involvement in the enquiry process; conveyed our ‘concerns’ and invited them to help address outstanding ‘issues’. This open-handed approach has reduced complaints, led to a greater understanding of decisions and likely seen more walk away from claims than ever.

Gaining an insured’s ‘consent’ to obtain pertinent information is a by-product of what are perceived by many to be harsh data protection laws. Bleating will not change the legislation, so work with it. Suggesting an insured use their Subject Access Rights now there is no cost and the data must be provided within a calendar month, brings interesting compliance and responses.

As for the future, who knows. Possibly the police will privatise the reporting of stolen vehicles (go the way of fraud) thereby facilitating a national approach to the problem, standardised questioning, reports and exchanges of information. We seem to have gone full circle with crime reports containing little more detail than appeared on a 1980’s crime-sheet ‘parked, unattended unable to assist re suspects’. Data exchange harks back to the ‘them and us’ days of the 70’s.

I doubt I will see the Government profit from selling criminal conviction data; pop in a pertinent date and be provided all the unspent convictions associated with a person … but is this not ‘prevention’ and a practice (seen with motoring convictions) that embraces my favoured approach – deterrent?

There are in excess of 11 million* people with convictions, which suggests ‘dishonest’ conduct at least once. Any effort to encourage truthful responses and thereby ensure an insurer can make an informed decision about risk & reward, could benefit all.

For now, I will content myself with telematics, dashcams, mobile phones, autonomous vehicles and … the mess Highways England are making of their new pricing process. Plenty to keep me occupied!

Happy Birthday to CMA!

*Source – ABI 07/2019