A decade ago, National Transport Insurance (NTI) Accident Assist provided the ‘missing link’ between salvage operators, the insurer and repairers, which NTI says has helped cut claims approval from up to two weeks down to just 24 hours.
According to NTI chief executive Tony Clark, Accident Assist was created in 2002 after research showed the earliest possible involvement of insurance and recovery specialists at accident scenes would benefit drivers and owners, and minimise costs.
“Before the advent of Accident Assist, as the insurer we’d often be the last to know about an accident and had no control over keeping the intermediary and policyholder informed, how a truck was recovered or how potentially significant site damage was managed,” Tony said. “This meant a truck might not have repairs authorised for a week. We realised that if we were involved right from the time an accident occurred, we could make the recovery process – for the driver, the vehicle and the environment – as efficient as possible.”
Accident Assist offers complete accident scene management using accredited recovery operators who are trained to recover vehicles in such a way that further damage is minimised. It also offers medical assistance via registered nurses, message relay, repatriation services and trauma counselling for drivers, their families and transport company staff.
“While the priority of other parties – such as police and road authorities – may be getting the road cleared, our approach is holistic; we work with them to do it safely and efficiently without causing more damage,” Clark continued, adding that NTI has worked with its accredited recovery operators to improve heavy vehicle recovery equipment, practices and roadside behaviour. This has seen the creation of the Heavy Recovery Vehicle Association of Australia (HRVAA) to act as the vehicle to raise standards across the industry.
Over the past five years, NTI has worked with the HRVAA, key stakeholders and the Transport and Logistics Skills Council to develop a Certificate IV driving qualification for heavy recovery vehicle operators. The National Skills Standards Council recently signed off on the training package which involves three core and 11 elective units.