By Mike Davey
Hamilton, Ontario -- October 20, 2016 -- It's pretty much a given that the sooner the insurer and repairer are informed of an accident, the faster they can take action. This is where CalAmp's new product, Instant Crash Notification, comes in.
Instant Crash Notification is the first of the company's proprietary, patented and patent-pending automated First Notice of Loss (aFNOL) services suite planned for rollout this year.
In short, Instant Crash Notification fully automates the motor vehicle accident event notification process by providing users with immediate notification of a collision, as well as extensive reporting of crash data, delivered via email, text message and directly through an Application Programming Interface (API). These alerts go out in real-time when there is an accident and provide enhanced data regarding the crash.
The system was developed by Peter Byrne and his team over several years. Byrne is CalAmp's Vice President of Insurance Telematics.
"The computation is performed and the message is pushed out at the moment of the crash," said Byrne in a recent interview with Collision Repair magazine. "The system detects what type of crash and the kinds of forces involved, as well as discriminating between a driver running over a pothole and an actual accident."
Instant Crash Notification determines the severity of the crash on a five-point scale: very light, light, moderate, heavy and very heavy. The information is processed and sent automatically to the relevant insurance company as well as authorized recipients on the policyholder’s emergency contact list.
"Right now, insurance companies usually learn about the crash either through a phone call or through a self-service claims form on their website," Byrne said. "Here in the US, that can take around three to five days. It's pretty much axiomatic in the world of insurance that the faster they learn about the crash, the better. The faster they know, the faster they can make a determination on the vehicle and close the file. It ends up saving money."
It's easy to see why Instant Crash Notification would provide an advantage to insurers, but Byrne believes repairers will also find value in the system.
"The insurance company is able to make a disposition decision more accurately and that means the work they send the shop will be suited to that shop," he said. "A body shop can be one or two guys, or part of a large public company. On one end we've got a small investment, while on the other end there may be millions of dollars invested in shop equipment. If you're on a DRP, you'll get repairs that are more suited to your shop."
Dev Bhatia is the Senior Director of Product Management at CalAmp. In an interview with Collision Repair magazine, he noted that the reliability of information can be key to how soon a repair can be authorized, and how long it will take the shop to get paid.
"They can be alerted almost as soon as the crash takes place, and they'll know roughly how much work will be involved. It allows the body shop to prepare and schedule accordingly. The information provided by the Instant Crash Notification system is objective, not an opinion. It’s enterprise grade technology that is based on the same principles as modern airbag systems, which employs advanced math modelling extensively. Those models work and they work accurately."
Byrne and his team came out of the airbag industry. It was this experience that allowed them to create Instant Crash Notification.
"It's an aftermarket telematics system that functions in a way similar to the vehicle’s airbag system," Byrne said. "Just like an airbag system, it discriminates between events that do not rise to the level of a crash, and ones that do. It's constantly monitoring, filtering out non-crash events and reporting actual collisions."
Byrne notes this means the Instant Crash Notification system is considerably different from other aftermarket systems that may seem to be similar.
"We come from automotive safety, where reliability is key, so we've designed the system to be extremely reliable. If you take an off-the-shelf GPS tracking system and repurpose it for this type of function, you're going to get a lot of false positives. Because of our experience in this area, I'm confident in saying that what we've developed is essentially an OEM system in terms of performance, but in an aftermarket package."