The Problem with Courier Services for Crash Reports

Closing a claim is hard enough

Using typical courier services makes it far worse . . .

Most insurance claims managers , claims adjusters, and claims processors do not realize the options for getting traffic collision reports. In fact they might only have one option presented to them. It might be a button on the software system being used, or it might be picking a vendor off the approved vendors list. Unfortunately, these are usually one of the common courier services on the market, and they are simply dreadful.

Basically you have some variant of classic document couriers. They are built on an old framework of legal document courier services. They traditionally work picking up document X, and hand delivering to location Y without regard to the document itself or the process.

These courier services are notorious for over-promising, and under-delivering when it comes to handling collision reports.

Let’s Remember the Goal

To close any claim involving a traffic collision, YOU MUST HAVE THE POLICE REPORT! It sounds overly simple, but it is serious. In fact, the main reason (possibly the only reason) a Law Enforcement agency writes a report is for the Insurance Claim. So the goal is to get the report, contact the parties involved, determine the correct settlement, and CLOSE THE CLAIM WITH MINIMAL LOSS!

So if you need the report, does it matter WHEN you get the report? The answer is overwhelmingly (to our customers) YES!!! 

Every adjuster knows the clock is ticking when it comes to settling the claim and minimizing loss. Often claims are settled to the advantage of the party making FIRST CONTACT. There is a clear advantage to getting the report quickly, contacting the parties involved, and SETTLING FAST. So at the very least, the clock is ticking for thousands of dollars. The goal of getting a crash report is to get the details (that will also happen to be submitted to a court if it goes that far), and get in contact with the parties involved.

Getting the crash report quickly takes a few key elements, and without them getting the report quickly is impossible. In fact getting the report at all becomes impossible in many cases!

Jurisdiction - The first step

We have a simple article on determining report jurisdiction for a crash report. In California, having a basic address is not remotely enough. You have to figure out who possibly had jurisdiction, then reduce the list down to who possibly has jurisdiction, and then start finding who actually has jurisdiction. For those of you who have never tried to contact 2-3 large municipal, bureaucratic law enforcement agencies, take it from us, it is not for the faint of heart.

And here is the big problem . . . For a courier service, YOU must take this step BEFORE you can even order your report. You can easily spend 30-60 minutes of time and hassle just getting this information before you can even get someone to try and pick up your report.

Getting Possession - The second step

Now the fun starts. After all this work, you get to wait until the law enforcement agency actually publishes the report. Some agencies are quick, some are slow. Some even provide an initial summary, some don't. Some of these public servants decide they like you, and want to provide you your report. Some decided they don't like you, how you asked, or the fact they are having a bad day. Add this to the fact that in California, this information is NOT public record. This means that nice clerk is under scrutiny to make sure this information is not handed off to just anyone.

By the way... some offices are open at certain times. Some only accept requests over fax (remember those?) , while others only in person. Some offices handle huge volumes of these requests and have more experience and sophistication, while others don't ever have a regular person handling these requests.

So the goal here is to get to the office as soon as the report is ready. Waiting too long seriously undermines the goal of getting a report QUICKLY.

Now the real problem starts

These courier services have a lot in common with the drivers that deliver potato chips to your local convenience store. They work a "route", and basically follow a predetermined system to drop off report requests. They then return at some interval (perhaps weekly or longer).

We see these drivers all the time when we are picking up reports. The process they use is shocking, explains WHY THEY CANNOT DELIVER ACCURATE REPORTS QUICKLY. Here is what we see every day:

  • Local courier service arrives to local law enforcement station. They have some sort of instructions to pick up a report at this specific office. This is just one stop on a long list of stops the courier is assigned that day.
  • The courier then either asks if the report is available. Depending on the situation, the office clerk may ask for more information in order to find the actual report itself. At this point, the courier is able to produce the basic information they were provided. Normally this is the report number, because the requester (you, the customer) have already gone through a long process of determining jurisdiction (mentioned above).
  • The process then has 3 possible results:
    •  The information about the report is wrong, or the clerk is having trouble finding the report. There can also be several other problems, with the result that the courier will leave without the report.
    • The information is correct, however the report is not available. n some cases, the courier will then attempt to remember to come back the new time they get assigned to come by. In other cases, the courier will leave some paperwork on the clerks desk, along with an envelope and wait for someone to review it whenever it is ready, and mail it back.
    • The report is ready, and the courier will receive it.

In 2 out of 3 scenarios there is no report ready. In this case, they essentially take all the work you have done, and leave it in a stack of paperwork, at a large, bureaucratic, municipal level operation and hope for the best.

They hope the right personnel will see the request and service the request (without any additional information needed). Then they hope the officer will put the right report back in the right envelope. The next amazing feat of customer service means either waiting for them to make their way back to pick it up, or even worse MAIL IT BACK TO HQ! What if there is something wrong with the request, or the officer misplaces or forgets the request? The same courier who continues to bulk process hundreds of drop offs a week this way simply cannot keep up with the information.

The amount of delay and confusion we hear about from our customers who have used these services is stunning. Even worse, because these services don't track or follow up, a lot of reports are lost in a black hole of paperwork. And they don't know it until YOU, the CUSTOMER contact them about a report you NEVER RECEIVED. Delays of weeks are not uncommon!

Delivering the Report - The Final Step (or is it?)

Now that these courier services (and we are still using this term to be kind) have your report, they need to deliver it to you. Some will fax it, some will mail it. Some upload it to their website and send you a notice that it is time for you to come and get it. And the big hope is that this report is in fact what you ordered. Because the next wonderful reality is: IT MIGHT BE THE WRONG REPORT!

The courier really is "just the messenger". They only pick up what you directed. There is no process in place as these are simple couriers picking up the report. Some of these are extremely large organizations gathering up millions of documents a day. Their main goal is to scrape all the data off these documents and add it to their massive data warehouses. This is called Big Data. To add insult to injury, your work and dollars might be spent helping them get their hands on this kind of information and use it over and over again.

If the report is the right one, you scored! You now have a report in your hands and you can begin the process of contact and closing the claim. If not, don't worry! You can just restart this process all over again!

The REAL Solution

Sure the scenario we described above sounds a little extreme, but truly... it is not that unusual. When customers try us out the first time, they often don't know what to expect. And we blow them away with our service and speed. They have simply never had the experience we provide.

How we do it, and what we need from you

We need just a bit of information to get going on Report Jurisdiction. We actually DON'T want our customers trying to figure out report jurisdiction. First off, it is costly to them. Second, it is a serious delay (and we are WAY faster). And third, we are far more accurate (no mistaken trips). We handle report requests constantly, and are evaluating report jurisdiction all the time. We normally get it the first time. Our regular interaction with key personnel, along with years of researching crash reports help us know the tricks to get this key first step done.

We need just a few pieces of data (like address, date, insured name, and a few other basics) plus any other additional information you might have to add. This gets the process started. Once we confirm the information and start work, we will update and add any new information into the Report Dashboard as we collect it.

We get to work chasing down the report

Because our staff is so experienced, we have an excellent track record determining when the report is available. We are constantly visiting these offices in person, and updating our systems in real time. We check daily for availability, and get the report immediately. Once our team actually has possession of it, your report is uploaded from the field.

The Final Step

Our internal staff is notified that your report is uploaded, and we review the report for accuracy. This final check allows us to avoid serious delays in the event there is a mistake from the agency providing the report. This step is the final quality check we provide to make sure we are not just the fastest crash report service, but the best!

We then email you the report (along with any other centralized email accounts) and you are ready to go.

Now you are ready to go close that claim!

Want to know more?

We provide high performance, low hassle report services for claims adjusters, processors, and legal professionals. When you need Traffic Collision Reports, Certificate of Death, Animal Control, Fire and Coroner reports, WE WILL GET THE REPORT!

First Report is FREE for new customers!