Six years ago, it started as an idea for a new level of service that could help save drivers lots of time managing the claims/repair process following a crash. At that time, the service was delivered from a construction trailer on a car lot on the Bedford Auto Mile. Today, it’s the latest claims innovation–a concierge level of claims service–available only from The Progressive Group of Insurance Companies and it’s available through more than 40 state-of-the-art facilities throughout the U.S., including a brand new one at 651 Beta Drive in Mayfield Village, a Cleveland suburb, that replaces the original Bedford site.
“While this is a replacement site for the original test site opened in Bedford in February 2000, it represents so much more than that,” said CEO and President Glenn Renwick. “This opening signifies how far we’ve come with a simple idea–save people time and make the claims process easier. And, it reflects drivers’ widespread acceptance of that idea.”
In February 2000, Progressive put a construction trailer on a car lot on the Bedford Auto Mile, called it a Service Center, and began a test of its new concierge level of claims service. The concept was simple: Test whether drivers wanted their car insurance company to manage the claims/repair process for them, eliminating the need for them to have to get estimates, find a shop, arrange for alternate transportation, and manage the repairs themselves. And, it worked: Today, by using the concierge level of service, drivers can spend about 15 minutes instead of the four days it can generally take dealing with the aftermath of crashes.
Six more test sites would open between February 2000 and December 2002 before the decision was made to expand this level of service and offer it to all Progressive Direct(R) and Drive(R) Insurance from Progressive customers–and those with whom they are involved in crashes–throughout the country.
Today, 44 sites are opened in 20 states; making the service available to about one third of current customers. Four of the sites are in Ohio. By year’s end, 50 sites are expected to be opened.
“This is a terrific milestone,” said CEO Glenn Renwick. “Opening this new facility right here in our own back yard is a testament to our culture of constant improvement through continuous testing and measuring and our commitment to giving drivers a level of customer service they don’t get anywhere else in this industry.”
Today, about 8,800 car crashes happen in Cleveland each year–that’s about 170 a week. And, while about half of all claims handled by Progressive in the area are considered minor in terms of repair costs since they cause less than $2,000 in damage to each vehicle, the time wasted and inconvenience caused are anything but minor. About 40 percent of drivers involved in crashes report spending four or more days managing the process of getting their vehicles repaired. This means area drivers collectively lose more than 1,000 hours of time managing the claims/repair process because of minor accidents that happen in Cleveland every day.
“Since we opened the Bedford site six years ago, we’ve overseen the claims/repairs process on an estimated 34,000 vehicles, reducing the time Clevelanders spend managing repairs to just minutes,” said Paul Handa, Mayfield Village Service Center manager, Progressive. “We look forward to continuing to offer the service from Mayfield Village.”
How the Service Center Works
— The customer calls Progressive to report the claim any time ofthe day or night and then schedules an appointment to bringthe vehicle to the specially designed Service Center.
— In about 15 minutes, the customer can be on his or her way ina rental car with assurance that Progressive will keep him orher informed of the status of the claim throughout the repairprocess.
— A Progressive claims representative prepares a repair estimateand contacts an auto body shop based on its track record ofproviding superior service, high quality repairs and itsability to begin and complete work promptly. Both Progressiveand the shop reach agreement on the cost of the repairs; theshop then transports the vehicle from the Service Center toits facility and the repair work begins.
— When the work is finished, the vehicle is returned to theService Center where representatives from both Progressive andthe body shop inspect the quality of repairs.
— Once satisfied with the repair quality, Progressive calls thecustomer and asks him or her to return to the Service Centerwhere, together with the claims representative, the customerinspects the repairs.
— The customer then leaves with a written guarantee on therepairs that both Progressive and the body shop stand behindas long as the customer owns or leases the vehicle.
While Service Centers are available for repairable cars there’s also another concierge level of claims service for cars declared total losses; it’s available in Ohio and 14 other states. Called Total Loss Concierge, Progressive helps find a replacement car if it is declared a total loss after an accident – that is, if the damaged car would cost more to fix than it’s worth. All a driver has to do is describe the vehicle he or she wants – such as the year, make, model, price range and color – and the concierge specialist will take it from there. Both services drastically reduce the amount of time each driver has to spend repairing or replacing his or her car after a crash.
Progressive employs more than 13,200 claims people in more than 460 offices countrywide. Although both time-saving services are not yet available in all markets where Progressive operates claims offices, claims representatives there continue to personally handle each customer’s claim from start to finish.
The Progressive Group of Insurance Companies, in business since 1937, ranks third in the nation and second in Ohio for auto insurance based on premiums written and provides drivers with competitive rates and 24/7 in-person and online service. The products and services of the Progressive Direct Group of Insurance Companies are marketed directly to consumers by phone at 1-800-PROGRESSIVE and online at www.progressivedirect.com through the Progressive Direct(R) brand. The products and services of the Drive Group of Progressive Insurance Companies are offered by more than 30,000 independent insurance agencies and online at www.driveinsurance.com through the Drive(R) Insurance from Progressive brand. The Common Shares of The Progressive Corporation, the Mayfield Village, Ohio-based holding company, are publicly traded at (NYSE:PGR). More information can be found at www.progressive.com.
Paul Handa, Mayfield Village Service Center manager, is available for interview.
Editor’s note: Customer testimonials available upon request.