Neil Joslin, COO, e2e Total Loss Vehicle Management discusses how e2e are preparing, should there be another wave of COVID-19
Whilst we all sincerely hope that we are spared a second wave of COVID-19, unfortunately, global indications may suggest otherwise. The UK government is currently adopting a virus containment strategy which includes localised lockdowns of areas that present spikes in volumes of COVID-19 cases, Leicester being the first example, followed by Greater Manchester, East Lancashire, Aberdeen and parts of West Yorkshire. As I write this piece, according to new data compiled by Public Health England on 7th August, 29 local authorities are on the government’s watch-list, as a result of rising reported COVID-19 infections.
In my opinion, a potential second wave of COVID-19 has to be top of the business risk register and at e2e we are actively preparing to be able to address that risk by drawing on the learnings from the first wave.
When the pandemic first hit it would be fair to say that most of us were taken back by the ferocity of the virus, the speed at which it spread and the far-reaching impact it had on both industry and public life. A significant piece of learning during this time was that a joined-up approach to dealing with the challenges facing businesses and their supply chain was critical.
Whilst many organisations had the most detailed and tested continuity and contingency plans, no-one could have predicted and planned for the global impact of coronavirus. It was very quickly apparent that, in this unprecedented environment, to stand a chance of being effective continuity and contingency plans needed to be joined up across an organisation’s eco-system including its partners and suppliers. The pandemic gave rise to a new unified approach to tackling problems whereby service buyers and service providers worked together to come up with solutions to challenges that either party was facing.
COVID-19 has, in my experience, been a catalyst for improved collaboration across the insurance supply chain. Building on that collaborative journey, we are currently in talks with our insurer clients to design joint COVID-19 contingency plans, informed by the first wave, which can be put into action in the event of a nationwide second wave.
From e2e’s perspective in preparing for a second wave, we are looking at ways to improve on the strategies we previously deployed and which served us and our clients very well. We know that our unique network model gave us great flexibility to support our clients throughout lockdown. Network members were able to ensure service continuity because in the event a member had staff with suspected coronavirus requiring them to quarantine and potentially temporarily close a site, another member could step in to cover total loss vehicle collections in their area. We were fortunate not to have this situation arise. e2e head office facilitated flexing of the network and capacity through a daily two-way update process instigated with members as soon as lockdown commenced. This process was hugely effective and forms part of our business response to localised lockdowns or a potential national second wave.
We adopted the same approach to client communications during the period, increasing their frequency and mining our data to provide weekly tailored MI to clients to support them in their business decision making. Client feedback confirmed that this level of connection was valued and of great assistance in the uncertain times and so naturally forms part of our future contingency plans. Two-way updates also featured in our client communications with insurer clients sharing excerpts from their claims and vehicle usage data which enabled us to geographically map our network service provision to meet their needs, keep network members informed of anticipated requirements and support service continuity. We will again be applying two-way updates with clients as required with localised lockdowns and a potential second wave.
We are keenly aware that a second wave could have an even greater impact on the vehicle parts supply chain. This could mean increased motor claims costs for insurers with extended credit hire arrangements linked to delays in repairs. Clients and the wider market have approached us about the stock of 5 million quality tested, warranty assured reclaimed parts available through our network and our systems are ready to provide the support as needed.
At the start of the first lockdown, there was some early confusion as to whether salvage and recycling businesses could continue to operate. In order to ensure no interruption to services we immediately set up an Emergency Recovery Assistance service, so as to rapidly recover vehicles and keep the highways running. Our ERA service was provided within 90 minutes of instruction, which meant our clients could very swiftly support their policyholders, including those at the roadside and key workers. This market-leading turn-around time has proved to be incredibly popular and clients have also enjoyed savings. As a result, clients have asked, and we have agreed, to retain this service in our suite of offerings meaning we can have it ready to call on, if necessary, should we face a second wave.
My closing thought whilst writing about these preparations is that we can and should feel proud as an industry of how far we have come in a very short time when facing a challenge of unprecedented nature and scale. If the second wave does hit – this time we will be forewarned and forearmed.