NHTSA: U.S. Highway Fatalities Rose In 2012
By Christina Bramlet, PropertyCasualty360.com
The number of people killed on U.S. highways rose in 2012 to end a run of six consecu- tive declines, which was the
longest streak in the nation’s history.
Crash fatalities rose 5. 3 percent to an
estimated 34,080 from a year earlier, the
U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety
Administration said today in a report.
The jump coincided with Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood’s campaign
against distracted driving.
The fatality rate, or the number of
people killed for every 100 million vehicle
miles traveled (VMT), rose also, from 1.1
in 2011 to 1.16 in 2012. The estimated
fatality rates per 100 million VMT during
the first, second, and third quarters of 2012
were 1.09, 1.13, 1.22 and 1.19, respectively.
note the preliminary nature of these
numbers and that final figures will be
released later this year.
One possible factor in the overall up-tick is the increase in motorcycle deaths.
In a report issued last month, the Governors Highway Safety Association said
that motorcyclist deaths increased about
9 percent last year to more than 5,000.
The Federal Highway Administration
says the increase in fatalities outpaced a
0.3-percent rise in the number of miles
driven in the U.S. The number of people
killed in 2012 on U.S. roads was the
highest since 2008, which was the third
of six consecutive years of declines.
sampling of policyholders who have recently
had a claim with us. This sampling includes
both policyholders whose claims were paid
and those whose claims resulted in no payment. The feedback we receive from these
surveys covers everything involved in the
claims experience, from FNOL through the
resolution of the claim. We have a team of
claims associates that analyzes the feedback
to confirm our top drivers of satisfaction,
as well as to identify areas where we can
improve the customer’s experience. Based on
this feedback, we can better team up with
the product and marketing areas of our company to enhance processes that are likely to
improve customer satisfaction.
Q: How has social media affected
claims? Do you monitor social media in
terms of customer satisfaction? What
steps can you take—if any—to deal with
unfavorable publicity about a claim?
Social media hasn’t materially affected
the claims process because we have always
been responsive to customer concerns when
those concerns were brought to our attention.
As a matter of corporate policy, we never
debate the validity of different opinions on
Facebook or Twitter. Instead, we follow a
process that is fairly common in the industry.
We acknowledge receipt of the social media
message and, if we are able to identify the
person posting the complaint, we then reach
out through another medium to discuss the
claim. If it is not possible to identify the
individual, then we post a message of our
own, encouraging him or her to reach out to
the claims department via phone.
Q: How satisfied are you with your
claims administration system? What
areas work best?
We are currently in the process of updating our claims administration system. The
new system will be able to better support
our growth and will bring more information
directly to the adjuster. We will also be able
to more fully integrate it with other systems
so as to present real time claim status
information to our agents and policyholders
through online portals.
Q: What inroads are you making in the
area of self-service for claimants?
Policyholders are able to file FNOL
through our website. Those who create
an online account with us are then able to
access basic claims status information on
their own. We continue to look for ways
to use technology to enable policyholders
to provide information that will assist in
resolving their claims. For certain types of
claims, when the policyholder chooses, we
utilize their digital photography to assist
in showing us the damage being claimed.
This reduces the time required to settle the
claim by eliminating the need for an on-site
inspection. We are able to use their pho-
tographs to write an estimate of damages
and get them a claims payment faster so
they can get their loss repaired, resulting in
increased customer satisfaction.
Q: How often do you reexamine your
processes? Would you be able to share
some examples of changes you have
We re-examine processes constantly to
ensure we are using the [most appropriate]
new technology and customer feedback to
improve our overall effectiveness. A few
examples of changes we have implemented
as the result of process analysis include
EFT payments to vendors; printing of checks
in the field; and obtaining bank status on a
check when the claims payment changes
so the adjuster can directly stop, void, and
reissue a check, if needed.
Brad Fisher, CPCU, AIC, oversees the property
claims division at American Modern Insurance
Group. He joined American Modern in 1991 and
has spent all but one of those 22 years in claims.