Is Your TPA a Positive Reflection of your Brand?

Preventing damage to your brand from unresolved third-party claims

  • Third-party claims that arise from fleet activity put a company’s good name on the line.
  • Even small ones require fast processing and white-glove care to achieve the best outcome.
  • Many companies put their brand at risk by turning over these claims to companies that aren’t built to handle them.

Handling third-party claims is about more than writing checks and closing files; it’s about protecting the brand.

Somewhere in the company, the phone rings. Maybe it’s in marketing, logistics, or customer care. It doesn’t matter because whoever picks it up will be unprepared for the person at the other end.

The caller says his car was rear-ended by a company vehicle, and he wants to know when he’s finally going to hear from somebody about paying for repairs and the precautionary doctor’s visit.

How many transfers to another extension will he endure, and how will he feel when finally sent back to the same outside vendor that’s been taking so long in the first place? How many friends will he tell? Why hasn’t he already just turned it over to a lawyer?

All risk is not the same. The risk-management firm that does such a good job administering worker’s compensation claims may not be built to handle third-party claims that result from fleet accidents. “They’re different risks and they require different handling,” says Jodie Varner, Vice President of Client Engagement at Fleet Response.

Third-party claims involve people who never chose to interact with the company. And while worker’s comp claims – the bread-and-butter for traditional TPAs – are effectively handled over time, the best outcomes for this type of claim are achieved through swift, proactive outreach by the company or its representative. [Related article: Rethinking Risk: Why you should choose a specialized TPA]

“People who are involved in accidents with your vehicles are experiencing the company’s brand as surely as the consumers who buy your products and services,” Varner says. “This is a person who was just hit by a vehicle with a logo on the side. How its handled is a reflection of your company, and they’ll remember how you made them feel. So managing third-party claims is not just an administrative bill-paying process; it’s about the experience of dealing with your company in a difficult situation.”

Remember back in 2014, when comedian Tracy Morgan was critically injured by a Walmart truck? Within a year, Walmart had paid him a settlement widely reported to be $90 million.

Morgan has publicly forgiven the driver of that truck, but every time he gets on stage, he seems to mention Walmart. Presenting at the 2019 Screen Actors Guild awards, he said, “Trust me when I say, as a former winner, if you win this award tonight and get hit by a Walmart truck and survive with all your arms and legs, you’re gonna be set for life.”

Morgan’s case was high profile, and nothing would have prevented negative attention on Walmart. But it illustrates how third-party claims affect a brand: They’re bad news from the start, and they can easily get worse.

As a performance leader in managing auto claims for self-insured fleets, Fleet Response maintains a 24/7 call center to take initial loss information; a team of adjusters with expertise in assessing repair costs; and a subrogation department that investigates accidents to determine culpability.

These capabilities allow Fleet Response’s teams to handle third-party claims for the best outcome by acknowledging the loss within 24 hours, quickly investigating the circumstances, and when appropriate, making fast settlement offers.

“Fleet Response was built around customer service, and we’ve thrived because of the way we treat our customers’ drivers. When we extend that same level of service to the third party whose vehicle was damaged, it creates a positive experience that not only contains cost and disruption, but also protects your brand.”


To discuss how specialized handling of third-party claims can reduce legal, financial and brand exposure in your organization, contact Jodie Varner, Vice President of Client Engagement at Fleet Response, contact@fleetresponse.com.