Pioneering mobile app that document details at the scene of motor accidents
|Anel Bothma, Gerhardt Becker & Botha|
A Centurion-based private investigation services firm FICS has developed a pioneering mobile application, which assists those present at the scene of an accident or shortly thereafter, to capture comprehensively all the information necessary to process a claim – shortening time frames in both the settling of insurance claims and road accident fund claims.
The FICS Mobile app, uses geo location technology, and is believed to the be the first of its kind in South Africa – if not the world - to fully document the evidence required by insurance companies as well as legal parties to process motor accident claims. The FICS Mobile app fills an identified and existing gap in the accident-claim process.
Users are able to capture data such as the location; date and time of the accident; vehicle details; and road and weather conditions. The FICS Mobile app also allows for photographs, videos, and witness statements and contact details to be collected.
FICS owns and stores all information captured using the FICS Mobile app. Once the information is captured, it is stored on a cloud-based server, and a standard merit report is made available for purchase to interested parties. For each report sold, the person who collected the data is paid R500 (a report can be sold to more than one party). A report collector benefits each time by R500 when a report is sold.
After 23 years of specialist exposure to the private investigation industry with a focus on Road Accident Fund (RAF) claims, FICS founder Gerhard Becker saw a need to expedite the legal process in order to resolve third party claims.
Removing Extensive Delays
“About 14 000 motor accident claims, at an estimated cost of R3-billion which currently runs at a shortfall, are submitted to the RAF monthly. Claim submissions to the Road accident Fund (RAF) can take years but once submitted, the RAF has 120 days in which to resolve a claim to avoid prescription. If the RAF cannot finalise a claim within the 120-day period allowed per legislation, an attorney can issue a summons. The magnitude of the workload means that most of these claims are not resolved within the 120-day period, resulting in prolonged legal disputes,” he said.
“Red tape and subsequent delays in the court process, mean that claims can take between five and seven years and longer to resolve, at huge cost for all stakeholders involved,” he said.
“As FICS we want to assist in taking much of the red tape out of the system, as well as ensure that road accident claims, which can be highly traumatic for the individuals concerned, are expedited as quickly as possible, ” he said.
The FICS Mobile app can be downloaded for free and is compatible with all iPhone and Android devices. “Our ultimate aim is for the FICS Mobile app to be downloaded and used by all motor vehicle users in the country, to the greater benefit of all,” he says.
To do so, FICS will be enlisting the assistance of its national franchise network. The company is in the process of securing 145 franchisees across the country, which will provide various forensic, investigative and consulting services.
These franchisees will typically be those individuals or small firms with experience in law, accounting, insurance, investigative work, third party claims and assessments.
The franchisee in the area where the accident occurred receives a summary of the accident data so they can approach and offer their services to law firms in the area.
The company’s decision to expand its operations by means of a franchise model was largely due to client demand, Becker explains. “Many of our clients indicated they would use our services on a larger scale if we made them available across the country. We are seeing a greater interest in quantum and merit investigations, while at the same time compliance requirements are growing in importance and complexity.”
“This has resulted in an increasing workload that many organisations and government departments struggle to manage because of a shortage of skills in assessment and investigations,” he explains.
Technological innovation is key element of the company’s success. FICS has also developed a secure, online system for updating clients on the status of an investigation.
FICS is also exploring opportunities for the app to be utilised in other African countries, as well as those with high accident rates.
App downloads may be obtained on http://www.fics.co.za/fics-app