x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

Site to track car accident claims

A new traffic portal will allow drivers to follow up the progress of their claims with insurers and garages with a click of a button.

A Saaed accident officer files a report at an accident scene.
A Saaed accident officer files a report at an accident scene.

ABU DHABI // A website due to launch by the end of the year will allow drivers to process their accident claims, eliminating trips to insurance agencies.

Ibrahim Ramel, the chief executive of Saaed, the company that attends to traffic accidents in Abu Dhabi, said the portal would be updated in real time.

"The moment an accident takes place and the Saaed officer arrives to the scene, he will take photos and an electronic report will be sent through the portal," Mr Ramel said.

"Then, through any wireless device such as a mobile phone, the driver can immediately request to make a claim. The insurance [company] then sends the details to the workshops they deal with. This is all done through the portal."

Once the vehicle is at the garage, staff there will list all the necessary repairs and parts. Motorists will then be able to check the status of the repairs online.

The site will link drivers with police, insurance companies, garage owners, inspection stations and car dealers.

It will be managed and controlled by the Higher Committee, which includes the Abu Dhabi Traffic and Patrols Department, Saaed, the Ministry of Economy, the UAE Insurance Authority and the Department of Economic Development.

"The portal will basically monitor the life cycle of the vehicle from the moment it enters the country until the moment it got scrapped or leaves," Mr Ramel said. "Our aim is to reduce the amount of time, effort and money required for these procedures."

Each vehicle will be identified by the owner's traffic file number. All information will be protected by passwords, Mr Ramel said, and security will be high to ensure privacy. Access to information will be determined by the Higher Committee.

The website will also provide a list and profile of all insurance companies, he said. Vehicle owners can request a quote from various companies before selecting one. The site will also list and classify all garages and workshops.

"Vehicle owners are often sent to garages by their insurance companies not knowing what to expect," Mr Ramel said.

"Perhaps according to the client's package he is entitled to a particular standard and the insurance company is sending him to a garage that doesn't meet that standard, how will he know?

"Are the parts genuine? What is the quality of this particular garage's work? The portal will help answer those questions."

The site will first cover Abu Dhabi vehicles, officials said, with plans to expand the service nationally.

According to current plans, the first phase will see all electronic services currently available on the Abu Dhabi police website transferred to the new website, said Lieutenant Mohammed Darwish al Balouki, the research and development branch manager with the Abu Dhabi police.

This includes the payment of fines and the renewal of vehicle registration and drivers' licences.

Although not everything can be done by computer, the website will help to reduce waits and simplify the process, Lt al Balouki said.

"For example, in the case of licence renewal, all eye clinics will also be linked to the portal to save the driver the trip from the clinic to the stations," he said.

The listing of insurance companies and the classification of garages will be part of the second phase.

Lt al Balouki said the site would take nearly 18 months to fully launch. A two-year transition period is also required, he said, to make sure all stakeholders have access to, and are included in, the system.

Car dealers are looking forward to the site and hope it will improve communication with customers.

"This is a great idea," said Mohammed Ahmad Abdel Galil, a sales executive at Al Futtaim Motors. "It will help relieve some pressure. Instead of direct calls between us and the customer, he can just check online."

Speaking as a driver, Mr Abdel Galil said the website would save him the hassle of unnecessary trips and phone calls.

"I've been involved in so many accidents and it's an inconvenient process, from submitting paperwork to constantly following up with the police, the insurance company and the workshop. This will definitely make everything much easier."

mismail@thenational.ae