A Powerful Partnership
A Powerful Partnership

This industry has many strong partnerships which bring together the best solutions, people and ideas. David Trinder, CEO, F&I Administration Solutions LLC (F&I Admin), and Steve Apicella, president, dentGuy Network, have brought their technologies together, and the results show how powerful those types of partnerships can be.

“DASH”, the dentGuy software, allows consumers to submit and manage their appearance protection claims through an intuitive, Web-based interface that walks them through the process. SCS Auto, F&I Admin’s administration software, is a complete platform that allows users to manage the entire sale and administration lifecycle of F&I products. With this partnership, both systems are fully connected, resulting in a seamless sales, administration and claims management process for appearance protection products.

“This is a great partnership that truly adds value to everyone involved,” said Trinder. “The administrator will use SCS Auto as a complete sales and administration solution, but now with the link to DASH, the claims process and claims management have been significantly enhanced from both a process and claims management point of view. It is really powerful.”

“There are inherent issues that admins deal with,” said Apicella. “One is how to first initiate the claim, and then how to translate that information from the consumer to the technician doing the actual repairs. A lot of times, consumers are conditioned that when they have a problem, they should go to the dealer. They can still do that, but they can now also go to a Website to make the claim. So it’s really important that our system be easy to use for consumers, but powerful enough for service technicians and administrators to provide and interpret the information correctly. That’s where our system is of value — it is designed to connect the entire workflow.”

The dentGuy software is a Web-based system that uses a graphical user interface. On entering the site, the consumer or service technician will enter a contract or VIN number. The system will look into SCS Auto to pull up the contract with all the vehicle and coverage information. The system automatically pulls the exact make and model of the vehicle the customer owns, so rather than a generic model, they see their exact car, making it far more accurate and increasing the value of the system. The user then selects the panel on the car on which the damage occurred.

Once the area of damage is selected, users are then asked to select an image that best represents the type of damage. Apicella noted that every photo is mapped to specific coverage terms. This is another place where integration with F&I Admin adds value and eases the process — the codes are matched to those already in use by the administrator within SCS Auto, making it a seamless and touch-free process to match the claim to the coverage. And because the full specifications are being pulled from the actual contract the consumer purchased, it can automatically inform the user if their damage is covered or not, as well as provide either instructions on how to proceed, or an explanation of why the claim is being denied. And all of that information is then saved into the system, so the administrator has all of the details without once needing to input additional information.

“It is really important to decipher the coverage correctly, from an administrator standpoint,” said Apicella. “Admins need to know where the damage occurred, accurately, and what the damage includes. If a customer says they have a dent, and the administrator asks them to describe it, that can be hard for a customer to do — they don’t know the terminology. But getting an accurate description is important for loss control. The damage could be anything from a large dent to a small paint scratch. Previously, because the severity and location of the damage determined whether it was covered, the administrator still had to go and verify each claim, and the consumer had to wait to learn whether or not they were going to get repairs. With SCS Auto, the system now does a live Web call — at the initiation of the claim, it connects to F&I Admin’s system, where the plan and the coverage are verified. The entire process takes seconds, and then it tells the user if the damage is covered, all without needing the administrator to manually approve anything. And now the administrator has that information linked to the customer’s file automatically — who made a claim, what the claim entailed, and whether it was approved or denied. It can even be set up to automatically connect the consumer to a technician for repairs. And then it instantly puts all of that information into a dashboard, where administrators can monitor the workflow.”

“It’s really prefect,” continued Apicella. “All this information is captured and translated back into SCS Auto, so the administrator doesn’t have to do double work, and they have access to all the other tools in the software, like risk management — it’s all electronically linked now.”

“Everyone involved benefits from this integration,” noted Trinder. ”The entire process is far easier for consumers to manage, and because of that, they are more satisfied with the experience. If the customer is satisfied, they will carry that good will over to the dealer they purchased the contract from, which makes the dealer happy. And the administrator has access to the most efficient process possible to manage their claims and service their customers, all supported through our leading administration solution.”

Apicella was quick to point out that while much of our discussion was around dent and ding, the system supports all appearance products including dent, cosmetic alloy wheel, windshield, headlight, exterior paint, interior stain, interior rip/puncture/burn and/or road hazard tire/wheel.

Loss Control

The integration of the two platforms makes the claims process more efficient, but it brings other benefits as well. Administrators now have access to dentGuy’s tools for items such as loss control and fraud prevention, right from the SCS Auto platform. Fraud, in particular, is an area where dentGuy has stepped up to the plate. “To be successful, administrators can’t be paying unnecessary or fraudulent claims,” said Apicella. “We mitigate that with photos. Users can upload a photo of the actual damage, which is linked to the claim itself. Our photo recognition system can even determine if the photo has been used in a claim before. That’s something that happens frequently enough to be an issue — a user tries to submit a photo that was used on a successful claim, rather than one of their actual damage. We give administrators another management tool to protect their profits.”

While the process used to determine if a photo is fraudulent is proprietary, Apicella did say that it does not matter if the photo has been cropped, inverted, etc. — he described it as taking a fingerprint of every photo that enters their system, which then stays in a database used specifically for identifying false photos. Of course, if the administrator requires a photo or not is up to them — Apicella noted that some require a photo to be submitted for every approved claim, while others only ask for photos in specific situations. But the option is available for whatever the administrator prefers.

At the end of the day, this partnership is making the entire process easier for everyone involved. Customers can initiate and manage their claims from start to finish in an intuitive, easy-to-understand interface, while administrators have a powerful tool to manage claims end-to-end, without any need to re-key data.

“Customers expect a certain level of service, and we are connecting the dots. It is easy to file a claim, easy to manage a claim and it can all be tracked,” said Apicella. “It gives the administrator a tremendous amount of horsepower, which is now greatly amplified by the partnership with F&I Admin; now all of that data is automatically translated directly into their admin system behind the scenes.”