After an auto accident, appraisers and repair shops may not immediately know exactly how much damage there’s been to a vehicle, or if it’s definitely totaled. Or an appraiser might provide an estimate, and then a week later, a body shop realizes the car is totaled.

Tractable, an AI Technology company, has a solution to this issue developed in partnership with Entegral, an incident management company owned by Enterprise, the rental car company. The companies announced the launch in October.

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Marcel Horstmann, head of estimating products at Tractable

“Our estimating pro can get photos of the damaged vehicle directly from the driver using a web app. Our AI system can instantaneously assess the damage levels and make immediate actionable recommendations for next steps that should happen to this vehicle,” said Marcel Horstmann, head of estimating products at Tractable, who led the integration of its Technology with Entegral’s services. “The first thing we do in this solution is determine whether the car is even repairable or whether it’s beyond repair.”

For a vehicle that can be repaired, Tractable’s AI estimates the amount of repair work required, which also helps determine for how long the car owner will need a rental replacement, added Horstmann. For Entegral, this cuts down on the need to extend rental replacements paid for by insurance policies because of inaccurate repair cost and time estimates.

In addition, the Technology Tractable and Entegral have launched cut down on all the related efforts required as part of assessing vehicle damage and providing rental cars. Typically, a rental will be provided for three or for seven days, and often either amount of time needs to be extended, according to Horstmann, requiring more conversations between the policyholder, the repair shop and the rental car agency. Also, another tow of the damaged vehicle has to be covered if it’s taken to a repair shop but then has to be towed again to a scrap yard, he added. 

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Joy Rohde, director of business development at Tractable

Aside from these practical concerns, Tractable and Entegral’s AI partnership makes it a friendlier process for the driver or policyholder who has to get a rental replacement. “You might have a terrible experience if you’re a soccer mom, carrying a lot of equipment in the back of a minivan, and you go in and they give you a compact car,” said Joy Rohde, director of business development at Tractable. “In this application, you have the opportunity to understand the limits through your insurance policy to select the appropriate vehicle, but you can select a larger vehicle. “You can say, ‘let’s pay the extra $5 out of pocket per day to get the minivan or the SUV.’ Even a customer who doesn’t have rental insurance on their policy has the option to get the insurance company’s discounted rate for a rental as well.”

Insurers may be able to eventually reduce the effort required for the repair and rental replacement arrangements, according to Rohde. 

“Some insurers we know have upwards of 20 people on staff just managing calls to lengthen the rental car experience,” she said. “They help the customer find a repair shop location, and then more calls have to be made behind the scenes to coordinate that appointment.” Tractable and Entegral’s partnership also helps find the right repair shop to handle the nature of the damage to the vehicle, according to Rohde.

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