handl Group launches Cogent Hire, a credit hire company for the post-reform world
“Cogent Hire breaks new ground in credit hire. We are the first credit hire company that aims for zero litigation, the first to target a near total removal of credit hire fraud, and the first fully collaborative credit hire model with insurers that will substantially reduce their costs.” – Graham Pulford, CEO handl Group
handl Group is launching a new credit hire business that will improve access to mobility for customers following an accident and remove much of the friction that has blighted relations between insurers and credit hire companies (CHCs).
The new business, branded Cogent Hire, will be led by newly-appointed managing director Kirsty McKno. Kirsty, who stepped down as chair of the credit hire trade body the CHO at the end of 2020, has been working with handl Group to build Cogent Hire from scratch for today’s launch.
She said the new company is future-proofed for the changes in vehicle claims management following the government’s injury reforms, including the launch of the new injury portal in May 2021 and the expected government response to Part II of the MoJ’s Whiplash Consultation, which directly impacts credit hire.
The Cogent Hire team is already working with a number of insurers under confidentiality agreements and aims to make the business a pioneer for credit hire in the post reform world.
Cogent Hire will partner with Europcar UK to source vehicles and also has a number of strategic alliances, including with Hills in respect of salvage, Verius and the Cotswold Group (utilising Cotswold’s ‘Heads Up’ technologies) on counter fraud measures, and fellow handl Group company, Claimspace, in dealing with disputed claims.
Kirsty explained that Cogent Hire will reduce friction and improve the customer experience by working cooperatively with insurers.
“Cogent Hire’s number one priority is to work with insurer partners to remove the causes of friction within a credit hire claim, for example, through our transparent charging structure where we agree up front with insurer partners what and how we charge, so that nothing is hidden.”
“Insurers dealing with Cogent Hire will see a number of changes to traditional credit hire, including fraud checks before and during hire, standard handling fees, transparent hire rates and a partnership approach to repairs. By removing hidden extras, Cogent Hire will reduce the average credit hire bill by at least 25%.”
Kirsty commented: “The customer experience will be improved through the use of AI-based technology that enables our team to treat people like people, rather than policy numbers, so that from the first contact they are provided with the right solution for them.”
“Our partnership with Europcar will enable the fast deployment of the right vehicle, including electric and specialist commercial vehicles, to keep them and their businesses on the road. Tech based triage tools will ensure that Europcar vehicles are tracked correctly, hire periods are minimised and customers are able to quickly get back to their normal lives.”
James Roberts, business development director, insurance for Europcar UK, said: “We are delighted to be appointed sole supplier and confident that Cogent Hire will very quickly become a challenger brand in the Credit Hire space.”
handl Group business Claimspace will supply alternative dispute resolution (ADR) services to disputed cases, to avoid going to court. Kirsty added: “For Cogent Hire, litigated cases are a mark of failure, especially when faced with year-long delays in civil court cases as a result of the pandemic.”
She explained that the impetus to join handl Group to develop Cogent Hire came during her tenure as chair at the CHO and her subsequent work with insurers to continue to help people with their mobility needs during the lockdown. “The pandemic underlined the value of collaboration. I have long believed that the conflict and tribalism that has characterised the credit hire industry’s relationship with insurers for decades doesn’t help customers.”
“Credit hire should be about making sure customers are back on the road as soon as possible, and their claim is settled with a minimum of disruption for our clients. That is the rationale for Cogent Hire in a nutshell.”
Commenting on the launch, handl Group Chief Commercial Officer Chris Chatterton said: “We started with a blank sheet of paper and asked insurers what good looked like in credit hire. Nobody we spoke to thought the current market was working for customers or the industry, despite the government’s reform programme giving every incentive to re-boot credit hire for the 2020s.”
He added: “We felt there was a great opportunity to bring Kirsty on board and apply handl Group’s core philosophy of people and technology working collaboratively across both the defendant and claimant side.”
CEO Graham Pulford added: “We are the natural home for a progressive credit hire company and we are confident that Cogent Hire will be very attractive to insurers seeking a new way to manage post-accident mobility for both fault and non-fault customers.”
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