FNOL – why speed and accuracy matter.

Written by CMS
17th March 2021

What is FNOL?

First notification of Loss, better known as FNOL in the insurance, fleet, and transport management industries, is the first report to an insurer about the damage, loss, or theft of an insured vehicle.

Photo of queuing vehicles due to an incident that will have triggered and FNOL

As such it is the very first step in an insurance claim process.

Additionally, FNOL is a widely used term in telematics and telematics data management. Here, it describes the automated alert that is triggered by readings (about a vehicles g-forces) within a telematics device. Be that an older black box, or a newer camera.

These alerts help fleet and transport managers by letting them know an incident has happened. They can then rapidly react to manage the situation. Checking on the safety of the driver and any third parties, notifying insurers or emergency services, updating customers who may be impacted by the involved vehicle’s situation, etc.

Well, that’s the theory

Unfortunately, telematics devices are very sensitive, reacting to all sorts of nudges, bumps, and bangs on a vehicle. This triggers a lot of false positives to the transport managers. Who eventually stop reacting to every alert, as they could be caused by a door being slammed, driving over a pothole, or hard braking from taking an unfamiliar corner too fast.

This, of course, can create a situation where a true incident, that requires a FNOL, can go unnoticed. The reaction only comes when the vehicle driver notifies the transport manager, which could be at the end of a shift or even later.

Which is not an ideal situation.

Why is rapid FNOL important?

Basically, cost control.

Of course, the safety of all involved comes above this, and in cases where major injury or loss of life is likely, the need for rapid FNOL is paramount.

However, in non-life-threatening or non-major injury incidents, the faster a transport manager or insurer can react to an incident the better they can take charge and manage the associated cost elements. Allowing them a better chance of keeping the costs under control.

As a direct illustration of this, in the late 2000s a leading car rental company ran a campaign to get its renters to call a dedicated helpline should they have an incident.

By doing this, the company could take control of the incident, managing it with its own resources, while also providing better peace of mind and service to its customers and any involved third parties.

This campaign was based on the company’s analysis that showed the cost of an average incident – repairs, provision of replacement vehicles, insurance elements, etc – if internally managed could be kept to £300.

If third parties became involved – other insurance companies, accident management organisations, replacement vehicles hired from other (often competing) car rental companies, etc – the average cost would increase to £3000.

Tenfold increases like this, as well as vehicle downtime impacts customer service, and has a medium-term effect on insurance rates.

This is why fast, accurate FNOL is so important to fleet operators, transport companies and insurers.

For more on this, this article in Fleet News, from a few years ago, is worth reading.

The FNOL conundrum. How can FNOL be improved?

So, the need for fast and accurate FNOL is important in preventing loss of life, and cost control. However, the tools for fast and accurate FNOL, telematics, are flawed in providing accurate FNOL.

What can be done?

Well, that’s where CMS comes into play.

We specialise in telematics data aggregation, which is built on our fundamental research into the needs of the transport and insurance industries.

These needs are served by our market-leading technology.

With this, we have solved the conundrum of the need for fast and accurate FNOL without the forest of false positives from the telematics devices used by fleet operators and insurers.

Our SaaS platform, Clara, is hardware agnostic, taking in data from any telematics, employee or other connected data sources. It then makes the data consistent and comparable, over time and across original sources, via our AI and machine learning-based technologies.

This delivers the time-critical FNOL alerts that are needed by transport managers, fleet operators and insurers. Plus, provides a simple, single point of view of an organisation’s risk profile.

With this, organisations can reduce claim frequencies, reduce claim costs, improve the effectiveness of training programs, and significantly reduce, or eliminate manual data management.

All of which adds up to making a safer world.

Find out more.

If you would like to find out more about how CMS can help your organisation get fast, accurate FNOL alerts, and better insight to support your fleet risk management programs, please contact us here.


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Collision Management Systems