April 2019 E-Bulletin

This month's E-Bulletin topics include:

  1. Don’t Wait until October 1 – Join TRS Today!
  2. Upcoming Changes to Arbitration Privileges
  3. TRS and the Rules
  4. Direct Filing – Three Paths to TRS
  5. Vehicle Technology and Damage Disputes – What’s Changing? What’s the Same?

Don’t Wait until October 1 – Join TRS Today!

Image of an October 2019 calendarAs you know, AF’s Online Filing (OLF) technology for all arbitration programs is being upgraded to the Total Recovery Solution® (TRS®) technology platform. The TRS platform is currently available for automobile subrogation arbitration program claims only (cases filed in our Auto program), and it will become the exclusive platform for all automobile subrogation claims by October 1, 2019.

Members who file in TRS today must initiate their cases in E-Subro Hub. Beginning April 29, 2019, members will have the option to file directly from TRS without pushing demands from E-Subro Hub.

Don’t wait until later this year to begin taking advantage of the benefits of TRS. Onboarding is simple. Contact us at Trsrollout@arbfile.org to begin your transition today!

Our members have asked if AF is considering changes to extensions and revisits. Yes, we are. Extensions and revisits are one of many topics we will continue to work with the membership and our Board of Directors to evaluate throughout 2019. We anticipate completing the evaluation with our members and Board to determine the best solution for extensions and revisits at the beginning of Q4 2019. These changes, and others, will be based on the needs of the membership as a whole and the long-term benefits our members expect from the TRS technology platform.
 
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Upcoming Changes to Arbitration Privileges

Image of a folder iconAs part of the Online Filing (OLF) upgrade to the Total Recovery Solution® (TRS®) platform effective October 1, 2019, AF will be assigning privileges for TRS to all existing arbitration users at all member companies. If a user currently has the ability to file, respond, and/or hear cases in OLF, that user will be given the equivalent privileges to perform those actions in TRS.

For members that are already participating in TRS, all remaining active OLF filers and responders at your company will be given comparable access in TRS, effective October 1, 2019.

TPAs that file and/or respond on behalf of a member company in OLF will be given restricted access in TRS. Restricted access is defined as access only to cases that members specifically assigned to the TPA in TRS.

Affiliate companies that are peers and/or web-enabled to a member company in OLF will be given unrestricted access in TRS. Unrestricted access is defined as access to all cases in TRS.

For a complete list of TPAs and affiliate companies that can file and/or respond on behalf of your company today, please contact your AF security administrator.

If you have any questions regarding TRS privileges, please contact the Member Service Center at 866-977-3434 or email TRSSupport@arbfile.org. The deadline to make changes to privileges for the TRS transition is August 1, 2019.

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TRS and the Rules

Image of an exclamation point in a speech bubbleBy October 1, 2019, TRS will become the exclusive platform for all automobile subrogation arbitration program filings. As we proceed toward this date, we want to share updates to the Rules noting TRS terminology and enhancements. View the updated rules.
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Direct Filing – Three Paths to TRS

Image of three arrows on a black backgroundAs previously communicated, the ability to submit an auto damage arbitration directly in TRS begins on April 29. The requirement to have issued a prior E-Subro Hub demand will be removed.

Direct filing offers three paths to submit a TRS filing:

1. Continue to push an E-Subro Hub demand to TRS.

2. Select “File New Damages” within the TRS application.
Image of the File New Damages option

3. Select “TRS” when submitting an Online Filing (OLF) case that qualifies for TRS.
Image of the option to choose to submit a case to TRS

When TRS is selected, you will need to review and complete the TRS workflow steps. This includes uploading and attaching evidence and ensuring all entries have migrated correctly. For example, OLF includes the combined damage type of “Towing & Storage,” while TRS separates them. The “Towing & Storage” OLF entry will migrate to “Towing” in TRS. You will need to add “Storage” and adjust the amounts for each.
We believe we’ve made filing in TRS as easy as possible for our participating members!
 
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Vehicle Technology and Damage Disputes – What’s Changing? What’s the Same?

Recent industry publications point to a technology shift in auto repairs, specifically in regard to smart technology in cars. Although vehicle technology is changing and repair costs increasing, the manner in which these damages disputes should be handled remains the same.

Smart cars, or vehicles with advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), come with features like smart mirrors and bumpers with cameras and sophisticated sensors. Today, half of the new vehicles sold have advanced safety features. In the next year or two, that number may rise to 98%.

Conceptual image of a smart car with sensors tracking nearby cars and objectsWhile these features make vehicles safer, the advanced technology also increases repair costs and loss severity. Even if these sensors or cameras do not need replacement, the original parts might still need to be scanned and/or calibrated to ensure they are working per manufacturer specifications.

Due to the industry’s competitive marketplace, insurers may estimate and pay for these damages differently, which, in turn, could create damage disputes. As with any disputed issue, it will be incumbent upon the parties to effectively argue and support their positions. For example, was it successfully proven that manufacturer’s specifications require replacement or calibration? Was a part’s repair or replacement warranted? Was the market-based competitive rate for repairs effectively presented and argued? Scanning or calibration costs seem to be expenses that all insurers will incur, but even if these damages are disputed, the arbitrator will need to consider the basis for the dispute and whether the argument is supported.

Vehicles with ADAS are on the road today. You may even own one. This issue is not something in our future; it’s beginning now. We’re confident our member arbitrators will be able to resolve the damage disputes that may arise. It’s all in the evidence!
 
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