How does our Claims Process work?

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30.07.15 at 1:08 am

In the early days of Yellow Jersey, we were able to handle all of our claims in-house. Our marketing team WAS our claims team, and our customer support team, and our development team, and the people you might have met at events. As we grew as a company it became impossible for so few of us to look after all of your claims, and so we had to start employing the resources of other companies to make sure everything could keep flowing freely.

We have built relationships with companies we trust, worked hard to train their staff to look after our customers the way we like, and developed systems that mean everyone is kept up to date with the information that they need:

Direct Group are an insurance claims company regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, and have the authority to look after the admin on our claims. This includes collecting documents, investigating incidences of insurance fraud, and authorising payments either to suppliers or directly to customers. They will handle any theft or race fee cancellation claim by themselves, but require additional help for accidental damage claims.

Complete Bike Recovery are a bicycle specialist. Their team of mechanics and technicians have the knowledge required to assess bike damage, and make decisions about the best solution for your claim. Their bike restoration wing Carbon Bike Repair also has the specialist ultrasound equipment we need to get an unambiguous assessment of carbon damage, something a local bike shop cannot provide.

That isn’t to say we aren’t still involved. Every claim form still comes through to us. We have a member of staff who oversees all of the claims as they move through the process, and we still have the final say on any settlements. If our customers run into any problems, we are ready to get stuck in and solve them.

Theft and Race Fee Cancellation

These are the easiest type of claims for us to deal with. When you submit your claim form, it gets sent through to Direct Group, Yellow Jersey and our underwriters Tradewise along with your policy information. As these sorts of claims are predominantly admin, Direct Group take the lead on processing them.

Within three working days they will make contact to request some essential documents. These could be things like proof of ownership for your bike, or a doctor’s note showing that you are unable to take part in your race, or a police report. As soon as you submit your form we will give you a list of everything Direct Group are going to need, so you can have them ready to send before they have even had the chance to ask for them.

Once the claim is all setup Direct Group will double check that your policy covers all of the things that you are claiming for, carry out the necessary fraud checks, and double check the details in your form – such as the value you insured your bike for or the cancellation T&Cs of you race entry.

So long as everything checks out they will offer you a settlement, and if you are happy, they will instruct our underwriters Tradewise to make a payment to you. We pay out for stolen bikes in cash, never vouchers, and the money should be in your account within 7 to 9 days.

Accidental Damage

Claims for bikes that have been damaged, be it while riding or with an airline, tend to be significantly more complex, and so require the involvement of a few extra people.

When you submit your form it will get sent through to Direct Group who will carry out the same steps as they would for any other claim, but it will also be sent through to our partners at a company called Complete Bike Recovery.

One of their engineers will get in touch with you within one working day to request photographs of the damage, and clarify any points in your claim form. You cannot give too much detail in your claim form, so don’t be shy. A good photograph can also tell the mechanics and carbon experts a lot about the state of the bike, so make sure you have a look at our quick photography guide to get the clearest pictures possible.

If the Complete Bike Recovery engineers are confident that the damage is minor, they will instruct you to take your bike into your local bike shop for a quote. This would include things like broken handlebars, or bashed derailleurs. CBR would pass your claim back to Direct Group, and so long as the repair quote was reasonable and the value of the bike justified it, they would ask the bike shop to carry out the repair, and pay them directly.

If there is no doubt that the bike is beyond repair (we are occasionally sent photos of frames in several small pieces) Complete Bike Recovery will ask Direct Group to process your claim in the same way they would a theft, and make a payment directly to you. This would come after the appropriate checks of course.

If we make a cash pay-out on a written-off bike that has good quality, undamaged components, we might organise recovery of the scrap.

Carbon Damage

If there is damage to a carbon frame or wheelset, or if it is unclear whether there is carbon damage, then Complete Bike Recovery will organise collection of the bike at a time when it will be convenient for you. They will also provide you an estimate on the anticipated timeframe should a repair be necessary, considering both the type of repair they think will be needed, and their current queue of waiting repairs.

It is slightly unusual for engineers to contact insurance customers and arrange collection before their claim has been agreed. If we were to wait for Direct Group to collect all of your information and process your claim through to completion before CBR were allowed to contact you, it could add a huge amount of wasted time onto your claim. We therefore work on the assumption that there won’t be any issues with the admin on accidental damage claims, and get Complete Bike Recovery to contact you straight away. This does mean that bicycles are collected on the proviso that any repair work is unagreed, and the bike could be returned unrepaired. We are happy to say this has never happened.

CBR’s repair arm, Carbon Bike Repair, have access to (and the training to use) a variety of ‘flaw detection apparatus’ including digital microscopes and thermographic ‘x-ray’, a process that uses ultrasound to track how heat passes through carbon fibre. The result of this is that they can provide a completely unambiguous assessment of the health of your frame or wheels, something a local bike shop cannot replicate. They also have in house cycle mechanics who can fix and diagnose issues with your groupset at the same time.

Based on the findings of their carbon inspection, Carbon Bike Repair might recommend carbon repair. Cracks in top tubes and chain stays are their bread and butter, and work they complete day in and day out. Whether or not they can repair other parts of the frame or wheelset depend on the severity of the damage, and the make and model.

In order to carry out a repair, Carbon Bike Repair must be able to satisfy three key points:

  1. Any carbon repair must be guaranteed for the lifetime of the bike.
  2. The bike must be functionally the same as it was before the crash.
  3. The bike must be aesthetically the same as it was before the crash including all paint work and decals.

Once the work is complete and they have signed off the bike as having met these requirements, it will be returned to you, and Complete Bike Recovery will request their payment directly from Direct Group who have been diligently completing all the admin in the background.

This guide to our process isn’t completely exhaustive of course. Every claim has its nuances, and even after four years of bicycle claims, things still come through our inbox that surprise us.

If you have any questions or concerns, you can always speak to us directly. We are available 9 to 5:30 pm Monday to Friday on 0333 003 0046, via email at support@yellowjersey.co.uk, or on social media as YellowJerseyUK.