Inside Politics

Roadside assistance goes digital

Wednesday, November 3rd, 2021 00:00 |
Roadside assistance goes digital.

A road incident and a very costly towing experience instilled in Brian Maingi,  a strong urge to make such experience easier for others who might find themselves in a similar situation.

After his vehicle stalled out of the blues near Sarit Centre in Nairobi, Brian tried reaching out to the service provider he’d been using, but they were unavailable leaving him in dire straits.

His Plan B ended up being an inexperienced towing service that damaged his car, making the whole incident more expensive than necessary. 

Following the experience, Brian sourced for professional towing companies and sought advice regarding the nature of their business and the challenges experienced. The data they collected from these companies was used create the AVA, app.

Rescue and assistance

“AVA is a road rescue and assistance application that provides accident management solution that caters to both the client and the insurance company,” says Justus Muriithi Kamau, AVA Business Development Manager.

  AVA is a subsidiary of Regent Automobile Valuers and Assessors Limited. The main aim of creating this app is to eliminate confusion on what to do when an accident occurs. 

“It gives clear guidance on what to do in case of an accident. The client receives guidance from our accident-trained staff from the control room on what to do.

It will also eliminate the hustle of going to the insurance firm to fill in a claim form as it assists a client in filling the form, which once submitted will be available in real time on the insurance company’s side,” said Brian, the managing director, Regent Automobile Group and AVA founder. 

The company has partnered with a number of service providers to ensure rescue arrives in minutes.

With its ability to capture videos and photos of the accident and key eyewitness testimonies from the police if present, the app will send a more detailed description of the accident to the insurance company.  

Data collection

“The app collects accident data by the client or the AVA team on behalf of the client and submits it to designated client insurance company for processing.

If the client has his or her own vehicle tracked with the same company, it will equally come with the clients driving behaviour prior to the accident and later, together with an accident assessment report.

If the client needs their vehicle towed, the app will link them to the nearest service provider via an Uber-like application for road assistance.

Some services the app offers include towing, tire change, fuel delivery and jumpstarting,” says Justus.

While the creation of the App has become a success after an extensive four months research Muriithi says there were some challenges along the way especially in vetting service providers and convincing them to come on board. 

Some were hesitant, thinking the app was out to steal their clients, but once they were able to understand how it works, and their customers would be brought closer to them they agreed to partner. 

Clients will be able to communicate with the insurance via the app thus keeping tabs on whether his or her claim is pending due to certain reasons, accepted and if not due to the reasons which will be displayed there. 

Users can download the app from both app store and play store.  Once they register with a user name and password, they are taken to rescue services section, where they can choose among four offered: towing, jumpstarting, tire change and fuel delivery. 

They then key in their car details and the system will pick up their destination and show the route it will take, distance, time and amount to be paid (the  app charges per kilometres).

Once the user clicks continue, the service providers will be dispatched, after receiving a notification of the request with the client’s details and the route to be used.

Once the towing is completed, the app will prompt the client to pay via mobile money or cash and give remarks after the job is done. 

The company has also partnered with emergency rescue personnel who will be dispatched to the scene to take a client to the hospital of choice or to the nearest hospital if they are unable to make this choice at the moment.  

Expansion plans

“If the client is in need of medical assistance we have on board major ambulance service providers.

Once our devices receive an impact alert, it notifies the insurance company and our control room where we will try to connect with the client via call to know their status and dispatch our trained accident management personnel to the scene. We also notify the nearest ambulance to assist the client,” says Justus. 

The app is accessible on both membership subscription at a certain fee and non membership, with the membership subscription coming with bonuses such as  a free service for the first 50km, garage services from AVA and other services.

The app, currently operational in Nairobi, will be rolled out to other counties after the first three­ month trial phase. 

“We are planning on expanding our services into the vehicle repair and car rental sectors,” says Brian. 

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