ATLANTA -– After only six months, a Georgia Department of Transportation initiative to better manage and recover claims for damages to State property from vehicle crashes is far exceeding expectations. The result almost certainly will be the successful collection each year of millions more dollars owed to the State.
Every year, some 12,000 vehicle crashes on Georgia highways result in damage or destruction of State property – signs, guardrail, bridge support columns and the like. Annual damages have been estimated to total as much as $10 million. Georgia DOT is responsible not only for repair and replacement, but also for recovering the cost of those damages from the party responsible for the crash. Claims collection is not a Department core business function, however, and internal collections historically resulted in recovery of only about a million dollars a year. Last August, Georgia DOT contracted with one of the nation’s leading insurance subrogation firms - Claims Management Resources, Inc., (CMR) - to manage this important task. At no cost to Georgia taxpayers, CMR is acting as the Department’s agent in damages recovery negotiations with responsible parties and their insurance carriers.
A new report shows the company already has recovered more than $1 million for Georgia DOT.
“We’re extremely pleased with the initial results,” Deputy Commissioner Todd Long commented. “Too often we have had to utilize taxpayers’ dollars to repair damage caused by one individual; this effort helps hold those individuals and their insurance providers responsible. And we now are on a pace to recover $3 million in the first year of this contract, perhaps $4 million. That will be a tremendous improvement over previous collections and a significant amount we can re-invest in growing the state’s transportation network. Further, it allows our employees to focus on their primary duties.”
Georgia DOT’s contract with Oklahoma-based CMR is for three years. Such partnerships with the private sector represent just one of many new and innovative Department approaches for maximizing resources and improving mobility throughout the state.