Industry Leader Interview – Jason Tripp, Managing Director, Coplus.

What’s the biggest challenge (Coronavirus related) facing your sector of the industry?

The biggest challenge so far is that the timescales for this crisis are so elastic, making re-planning a constant.

As a leader it’s really about keeping yourself and importantly your people motivated, not with just today’s challenges, but those of tomorrow too.  We will, of course, come through this and we need to ensure we are in good shape for then as well.   Our senior team and their reports have shown a high level of self-belief and commitment.  We really will be a stronger, even more cohesive team coming out of this.

In motor claims handling we’re used to dealing with the challenge of surge events, but this is completely the opposite. With fewer journeys taking place the volume of motor claims has dropped by around 70%.  We still need to organise alternative transport, vehicle recovery and repairs, whilst in this state of disruption for an unknown amount of time.

In other areas we’re seeing some increases however, with queries flowing in from landlords and tenants impacted by the Covid-19 crisis.

The fact remains we still need and want to be here for our customers and so far we are meeting our SLA’s on call handling, as well as keeping our staff safe through homeworking.

How are you and your business dealing with this?

From an industry perspective we knew that through collaborative problem-solving with industry-insiders we could use our technology and people to tackle issues affecting the sectors. Our first response is via our Cobalt brand, which deals with motor repair. Working with the National Body Repair Association, our in-house team has assembled an innovative parts sourcing solution so that any insurer, accident management company or repairer can come to us for help sourcing parts to get repairs completed. From working with the National Body Repair Association we know this is a real problem affecting a huge proportion of the repair network in the UK and key worker cars are sitting incomplete in garages. We hope this service will reduce this happening and get those crucial workers back on the road again

Of course, our responsibility and initial priority was to take all measures possible to safeguard our people and ensure we could continue 24/7 operation for our customers. We’ve achieved that by moving all of our operations to home working and through this flexibility we’ve closed our offices completely for the time being.

Although there are many fewer claims at the moment, triage is still really important and being able to correctly identify the customer needs, especially for key workers for whom access to a vehicle may be vital.

What is the most important piece of leadership advice you can offer?

Be open to ideas and thoughts from those in your teams. They never disappoint and continually surprise, with innovation and extra effort and thought – we truly are the sum of our parts.  This is unchartered territory for everyone so it’s important to keep listening and engaging with colleagues who might have a different take on the situation. I would also add that leaders do need to be clear about the challenges and what needs to happen, but through consultation with those involved.

What are your top tips for home-working productivity?

Home working for everyone is the current norm, but for some it’s a new experience and juggling child care and work can be a challenge!  We’ve put in place measures to allow our people to do both and once again this has been met with great commitment and enthusiasm.   

One piece of advice we are trying to follow is to make sure we regularly engage with others. Talking – phone or video calling – with colleagues to share ideas or just for a quick catch up to see how each other are doing is important. It can be easy to get stuck in a rut so talking to colleagues can break that feeling.  It’s also not all about work, its generating those “tea break” moments of the past that get us all through pretty busy days.

What would be your overriding message to the industry right now?

This is a time for collaboration. Never more has the interdependency of our work and life been more evident. It’s time to explain your business challenges to suppliers and clients and them theirs to you.  Then working together in a spirit of understanding and compromise to benefit our end customers.

This will end, but we must all remember the debt we will owe those in healthcare ensuring we get there.

Be open to ideas and thoughts from those in your teams. They never disappoint and continually surprise, with innovation and extra effort and thought - we truly are the sum of our parts

Jason Tripp


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