Insurance broker Anthony Jones Ltd has said that trucks can be “the most dangerous type of equipment in the workplace” and that hauliers and operators need to look deep into their insurance to make sure it is the best it can be to cover their business, and not just the cheapest.
Steve Green Director of Anthony Jones says: “Sorry to be the bearer of bad news but there are a multitude of legislative, financial and social factors which impact vehicle operators’ insurance costs. Premium reductions in some cases, or at least stability in prices, are being wiped out by poor loss ratios. Deloitte’s latest Annual Motor Insurance Seminar highlighted the lack of profitability in the market. The net combined ratio of all insurers (profit) has failed to reach 100% (break-even) in any of the last ten years. It’s not easy making a profit as a commercial motor insurer, hence premium increases and withdrawal of covers for some. To cap it all, the Government has found an ingenious method of raising money on rising costs with Insurance Premium Tax (IPT) at 12%. It’s interesting that there appears to be a very close correlation between the price of fuel and increasing claims frequency. There is simply less margin for driver error on more crowded roads.
In an environment where the industry thinks about all sorts of safety features such as AEB, forward facing cameras, telematics, safety cages, park lane/assist to name a few, some companies are having to come to terms with rising losses in the commercial vehicle market, and with some difficulty. Says Mr Green: “Why is this? It could be something to do with the fact that 90% of all accidents are down to driver error? Some drivers are still being distracted. You just have to think about the use of mobile phones whilst driving.
“As a driver, you can be at risk of significant injury – haulage can be dangerous. This is why it’s important for companies to take factors such as driver behaviour, risk management and safety seriously and make sure the necessary insurance is in place to cover these.”
He added: “It may sound extreme and is admittedly remote, but there is the chance of vans and trucks being used for terrorist offences. It’s imperative that drivers remain vigilant at all times.”
Hauliers are also being made aware of the importance to think beyond the working environment and consider life and critical illness protection for drivers and their family.
Says Mr Green: “In addition to physical injury, drivers can face criminal prosecution for poor driving and there are increasing financial implications for an organisation as a whole under the recently updated Sentencing Council’s guidelines on Health and Safety Offences.”
Mr Green concludes: “Buyers need to be aware. They need to think carefully about their choice of insurance broker. A poorly managed insurance choice based on price alone can very quickly outweigh that short-term saving. Hauliers need to be sure their broker helps them and that they have in place risk management measures that put them in as much control as the operator can in managing the cost of insurance.
Finally, he says: “Operators need to ensure they focus on the claims notification and service proposal they are getting. They need to be different and operate to higher standards.”
Talk to Anthony Jones about commercial motor insurance for your own fleet