Insurance premiums have continued to rise, long after the financial contraction which first squeezed the underwriting markets started to ease.
Comparison figures for commercial insurance are hard to come by, but consumer comprehensive insurance has gone up by a staggering 40% between March 2010 and March 2011, according to the AA’s British Insurance Premium Index.
However, there are actions fleets can take to control costs.
There are two factors controlling premiums. One is claims history; the other is putting together a convincing package of measures which will convince an underwriter your future risk will be lower.
Tim Carder, underwriting director for Towergate Underwriting Transportation, says: “I want to hear a positive story which convinces me to offer a competitive rate – but you have to be serious about risk management. Paying lip service to it doesn’t work.”
Best practice advice from the insurance sector to keep your premiums low
1 Risk management begins with risk assessment Work with your
insurer to analyse your claims history and highlight areas for
“Make employees aware that you will monitor accidents and take action where necessary, such as retraining,” says Richard Flint, head of transport at North Yorkshire Police.
2 Driver training Many insurers offer driver training programmes through partners – such as Zurich with suppliers like Greenroad – and all will take into account defensive driver training.
Not all insurers give upfront discounts but an improved claims record should be swiftly recognised.
3 Manage young drivers Mike Smith, commercial motor technical manager at Aviva, makes the point that young drivers, aged 17-20, are twice as likely to make an insurance claim as any other driver, and on average the claims cost will be three times higher, and 10 times more likely to involve severe bodily injury.
“Look closely at your policies for young drivers. Many young driver claims happen at night, so are young drivers allowed your vehicles for personal use? Review your procedures for training young drivers,” he says.
4 Combine insurances Insurers like Fusion, part of the Towergate group, offer combined public liability, employee liability and fleet insurance.
"This can offer economies of scale,” says Carder.
5 Use camera technology Forward facing cameras can provide invaluable data for defending claims or swiftly settling at-fault claims. They are particularly effective against crash-for-cash scenarios; organised fraudulent vehicular claims currently costs the industry £350m a year.
6 Renew policies in good time and after proper review Don’t pay for unnecessary extras. “Don’t take windscreen cover; it’s as cheap for you to replace as for your insurer, so why pay the middleman?” says Fleet Cover broker Paul Greenwood.
7 Self-insure – or at least raise your excess “We only cover for third party,” says Phil Redman, fleet manager at IBM UK.
8 Provide good vehicle security “We pay a lower premium because we have Cybit trackers hidden in every van so if it’s stolen we can pinpoint its location instantly,” says Rob Paddock, logistics and distribution manager at Commercial Group.
9 Telematics The business case for telematics in car fleets may be less compelling than for vans and HGVs – but, says Carder, “if you have it, make sure you put the time in to exploit the health and safety benefits”.