This will establish a centralised 'fast-track' recoupment scheme enabling the National Health Service to claim back about £45 million a year from insurance companies to pay for the cost of treating motor accident victims. The costs will almost certainly be passed on to fleets through increased premiums. Consequently it is hoped that the Bill, announced in the Queen's Speech, will be the catalyst for the estimated 80% of fleets which have no risk management or driver training programme to take immediate action.
The plan will exacerbate fleets' financial pressures - insurance companies are intending to increase premiums to make up for losses totalling £1.1 billion in the motor sector in 1997 and accident repairers have also this week made it clear fleets must accept severe increases in premiums if the industry is to be saved from crippling costs.
Chris Reynolds, managing director of BSM Fleet Training, said: 'A 10% rise in fleet premiums has already been talked about by insurance companies and that will come as a shock to most fleets. The additional costs as a result of the new Bill is a double whammy on fleets.'