Fleet News

Train your drivers or suffer, insurance industry warns fleets

INSURANCE industry frustration at fleets' apathy over cutting accident rates has boiled over, with warnings of rocketing premiums unless they take action. The situation is so serious, the insurance industry says, it will no longer wait for fleets to introduce risk management programmes, but will pro-actively encourage fleets to think safety first.

Such a move could herald a boom for driver training and fleet manager training companies which have been campaigning hard to find a larger following in the fleet market. Fleets are under immense pressure from all sides to tackle their current accident records and pressure will increase when the Government publishes its long-awaited road safety strategy, which had been expected before Christmas, early in the New Year.

In its British Insurance Premium quarterly insurance index, the AA estimates an increase of up to 25% for motorists when they come to insure their vehicles again. It is also trying to recover losses of around £600 million from the fleet sector due to companies offering rock bottom rates to win business during 1997. As well as suffering from competition, the insurance industry is also having to raise premiums because of issues such as hospital trusts charging insurance firms for the cost of caring for road accident victims under the Road Traffic (NHS Charges) Bill, insurance premium tax (5% of any premium goes to the Government), and the general trend of rising claims costs.

A spokesman for Crowe Insurance Group at Lloyd's, said the industry was losing money following a long-running price war over rates. 'Insurance rates will increase in the future, because they have reached a point where they are simply uneconomical, ' he said. 'We now employ a risk management specialist and are actively encouraging risk management. This attitude has permeated throughout Lloyds, from insurers to brokers. We will not wait to hear about risk management strategies, but will suggest more and more that fleets take action.'

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