Fleet News

Insurance delays could push up premiums

ACCIDENT management companies could be putting fleets at risk of soaring insurance costs by taking up to two months to inform insurers when a fleet driver has an accident, according to a leading insurance firm.

Zurich Commercial claims its records show that accident management companies take longer than insurance brokers and in-house fleet management to pass on details of accidents, despite the strict time limits announced in new legislation.

According to Zurich, insurance brokers take 20 days to respond, fleet managers 30 days and accident management companies 50 days. But there are strict time limits for responding to injury claims and missing them can damage any attempt to defend a case. If insurers are unaware of a potential claim until it arrives from a third party, then there is little chance of replying within the initial 21-day deadline for replying to the first letter of claim or the three months to admit or deny liability, Zurich warns.

Brian Robinson, a chartered insurer with Zurich Commercial, said: 'We have potential claims reported to us very late. If the first thing we hear of a claim is when it arrives from a third party, then the chances of being ready within the deadlines are slim. Accident management companies, brokers and fleet managers tend to stockpile claims and then send them on in bulk, which does not help us.

'Accident management companies do a very good job and they are good at getting damage repaired and vehicles replaced, but they are not delivering details on to insurance companies quickly enough.'

Responding to the comments, Tim Griffiths, chief engineer for accident management firm Town & Country Assistance, said: 'Where a vehicle cannot be driven, we would react to the driver's call in one and a half hours and have the vehicle in a bodyshop. Within six working hours an estimate would be provided and two hours later a request for authorisation would be sent. In all the whole process should take 48 hours. We have found problems with insurers being slow to approve work. However, when the vehicle is still on the road after an accident, then we have to get the accident report form from the driver and that can take time.'

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