Fleet software is also an essential tool for improving fleet management but many fleets are still failing to realise that this software can play a greater role in managing risk procedures.
Often classed as the ‘hot potato’ of the fleet industry, a thorough risk policy can safeguard a company and its fleet from accidents.
Trevor Cutts, managing director at Elite Incident Management, believes fleets using packages as part of a risk management plan can also slash insurance costs.
He said: ‘Fleet companies at the cutting edge of service provision which have recognised that IT-led accident management can play a crucial role in reducing insurance claims, are reaping numerous rewards. They can counteract huge rises in premiums, increase their fleet efficiency and help to meet ever-toughening occupational driving health and safety legislation.’
Accident management providers behind new technology can now provide fleets with online digital images and estimates of the damaged vehicle.
This in turn allows the fleet manager to investigate the damage to the vehicle and assess repairs with greater control.
A wide range of risk management procedures can be controlled online. Fleets are able to complete complex reports including the cost, time or date of an incident along with driver and vehicle analysis. Results gathered from the online reports can be then be used to improve risk management policies.
Cutts added: ‘Utilisation of these in-depth management reports can highlight risk areas that require action by companies to help reduce overall fleet costs and comply with ever-toughening health and safety and duty of care legislation.
‘Increased IT innovation and a growing focus on reducing the risks associated with at-work driving may provide fleet companies with the catalyst for change.’
Increasing pressure from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has forced fleets to address the issue of work-related road safety. Having adequate technology can reduce admin work and free up time for fleet managers to plan policies.
Cutts said: ‘Until recently accident management, also known as insurance claims management or incident management, has been viewed as the burdensome administration system for processing an insurance claim and getting a vehicle back on the road following an incident.
‘The increasing focus of the police and the HSE on reducing the 100,000 accidents a year involving at-work drivers, along with IT developments, will provide the launch pad for accident management to take off for fleets.’
He said investment in IT was now fundamental to business success. It increases efficiency and makes life easier for fleet operators, company car and commercial vehicle drivers.
‘Fleet suppliers who invest in IT will be the winners in securing business as they continue to increase efficiency and cost-effectiveness for existing and new clients alike,’ he said. By using internet-based accident management systems, fleets should be able to increase flexibility, speed and integration.
The latest systems also enable fleet managers to become more involved. For example, if a vehicle needs repair following an accident, fleets are now able to track the process online, allowing them to plan ahead and accurately assess downtime.
Cutts said: ‘With the cost of vehicle downtime invariably greater than the accident damage itself, there is now a greater focus on this key area.
‘This is prominent in the van market, where goods carried can be worth a considerable sum of money and may also include perishables.’