Norwich Union, Britain’s second largest insurance company, said it was raising bills because of the increasing cost of meeting claims.
The average hike for fleets will be about 6%, while the general public can expect average rises of 16%. Young drivers more at risk of an accident face a 40% rise.
Other insurance companies have been quoted in the press as saying they would follow suit.
RBS Insurance and Zurich have said prices are currently unsustainable and that premiums would be reviewed.
Ian Ferguson, director of commercial underwriting for Norwich Union, said: ‘It will have an impact on fleets. ‘Inflation on claims on fleet business has been running at 6% for the past three years and we will definitely be raising rates at about that level. Each fleet will be looked at in its own right.
‘It’s got to a position where we have got to take action. I’m confident that other companies will follow. The market as a whole will lose money on fleet business this year – it can’t continue at current rates.’
He said Norwich Union was working with fleet insurance brokers to try and minimise the impact on its fleet clients through telematics products and driver training.
A spokeswoman for the Association of British Insurers said it was too early to say for sure what affect Norwich Union’s move would have on the wider market.
She said: ‘Companies look to absorb costs and look at their own way of running their premiums. What happens will vary from company to company and we can’t be sure at this stage.’