Crashes involving foreign vehicles, especially HGVs, are a serious problem on the UK’s roads. The Government recognises this and has set up a number of initiatives to tackle the problem.
However, fleet managers are still faced with the frustratingly difficult task of trying to recover the cost of such incidents.
John Stack, Michelin group fleet transport manager, said that despite vehicles in his 400-strong fleet being involved in at least two crashes a year with foreign vehicles, he had never been able to recover any money.
“If we are typical and other fleets are having the same experience then this is a real problem,” he said.
Due to the complexity of the process and the lack of success, Mr Stack said he no longer attempted to recover losses.
But many fleet managers, especially those running self-insured fleets, are now turning to professional recovery agents.
Denny Payton, corporate uninsured loss recovery partner at Harvey Ingram solicitors, said: “There is no doubt that we are seeing a significant increase in the number of companies seeking professional help.
“A few years ago, we had just four people working in this area. Now we have 35.”
Last year, the company recovered more than £5 million from foreign insurance companies following crashes involving non-UK vehicles.
Ms Payton said Britain operated a Green Card system, which means insurers of foreign vehicles must have a UK agent to resolve accident claims here.
“This provides a means not only to locate the foreign insurer, but also to deal with an English-speaking UK agent,” said Ms Payton.
Costs such as inconvenience, vehicle downtime and lost business can all be claimed in addition to the more obvious injury and vehicle repair costs.
But to be able to recover the money, drivers must know what to do.
“You must fully brief your drivers – they must at least get the other driver’s name, the registration number and the company,” said Ms Payton.
“The better briefed your drivers are, the better the recovery rate.”