New government proposals will slash the time that fleets have to report accident details by more than two months.
A recent Ministry of Justice (MoJ) consultation on claim times in personal injury cases has said that the time that companies should have to reply to claims should be cut from three months down to three weeks.
Malcolm Tarling from the Association of British Insurers explained that the new rules should speed up the claims process, benefiting firms looking to claim on behalf of an injured business driver.
“The changes are aimed at speeding up the time that evidence is put together by parties in the majority of injury claims,” he said.
“The new framework that the government has laid out should allow drivers who are injured at work to have their claims dealt with much more quickly.”
However, concerns have been raised as fleet managers with at-fault drivers will now have less time to submit evidence to their insurers.
Jonathan White, business development manager at Harvey Ingram solicitors, said: “Quite often liability decisions can’t be made within the existing time limit, let alone 15 days.
“If fleets fail to report more quickly than they do at the moment this could result in at best, significant additional costs arising from these claims, or at worst, fleet insurers could refuse indemnity depending on the terms of their policy.”
Mr White explained that many fleets struggle to meet the current three-month deadline because of the difficulty of tracking down information from drivers and he advised fleets to streamline their reporting procedures.
“The simple message is that fleets and companies need to get their reporting processes up to speed before the proposals come into play.”
The government is yet to set a date for the new deadline. However lawyers and insurers have speculated that it will come into force during Spring 2009.
A MoJ spokesperson said: “The majority of respondents were in favour of the proposals.
“The government will continue working with relevant stakeholders to finalise the details of the new claims process and to prepare for implementation.”
No fleets or leasing industry members were included in the consultation.