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Letters to Fleet News' editor Martyn Moore.

'Drive-bys' cause misery for fleets

Staged accidents are not just a headache for the ‘alleged’ victim but also a major headache for those companies with large fleets and high-profile brands.

We act for many companies who find themselves in the lose/lose situation when it comes to staged accidents.

The companies not only face increased premiums but also the hidden costs of the management downtime for investigating these fraudulent claims.

But it doesn’t stop there. What about the ‘drive-bys’?

These are equally problematic.

It is common knowledge that HGVs have restricted visibility, so these are even easier targets.

The prospective claimant sees a vehicle in the vicinity, notes the registration number and the company details and puts in a claim to repair his damaged property.

Home delivery companies are particularly vulnerable to this.

The driver is unlikely to be able to provide sufficient evidence to defend a claim, so the unscrupulous claimant wins the cash prize.

This is so much of a problem that some of our high-profile clients who will do anything to protect their brand, and not be the subject of litigation, are considering removing company logos from their vehicles.

On the other side of the coin, however, we have assisted more than 1,000 company car drivers in bringing claims and we have not found a single case of fraud.

It seems, at least for now, that the company car market is clean.

 

DENNY PAYTON
Partner, corporate uninsured loss recovery,
Harvey Ingram LLP
Birmingham

Fuel card benefit

Crude oil prices and petrol and diesel pump prices are notoriously difficult to predict but it is difficult to envisage much respite from upward pressure during this year.

This is an area where many fleet managers tend to believe that little or nothing can be done to take control.

Our experience is the opposite. Proactive management of fuel brings worthwhile results.

The continuing decline of fuel cards is mystifying.

They are the key tool available to fleets when it comes to gathering information about fuel use, actual prices being paid and making decisions on how to manage down costs.

Fleets should be embracing them.

 

RICH GREEN
Managing director, GE Capital Solutions, Fleet Services

Staff banned from using own cars for business

I have read quite a lot regarding the ‘grey fleet’ issue.
Here at Forticrete, we made a decision about two years ago to ban all employees from using their own cars on company business.

This was because of the new Corporate Manslaughter Act and the insurance implications of the expanding number of cars being used.

We have 80 company cars and 11 factories around the UK. There is always at least one company car at each site. 

We informed our staff of this decision and instructed them that if anyone required a car during the day for company business they must use the company car on site.

If they required a car for a longer period, I would hire one.
We feel that by taking this step the company is covered as far as the new act is concerned.

We can monitor the roadworthiness of cars being used on company business and also, we only have to insure our company cars.

 

Shelagh Swift
Forticrete

Reclaiming VAT on fuel

It is surprising that many businesses are unaware that it is possible to recover the VAT element of fuel used for business.

This includes the notional VAT included in mileage expenses.

Businesses pay for fuel as a direct purchase by the firm, or by reimbursement to staff, usually via a mileage-based expense claim.

In both cases it is possible to reclaim the VAT input tax attributed to business trips.

When fuel is purchased directly by the business the more effective way to recover the VAT is to log business to private mileage, and claim back VAT in the same proportion.

You can reclaim all the VAT on fuel purchases and at the same time pay back a fee based on the engine size and fuel type.

This can be costly, especially when vehicles have low annual usage.

If employers pay a fixed mileage rate for the business use of employees’ cars, HM Revenue and Customs has published a table of rates per mile that can be applied to work out the fuel element.

To make a claim your staff will need to attach a petrol receipt that covers the purchase of fuel at the time the journey is made.

 

TIM FIFE
Senior VAT consultant, Armstrong Watson

 

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