Haulage insurance claims – the common mistakes that could be costing you

Hauliers face challenges day in day out when negotiating their way round the UK’s busy and often narrow roads. As a result, accidents happen and claims on insurance policies need to be made. We spoke with insurer Aviva to identify the most common claims made by hauliers and explore what can be done to help mitigate these risks. 

Most common haulage insurance claims 

The top 10 haulage fleet risks by cause are*:

  1. Impact no other vehicles.
  2. Insured hit parked third party.
  3. Hit whilst parked.
  4. Collision, third party changed lanes.
  5. Collision, insured changed lanes.
  6. Insured reversed into third party.
  7. Insured hit third party in rear.
  8. Roundabout collision.
  9. Third party hit insured in rear.
  10. Insured hit parked third party.

The two red flags to pay attention to here are number five – ‘collision, insured changed lanes’ and number seven – ‘insured hit third party in rear’. Both of which happen less frequently than the insured hitting a parked third party for example. 

Why is this you ask? Well, minor bumps and scrapes are almost expected as part and parcel of the base cost of insurance. Some collisions, which generally fall into minor bumps and knocks, are bound to happen when manoeuvring a large vehicle. But the big ticket accidents/collisions, such as the insured changing lanes, or the insured hitting a third party in the rear, can impact the cost of insurance the most. This is because as they are more likely to result in third party vehicles being written off. Or often lead to expensive whiplash and credit hire claims. This therefore presents a higher risk to insurers. 

For example, if the average cost of an insured hitting a ‘parked third party’ claim is in the region of £2,000**, yet the average cost of an insured hitting a moving third party in the rear claim might be around £10,000** - 10 claims for hitting a moving third party in the rear proves more of a concern/expense to insurers, than say 25 ‘parked third party’ claims cost. Too many of this type of claim raises a red flag to the insurer’s underwriters when assessing the risk. 

How to reduce haulage insurance claims

1. Analysis reports 

Ask your broker for an analytical claims report. This provides data on your claims experience. Take the time to understand it, as this should help identify both the frequent and costly claims. You’ll then be able to easily spot areas for improvement. 

Look at the reporting your telematics devices provide too. Monitor harsh breaking and aggressive acceleration. This then highlights an area of training potentially required for that employee, which can in turn prevent an accident from ever happening. 

Consider exploring the data and information you have around driver speeding, parking tickets, infringement and complaints, both on the road and on-site. This will tell you a story about a driver, and help you build a strategy to provide any gaps in training or disciplinary actions to ensure a better driver performance. 

2. Engagement with technology

We often meet with clients to advise them on technologies that can help improve driver safety, monitor driving styles and behaviours, or support enhanced journey and contingency planning.

From the utilisation of telematics and cameras that capture key information that can be used to counter claims or demonstrate where fault lies for a particular incident - to proximity sensors, automatic control devices, and lane departure warning systems that can reduce rear end collisions and crashes resulting from lane changing. What is available to your drivers, and more importantly, do your drivers understand it? You may have read the manuals, but this doesn’t necessarily mean your drivers have. Understanding how the technology that’s built to protect them works, and how to use it effectively, is paramount.

3. Training

Training will play a key role. At Marsh Commercial, we often support our clients by connecting them with accredited providers who can deliver specialist accident reduction focused training. This may form part of the 35 hours required for the Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (Driver CPC) training. You may also wish to consider one-on-one, driver profiling, post-accident training, and training with technology. This last one may particularly help when it comes to your drivers avoiding hitting a third party in the rear. 

3. Risk management

A comprehensive risk management strategy that looks after the entire fleet is critical. Remember, with great power comes great responsibility. Your drivers have been given a substantial business asset. When you take the truck and load into consideration, your drivers could be transporting roughly £500,000 in value!

Risk management starts at the top. So it makes sense to take a top-down safety approach that offers a practical way of managing risk and the associated costs. Consider:

  • Good driving incentives, the safest driver for the month gets £100 bonus for example.
  • Bring in a multi-tiered warning system, this will allow drivers to make mistakes but also ensure they feel their driving behaviour has consequences, and to meet standards or risk losing their position.
  • Create a professional investigation culture so that when collisions do happen, your driver understands he has a role to play in reducing claims costs. Treat the area like a murder scene and come back with a full report so insurers can make early decisions.

Often it’s the simplest solutions that can have the greatest impact.

4. Reporting the claim as soon as possible

Reporting the claim at the scene or as soon as possible following the collision, gives insurers the best opportunity to manage any third party claim. This is one of the most important takeaways and something that can be done without cost.  

Reduce your haulage fleet’s risk exposure

Hauliers will struggle to eliminate accidents altogether, with busy roads, industrial estates in built up housing areas, and diversions. There’s always elements that are going to be out of a driver’s control. The right haulage and logistics insurance policy and fleet risk management programme can go a long way to help reduce the uncertainty and control claims costs.  

The two key questions to consider:

  1. Are you getting the claims and driver information you need?
  2. Are you using it effectively?

* The claims listed are based on sample data from 2012 to 2020 of multiple large haulage risk (over 4,500 accidents). Some clients have different reporting philosophies in terms of ‘incident only’. The claims listed should therefore be taken as a rough guide only.

** The cost of claims are for example purposes only.