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

Fleet drivers face challenges daily when negotiating their way round the UK’s busy and often narrow roads. As a result, accidents happen and claims on motor insurance policies need to be made. We identified the most common claims made by fleet managers and explore what can be done to help mitigate these risks.

Most common fleet claims

The top 10 fleet risks by cause are:1

  1. Hit immobile object: 64,303 incidents at £96,244,690
  2. Hit parked stationary object: 63,813 incidents at £143,929,907
  3. Hit third party in rear: 25,203 incidents at £158,972,718
  4. Reversing: 24,540 incidents at £61,152,380
  5. Changing lanes: 26,314 incidents at £94,057
  6. Collision with third-party vehicle: 13,576 incidents at £44,890
  7. Into path of third party: 13,367 incidents at £92,053
  8. Theft/vandalism: 9,164 incidents at £22,590
  9. Narrow road collision: 7,054 incidents at £17,169
  10. Roundabout: 5,872 incidents at £27,896

As you can see, manoeuvring related incidents have the highest frequency. Adopting a Get Out And Look (GOAL) approach could help before reversing and reduce hitting immobile objects and parked stationary objects.

How to reduce fleet claims

Analysis reports

Ask your broker for an analytical claims report. Or, ask whether they’re able to provide access to digital analytics solutions, like Marsh’s Blue[i], for data and actionable insights into your claims history. 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 certain employees might need, potentially preventing an accident from ever happening.

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

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.

Telematics and cameras can be very useful as they capture key information that can be used to counter claims or demonstrate where fault lies for a particular incident. Other useful technologies we advise on include: proximity sensors, automatic control devices, and lane departure warning systems that can reduce rear end collisions and crashes resulting from lane changing.

It’s important to ask yourself the right questions: what information and technology is currently 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. It’s paramount that all your staff understand how the technology that’s built to protect them works, and how to use it effectively.

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.

Risk management

It’s critical to have a comprehensive risk management strategy that looks after your entire fleet. 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 crime scene and come back with a full report so insurers can make early decisions.
  • Build driver accountability for delivering solutions around key root causes and measure progress against plans.
  • Consider having a scoring process for individual drivers to support management of driver behaviour, particularly if they are repeat offenders.

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

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. The cost of living has increased, as too has the cost of claims handling, with repairs taking longer and parts more expensive.2

Early notification enables your insurers to start the claims process as soon as possible and control the indirect claim costs that impact on your policy performance, such as credit hire and credit repairs. This is one of the most important takeaways and something that can be done without cost.

Educate your staff on the amendments to the Highway code

The ‘Hierarchy of Road Users’, introduced in January 2022, aims to ensure that road users who do the greatest harm, have the greatest responsibility to reduce the danger they may pose to others. Therefore, fleet operators should consider educating their staff and improving the safety of their vehicles to help protect the most vulnerable road user.

The ‘Hierarchy of Road Users’ is a concept which places those road users most at risk, in the event of a collision, at the top of the hierarchy. The road users most likely to be injured in the event of a collision are pedestrians, in particular children, older adults and disabled people; followed by cyclists, horse riders and motorcyclists.  Provide guidance on cyclist priority at junctions to advise drivers to give priority to cyclists at junctions when travelling straight ahead - This will mean that if a driver is indicating and intending to turn left or right, they will be required to give priority to any following cyclist who intends to go straight ahead.

Establish guidance on safe passing distances and speeds when overtaking cyclists and horse riders - The amended guidance when passing horse riders will require motorists to slow down to a speed under 15 mph and when safe to do so, pass wide and slow allowing at least 2.0 meters space.

Reduce your fleet’s risk exposure

Fleet managers will struggle to eliminate accidents altogether. There are always elements that are going to be out of a driver’s control. The right fleet insurance policy and fleet risk management programme can go a long way to help prevent accidents, reduce claims and control claims costs; as well as control the impact to future fleet insurance premiums.

The two key questions to consider:

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

These could be obtained by developing and implementing driver collision accident investigation forms, detailed driver debrief documentation or manager post-collision report forms.

Find out how our Fleet Risk Management service* can help you to minimise potential hazards, enhance driver safety, control your fleet insurance costs and protect your valuable assets.

 

*This service is not regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

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Sources

  1. The claims listed are based on data from Marsh Loss Data Library as at 31 December 2023. The claims listed should therefore be taken as a rough guide only.
  2. Fleetnews.co.uk ‘40% rise in vehicle repair costs over past five years’, March 2023