1. Risk Management – It’s rarely possible to totally avoid risk and have no claims but it is easily possible to cut the number you have dramatically. Every business should have a fleet management policy which, as a minimum, should show that:
- Driver behaviour is linked to your HR policy, i.e, persistent examples of poor driving and claims will lead to disciplinary action. Likewise, a great driving record may lead to a bonus of some kind.
- You ban the use of mobile phones whilst driving unless they can safely be used with a hands free kit.
- You check driving licences regularly (annually or bi-annually) to make sure your drivers have not accrued lots of driving convictions you didn’t know about.
- Mapping vehicle usage. Where are vehicles being used and for how long? The greatest indicator that someone is likely to have a claim is having incidents of harsh braking – if you are able to track these then ensure you debrief your driver after every occurrence.
- Personally, I have long been a fan of creating Post Accident Review Groups to review claims activity and identify trends in drivers or locations. These can be very effective.
2. Claims management. You need to own the claims process and work in partnership with your broker and insurer to resolve issues when they arise. For us at Finch, claims are our time to shine and really show our customers the value of our service but I hear many reports that some brokers don’t want or need to be involved in fleet claims handling; they say it’s to avoid delays but you can’t help but feel it’s really to avoid costs! You need to create a clear and quick claims reporting process to ensure your vehicles are quickly back on the road and your insurer has the best chance to defend your position and keep Third Party costs as low as possible.
3. Risk analysis. Not to be confused with claims management, you need to analyse and understand the dynamics of your fleet and the accident stats. What’s causing claims? Are there any trends? And critically, what can you do to avoid or reduce frequency? Targeted intervention is important but only when you know the root cause of the problems. Thought should also be given to avoiding near misses as well as actual accidents.
4. The use of technology. The pace of technological change is awesome but whether you invest in cameras, telematics or reversing sensors, you must make sure you actually use the data that is generated, so that technology helps you to achieve your goals. There’s nothing worse than knowing what’s happening and doing nothing about it!
5. Get to know your broker. You need to be properly represented in the insurance market by a broker who can obtain the best terms for you.
Find a broker you can work with who is willing to spend time understanding you and your business, wanting to challenge you and help you to improve.
Meet with your broker – and potentially your existing and potential future insurers. I can’t think of a time when this hasn’t helped a client get their message across more effectively.
6. Be thorough. Ensure that what you do provide is up to date, as complete as possible and puts you in the best light.
Ensure the information you provide is correct. Have claims listings been checked and challenged? Are you providing a full story on any large or contentious claims? And, most basically, are the vehicle details being used correct? I have seen examples in the past 3 months where some or all of these have not been done, potentially costing the client both time and money.
Create a picture of a quality risk for insurers. You should work with your broker to create a story that portrays your business in the best light. Highlight how you manage risk, how claims are handled, include a copy of your fleet policy and provide details on large or contentious claims – anything that will differentiate you as a better risk.
Aristotle said “excellence is not an act, it’s a habit” and managing your fleet costs is no different. Investing a small amount of regular time on managing driver behaviour will save you a huge amount of long term cost and will potentially create some competitive advantage for you. Don’t be part of that leading group when insurers come looking for rate increases!!