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The Claims Column - Motor Fleet Claims & Risk Management

Published: 12/10/2016

Richard Naylor, Motor Fleet Claims & Risk Management

Richard is the Flint Motor Fleet Claims and Risk Management expert; he and his dedicated team handle claims to ensure the best possible outcomes for our customers.

Richard gives us a small insight into what is happening within motor fleet insurance.

Technology is the answer…. Right?

There is a buzz around vehicle insurance and what's causing a stir is technology; whether it's in the form of telemetry – little ‘black boxes’ fitted to vehicles to track their every move, cameras or even ‘driverless’ vehicles. The suggestion being that this equipment has the answer to all of your problems, but do they really?

There is a buzz around vehicle insurance and what's causing a stir is technology; whether it's in the form of telemetry – little ‘black boxes’ fitted to vehicles to track their every move, cameras or even ‘driverless’ vehicles. The suggestion being that this equipment has the answer to all of your problems, but do they really?

Telemetry

All vehicle telemetry systems work on the same basic concept:

The 'black box' is covertly installed into the vehicle (yes some drivers do try to override them!), this box then tracks vehicle usage, with this information being transmitted into a portal for collation and monitoring purposes. And depending on who and for what purpose they are using the device, it will be programmed to record such things as:

  • GPS monitoring – real time tracking of vehicle; monitoring of trips, locations, routes.
  • Driver behaviour - alerts for speeding, harsh accelerations or braking, excessive RPM and use of excessive idling.
  • Engine data - such as fuel consumption, RPM, odometer, true speed, temperature and maintenance alerts.
  • Custom events - such as the driver's door opening, entering a prohibited area, activation of hazard warning lights, freezer temperature getting too high etc.
  • Driving hours – to ensure legal compliance.

All of this information is then available to be used either whilst the vehicle is being driven or afterwards to review and assess all activity, further planning etc. Some insurers rate journeys by risk factors e.g. a late night trip on a motorway at speed, versus a gentle Sunday morning jaunt.

Cameras

Again, the generally accepted minimum level of functionality for a vehicle camera is similar across the industry. Inward and mainly outward facing cameras can easily be installed, hardwired or temporarily fitted to dashboards. Some cameras can also link with telemetry to incorporate both functions into the one system.

Understandably, it goes without saying that purchasing any new technology comes with a risk, we have seen lots of sharp sales people extolling the virtues of systems that could rapidly become obsolete and without any supporting infrastructure to deal with installation and malfunction – so choosing the right system and (not forgetting) right supplier is key.

System in, job done!?

OK – so it's all in place - monitoring of drivers means improved claims, lower maintenance costs, quicker reporting etc. etc. All you have to do is sit back and watch the savings roll in – right? Er, well, not quite…

It's not difficult to fit the system and turn on the computer to create endless amounts of data, but what is absolutely crucial is professional expertise and advice to make sure that it works for you. In practice this means that everything is properly rolled out to your staff; you rationalise your reports to gather the relevant data for your business and use the information collected to promote your company aims. It's inevitable that sometimes this turns out to produce positive results and in some cases it can unfortunately lead to disciplinary proceedings.

At Motor Fleet Risk Solutions, the specialist motor fleet insurance division of Flint Insurance, we are passionate about reducing risk and costs to our customers, contact me or one of our experts on 0345 371 0769.

Richard Naylor, tel 0345 371 1483 or email: richardnaylor@flintinsurance.co.uk

In the next issue we'll discuss insurance companies – asking: are they really all the same as the FCA would like you to believe?

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