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Justgiving the only option for deceased driver's family

Published: 12/10/2016

Early August saw national reports regarding the treatment of Mr Paul Stanyard, the deceased lorry driver, by his former company, Matthews International Transport.

Some Flint clients had already commented to us about this story and so we felt it was important to cover it here. Not only because it raises more than one insurance issue, but also in an advisory capacity to our own international haulier clients.

The family's fund raising page tells us that Paul had been a lorry driver since he was 21 years old and spent much of his time driving around Europe. It was on his way to Greece that Paul had stopped to rest at a service station in Ancona and it was there that he was found dead of 'natural causes' in his cab by Italian police on 31 July. (The Sun newspaper reported that it was Matthews International Transport who had alerted the Italian police because of the tracker in his vehicle).

Paul's family were naturally devastated by this terrible news; their suffering was then further compounded by the reaction of Paul's employer. Matthews International Transport said it did not have insurance to cover the cost of repatriating his body because he died of natural causes, rather than through accident or injury.

Different newspapers wrote varying accounts of what Matthews International Transport said about the cost of repatriating Paul's body, but whilst they swiftly sent a representative to collect his truck, they don't appear to have offered much help to his family in getting him back home. So much so that the family felt compelled to set up a justgiving page in order to raise the cash themselves to return Mr Stanyard to England.

On the surface this all appears to be highly questionable behaviour by his employer. Whether actually driving or not, Mr Stanyard was still there on company business and if we are to believe the stories, his employers don't seem to have had much of a clue about how to properly deal with this situation? Yet we are told that they are a family firm that has been trading for around 45 years. The various reports mention repatriation costs of both £3,800 and £17,000 and it's hard to tell what this actually includes, although it is fair to say that the upper figure might have had a huge (negative) impact on the firm.

What also comes across as quite appalling is the fact that to be on the road, by law, Mr Stanyard has to have truck insurance, so had there been some catastrophic crash– that would have been paid out for, yet nobody saw fit to arrange any personal insurance for him. Furthermore he was a 59 year old family man, with grown up children and a partner, with no life insurance cover of his own.

What also comes across as quite appalling is the fact that to be on the road, by law, Mr Stanyard has to have truck insurance, so had there been some catastrophic crash– that would have been paid out for, yet nobody saw fit to arrange any personal insurance for him. Furthermore he was a 59 year old family man, with grown up children and a partner, with no life insurance cover of his own.

Personal accident provides cash payments if insured employees are killed or lose limbs or eyes or are totally or partially disabled by an accident covered by the policy.

Personal accident can be bought as a staff benefit that you choose for your employees or as an additional safeguard for the company.

You as the employer can choose whether the cover is 24/7 worldwide or restricted to occupational accidents, you can also specify the amount to be paid upon injury.

As well as cash payments, it also offers a recovery support programme, including:

  • Health case manager to assess an injured person's requirements and aid their recovery, including how to access treatment quickly and conveniently.
  • 5% of the promised amount for permanent disablement (up to a maximum of £10,000 in total) for in-home domestic and chauffeur services.
  • Injured people who cannot continue in their previous role can get up to £15,000 towards the reasonable costs of re-training.

Group Travel would be for all insured employees travelling on company business (including UK trips) – plus cover for directors, their partners and children on personal leisure trips.

Premiums are dependent on your particular travel pattern, i.e. how many employees to be covered, the number of trips/duration, where to etc.

Combined premiums are based on the type of work that you do, how many employees you have and levels of cover. It is important to note, it may not be as expensive as you think and as this case shows – it would have made a significant difference to both Mr Stanyard's family and his employers.

At this point it's difficult to say what effect this bad publicity might have on Matthews (and their existing employees); indeed some might say they got their just deserts for not putting their employees first – but then how many firms can or are able to in the current climate? What it does show is that insurance should not be about just counting the pennies, but covering the human cost of every type of adverse situation.

For more information about how group personal accident and travel cover might help your business please call Dawn Charlesworth on 020 8309 5000. You could be pleasantly surprised by the cost.

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