In 2019/20 there were 4.07 billion journeys made by bus and coach in the UK.
Lockdowns have decimated the coach and leisure travel and coach industry and the livelihoods of the 40,000 people who work within it. However with lockdown restrictions gradually easing and the government advice to holiday in the UK if at all possible, the coach industry is looking towards a return in demand for leisure travel within the UK.
Now, as life resumes, it is important to make sure operators are well prepared, and we are here to help. As well as checking the basics such as MOT and vehicle tax, there are some other important areas for you to think about.
Driver Training and Wellbeing
Training should be ongoing, however with many drivers being out of action for a while it would be no surprise if some have become a little “rusty”. They will not be the only drivers on our roads who have not had much driving experience over the past year, so it is more important than ever to give the drivers some refresher driving training in the weeks leading up to going back out on the road again.
Part of this return to work training should also take into account the mental impact coming back to work after time off and to understand how stress, anxiety and fatigue can affect driver behaviour, particularly when they have been away from the job for such a long while.
Again, a gradual and controlled return to work will help. Good two way communication between you and your team will put them at ease and make the return to work far easier.
Vehicle safety should always be top of your list, but with vehicles sitting unused for long amount of times it is paramount to do all the necessary checks to ensure that nothing has deteriorated during the months your fleet may have been laid up. Carry out a thorough road test before returning the vehicle back to the fleet.
Your insurance policy may have been cancelled or reduced to laid up cover and now it is time to put things back as they were before lockdown. Insurance premiums have gone up in the last 12 months and the market for coach insurance has not got any easier. Insurance represents a significant cost to your business money has never been tighter.
So how do you make your business more attractive to insurers and keep the price of insurance down?
Past claims experience is of course the main driver of insurance premiums, but you may have a 12 month gap in your claims experience so the insurer may, rightly, wonder if your past history is still representative.
You can demonstrate that even in lockdown you continue to run a well managed fleet by being able to evidence that you’ve kept your fleet well maintained and that your drivers have been kept trained their skills refreshed and ready, even when your fleet has not been fully operational.
If you have used lockdown to modernise, improve or add technology to your fleet such as cameras or telematics, this will show a commitment to safety and risk management that will be extremely well received by insurers. Don’t be afraid to highlight such things with your broker or insurer – these are the details that insurers use to get a feel for the better businesses that they wish to insure and how you can get a better premium and greater flexibility on agreeing young drivers and such like.
Bonds and Financial Failure Insurance continues to be extremely difficult. Until we have some certainty on the end of lockdown and that no new variant will undo all the recent gains, insurers of bonds and FFI are likely to remain extremely cautious. Just like with motor insurance, it will be the firms that can demonstrate the most robust risk management that will have first pick of what limited capacity exists.
At RHA Insurance we can help you find insurance protection for your business and can advise and guide you on the perils and pitfalls of the insurance market.
See how we can help find insurance protection for your fleet business, and improve its risk profile, by contacting our expert team.
Contact us on
0203 960 2944