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As the UK eases lockdown restrictions, and businesses and schools look forward to returning to something resembling business as usual we look forward to seeing more coaches back on our roads once more.

Coach and minibus companies have had a truly terrible time over the past year and have been among those commercial fleet firms most affected by the lockdown measures.

Whilst some insurers have stepped up to offer sizeable premium rebates to customers whose vehicles had to be taken off the road, we know that this was not always the case. QBE was one major coach insurer who paid out around £6m to coach and bus fleet operators, where a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN) was given.

As the coach and minibus industries return to activity, there remains a very real need to manage and contain costs whilst the industry gets back on its feet and insurance is one important aspect to consider.

Fleet premiums are based very much upon the claims experience of the past year. Most coach fleet operators will not have a meaningful claims experience to refer to for 2020, so how do we demonstrate to a wary insurance market that our business is a good insurance risk and worthy of the lowest possible premiums.

Demonstrating the quality of the businesses will play an important part and this can be done in several ways.

Historic claims experience will play a major part even if the 2020 claims experience may not be truly representative.

Another will be the experience of the drivers. If you can demonstrate your coach drivers have been with you for a long and stable period that they are regular and not agency or casual and that they are experienced in driving coaches and minibuses ( with a good record and few, if any accidents) this, will go a long way to showing an insurer that your fleet is a well managed and stable business

Have you invested in training and improving the drivers and their vehicles? After months out of the job, the onus will also be on the employer to show that they have taken steps to ensure their drivers are ready to hop straight back into the drivers’ seat, and that their vehicles are fit for purpose.

Driver training courses ahead of returning to work are a good way of doing this, along with being able to show to insurers that all vehicles are regularly checked and serviced and a full and thorough inspection was carried out in advance of them being returned to service.

Cameras and telematics systems – the technology is a game changer, but it needs to be used, maintained and up dated as things move forward. Can you demonstrate that you are investing in risk management and improving driver behavior. Insurers will look more favorably on those who can.

Our motor fleet team are highly experienced in providing risk management advice to improve a risk profile, and can make suggestions based on which sectors of travel a firm specialises in.

By partnering with leading insurers that embrace technological methods to mitigate the risk of loss, and working with a broker who understands both the sector and the market, it will be possible to show your risk in the best possible light and in doing so, obtain the most competitive terms for this year and future years.

Our team are happy to discuss with you your firm’s situation, and can work with insurers to tailor policies to your needs.

Call Benn Houghton, Darren Bird or Paul Beck on 01277 844360 or email enquiries@RHAIS .co.uk to start a discussion.