Helping get younger and inexperienced drivers covered on your policy

In the last few years, we have seen a substantial decrease in the number of qualified HGV drivers, which is affecting not only the haulage industry but the UK economy as a whole.  In the past few weeks, the shortage of Tanker drivers has finally caught the mainstream media and of course the public’s attention.

The UK currently needs an additional 100,000 HGV drivers, with around fifty drivers leaving the profession on a daily basis.

What’s causing the shortage?

The life of a trucker is a hard one; it includes long hours, long distance jobs, poor facilities and infrastructure for drivers, time away from the family and feelings of isolation. It is not seen as a glamorous job, despite the well publicised pay increases.  Due to the increasing level of legislative controls, drivers are also not allowed the freedom or flexibility that they once were, and applying for a HGV license can also be difficult and expensive.

The reality is that many believe being a HGV driver is a dying profession with only 1% of drivers being under the age of 25. The average age of a trucker is 53 years old and the over 50’s represent 47% of all drivers.

If something isn’t done to attract more drivers to the industry, then the driver shortage will have a huge and long term impact on the UK economy.

Brexit and the removal of EU drivers has compounded an already serious problem, but the reliance on overseas drivers was never a sustainable solution.

We need to develop and renew our own UK driving industry and to make it a valued profession that people want to enter by encouraging younger drivers into the industry and developing current employees into HGV.

Attracting new drivers from your existing employees

The industry needs an influx of new blood, but there are benefits in promoting and training an existing employee. They already know the business and you can develop and teach them all the way from the warehouse to the road. Drivers can initially start in smaller vehicles and in turn move onto larger vehicle and gain a good understanding of your business. This can help maintain and drive-up standards in your own fleet.

Getting Insurance for young drivers?

Insurers are fully aware of the driver shortage and of the aging profile of the drivers they insure.  They know that the industry must attract the next generation of new younger drivers to survive. Historically, insuring younger drivers has been both expensive and difficult, but things have moved on in recent years.

Insurers are looking for ways to say yes to a young driver, so how do you help them?

Here are a few tips which may help you get the decision you need next time you have to refer a younger or inexperienced driver.

Experience counts (not just driving experience) : Insurers see the benefit of full time employees as these are more accountable than casual drivers and they embrace your company ethos.  They react well to adding a young or inexperienced driver who has a pedigree within the business.  One who has been with you for a while and has worked his way up from the warehouse to driving a van will be known by you and trusted in a way that someone who has just turned up that day can never be.  (If you have a good story to tell, tell it, insurers work better when they have more information to work with).

Give them Time: Insurers do not like a request for an inexperienced driver or one who needs to be referred to be added on the morning he is due to take an artic unit out.  It suggests a lack of organisation and control that makes them more likely to ask more questions, rather than giving you a quick acceptance.  Always give your insurer as much notice as you can, you will reap the benefit.

Technology is your Friend: Modern day vehicle technology as well as Telematics and Cameras is something that is much more appealing to insurers when considering young and new drivers. The younger generation will typically embrace Technology better.

Inexperienced drivers do have more accidents on average, but some are better than others and this is not always the case. Technology now tells us which ones are likely to cause problems before the claim comes in.

Telematics, cab facing cameras and monitoring of driver behaviour combined with training to develop the drivers will take much of the risk away and make your insurers far more comfortable covering a new or inexperienced driver than one who has no external monitoring.

Behavioural based safety is a key element on monitoring risk and if you can demonstrate they this is being done, you will find that your insurer partners are willing to listen.

At RHA Insurance Services we will always look to provide professional advice and help for anyone who is experiencing difficulty in getting a younger or inexperienced driver added to their fleet.

We are the partner insurance provider to the RHA and are here to help all RHA members.

A percentage of all profits go back into the RHA to enable us to fund the vital work and support for members.

If you operate a single vehicle or a fleet of less than 10 vans please contact the RHA Insurance Services team on 0330 118 782 or email us at contactus@rhainsuranceservices.uk.net.

If you operate a fleet of 10+ HGVs, a coach fleet or specialist vehicles in Tanker/Waste or hazardous please call  01277 844360.