With the cost of insurance rising annually, it has become imperative for fleet owners to change their approach to fleet insurance. This is the view of Willers Baard, managerial consultant at Eqstra Financial Services, a division of Eqstra Fleet Management and Logistics.
“Insurance should not be viewed as an unnecessary expense that cannot be avoided or controlled,” says Baard. “Fleet owners and managers now have the opportunity to identify and control the root cause of their claims and losses and drive the prevention of many claims, thereby having a say in the loss amounts that inevitably leads to higher premiums, increased excesses and at worst, the cancellation of insurance arrangements.”
The answer, he believes, lies in telematics. Modern telematics systems are installed in fleet vehicles and directly interact with vehicles and contact centres to exchange information and gather vital vehicle and driver behaviour information. This information can then be analysed to allow fleet managers to carry out “root cause analyses” and determine behaviours or movements that leads to claims.
“Telematics offers real-time insights into managing and monitoring the risk exposure of a fleet. Among their many uses, the systems are specifically designed to help fleet managers monitor and control driving behaviour. With telematics, repeat offenders can be retrained on an individual basis and the risk of accidents can be minimised. This gives fleet owners the opportunity to reduce the cost of fleet insurance by instilling a culture of safe driving in their business,” says Baard.
Telematics therefore is an essential element to include in the overall risk management strategy to reduce the cost of fleet insurance. ”They help insurers analyse risks better and by controlling the risk, fleet owners can earn discounts on insurance of up to 15% of the annual premium,” says Baard.
Baard spells out some of the control measures and advantages to be gained by installing a telematics solution, such as the GPS-TS unit supplied by GPS Tracking Solutions, a division of Eqstra Fleet Management, as being:
Maximum speed governing: The system provides an active control mechanism to limit speeding. This provides a preventative return on investment to the fleet operator. A vehicle can be either governed at a maximum speed or per speed zone.
Remote Immobilisation: It has the capability to remotely immobilize or mobilise a vehicle to ensure correct driver and vehicle allocation.
Excessive Idle Shutdown: It provides an automated customizable idle shutdown facility. One hour of idling is equivalent to between 80 – 120 minutes of driving says Baard.
Automated Reporting Platform: The system provides an automated reporting platform based on customizable requirements. Reports are automated daily, weekly or monthly, supplying information to everyone from the driver to top management. This will raise performance and reduce costs.
Intelligent Driver Identification: GPS-TS caters for a wide variety of driver identification methods. Biometric driver identification ensures that AARTO compliance is guaranteed and provides for a 100% proof access control and time and attendance mechanism. The system also caters for automated licence management to ensure only valid licenses for the particular type of vehicle.
Vision manager: It supports camera/video devices, tracking software and a mobile app that can monitor a fleet’s location. This type of solution supports a wide variety of accelerometer generated events that can trigger a video alarm that continuously records trips which can be remotely viewed or downloaded with 3G/4G or wi-fi.
According to Baard, typical functionality of the solution that can successfully reduce risk include: Vehicle remote management; GPS route playback and route monitoring; Driver behaviour analysis and speed monitoring; Cab and all sides monitoring; Fuel tank monitor; Evidence management; and Alarm management.
“Insurance claims mainly start with the way fleets are managed and the way drivers operate their vehicles. In most instances, improved control over the fleet will have an automatic positive impact on the losses resulting in claims under fleet insurance,” says Baard.