Jun

Suggestions to cut costs in a tight financial environment

2011-06-01 14:12

As we recently passed the anniversary of the World Cup, my thoughts went to some of the things that have transpired over the past year and more importantly, what the effects of these have been on our clients, brokers and transporters. I think the current difficult operating conditions have been exacerbated by four difficult periods since the June 2010 kick off!

  1. The World Cup month was a jamboree for the country. No problem here! But low productivity!
  2. The traditional end of year holiday season.
  3. The February strikes.
  4. The traditional holiday season in April of this year.

My point is that effectively, our clients have been operating unimpeded to a large extent for only eight months since this time last year. This doesn’t apply, for example, to the likes of the retail industry but even then, holidays mean overtime and other costs. Given all this, is it any wonder that even if I am only half right, this must have been a tough year for most?

It is with this in mind that we remind clients and all readers of some quick mandatory “Cash Savers’ that are not always highlighted.

Operating savings

In terms of operating savings, high on my list of major “offenders’ are:

a) Of all the most damning issues on the FleetWatch Brake & Tyre Watch projects, the most stupid must be the “mismatched’ tyres that are found on so many of the vehicles! Either the operators have too much money to burn or they don’t know how much it is costing them?

b) I personally still see so many truck drivers getting lost in suburbs/industrial areas! Big costs! All the diesel wastage of cruising around!

c) Diesel idling! So often talked about, so often ignored!

Insurance savings:

d) Increase the frequency of reviewing your policy. We once had a client who literally added something or deleted an item almost daily. This can be warranted but it is an administrative nightmare! My point is: If you previously reviewed your policy annually, change to doing it quarterly. Check up on items that might have been sold/ deleted or where there is potentially a major change in value!

e) Understand the consequences of slightly under-insuring. Don’t GROSS under-insure items! Simultaneously, time spent on getting your values spot on will reap rewards if, heaven forbid, there is a claim and a full settlement is anticipated.

f) Most commercial vehicle premiums are now often UNDER priced. Don’t laugh, I can prove it!  In the same breath, let’s keep us all honest. There is a big difference between a well priced premium and a premium that looks too cheap. Remember the old cliché: If a premium is too cheap – it normally is!

g) The HCV Insurance market is completely over-traded, maybe more so than the conventional motor sector of insurance. In a variation of (e) above, enjoy the soft market, but don’t try abuse it!

h) Understand exactly what the rands and cents are on your debit order premium deduction. Time spent reconciling all the premium rates quoted and the actual rands being charged clarifies your mind and prepares you for the times when a new sales consultant says: “I can do your fleet for a 3 percenter!’ This might not include the small print costs and could have manipulated excesses and generally be completely misrepresentative of the product being proposed!

Think about all the issues that can SAVE, both operationally and in insurance terms. Small thoughts; small changes equals BIG savings!

By Chris Barry, CEO of HCV
Underwriting Management

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