The best features in recycling
Underwriting the kerbside
The waste management industry has very specific insurance needs with many of the insurance companies offering restrictive cover in terms of liability, property and even fleet policies. Recycling companies handle a huge variety of materials and insurance policies with specific exclusions leave clients in a position of being inadequately protected.
Refuse collectors require public liability insurance in addition to insuring the vehicles they are operating themselves. Usually this will require a separate policy although there are some insurers that offer third-party working risks as part of a ‘special types’ motor policy. Not surprisingly, given the relatively low risk of theft of these types of vehicles and the unlikely event of a high-speed accident, insurance premiums in this sector are highly competitive. However, in respect of employers and public liability, there can be complications, not least of all as many community-sector kerbside service providers may employ community groups employing volunteers who may be disabled, for example. Whilst no insurance company will discriminate against any sector, it is imperative that they are aware of the risks insured. Non-disclosure of material facts is the main reason for insurance claims to be under dispute between insurer and policyholder. Temporary employees, whether volunteers or salaried, must be disclosed to your insurers.
Insurance premiums are calculated by an insurer’s experience in a certain field taking into account the type of property insured including vehicles. Fleet policy premiums take into account the claims history of the individual client and all too often claims are left outstanding on a fleet policy, if they are not looked into and closed where appropriate following the efforts of your insurance broker.
One such example, albeit somewhat extreme, of this was when I took over a particular client’s policies two years ago. They ran a large fleet of vehicles and were offered a renewal premium of £220,000. However, with over £300,000 of outstanding claims going back over the previous two years, neither their own current insurers nor other insurers were prepared to offer anything more competitive. After looking into the outstanding claims, we were able to agree with the insurers to ‘close off’ several claims that were clearly not going to proceed. These were typically minor road accidents where the insurer had feared a personal injury claim might follow and had put a reserve against the claim. In most cases the claim was settled for just a few hundred pounds of damage to the vehicle involved with no personal injury claim being paid. We were able to negotiate with the insurers a refund of almost £20,000 at the end of the policy’s term, plus the renewal showed a further £51,000 saving. What’s more, other insurers were interested in quoting competitive premiums meaning that the client was being offered the most competitive terms.
In addition to fleet policies, the same applies to large liability policies if there have been incidents that remain outstanding – in some cases years after the incident.
There are many other ways in which insurance costs can be reduced, including increasing voluntary excesses. Your insurance broker should be offering you such alternatives well before renewal date in order to give you, the client, sufficient time to calculate the economies involved. If you are in any way dissatisfied with the service you are receiving from your broker, you can usually change brokers at any time during your policy term without incurring any additional costs. A mid-term change of brokers will give you the opportunity of testing your new broker’s service and, remember, around 10 per cent of your insurance premiums are earned by your broker as their fee or commission for managing your policies. You should be receiving the service you deserve as a valued client of your broker, and if this is not the case it is time to change to a broker who would value your business and put your best interests first.
John Peers is a specialist commercial insurance broker. Established in 1986, his client portfolio ranges from owner operators through to 100 vehicle fleet operators. John can be contacted on 0845 6011343 or at www.johnpeers.com
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