One way to keep insurance premiums down is by attempting to improve an employee’s driving style. Devices such as Lightfoot, for example, can guide drivers to a smoother, safer style, resulting in fewer accidents.
Used in over 10,000 vans across the UK, Lightfoot claims that a smoother driving style significantly reduces accident levels in fleets.
Jonathan Dye, head of motor insurance at Allianz, tells WhatVan?: “We are committed to using new technologies that help our customers improve driver safety while reducing their operating costs. Running a safe and cost-effective fleet is crucial to maintaining a profitable business, which is why more and more companies are investing in risk management initiatives, such as Lightfoot, to help manage their fleets.”
Lightfoot’s small dashboard device provides visual and audible nudges that swiftly guide users to adopt a more careful driving style. Lightfoot offers incentive rewards to drivers achieving ‘Elite Driver’ status. This positive reinforcement, enabled by Lightfoot’s real-time in-cab feedback, means fewer instances of harsh acceleration, braking and the higher-risk driving habits associated with accidents. “The outcome is a reduction in accidents by up to 60% among fleets using Lightfoot,” claims Dye.
Mark Roberts, managing director of Lightfoot, explains: “Lightfoot is a long-term risk management solution that enables drivers to adopt a smoother, safer driving style and then rewards them personally for doing so. A proven result of this is a significant reduction in claims frequency (up to 40%) and a resulting reduction in claims value of up to 60%.”
Roberts continues: “There is no silver bullet for reducing insurance premiums. However, motivating your drivers to be safer – resulting in fewer claims and reducing overall cost of claims – can only have a positive effect on a client’s overall insurance-related costs within their fleet.”
To offset hefty insurance costs, some fleets are looking to different types of solutions, such as dashcams.
“There are a few insurers out there who ask if you have a dashcam fitted and in turn offer a small discount,” says Blevins. “This is due to the fact that evidence could be produced to show claims circumstances, and so questions over liability could be answered definitively, so helping keep costs down for insurers in terms of claim payouts. They would also help identify fraudulent cases.”
Lytx offers a dashcam called DriveCam, which Hurst says can reduce collision frequency by up to 50%, and reduce collisions-related claims costs by up to 80%. As well as capturing video footage of a driving event, like a hard brake or a sudden swerve, Hurst says DriveCam helps Lytx to deliver precise and personalised coaching insights along with the video clips, aiding drivers in improving their approach to safety and preventing collisions before they happen. “In the event collisions are unavoidable,” Hurst says, “the DriveCam video helps exonerate drivers, especially when it’s their word against another driver’s.”
Also, fleets quite often experience ‘mystery damage’ in the yard, where vehicles suffer dings and scrapes, seemingly out of nowhere, says Hurst. “The DriveCam event recorder is triggered by impact, even if the vehicle is stationary, and can capture those ‘mystery damage’ events to help identify the responsible party.”
Figures obtained by the BBC from 30 police forces show that thefts from vans have increased from 14,063 in 2014/15 to 22,749 in 2016/17, meaning that a van is broken into every 23 minutes.
With numbers such as those, perhaps it’s no surprise that insurers tend to offer small discounts for effective security measures, while Blevins from Consumer Intelligence says fitting Thatcham 1-approved alarms and immobilisers where not standard could help reduce premiums,
Simon Cook, LCV manager at vehicle leasing Arval, says the BBC figures are consistent with what he is hearing from fleets at the moment: “In our experience, van crime tends to occur in cycles and our feeling is that we are on an upswing.?What tends to happen is that thieves devise a new method of breaking into a van, operators adopt ways of preventing it, and there follows a decrease in the crime. Then, new techniques start to appear, and the whole thing happens again.”?
While Arval also acknowledges that there isn’t a single perfect solution to avoid being the victim of crime, it says it is possible to mitigate the risk of theft by fitting the right security equipment such as slam locks and trackers. “Look at which will be the best way to protect your van and make it difficult, noisy, or time-consuming for thieves to get in,” concludes Cook.