Drivers Negligence Insurance

October 20, 2020

For the transport industry, agency drivers are a vital component of the workforce. If you are a recruitment agency supplying temporary drivers for HGV’S then it is more than likely that your clients’ will request that you hold Drivers Negligence Insurance.

Clarke Williams are specialist insurance brokers for the recruitment industry. Speak to one of our specialists today for a free review.

Cover Available under Drivers Negligence Insurance:

  • Any one claim limits of £5,000, £10,000 and £15,000 depending on your contractual needs
  • Any one period of insurance of either £30,000, £50,000 or £100,000
  • Optional excess per claim, choose from £500, £750 or £1,000
  • Drivers from the age of 21 providing they have a full UK driving licence
  • Cover can be provided on a UK or EU basis

A Guide to Driver Negligence Insurance

When providing temporary drivers, Recruitment agencies may find that clients’ try to make them liable under the contract for damage caused by the negligent acts of their temporary drivers.

Driver Negligence Insurance is intended to cover hirers vehicle claim costs under the recruiter’s insurance policy, rather than their clients having to claim under their own motor insurance policies, which would then negatively affect their claims experience. The typical type of accidents that would be covered under a Drivers Negligence policy are drivers reversing into a wall or bollard, or where the vehicle has struck an object whilst driving.

Drivers Negligence Insurance is not a standalone policy, it is an extension to Public Liability Insurance, which provides cover for damage to client’s vehicles, when the driver supplied by a recruitment agency has been at fault.

It does not cover third party injury or damage to their vehicles or property due to road traffic accidents. This must be covered under a separate motor insurance policy in conjunction with the Road Traffic Act. As the agency does not own the vehicle it cannot put insurance in place, as there is no insurance interest.

For example if your driver hits a bollard while reversing into a delivery yard causing £3,000 worth of damage to the vehicle and £500 to the bollard, the Drivers Negligence will pay for the £3,000 (less any excess) for the damage to the vehicle. The repairs to the bollard must be paid by the Motor insurers.

If your agency driver is not at fault, then the driver at fault’s motor insurance will pay for all the claims costs and there should be no claim on your Drivers Negligence Insurance policy.

Driver Negligence is only available if the transport company has made the agency contractually responsible for such damage. The REC/FTA/RHA Joint code of practice for agency drivers states that should agencies offer Drivers Negligence then this must be set out in a contractual document which is signed by both parties before the assignment begins. Your insurer may also insist that for every contract you place drivers for, you must also have a separate Drivers Negligence Agreement Form which has been signed by the hirer. This can be very important as in the event of a claim, your insurers may not settle the claim, if an agreement form has not been signed.

How is the insurance premium calculated?

Cover is rated on the number of drivers out on the road at any one time, typically covering a minimum of 10 drivers with the cost of cover starting at around £1,500 per annum depending upon claims experience, excesses and limits.

Drivers Negligence Cover Limits and Excesses

All Drivers Negligence policies will show two limits of cover, Any One Claim and Any One Period of Insurance.

The Any One Claim limit is the maximum amount the insurer will pay for each incident.

The Any One Period of Insurance is the maximum the insurer will pay out in total during any one period of insurance.

Hirers will generally focus on the Any One Claim limit, typically requesting £5,000 – £10,000 per incident, however some larger organisations will request £15,000.

The Any One Period Limit is usually set by the insurer at £50,000 – £100,000 per year.

If an agency was unfortunate enough to go over this limit then they would need to pay the remainder of the claim themselves or ask the insurer to reinstate the cover – however this is likely to generate a high premium for doing so.

The majority of Driver Negligence Insurance Policies set the excess at £500, increasing depending on the drivers experience, points or convictions. As an example, if your driver causes £8,000 worth of damage to a hirer’s vehicle, your insurer will pay £7,500 towards the claim and you will need to pay the remaining £500. When signing contracts with a hirer it is very important to always establish who is responsible for the excess.

Territorial Limits

Generally most insurance policies provide UK cover only but this can be extended to cover the EU or Worldwide depending on the business requirements.

Types of Vehicles Cover

Typically most insurers will provide cover for any road licenced vehicle, but some may restrict the cover to HGV only. Drivers Negligence Insurance does not cover plant, fork lift trucks or lifting gear, even if it is attached to the vehicle being driven.

Driver Age Restrictions

The majority of Drivers Negligence policies set an age limit for the temporary drivers. Some insurers will limit cover to drivers over 21 or 25. Younger drivers can still be included under a policy but they will generally need to be noted by endorsement and subject to an increased policy excess.

With regards to a drivers experience, Insurers would look to ensure that drivers hold the relevant driving licence for at least two years, most insurers will also stipulate that they must have been driving the vehicle in question for a minimum of 180 days within the last two years.

Driver Convictions

Drivers Negligence Insurance cover will automatically restrict the convictions on a driver’s licence to speeding and parking convictions only with a maximum of 9 current points. Therefor it is very important to make sure no driver has more than 9 points on their licence.

Some of the wider policy wordings available will extend this to automatically include further types of conviction codes. However please be aware that all insurers will exclude drivers that have valid convictions for the below unless agreed in writing otherwise:

  • Disqualified Driver convictions (BA codes)
  • Totting up convictions (TT99)
  • Drink / Drug convictions (DR and DG codes)
  • Careless Driving convictions (CD codes)
  • Reckless or Dangerous Driving (DD codes)

It is always best to try to get the widest cover that accepts the most convictions, as it will likely lead to claims being refused if your driver has any of the excluded conviction codes on their licence.

Driving Licence Checking Policy Restrictions

As advised above all Drivers Negligence Insurance policies will contain restrictions in terms of the temporary driver’s experience and convictions. So that you comply with the policy terms, it is very important to make sure that you have a process in place to check the driving licence of any driver you place, and that they update you should they gain any additional convictions.

Failure to check a driving licence or being aware of a new conviction could lead to your Drivers Negligence Insurance claims being rejected for that driver.

Why is Drivers Negligence Insurance so expensive?

A common question from our clients is why is Driver Negligence Insurance so expensive? Unfortunately it is widely reported that driving agencies have a higher number of claims, which according to insurers is attributed to the following areas:

Driver

  • Lack of driving experience
  • Lack of experience in particular vehicles
  • Recruited at very short notice without a proper induction given
  • Allocated the route that no one wants or the old vehicle that no one else wants to drive
  • Demanding schedules taking its toll on the driver

Agency

  • Little or no safety or training policies in place
  • Employing drivers at very low rates of pay – the saying goes you get what you pay for !
  • Limited assessment carried out of the drivers suitability for the contract or vehicle

Due to the poor claims history of Drivers Negligence Insurance, many insurers no longer offer the products and it is now only available via a very few select markets. Should a recruitment consultant have poor claims experience, they may struggle to find competitive terms due to the limited options in the market available.

How Do I Reduce Claims on Drivers Negligence Insurance?

The best way to reduce claims under a Drivers Negligence Insurance Policy is to maintain a high level of driver standards. Make sure that drivers are informed and kept up to date with the hirer’s procedures and policies on vehicle defect reporting, use of mobile phones, night out and break requirements, policy on passengers, smoking policy, and breakdown.

Carry out job specific tests to verify the driving candidates experience and knowledge, and ensure that the drivers have not only the relevant licence for the vehicle they are driving but also the relevant experience for a particular vehicle.

Once you’ve established a candidate’s credentials, make sure you match their skills to the right role to avoid any potential problems with the hirer. Creating a detailed job specification highlighting the below will help match the right candidate to the role.

  • Hours
  • Minimum experience required,
  • Specialist equipment to be used
  • Geographical areas of delivery
  • Details on paperwork system
  • Security procedures
  • Restrictions such as speed limits and insurance
  • Details of other duties
  • Safety requirements
  • Health requirements for insurance whether they will need to assist with loading/unloading
  • Standard of appearance
  • Level of endorsements acceptable to the hirer

And most important of all check references! It is common in the driving industry for drivers to move around but a little investigating may unearth holes in their driver experience or problems with previous contracts. And remember to carry on driver checks to ensure that their credentials have not changed. If the Driver has not worked for the agency for a period of 6 months then recheck the licence. You can now verify driving licences using the Government online system or via a third party checking system.

Lastly, if you have the time, and we appreciate that not all businesses do, provide your own in-house training. Not only will this improve your own vetting process, you will be adding value to the service you provide for your Clients. A higher calibre of driver will hopefully reduce Drivers Negligence Insurance Claims, and in turn create a better working relationship between you and your client.

Making a claim

Unfortunately with all the will in the world, Drivers Negligence Claims will happen. All insurers will have their own claims procedures, but below are a couple of things you can do to make the process as quick and stress free as possible!

Once you have received details of an incident from a hirer or driver, you should contact your broker (preferable Clarke Williams Ltd) to notify them of a possible claim. Even if you only have limited details it is always best to notify your insurers immediately.

Once you receive the invoice for repairs from the hirer, you will need to send this and following to your insurance broker;

  • The accident report form and correspondence between yourself and hirer
  • The Drivers Negligence Agreement form (if applicable)
  • A copy of the contract between yourselves and the hiring company for placing the driver

Providing your insurer gets all the above documentation and there are no other underlying issues, your insurer should be able to process the claim and issue the payment.

Do self-employed HGV driver require Drivers Negligence Insurance?

Generally cover is only available for agencies supplying HGV or LGV drivers. However, we do have markets that can provide cover for freelance drivers.

We would always recommend that drivers protect themselves by holding Public Liability insurance as a minimum, which protects you against claims made against you for your legal liability for personal injury or property damage sustained by third parties arising in the course of the business.

Clarke Williams Insurance Brokers are ideally placed to provide you with both excellent business insurance products and highly competitive premiums to help you meet your requirements for HGV driver self-employed liability insurance.

Clarke Williams are also able to assist with providing competitive premiums on HGV and lorry insurance, providing you with the essential cover such as breakdown so that your business stays on the road even when your vehicle doesn’t.

For more information or a free no obligation quotation contact Clarke Williams Ltd on 01732 252 898 or [email protected]

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