There are a number of businesses that require several company vehicles to operate. Everything from landscapers to personal chauffer services require people behind the wheel. In Alberta, any company using more than five vehicles is technically operating a “fleet,” and the company doesn’t necessarily have to own the vehicles, either. A fleet can also consist of leased and employee-owned (but used primarily for business) vehicles.
When it comes to coverage for your commercial vehicles, insurance companies assess risk in several ways, including the type of business activity and the number and make of the vehicles. Registering your fleet through an Alberta registry office can help find you significant savings as you will be able to purchase coverage for all of your vehicles rather than individually.
Another way to access insurance savings for your fleet vehicles is through comprehensive loss prevention measures. Reducing accidents results in fewer insurance claims, less severe losses, and, ultimately, lower insurance premiums.
Manage your fleet risks ahead of time
Business owners are generally responsible for the actions of their drivers while they are operating one of their company’s vehicles. The Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) advises assessing potential difficulties, developing policies and procedures, and keeping the conversation open with your employees as overarching guidance.
Step One: Take a thorough inventory on the types of losses you have experienced over the last few years
The best ways to know how to manage your risks is to understand the ones you face. Take a close look at the frequency and cause of accidents through the use of your fleet and total the amount of losses annually. If possible, benchmark those numbers against others in the same type of business as you to see if you are on the same level. Try to identify trends, such as if accidents are happening at the same time in the same areas, and attempt to find the cause.
Step Two: Start a preventative maintenance program
All fleet vehicles should be serviced according to the maintenance routines suggested in owners’ manuals, and everything carefully documented and recorded. This is very important to be able to prove that any accident was not the result of negligence in vehicle care. Have vehicles regularly inspected by someone other than those doing the maintenance and the driving.
Step Three: Draw up comprehensive policies and procedures
Some must-have components include:
- A motor vehicle safety policy. The IBC has provided a sample here.
- An acquisition and safety policy detailing exactly how vehicles are selected in order to meet minimum safety requirements.
- Instructions for preventative maintenance.
- Driver screening and hiring processes, such as the minimum amount of experience required, drivers abstracts, the maximum amount of violations allowed and additional standards.
- Details of activities that will result in corrective actions or termination, such as driving under the influence, careless driving and improper use of company vehicles.
- Guidelines for maximum speeds, appropriate following distances, expectations for defensive driving behaviour, and so on.
Step Four: Involve your employees
Provide your people with regular training on your policies and handy guidebooks they can keep with them to answer questions they may have when out on the road. Ensure each signs a document stating they have read and understand your policies and will adhere to your standards.
Employees should also be aware of what they are expected to do in the event of an accident. Provide them with an emergency kit to help keep them safe if stranded and/or injured.
Keep an open, honest, and blame-free atmosphere so that employees feel free to bring forward their concerns about problems and suggestions for improvement. Reward good driving records appropriately.
Step Five: Increase security
Vehicles should be stored in a locked garage or within a well-secured fenced yard at night.
- Install security cameras.
- Mandate that all vehicles be locked when not in use.
- Keep keys separate from vehicles and well secured.
In the event of an accident
Claims management tips provided by the IBC include having employees fill out a comprehensive incident/accident report. At the scene, drivers must never speak on behalf of your business or organization, so ensure they know what to say should an accident occur. An appropriate supervisor should be notified as quickly as is safely possible and remain at the scene until the situation is resolved. Record the names and contact information of everyone involved, as well as witnesses, and write down contact and insurance information.
A great way for fleet owners to take control of their fleet risk management is through telematics, or usage-based insurance. Devices placed in engines allows insurers to collect and analyze advanced data regarding your employees’ driving habits such as speed, cornering, braking force and frequency, and other key indicators of their approach to being behind the wheel. Good performance can lead to lower premiums. In addition, business owners have the advantage of detailed information on how their drivers are operating their vehicles, and may be able to stop problems before they start.
Get more from Lane’s Insurance
Lane’s Insurance is a leading Alberta-based brokerage, offering highly competitive rates on commercial vehicle insurance and all your other insurance needs. Because Lane’s is a brokerage, we can get insurance companies bidding on your business, which helps you secure the best rates. In addition, Lane’s delivers outstanding customer service and claims support that’s second to none in the industry. Contact us at our Calgary, Banff, Edmonton, or greater Alberta offices.