Unethical operators breed unethical drivers who breed unethical insurers

06 July 2010 Heavy Commercial Vehicle Underwriting Managers (Pty) Limited (HCV)

With South African transport industry in a state of anarchy, some insurers can be forced to minimise their financial risk and repudiate claims wherever possible.

The poor state of roads and unreasonable demands from some contractors means some operators have to set unrealistic deadlines and poor maintenance precedents. And often drivers are the least of some operators’ priorities. Drivers can be forced to work through the night, are pushed to exceed the speed limit and often turn to alcohol, drugs and prostitutes to relieve the stress of their underpaid over-stressed jobs. This behaviour, coupled with poorly maintained fleets, results in higher incidence of accidents.

Some insurance companies have responded to the unethical behaviour of operators with strict and complicated policies. The inflated financial risk associated with the half a million plus trucks on South African roads is managed by wordy policies that make it easier for insurance companies to repudiate claims. And make it difficult for operators to understand and meet their policy obligations. Add to that the shocking state of some commercial vehicles and these companies do not need to look far for grounds to reject claims.

Heavy Commercial Vehicle Underwriters (HCV) tries to be different. With the unique industry positioning of “caring for trucks+truckers”, HCV sincerely aims to assist operators who are dedicated to improving their operations and behaviours. True to his brand’s positioning, MD Chris Barry introduced free driver training initiatives for policyholders’ drivers. In addition, the underwriter collaborates with like-minded brands to educate police in identifying unroadworthy vehicles. “We don’t want to repudiate. We hope that by empowering drivers and operators we will not only make South African roads safer, but also reduce the risk of accident or breakdown, allowing us to keep our premiums low,” explains Barry.

HCV has also simplified its policy wording to ensure that policyholders know what is expected of them. And the product range is specially designed to address the needs of trucks and truckers.

“We hope that our approach will not only assist operators in managing good business practices but also encourage them to take better care of drivers, who are usually the first to stop at an accident scene. HCV is very aware of the good nature of truck drivers, despite public opinion,” concludes Barry.

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