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Thursday, March 1, 2012
Tracking activity

Fleet management firms in South Africa often face exorbitant fees on the cost of insurance for their vehicles, due to the increased likelihood of an accident. However, new technology that enables companies to monitor the activity of their fleet in real time should now enable businesses to cut this cost significantly.

According to Stewart Somerville, Managing Director of Geotab, the asset, vehicle and personnel tracking group, most fleet management insurance is handled through large broking firms that can now make use of new technology to negotiate improved deals for clients. “‘Distance-Based’ insurance has become a common occurrence amongst consumers but a similar tool can also be used to great effect for larger fleet management firms.
“Some fleets can easily have up to 2 000 vehicles on their books at any one time. When this high volume of vehicles is insured the cost can be astronomical. However, if the company isn’t using all of the vehicles at one time, then they are wasting huge sums of money to insure vehicles that aren’t moving.
“By installing this technology on the entire fleet, the company and the insurer can track the activity of all vehicles and at the end of each month the insurance broker can negotiate a reduction in the premium for the client on the percentage of the fleet was inactive during the period.”
Somerville says the same technology can also be used in a number of ways to assist fleet managers in reducing costs. “The hardware can be used to monitor driver behaviour, by tracking the severity of driving patterns. For example, a company could see the route a truck has taken that day and pinpoint the exact location where it was forced to brake suddenly, or swerve.
“Making use of a driver scorecard each employee’s driving behaviour is monitored, allowing for action to be taken if particular drivers are either driving erratically or alternatively to reward those drivers who drive responsibly.”
He says the fact that a company can monitor and record their vehicle’s routes in real time, also means they can monitor whether the driver is deviating from the agreed route. “With the cost of fuel increasing substantially, it is becoming increasingly essential for companies to make sure that their vehicles are only driving the agreed routes and that drivers are not either deviating for personal reasons or using the vehicle for additional work outside of the company.”
Somerville says the same technology also has a number of other benefits for fleet companies, as it can enable the company to respond to an accident within seconds of it occurring. “Both the company and the insurer can receive an automatic notification via email with the details and exact location of an accident, enabling them to respond immediately as well as sending the appropriate help to retrieve the vehicle.
“Given the distances travelled by fleets, accidents can occur in remote locations late at night with the result that a lot of time can elapse before help is sent. By utilising the latest technology a company can ensure a rapid response to any accidents, making the safety of their drivers paramount,” concludes Somerville.

Copyright © Insurance Times and Investments® Vol:25.3 1st March, 2012
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