If you work in the insurance industry then you have probably heard of (or even experienced) an insurance scam at one point or another. Unfortunately, fraudsters often try to take advantage of insurance providers as they feel that it doesn’t technically harm anyone, however the fact of the matter is that fraudulent claims increase premium prices for everybody. As an insurance specialist it is therefore important that you know of current insurance scams to watch out for, and here Victor Millwell describes a few: Continue reading
Uninsured drivers remain one of the biggest problems for motorhome insurance providers in the UK, but new information gleaned from a survey by the Halifax shows that more motorists than anyone can have possibly imagined are prepared to drive without adequate cover.
According to the report 10% of those questioned say they can’t afford proper insurance cover and neither can they afford to be without their vehicle. The result is that one in ten of UK motorists admit they have taken a chance and driven without insurance. No wonder then that approximately 23,000 people were injured in accidents involving uninsured drivers and that the bill for these accidents amounts to something in the region of £380 million. It is remarkable that so many people living in a “civilised” and bureaucratic country are quite prepared to break the law in such a way and risk such awful consequences… but hold on. When it comes to driving a vehicle that might be unsafe we can double the number of people prepared to risk this to one in five. Yes according to the report 20% of drivers would be prepared to invalidate any motorhome insurance they held by driving a vehicle without a valid MOT certificate.
Despite the fact there is a £1000 fine for the offence and the chance of killing themselves or someone else because their vehicle may be unsafe, millions of motorists are prepared to forego a test that costs less than £2 a week. Three quarters of those who admitted to driving a vehicle without a valid MOT said they had just forgotten to take their vehicle for a re-test, but half admitted they did not think they would get caught anyway.
Undoubtedly cost was a major reason for many motorists being so indifferent to the laws of the land but the report demonstrates what a huge job the Government and insurance providers have got in bringing down the cost of insurance for those prepared to pay for it.
Motorhome and campervan insurance providers will be getting increasingly edgy as December 21st steadily approaches.
That is the date when motor insurance companies can no longer use gender as a factor when determining the price of a premium and although plans will be in place, a possible negative reaction by the UK motoring population to the difference it makes to the cost of purchasing insurance has left all those concerned in the vehicle insurance business nervous. The European Commission say they are only bringing motor insurance in line with other industries but the fact of the matter is that males are far more likely to be involved in a motoring accident and to be convicted of a driving offence than females.
In fact the figures are so convincing it is hard to believe them. According to Department for Transport (DfT) figures for 2011 males were involved in twice as many accidents as females (169,506 to 77,583) and were responsible for 92% of driving convictions. A figure that rises to 98% when dangerous driving convictions are considered in isolation. Little wonder then that motor insurance companies claim that gender is a legitimate way of determining the cost of a policy.
Figures supplied by the British Insurance Brokers Association (BIBA) show an average policy price for an 18 year old female as £2,700 while that of an 18 year old male comes in at £4,400, no wonder more and more ladies now say “Vive La Difference”! It is a problem insurers have got to resolve if they don’t want customers to leave them in droves and Graeme Trudghill, BIBA’s Associate Director, acknowledged the problem but gave this advice to customers “There are dozens of factors affecting ratings. You can’t change your gender or your age but you can change things like the engine size of the car you drive, its value and its security. You may also be able to change what you use the car for. Insurers will give discount for restricted use. New measures are being used to assess the risk a driver presents, including looking at their credit rating. One way a young female – or male – driver can bring down the cost of a premium is to install a “black box” that monitors their driving.”
However the pricing of a policy is resolved it would appear that the motor insurance industry may once again get the blame for an increase in the cost of cover. Only time will tell.
It is a fact though that most accidents can be avoided and this equally applies to collisions involving motor vehicles that we all describe as “accidents”. So, what causes them and how can they be avoided?
Motorhome insurance firms and owners would both love accidents to be avoided and the latest research shows that there are four factors that contribute to the vast majority of motorhome accidents. In order they are: driver behaviour 70%, poor roadway maintenance 14%, roadway design 9% and equipment failure 7%. Over 95% of motorhome accidents involve some degree of driver behaviour combined with one of the other 3 factors. As long as insurance has been available, drivers have always tried to blame the road conditions, equipment failure, or other drivers for the accidents.
When the facts are truthfully presented, however, the behaviour of the driver is usually the primary cause and the majority are caused by excessive speed or aggressive driver behaviour. Lack of observation comes top of the list when it comes to motorhome owner behaviour errors with just one third of accidents caused by drivers failing to look properly before they make a manoeuvre, this is followed by failing to judge another drivers path or speed at 18.9% and poor turning or manoeuvre at 14.1%. The research also found that the majority of these incidents happened during the daylight hours (70%) compared to the night time (30%).
It’s not often that the worlds of fashion and road safety intersect, but they should do, because far too many motorhome drivers are making bad footwear choices. A poll by the AA found that 27% of respondents had encountered difficulties while driving because of the shoes they were wearing, with 5% claiming that their footwear had actually led to them driving dangerously and losing control of the vehicle. Wearing the right shoes for the long journeys taken in a motorhome mean the feet are relaxed making it easier to react faster to changes in traffic or road conditions. Never, ever wear flip flops when driving, the loose fitting shoes may be an ideal choice for the beach and lounging around at home but they can be killers in a motorhome. The shoes can easily slip off and jam underneath a pedal when a driver has to react quickly to a situation, it is a fact and it has happened and people have died as a consequence.
The debate over the introduction of more residential 20mph zones has been exacerbated by the release of road casualty figures for the first quarter of 2012. Although the figures are disappointing to say the least, showing a marked increase in fatalities for children, cyclists, motor cyclists and pedestrians, many interested parties still have to be convinced that lowering speed limits will provide the answer.
It is a debate that will have great significance for motorhome insurance providers, as it will with any other motor insurance company. The fact that 20mph zones are beginning to proliferate will mean more drivers will fall foul of the law and end up with points on their licence for speeding, which in turn will demand a decision on premium rates for those penalised for travelling at less than 25mph. Many who disapprove of the introduction of 20mph zones , such as the Association of British Drivers (ABD) point to the fact that accidents in 20mph zones increased by 24% in 2011 while accidents in 30mph zones hardly increased at all.
There is no doubting the truth of the statistic and many daily papers publicised the report. However, speak to road safety charities and the other myriad of organisations who support the 20mph zones and they will tell a different story. They say the increase is simply down to the thousands of residential roads in cities like Liverpool, Edinburgh and Newcastle that have now become 20mph areas. It is inevitable, they say, that the number of accidents will increase percentage wise but it will be nowhere near the percentage increase of the mileage of roads protected by the lower speed limit.
Certainly Transport Minister Norman Baker is convinced as he recently stated: “British Medical Journal research has shown a reduction in casualties and collision of around 40%, a reduction in children killed or seriously injured of 50% and reduction in casualties among cyclists by 17%.That is why we believe 20mph speed limits are useful in certain residential areas and support their introduction where it can be shown that they benefit road safety and quality of life. Authorities up and down the country have been concluding that 20mph limits are indeed beneficial to their local areas.”
So with the introduction of more 20mph zones motorhome insurance companies will find more and more drivers looking for quotes with penalty points on their licence for travelling well below 30mph. It is arguably a worse offence to speed in residential areas than it is for instance on an empty motorway although the difference in speeds may well be 50mph. One wonders if the time has come when insurance companies are given more information on the driving offence to help them set their premiums.
Motorhome insurance providers will be looking on closely as two new hi-tech experiments take place in the USA and Singapore which could have a marked affect on the number of insurance claims made in the future.
All motorhome insurance providers in the UK know that a huge number of claims are made every year from drivers involved in accidents at traffic lights and in other urban areas where congested traffic leads to thousands of vehicles continually stop-starting as they crawl through busy cities. New ideas emanating from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have seen the development of a system called SignalGuru which could see vehicles sail through congested cities only ever encountering green lights thus avoiding the accidents associated with drivers losing concentration in stop-start situations.
The technology not only promises to reduce the number of accidents in busy urban areas, it could also reduce the number of vehicle breakdowns and save vast amounts of fuel for drivers who regularly waste large amounts of petrol stopping and starting at traffic lights. So how does it work? According to MIT scientist Emmanouil Koukoumidis the system is based on information sent from mobile phones fitted to the dashboards of vehicles. Cameras in the phones record images of traffic lights and send the information back to a computer which analyses the incoming statistics, predicts when the lights will change, and tells the motorist what speed to travel at via a screen on the dashboard to avoid encountering a red light.
According to Mr Koukoumidis trials have been very successful and drivers using SignalGuru have not been held up at red lights. The system will advise drivers to take a detour rather than accelerate to “beat” a red light and the possibilities are the technology could soon be available to ordinary motorists via a sophisticated GPS sat-nav system.