New study highlights total cost of insuring Europe's fleets
While this market grew very little between 2007 and 2011, Finaccord forecasts that it will increase to more than EUR 18bn by 2015, for motor insurance and assistance combined, as prices rise to combat underwriting losses in major countries such as Germany and the UK.
This substantial but complex market carries many opportunities, whether by country (this study looked at Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK), by type of company (fleet manager, broker, underwriter or service provider) or by industry sector.
Finaccord broke the fleet vehicle market down between passenger cars and commercial vehicles, and then again between different types of specialist road transport segments. For passenger cars, these were hire firms, driving schools, the motor trade, operating lease firms, taxis, and other fleets.
David Parry, managing consultant at Finaccord, said: ‘Among fleet passenger cars, the segment of car hire companies is expected to have the best growth in premiums between 2011 and 2015.
‘This is because the number of cars for rental is expected to rise significantly, and because policy prices are high for these vehicles. A lot of car hire companies have captive insurance operations because it is difficult to insure them, but the size of this segment and its prospects for growth mean that there is a substantial opportunity here.’
Fleet commercial vehicles were divided between couriers and postal services, the motor trade, operating lease firms, own account haulage vehicles, removal firms, road haulage firms, van and lorry hire firms, and other fleets.
‘Among commercial vehicles, road haulage is the largest specialist segment in terms of premiums paid, but it is a mature market. Operational leasing is becoming more popular in many European countries, and these fleets are expanding faster than average. This means that insurance and assistance providers stand to gain more by targeting a relatively small number of leasing companies rather than a mass of small and medium-sized fleets,’ he commented.
Mr Parry concluded: ‘The challenge in the fleet insurance market is to understand the risks involved in detail and to reduce costs, and there are many different ways to do this. Large fleets can be rated on their own claims record, and improving driver behaviour is key for them. For smaller fleets, affinity schemes with trade associations can play a similar role, by underwriting a large number of vehicles with a similar risk.
There is huge potential value in the use of telematics for both large and small fleets. At present it helps insurers mostly with assistance and with recovering stolen vehicles, and it can be essential when working with car hire companies in particular, not just to reduce theft but also to provide detailed information about collisions to assist with claims settlement. The next steps are to introduce pay-as-you-drive – and pay-how-you-drive – insurance policies, which have been launched for fleets in the UK. Widespread adoption of this could revolutionise fleet insurance and assistance over the next five years.’