Roads & Infrastructure speaks to Gavin Hart, National Underwriting Manager for Motor, Energy and Fleet at Zurich Insurance about bundled insurance options available to mobile plant and equipment owners.
When it comes to selecting an insurance package for mobile plant and equipment, Gavin Hart, National Underwriting Manager for Motor, Energy and Fleet at Zurich Insurance, believes simple solutions are often the best solutions.
So, instead of companies having to seek insurance deals for their commercial and transport vehicles that are separate to their mobile plant and equipment, Zurich Insurance has designed a comprehensive policy that bundles these insurances together, to the benefit of their customers.
The comprehensive package, as Hart explains, is ideal for companies in a wide range of industries, including construction, earthmoving, roadworks, forestry, mining and exploration drilling, that own 20 vehicles or more.
“Having a comprehensive policy helps fleet owners save on premium costs by selecting a higher excess option or a higher level of self-insurance across their entire fleet,” Hart tells Roads & Infrastructure.
“Our customers also enjoy peace of mind, and less administration, knowing that any additional vehicles or items of plant or equipment either owned or hired are automatically covered under our policy.”
Under the policy, every vehicle from sedans to light commercial vehicles, trucks, trailers and equipment from forklifts to large excavators can be insured against collision, fire, theft and natural perils under one comprehensive deal.
If an item of plant or equipment becomes unintentionally immobilised in any situation, other than mechanical or electrical failure, Zurich Insurance covers the necessary costs for it to be retrieved.
Zurich’s Mobile Plant and Equipment (MP&E) comprehensive insurance package can be tailored in terms of structure, coverage and excess options. Customers can also choose from a range of additional covers and benefits.
“Zurich offers additional covers such as Downtime or Increased Costs of Working (ICOW), which can be combined with the basic package to ensure customers are covered for any costs associated with hiring an item of plant or equipment to replace one that has been rendered totally inoperable as a result of loss or damage,” says Hart.
“We understand the importance to your business that your equipment keeps on working so if you have an item that requires timely repairs, we can immediately hire a replacement to continue the work. We also offer the choice of using your own preferred repairer.”
Building long-term relations
Having a good understanding of the customers’ risks is the first step as Zurich’s risk specialists try to understand the best insurance coverage options for their clients, as Hart explains.
“We review each customer’s insurance coverage requirements and previous claims experience to ensure we gain a good understanding of their business and risk profile,”
“Our team of Risk Engineers can also arrange a risk assessment which is more suitable for larger customers with heavy exposures or complex insurance requirements. A risk assessment allows us to gain deeper insights of the business including operator training/recruitment, MP&E maintenance, fire protection, security and overall level of risk management. Our goal is to form long-term relationships with customers, providing support and assistance with risk mitigation and proactive claims management,” he says.
Hart says the combined experience of Zurich’s risk experts is critical to minimising clients’ risks.
“Our experienced risk engineers have deep industry knowledge to help address the risks and exposures for our customers, from not only an MP&E perspective, but also additional areas of risk such as Workers’ Compensation, public liability, contract works and cyber insurance,” says Hart.
“Our risk engineers can also review existing fleet management systems for gaps and identify areas for improvement,” he further notes.
A new approach to risk assessment
But for Zurich Insurance, customised propositions for their customers go beyond bundling insurance packages. Hart says the Zurich Resilience Solutions team, which comprise of Zurich’s risk engineers, have adopted a semi-quantitative risk grading methodology for assessing vehicle fleet operational exposures and management controls to help companies better manage their risks.
“We are the only organisation with this capability,” he says.
The risk grading methodology includes a specific risk grading for mobile plant owners which is based on detailed risk assessment. The assessment can be conducted face-to-face or via remote collaboration and it considers the risk factors in the mobile plant owners’ core business, Hart explains.
“We assess the vehicles and mobile plant with regards to factors such as equipment selection, fit-for-purpose equipment, safety, condition monitoring and maintenance, the environmental conditions, driver/operator selection, induction, assessment and training, as well as other risk management controls such as policies and procedures, fatigue risk management, drug and alcohol testing, incident analysis, and performance management.
“The output of the risk assessment is a graduated score and qualitative rating from ‘Excellent’ to ‘Poor’ and it allows for targeted Risk Improvement Actions that help customers make informed decisions. We have worked with many mobile plant customers including local governments, mining, civil works, logging and others to help them improve their mobile plant fleet risk profile, ultimately improving their business resilience.”
As examples of such customised solutions, Hart says the Zurich team has developed guidance reports for a fleet of waste trucks for prevention of vehicle fires and minimising fire spread, as well as providing guidance on mobile plant fire suppression. They have also developed and supported the implementation of practical and effective Fatigue Risk Management program for a customer that had missed some key aspects in their fatigue management policy.
“We also have a range of partnered solutions aimed at assisting mobile plant fleet operators to manage and reduce their risks in specific areas. These are just some examples of the risk advice we can provide to our customers,” Hart says.
With mobile plant and equipment always at the risk of accidental damage, fire, theft and third-party property damage, Hart’s advice to companies is to choose their insurer carefully.
“Whether your focus is to protect your people, your assets or your bottom line, managing your fleet risk is a strategic imperative. Deal with an insurer who understands the value of your MP&E and the urgency for repairs or replacement on damaged or stolen equipment to help you save time and money whilst keeping projects running smoothly.”
This article was originally published in the October edition of our magazine. To read the magazine, click here.