There has traditionally been an ambiguous relationship between employers and employees when it comes to using work vehicles as personal transport. This has largely been down to the difficulty in easily and quickly understanding how the vehicle is being used and then being able to calculate liability. However, telematics has advanced beyond a simple ‘black box’ and is now available through a range of technologies, including easily installed smart tags and smartphone app. Pairing telematics to smartphones, in particular, means that we are now able to insure the driver rather than the vehicle. This brings higher levels of transparency, meaning that companies and insurers can now quickly and easily separate what purpose the vehicle is being used for. It’s the same technology that is powering the sharing economy of transport. Telematics means that if an accident happens, it’s very easy to understand whether it happened during a work phase or personal use phase and apply the correct policies and assign the appropriate liability.
“There are many other benefits to using telematics to separate and understand the usage of a vehicle. The driver scores and guidance that are provided to drivers also helps them become safer on the roads. Reducing accidents not only keeps vehicles on the road and staff safe, but can dispell any myths of the ‘white van man’ as, in fact, they will be receiving regular training through the feedback provided by the telematics apps.The better a vehicle can be tracked, the more benefits available to both the company and the driver such as first-notification of loss and stolen vehicle recovery. These benefits can be applied whether the vehicle is being used for work or personal purposes. Driver scores can also be applied across the board, meaning that the driver and therefore the company can receive ever-greater discounts on insurance – further reducing costs. Of course, at the same time, allowing staff to use the vehicle as personal transport means their own costs are reduced, providing personal benefits, as well as benefits to the company itself.
– Andrew Lee: Head of Market Intelligence and Analysis, Octo Telematics