Here’s what you need to know about how it may affect your Fleet Insurance policy
Government set to do away with paper counterpart licence
Fleet managers will need to find new ways of tracking drivers
Potential cost for data access for Fleet Managers
Risk of increase in Insurance Premiums for Fleets
It is planned that as of the 8th of June 2015 the paper part of driving licences will become obsolete, as the government’s initiative to remove red tape and paperwork focuses on drivers. As a result, the counterpart paper licence will be no longer issued to those who attain their driving qualifications after this date. This also renders current drivers’ counterparts obsolete.
This will mean that drivers will be required to present their ID photo card, whilst the details previously displayed on their counterpart (such as conviction and endorsement details) will be stored in an online database. The DVLA now allows individual drivers to be able to access their own driving record, including vehicle licences and endorsements (http://www.gov.uk/view-driving-licence). The record service will also be available over the phone, or by post. Critically, this service is only available for individuals, not for fleet managers.
A second digital initiative, ‘Share Driving Record’ is planned to enable access to driving records for third party business purposes. It will be free to use, and should be accessible by spring 2015. This is for companies such as car and van hire companies who need to access records for drivers before they hire a vehicle. Similarly, it would be accessed by Police doing roadside checks, as well as by Insurers looking to verify drivers’ details. Crucially, it requires the individual driver’s permission to be accessed.
How does a business with a Fleet or Mini Fleet access their drivers’ records under the new initiative?
For fleet managers needing to access driver records regularly, the government is creating another new service, ‘Access to Driver Data’ which allows records to be shared on a business-to-business basis. The service will be provided on contractual terms, and currently charges and access considerations are being assessed. It seems clear that there will be a cost for fleet managers. Access to records is being facilitated by Licence Bureau, who provide an online tool for businesses. Their website already provides information about likely costs for your business, and it can be found here.
What the changes mean for Mini Fleet Insurance
As a business with a fleet or mini fleet, it’s your responsibility to ensure you have accurate driver information, and it seems to be a likely that you will have to pay for access to that information. Failure to keep driver records accurately reflected in your policy could affect your insurance. Furthermore, because insurers may also have to pay for access to fleet drivers’ information, there could be an impact on cost to insuring your fleet. It is unlikely that insurers will be willing to simply absorb this additional cost to their administration.
On the positive side, as driver convictions are spent, you could see a reduction in your insurance costs, without needing to notify your insurers.
Either way, any business with a fleet or mini fleet needs to take action and understand the ramifications of the changes. If you need advice or input, whether you are an existing customer or not, why not speak with our fleet insurance team? We are happy to discuss how the changes may affect you and what action you may need to take.