Case study: Hannaford cuts down on car insurance claims

St Albans-based fit-out and refurbishment firm Hannaford has seen its insurance claims and premiums drop sharply since implementing a comprehensive driver training programme for its 51 employees in 2008.

Fleet manager Leigh Stiff says: “We only had five claims last year and the same the year before. Before we started this programme, it was a bit of a free-for-all. The number of claims was not being measured or managed, and our insurance costs were creeping up.”

All staff complete an online risk assessment, with those judged to be high risk, plus all employees aged under 25, being given on-road training with training company Peak Performance. Other staff attend classroom-based training.

“It ticks the box in terms of duty of care, but it is something you need to keep doing,” says Stiff. “You have to keep drilling it into people. It is not just fuel or insurance, it can be little things, such as explaining the importance of reporting a chip or crack in the windscreen so we can get it seen to earlier.

“With fuel prices, it is just another way of trying to ensure we are not being held to ransom. If you are managing to lower costs, you are ahead of things.”

Stiff adds that the process is also about educating drivers on issues such as fuel efficiency. For example, if they find themselves with no option but to fill up at a motorway service station, they put a small amount in, perhaps £10, and fill up somewhere else more cheaply. “You cannot know what is going to happen on fuel prices, so it is important to manage costs as best you can.

“We also now make a point of examining whether a journey is even necessary,” Stiff explains.

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