The Case for Vehicle Cameras

There has been a rise in the use of vehicle cameras lately and here are some of the reasons why…

The Technology

There is no doubt that vehicle tracking is a key part of running an efficient fleet.  Tracking reduces your fleet running costs as long as you are being vigilant and actually using the data to improve your driver’s performance. One thing it doesn’t really help with is proving your drivers innocence in non-fault accidents that end up as 50/50 claims, or assessing a crash for cash claim. The lack of evidence means it’s likely to impact on your renewal premium.

The most common type of vehicle camera until now has been the forward facing SD card camera. The footage is stored on an SD card, so in the event of an incident, it is removed and viewed back at the office. What this doesn’t show is the near misses, the accidents waiting to happen. This is crucial information for fleet managers. If you can see what’s happening you can prevent it. The rise of the 3G vehicle cameras that send footage back instantly is a powerful tool which is changing everything.

The View From The Insurance Industry

Darren Taylor, of Motor Fleet Risk Solutions, the specialist fleet division of Flint Group Insurance, explained how they work with their clients and their insurance partners to manage the risk for everyone, using every tool at their disposal.

“We very much believe in prevention rather than the cure. If a fleet comes to us with a high frequency of claims we will look at every possible way of managing the situation and putting the right processes in place,” Taylor explained.

“We start with a risk assessment so we can understand why the claims are happening and provide recommendations that will immediately start to reduce costs. More insurers are asking for cameras to be fitted, as they offer real insight for the fleet operator into how their drivers are performing and where they need extra training.

“We believe as well as reducing the amount and cost of claims, cameras do fit in with our philosophy of prevention. Ultimately our goal is to help our clients reduce their premiums and therefore have a positive impact on their bottom line, anything that can help all parties reduce the risk is very welcome.

“Giving Insurers the ability to establish liability at the earliest point after an incident saves them fortunes in solicitors costs, whether our driver is at fault or not, and being able to establish; speed to impact, numbers of passengers and reduce fraudulent claims are all invaluable. We have a panel of insurers who have seen the savings Cameras can bring and who are more than happy to contribute to their fitment,” he added.

3G Cameras operate with a sim card emailing footage of accidents or harsh driving within seconds of them happening. Having this data available quickly can dramatically reduce the costs incurred by the insurer. One camera manufacturer working with insurers is Intelligent Telematics. Sam Footer, Head of International Development at the company explained how 3G cameras are helping claims management teams use conclusive evidence instantaneously.

“Our cameras can be fitted to any vehicle and offer video footage and tracking data over the mobile phone network. The unit transmits its speed, GPS position, and G-Force sensor data frequently to a designated server. If there is a collision or a triggered event, the unit transmits all the data to the client, allowing them to immediately view the footage,” Footer said.

“This data can then be used to its full potential in mitigating costs associated with fleet claims, and reducing the ever increasing risk of fraudulent claims, through First Notification of Loss (FNOL). FNOL allows Insurers to immediately intervene in the overall claims process, thus avoiding or mitigating claims costs, which can ultimately translate into savings in auto fleet insurance premiums. FNOL is now being achieved in less than one hour, with 99% of all claimants contacted within the hour. Also, by being able to prove what happened in a timely manner, the cameras allow you to defend or help mitigate third party repair costs or injury claims, the savings are significant,” they added.

The Statistics

Intelligent Telematics carried out a recent six month trial with a large fleet of 550 vehicles, the findings were as follows:

– Vehicles without cameras fitted, reported incidents = 84.58%
– Vehicles with cameras fitted, reported incidents = 15.42%
– Total claims expected on vehicles with cameras = 76
– Actual Claims reported = 37
– Reduction in accident frequency = 51.55%
– Average claim costs with cameras fitted = £1,265
– Average claim costs without cameras fitted = £1,671
– Proven reduction in accident cost per claim = £406
– Proven reduction in accident cost per claim % = 24.30%

Cost Savings Summary

– Total claims ‘prevented’ x average claim cost = £49,795
– Total claims costs ‘prevented’ on incidents with devices fitted = £15,022
– Total saving per vehicle after 6 months = £370.38

These costs savings were mainly generated by use of instant footage from the scene, accounting for savings in third party vehicle hire, third party repair costings and third party personal injury and pre-med settlements.

Conclusion

Looking at the evidence, it is hard to argue against the case for vehicle cameras. As Insurance companies see more fraudulent claims creeping in from the consumer to the commercial sector, they have to use all available technology to reduce their exposure.

Fleet Operators can use camera footage to create positive messages in their business, by using their own drivers experiences as part of their driver induction, training and driver CPD. Encouraging drivers to provide examples of situations where other drivers were reckless and where they took defensive or evasive action creates a positive message around the camera. The message is that cameras are there for the drivers protection more than a stick to beat them with.

If your insurance company is asking you to install cameras, embrace it. It may just be the best thing that has happened to your fleet in a while. However, when the evidence for cameras is so overwhelming, the real question is, why wait?

Rowlands & Hames would like to thank Wise Procure for this article.

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