The Risks of Owning a Truck- Hollard

South African Farmers are dependent on safe haulage of goods.

It goes without saying that if we cannot get our produce to market, we cannot sell, and the effect of this on farmers and the whole industry could be disastrous. When one looks at the recent spate of arson attacks on trucks and long-distance haulers it raises the question whether farmers are really geared to deal with this situation.

It is important to note is that these attacks did not start recently. The ongoing burning of trucks is covered very well on social media and news reports and have been ongoing for at least a year. Popular belief wants to link them to the recent spate of so-called xenophobic attacks, but the sad truth is that this important part of the south African economy has been under severe pressure from criminal activity for quite a while.
The damages have been linked to “civil unrest” but looking at the reaction from SASRIA, who deal with these types of unrest-related claims, they are of the opinion that in most instances these losses are the result of “normal malicious damage”.

What is clear is that irrespective the source of these damages, owners of long-distance haulers and businesses who transport goods on a regular basis by truck need to understand that their property is at risk and that, as with all business ventures, one needs to understand the risk and take appropriate precautions.

By having a proper discussion with your insurance broker and insurer it is possible to structure a sensible risk management solution for your fleet that will definitely pay dividends in the long run. The challenge is that often farmers, and other haulers, believe that if they own a truck, they are sorted. Owning a vehicle is but the beginning and with it comes a myriad of potential risks and it is important to manage these appropriately.

We often ignore, forget or do not know basic elements of proper fleet management practices. Especially farmers who maybe have only one or two vehicles do not go to the trouble of managing their “fleet” in a structured and planned manner. They fill up, load up and happily transport their goods to wherever they believe offtake will be. This is shortsighted and quite dangerous. The bare basic elements of running a successful and profitable fleet entails paying attention to not only the choice of vehicle keeping the intended use in mind, but also looking at the driver of that vehicle and having firm rules in place in alignment with driver training being done prudently.

Whilst price is often the determining factor in choice of vehicle a prudent businessman will look at more factors such as service options, spare part availability and costs, fuel consumption, comfort – especially for long haulage and potentially resale values. A vehicle such as this requires a substantial capital outlay and it would be irresponsible not to evaluate a vehicle as widely as possible.

Having bought the vehicle, it becomes a tool in my business toolkit, and I need to manage it accordingly to extract maximum value. Some of the factors that a fleet (or single vehicle) owner should be aware of and enforcing as part of his risk management programme and the objectives of that programme are:

Harsh braking
Panic and incident alerts
Battery tampering
Fatigue driving – both day and night
Route planning and deviations
No-go zones

The advantages of a proper risk management programme for truck-owners are obvious and depending on the service provider should include at least some of the following, if not all:
Your fleet should be monitored 24 hours a day, 365 days a year
A risk consultant should be at your disposal
A Driver training programme should form part of the service
The fleet should experience less down time
You save on excesses by preventing accidents and hi-jacking
You save on fuel
Speeding violations are reduced
You save on maintenance costs
Should vehicles be stolen or hi jacked recovery should be easier by aligning incident management with your telematics provider and the SAPS
By having a properly structured risk management programme in place for your fleet and aligning this with your insurance programme you are better placed to find an insurer who will be willing and able to insure your vehicles at an appropriate premium.
An insurer that is serious about this sector should also see the value in your risk mitigation actions and will typically assist by offering, as part of the deal, risk solutions of their own, driver training opportunities, Personal Accident cover for the driver, accident and towing assistance and a full suite of supporting covers.
The reality is that insurers calculate premiums as a function of risk and exposure. Trucks (and their loads) are high value items - which speaks to exposure – and they are exposed to various risks as illustrated by the attacks so clearly illustrated in the media. If you can demonstrate being serious about risk and the management thereof you will have a better chance of not only safeguarding your property and staff, but may well save money in doing so.

Vir meer inligting, besoek of kontak Andries Wiese by 011 351 5877 of This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., of gesels met jou makelaar.




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