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Vehicle fleets: insure only what is necessary

Telematics and digital are struggling to convince to control the drift of claims costs in car fleets. Insurers, brokers and companies rely on more traditional solutions.

Even before the war in Ukraine and the return of inflation, fleet insurance was in clear technical imbalance. Christian Daniel, fleet, maritime and transport manager at MMA, evokes a “ structural imbalance, even if 2020 had allowed an improvement due to the Covid”. “The tensions do not come from massive increases in claims, but above all from the increase in repair costs “, adds Guillaume LeCam, car fleet manager at Bessé. And for good reason: the SRA’s benchmark index rose by 9.8% over twelve months.

Insurers and brokers must act, for lack of being able to play their part “, fears Christian Danel. But with what levers? “ The solutions are first within the companies », he replies. They are asking more and more questions: do we need as many vehicles? Should a company car be granted? “The company car was statutory. Today, this is no longer the case, it is no longer demanded as much by employees”, notes Guillaume Le Cam. And insurance trade-offs are difficult because multiple departments within a company may manage fleets. “A purchasing department will first look for price, while an insurance department will also look for service”explains Guillaume Le Cam.


  • Fleet fleet: 4.8 M vehicles insured in 2021 (+5%)
    Source: France insurers, “statistical study, key data for French insurance in 2021”
  • Contributions: €2.5 billion in 2021 (+4.7%)
  • Claims to premium ratio: 86% in 2019 (stable)

Adjust your insurance

Risk manager at Idex, a medium-sized company (around €2 billion in revenue) specializing in energy services and a player in the energy transition, Patrick Lacroix affirm that “ to control the insurance budget, there are not thirty-six solutions”. Chairman of the Amrae auto commission, he advises, for fleets of 300 or 400 vehicles, to favor self-insurance. “It would not be very economical to insure against all risks, because it exposes you to very significant compensation and to a technical result which would be loss-making for the insurer. You can choose not to cover a warranty, or damages where your company’s driver is at fault », continues Patrick Lacroix. Trade-offs are made based on the potential impact of a type of disaster, such as whether it threatens the business. This is not the case for glass breakage, which companies can choose to pay for themselves. “We can also set up damage conservation arrangements or liability deductibles, from which the broker or the insurer will draw to pay certain claims. Another alternative, we do not pay 100% of the premium, but 80%, for example, and we negotiate with the insurer that from a certain threshold of S / P, we pay a reminder of the premium “, explains Patrick Lacroix again.

Matthew Carrigue, director of the car fleet department at Verspieren, agrees with the analysis of this risk manager. “When we see that a company has had the same charge for glass breakage for three or four years in a row, what’s the point of putting it in the insurance? » The latter regains its true value by covering high-intensity claims – heavy damage compensated under civil liability can amount to €1 million – rather than frequent claims such as glass breakage. Regarding the latter, Verspieren recommends self-insurance to its client by even offering to take care of it in management on behalf of the latter, the replacement costs being borne by a management fund supplemented by the client. Another advantage of self-insurance is tax savings that can exceed 30% on certain guarantees. For the rest, “the cost control levers are fairly standard”asserts Laurence Lemerle, automotive technical director for Axa France. And they are more or less the same as in personal lines insurance: orientation towards partner garages, or the use of reused parts. “The difference is that the use of these documents is discussed at the time of subscription with companies and at the time of the claim with individuals”, she specifies.

Prevention is also often cited by insurers and brokers as a lever. On this subject, most intervene indirectly. “We don’t have in-house prevention specialists, but experts who play an advisory role and recommend prevention organisations. It is also a question of budget. It would be too costly to integrate prevention service packages into insurance contracts”explains Matthieu Carrigue.

The electric is debating

The impact of the rise in power of electric vehicles on claims, repair costs and therefore those of insurance, is debated. At Axa, Laurence Lemerle believes that ” no clear trend emerges in terms of electric vehicle claims”. For his part, Christian Danel of MMA considers that the evolution of the park “will create new risks, as seen with the recent electric bus fires.” But will these new risks cost more? “The reality is that body parts and paint are a big part of the bill. What will have the most impact in the future is the development of safety devices and autonomous driving which, together, will significantly reduce the loss ratio.answers Guillaume le Cam, at Bessé.

Empower drivers

As for driving assistance tools, such as reversing cameras and radars, which are developing, the least we can say is that they are not popular as prevention tools. “They bring comfort to the driver, but the perverse effect is that he will get used to them and will be less vigilant. And when there is a claim and these tools are damaged, the repair costs even more”, observes Patrick Lacroix. For him, the road risk is rather “a management axis” : for any 100% responsible accident, the driver must be called by his superiors for an interview, where we ” detrimentalizes » the event. He also insists on training: “We are asking prevention officers to come to our agencies to raise awareness among our employees of road risks and eco-driving”, continues Patrick Lacroix, stating that the savings generated by the training far exceeded the costs.

Encourage telematics and electric vehicles

“Benefit from an immediate reduction on your car insurance based on your vehicle’s CO² emissions” : this is the promise of insurtech +Simple, which aims to develop in this segment by offering reductions to clean vehicle fleets. He will distribute to the brokerage an offer designed by Kooalys, a neo-insurer launched by the internal incubator of Admiral (parent company of Olivier Assurance). “We focus on VSEs/SMEs and small fleets of two to twenty vehicles”, indicates its general manager Anthony Jouannau. It defends itself against any form of greenwashing and affirms a desire to share values ​​with customers who have an ecological sensitivity. A positioning that results in the granting of a 10% discount to electric vehicles.

Another example: that of Zego, a specialized British insurtech that arrived in France in 2020. “ We have launched a connected insurance offer based on the installation of telematics boxes in our customers’ vehicles. We are one of the few players on the market to couple the value proposition of telematics and that of insurance “explains its Managing Director France Julian Carmona. A coupling that does not create a “big brother”, but according to him gives power back to customers: they can not only monitor their loss experience, but also driving behavior so as to reduce risks and, ultimately, control and reduce premiums.

Finally, digital tools, such as on-board telematics, are struggling to break through – even if a start-up has made it its hobbyhorse. “Telematics is not the immediate focus. It can pose problems of acceptance of the employees. We prefer to stay on more classic patterns,” says Laurence Lemerle. Same for the pay as you drive: “It can be part of options on fleet insurance, but it is not highlighted”, says Guillaume Le Cam. Another French exception, according to Francois Denis from Geotab (a leader in telematics boxes):“Unlike other countries, telematics does not appear to be a priority for reducing insurance premiums. This is explained in particular by the fact that, thanks to mutual insurers, premiums are among the lowest in Europe, we are less listened to than in other countries. »



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