Hit the road, risk!

Hit the road, risk!

The transport industry is paramount in any economy … and risk management can be described as the foundation for a healthy transport sector.

Jason Mellow, head of MiWay business insurance, says that the role transport can, and must, play has never been more crucial to the South African economy. “More so as we work towards rebuilding it after the effects of the Covid-19 lockdown.”

He adds that the road transport sector merits special attention because of its importance when it comes to logistics across our continent.

“The government’s vision of providing safer, more affordable, accessible and reliable transport will only be achievable if transport companies step up to the challenge, particularly when it comes to risk management.

“Based on MiWay’s experience in working with clients across the transport industry, here are some key steps to improving risk management:

• Track your incidents as well as your claims. Incidents are the number one predictor of claims, so if you note all incidents – not just the claims – you’ll find where the problem areas are and put preventive measures in place. The goal is to reduce future claims and the chances of premiums being increased.

• Find the trend. It is important to take note of incidents, as you could find that many of your claim costs come from the same area, department or cause. If you can find the root cause of the claims, you can be proactive.

• Mitigate your risk. South African roads bring with them a whole set of risks, some of which are universal and some unique to our situation and, by their nature, cannot be controlled. However, if you know where the highest risks are, identify the ones that occur most frequently or cost the most, you can establish a risk management strategy that takes you a step closer to protecting your staff and cargo as well as reducing your insurance premium.”

Mellow adds that, according to MiWay records, the top three causes for claims are mechanical malfunctioning, followed by collisions and glass (windshields and windows).

Courtesy of Mellow, here are various ways you could cut down on claims and unnecessary time-consuming admin:

• Schedule regular checks and services to ensure your vehicles are well-maintained. All vehicles should be maintained to a minimum standard, with essential safety equipment – like brakes, indicators, steering components and tyres – regularly checked and kept in good operating condition.

• Avoid overloading. Overloading will damage a vehicle, particularly in the long run; it is linked to roadworthiness.

• Verify your drivers’ information; for example, the validity of driver’s licences and professional driver’s permit.

• Provide proper training and, possibly, advanced driving courses. People make mistakes; the Automobile Association notes that the single biggest cause of road accidents is human error. This underscores the need for the appropriate training of every driver.

• Understand your insurance cover and optional cover available, as well as the excess payable.

• Make sure you have adequate cover for goods in transit. Truck hijacking remains a problem (the 2019–2020 crime statistics show it has increased by a further 1,7%), as does pilfering. Taking precautions against both hijacking and theft is advised, but adequate cover for goods as well as the vehicle is essential.

Mellow notes that trucks, whether long-haul or short-haul, are used by every sector of the economy. “Our transport corridors act as vital lifelines, as they criss-cross our country, contributing to the health and strength of our economy. Let’s manage our transport risks and support our economic revival.”

PPE from TETA

The Transport Education Training Authority (TETA) has supplied 57 remote rural schools across South Africa with personal protective equipment (PPE) and various learning resources as part of its Adopt-A-School programme for 2020.

The programme was launched to provide schools in outlying areas with teachers, learning resources, career guidance and additional science, technology, engineering and mathematics-based subject classes. Maphefo Anno-Frempong, CEO of TETA, says, “As a result of the global pandemic, the programme prioritised the distribution of PPE to both learners and their schools, including face masks, face shields, hand sanitisers, refills and thermometers.”

Aware that many of the participating schools were located in areas outside of the reach of technology, TETA donated several iPads and partnered with service providers to supply the necessary connectivity and data to enable online learning. This resulted in greater access to online learning materials, tools and resources.

With social distancing protocols in mind, the programme culminated in a number of handover events across the country, which took place at a single meeting venue for all participating schools in each province. Learners were presented with string bags containing all required PPE and sanitisers, as well as career guides and pens.

“While 2020 was certainly a difficult year for the majority of learners, TETA is committed to continuing its mandate to assist South African learners from underdeveloped areas with the tools needed to succeed,” says Anno-Frempong.

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