Around 60% of the insurer’s rebates went to policyholders within the bus and coach industry

Insurer QBE has awarded £10.6m in motor insurance premium rebates to its motor fleet policyholders who have had to take commercial vehicles out of service during the Covid-19 pandemic and associated lockdown.

Around 60% of these rebates have been delivered to QBE customers working within the bus and coach industry; Jon Dye, director of underwriting for motor at QBE Europe, said it is this sector in particular that “has been adversely affected by lockdown”.

He continued: “As a major insurer in the UK of [buses] and coaches, we knew many of these customers and others had been adversely affected by lockdown. For these customers, flexibility in cover and the speed of getting premiums returned would be crucial.

“In the current economic environment, many of our customers needed the rebate now instead of waiting for the next quarter, which can often be the case. We were able to act swiftly to make sure those rebates went back into the pockets of our customers as soon as possible.”

The insurer’s motor team prioritised requests from its customers, assessing policyholders’ needs on a case by case basis. Premium rebates were then awarded when vehicles were taken off the road and a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN) was given by the customer. QBE added that payments were made “in a matter of days”.

Returning from lockdown

QBE has also reduced motor fleet policyholders’ cover to accidental damage or fire and theft cover until they began to fully trade again, helping to mitigate potential financial hardship by lowering insurance overheads.

Furthermore, the insurer is providing free and discounted risk management services on vehicle safety and online driving courses to help customers safely return to the road – many individuals may not have driven consistently during the lockdown period, for example.

QBE has additionally extended cover to those who have decided to use their vehicles to help key workers and essential sectors during the coronavirus crisis. This incurs no extra costs.

“As we emerge from lockdown and some of these fleets that have been laid up begin to return to a more normal working environment, we want to help our customers understand what risks this could bring,” Dye said.

“For businesses who manage fleets of vehicles, it’s important for owners and managers to ensure that all vehicles are safe and legal, and that drivers are prepared for the return to the road.”