The recent hardening of motor insurance rates is likely to provoke an upsurge in self-insurance of motor fleets, according to David Wallace, managing director of bodyshop network ABS.

"Fleets are facing higher costs in many areas. However, unlike escalating costs such as fuel, insurance costs are something that can be tackled through proactive management.

Wallace added that it was during the last motor insurance cycle, when premiums hardened, that many fleets started to self-insure.

"There is every reason to believe that this will happen again quite soon," he said. "This week we received a call from a company managing a fleet of just 500 vehicles that is very seriously examining the possibility of self-insurance. We are also talking to larger fleets that have one or two thousand vehicles.

"Most seem to be looking at their insurance situation with open minds."