Bus drivers have a tough job. They have the huge responsibility of operating a vehicle that carries our greatest asset: The people who make the economy of this country work every day. Bus drivers must take the highest degree of vigilance, care and precaution and for this reason you need a specialist underwriter and broker to take care of your bus insurance cover.
The Road Accident Fund
The RAF provides personal injury and death compensation to victims of motor vehicle accidents, provided the accidents weren’t caused solely by them. The person responsible for the accident is also, in terms of the RAF legislation, indemnified against any claims for compensation for bodily injury (save for so-called “emotional shock” claims).
You must know: Bus operators must refer injured parties to the RAF directly and report RAF claims to 0860 23 55 23.
Passenger Liability insurance protects a bus or coach operator in instances where they may become legally liable for the injury or death of passengers transported in a company vehicle.
Operators will benefit from this cover when:
- The RAF does not have funds to meet its obligations.
• You drive in countries where the RAF does not apply.
• There is a secondary victim who has a valid claim for emotional shock.
• Compulsory Personal Accident cover automatically linked to the Passenger Liability Section.
• You need help to meet the requirements set by the provincial permit boards.
- Reduce fuel consumption
- Cut vehicle downtime
- Decrease the number of road accidents
- Increase the lifetime of your tyres, brake sets, clutches and gears
- Dramatically reduce carbon footprint and vehicle running costs
- Improves the risk profile of the operation which leads to reduced insurance premiums
- Harsh braking and cornering
- Driver fatigue and continuous driving hours
- Driving times
- The vehicle will be less stable, difficult to steer, battle to accelerate and take longer to stop.
- It can cause tyres to overheat and wear rapidly leading to dangerous and failure blowouts, diminishing the driver’s control and ability to operate a vehicle.
- Headlights may tilt and blind oncoming drivers.
- Brakes may have to work harder and may overheat and lose their effectiveness to stop a vehicle.
- The whole suspension system may come under stress and give way over time.
You must know: Passenger Liability is not a compulsory component of the Ibiliti policy and can be removed at your own risk.
Although the RAF compensates third parties for certain losses incurred by them due to bodily injuries or death resulting from a motor vehicle accident, such compensation is limited. It can take months or even years before payment is received.
Ibiliti has a personal accident insurance product to provide cover for the driver and the passengers in the case of injury, temporary or permanent disability or death caused by an unforeseen incident leading to a medical emergency.
You must know: Ibiliti offers bespoke cover for personal accidents.
Condition of buses and coaches
Factors like vehicle maintenance and load optimisation play a big role to ensure the condition of vehicles are maintained. Roadworthiness is one of the most important requirements for an insurance claim to be paid and it requires regular vehicle inspection. An essential part of a successful transportation operation is following a compliant inspection and maintenance programme putting the safety of passengers first.
You must know: Keep maintenance records to enable insurers to determine the quantum of your claim.
Risk management technology
The use of Telematics, fleet management, cameras and driver technology has changed materially and can benefit bus operators in the following ways.
You must know: You CAN manage your bus and coach risks with technology.
Insurance for buses is highly specialised, and we need to cater for risks around passengers, drivers, vehicles and business operations.
To manage the risk of buses and coaches effectively, there are a few critical performance issues to be monitored, including:
If a driver is regularly failing any of the above predetermined standards, the likelihood of an accident is certain. Driver training can be hugely beneficial to all parties, including the driver, operator, passengers, third-party victims and insurers.
You must know: Driver training can save you in the long run.
Riot and strike cover
The state-owned entity SASRIA www.sasria.co.za provides specialised short-term insurance cover against the loss of or damage to property resulting from civil commotion, public disorder, strikes, riots and terrorism.
Given the prevailing economic climate and recurring strikes and unrest, we urge all bus operators to check with their brokers that SASRIA cover is in place for all their vehicles. It is vital for brokers to inform bus and coach operators about the importance of cover. The basic reason SASRIA cover is no longer compulsory is due to the changing regulatory environment, specifically Treating Customers Fairly (TCF) to give operators a choice to take the cover or not.
You must know: SASRIA cover is no longer compulsory.
A fire resulting from a collision or failure of a component places lives at risk and often has an enormous impact on operational costs and passenger assurance.
There are several reasons for a bus fire to occur. Engine parts may reach temperatures high enough to cause leaking fuel or oil to ignite. Fires may also occur because of short circuits in electrical wiring and the overheating of engine components, friction at wheel level or the braking system. Many of these incidents could have been prevented with an improved maintenance and inspection programme.
You must know: You can prevent fires with a regular maintenance programme!
Liability to third parties
Third-party insurance is the minimum level of insurance cover a vehicle owner can obtain in South Africa and does not cover any damage to the insured’s own vehicle. It is of utmost importance for bus operators and their drivers not to admit liability (including admit fault, signing any documentation or making promises to pay for damages) at any stage at the accident scene. This is to avoid prejudicing the rights of yourself or your insurer.
Write down all the details surrounding the accident as this will be required when reporting the incident to the police, which must take place within 24 hours of the accident, and at the claim stage. Take pictures of the conditions of both vehicles if this is possible. If you contact us immediately, we will be able to assist your driver to make use of our new live streaming video service which will be useful when we must defend you legally or pursue recovery.
You must know: If you contact us immediately, you can help us take a live video of the incident.
Operational risk management
RTMS ww.rtms.co.za is an industry-led, government-supported, voluntary, self-regulation scheme encouraging transport operators to implement a set of standards to demonstrate compliance with the Road Traffic Regulations.
RTMS compliance requires that a company demonstrates how it manages its transport operations with due consideration to road safety, compliance and operational risks. Successful RTMS implementation requires a change in attitude, mindset and ultimately behaviour to actively promote road safety within a company.
Certification enables a bus company to claim excellence in the management of its passenger transport operation. Benefits of becoming RTMS compliant includes improved driver wellness and vehicle maintenance.
You must know: Operators who become certified voluntarily may qualify for reduced insurance premiums.
Every bus and coach have a maximum seating capacity. Overloaded vehicles threaten road safety and are contributing to many of the fatal accidents on our roads. The overloaded vehicle will not only put the driver at risk, but also passengers and other road users.
You must know: Insurance cover on overloaded vehicles may be void as overloading is illegal.
Any questions? Please contact your broker today!