Leading business insurance broker Alan Boswell Group has announced massive growth in the number of policies arranged by its specialist self-drive hire insurance division.
Over the past year, the Norwich-based broker has seen particularly strong growth in policies arranged for prestige self-drive hire operators.
Mark Casey, self-drive hire Account Manager, explains: “Our self-drive hire insurance account grew by over 400% in 2007. The major gains were with prestige car rental firms where premiums are higher than average and we are at our most competitive.”
In recent years there has been an explosion in the market for exotic, high-performance and luxury car hire. Hire firms are commonly renting out supercars such as Aston Martins, Porsches, Ferraris and Lamborghinis with values as high as £200,000. Alan Boswell Group has been able to take advantage of the demand for specialist self-drive hire insurance to cover these very special hire cars.
According to Casey, fierce competition amongst self-drive hire operators means that insurance costs must be kept to a minimum:
“With so many new entrants to the prestige self-drive hire market, daily rates and margins have been falling. This has put pressure on operators to cut their overheads and insurance is one of the biggest expenses.”
But Casey stresses that it is vitally important for hire operators to get the right balance between a cheap quotation and the right insurance cover:
“Inappropriate insurance cover may give the hire company headaches further down the line and could cost far more in lost business than is saved on the renewal premium.”
“When it comes to supercars and self-drive hire there will always be some ‘no-go areas’ such as young drivers or those with very poor driving records. But we like to work with insurers that truly understand the risks involved with this market sector and offer maximum flexibility.”
To maximise their business opportunities, self-drive hire operators need to be able to rent cars to as wide a range of drivers as possible. No business likes turning away customers and with hire rates as high as £2500 for a weekend, it’s important to convert as many enquiries as possible. Having to refuse a potential hirer because the insurer declines to provide cover is both frustrating and expensive.
For this reason, Casey places special emphasis on getting a sensible and rapid response from insurers whenever a potential hirer has to be referred for approval:
“We expect insurers to consider each case on its merits and not simply refuse cover. And we also demand a quick answer because our clients’ businesses depend on it.”
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