For transporters within the heavy haulage industries accidents can prove costly. Having the correct comprehensive insurance is a legal requirement. However, insurers can have legal recourse should it be found that the conditions of the contract between the insurer and the insured have not been fully met in the event of a claim.
Anton Cornelissen, Head of Heavy Haulage at Santam, says: “It’s essential for heavy haulage clients to understand the terms, conditions and exclusions on their insurance policies, especially as any breaches to the contract could lead to a claim being rejected and result in a costly setback for the haulier.”
Transport operators and heavy haulers should take heed of the following regarding insurance
• Always notify the insurer of the status of the driver’s licence
It is the responsibility of the transport company to notify the insurer if the river’s licence or the authorised drivers in their employ have been endorsed, suspended or cancelled, or when they are charged or convicted of negligent, reckless or improper driving.
• Make sure all driver’s licences are valid
According to the National Road Traffic Act (Act 93 of 1996), any person who drives a vehicle on a public road must be in possession of a valid driving licence. In the event of a collision, an insurer will not honour any claims where individuals driving a vehicle are not in possession of the relevant valid driver’s license, as required by the terms and conditions of their policy.
• Ensure that all drivers have the appropriate licences
A driver who is not licenced to drive a heavy haulage vehicle or who drives without a Professional Driving Permit (PDP), can lead to claims being rejected.
A PDP is issued in addition to an ordinary driving license, and is a requirement for people driving on a public road transporting goods, dangerous goods or passengers for an income. All drivers are required to have the correct permits according to the type of vehicle operated and its application.
• Drive roadworthy vehicles
It is a legal requirement that all vehicles on South African roads – including trucks – must be in a roadworthy condition. All trucks must undergo a roadworthy test annually. Owners will not be able to renew their licenses without the presentation of a valid roadworthy certificate. The insurance policy stipulates that truck/ fleet operators must ensure their trucks comply with the Road Traffic Act in terms of roadworthy conditions.
Cornelissen further advises that any misrepresentation, misdescription or non-disclosure that may have a bearing on the insurance policy can render a claim null and void.
“Having full knowledge of the stipulated terms and conditions and knowing the responsibilities of both the insurer and insured party is therefore essential for those engaged in the heavy haulage industry,” concludes Cornelissen.