European-wide agreement from commercial vehicle makers on security

Article date: 22 July 2002

Norwich Union, in partnership with the UK Motor Insurance RepairResearch Centre (‘Thatcham’), and commercial vehiclemanufacturers has reached the first-ever industry agreement to fitstandard anti-theft devices pre-sale.

Europe’s major commercial vehicle manufacturers haveagreed to put their new vehicles through a New Vehicle SecurityAssessment from September next year, which will be undertaken byThatcham. There will also be a major push to upgrade the securityof existing vehicles.

It is hoped that the initiative – which is the culminationof many years of industry campaigning – will help to reducethe high level of losses generated by commercial vehicle theft.

Commercial vehicle crime shows little change since the lastGovernment statistics published in 1995. That report showed thatonly eight per cent of stolen vehicles are ever recovered,primarily being taken for the trade in black market spare parts andaccessories. Equally, the ease with which thieves can make off withvehicles has been proven in tests showing that it can be donewithin 30 seconds.

Brian Lee, risk manager - motor with Norwich Union, says:“Currently, a commercial vehicle can be opened and the enginestarted using office stationery – it’s that easy. Todate, many manufacturers have only provided security devices, as anoptional extra and there has been little impetus from commercialvehicle operators to protect their vehicles after purchase.

“However, the agreement that we have achieved by workingwith our industry colleagues and Thatcham, is an important firststep in reducing the level of commercial vehicle theft in theUK.”

Mr Lee adds: “When the agreement takes effect next year,we will have a point of reference for the security of a vehicle,enabling us to underwrite risks more effectively. Unless thecommercial vehicle industry as a whole agrees to take steps, therewill be differences in insurance premiums between vehiclemanufacturers, dependent on their standard of security.

“Heightening commercial vehicle security will also have apositive effect on insuring loads in transit and fleet operatorswill benefit by not letting their customers down when a vehiclegoes missing. Also, hauliers who are subject to “Just inTime” requirements for deliveries are less likely to faceuninsurable penalties by missing delivery times through vehicletheft.

“As the major insurer of commercial vehicles in the UK,Norwich Union fully supports this initiative and will actively seekfleet operators who are keen to maintain well-managed and securefleets. Using our expertise in the market, we will continue toapply the necessary pressure on manufacturers to help fleet ownersachieve these standards.”

The next step in the campaign being spearheaded by Norwich Unionand Thatcham will be a full group rating system for commercialvehicle security, similar to that for private vehicles and lightcommercial vehicles.

For press enquiries, please contact Jon Clements atStaniforth Communications on 0161 274 0100 or Jenny Chapman atNorwich Union on 08703 66 68 64.

Notes to editors

  • Norwich Union is the UK’s largest insurer. In generalinsurance it is more than 1.5 times the size of its nearestcompetitor, and has a 19 per cent share of the market.
  • It has a focus on insurance forindividuals and small businesses. It insures:
  • one in five households
  • one in five motor vehicles
  • more than 700,000 businesses<</li>/ul>
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