Collisions & Claims
Considering the overstatement of claims from Highways England, Councils, TfL and their contractors.
You, your driver or your insured has caused damage to ‘Crown Property’ (such as a barrier) either following collision, fluid spill (commonly fuel) or a fire. Are you being overcharged by the Public Authority responsible or their contract? The answer is almost commonly ‘yes’. In some areas:
- if the repair cost is above £10,000, the Public Authority such as Highways England, is billed by their repairing contractor, pays the invoices then seeks recovery from you.
- if the bill is below £10,000 the contractor is not paid by the Authority but pursues you, your insurer or your company (if a fleet vehicle) for the money.
The same staff (operatives) attend the incidents, the same vehicles (plant) and same components (materials) are used in the repair: so why are drivers fleets and insurers charged more for below-threshold repairs by the contractor than they charge their Public Authority client? Furthermore, with regard to above-threshold claims, do the Highways Authority rubber-stamp payment claims – it appears so.
It appears drivers, fleets and insurers are subsidizing road maintenance; that Public Authorities are aware of this, enable and permit it
For examples, registered users click here.
- 07/2014 Kier Highways Ltd (‘Kier’) took on Area 9 (West Midlands) for Highways England Company Ltd
- The contract was made publicly available, the Annexes to the contract placed on-line, but an Appendix was not:
- Within ‘Appendix A to Annex 23’ is a formula setting out the process by which the MAXIMUM a third party (driver, fleet or insurer) is to be charged if they damage the highway.
But, Since the commencement of the contract:
- Kier have not complied with Appendix A
- Highways England have not monitored the situation or turned a blind eye
- Highways England have claimed they have no sight of Kier claim data – but do
- Neither party has referred to the Appendix
- 1,000’s of claims have been invoiced and paid that are not compliant with the contract
Coincidentally, the ‘protection’ Highways England built into the contract, the agreement to charge Third Parties ‘no more than’, was not followed by Kier from day one and Highways England kept it secret from those who they serve; the public. The facts and evidence are here – Read more here.
June 2018 – Area 9 claim exaggeration concerns supported. Highways England Company Ltd’s (HECL) ‘commercially sensitive’ argument was rejected by the ICO who forced them to provide some rates they are charged by Kier Highways Ltd (KHL). These rates, when considered in conjunction with Appendix A to Annex 23 of the Area 9 contract, a document kept secret for years, enable a Third Party (driver, fleet and insurer) to calculate what they should be charged. The rates can be found here.
We await an explanation for KHL’s charges for their AIW operatives being from £66 to over £170 hour when it appears they should be less than £30 / hour.
BANG! … a tyre bursts … your fault?
Highways England and their contractors will probably say so. For years they have been claiming that most blow-outs are the fault of poor maintenance, of under-inflation and blaming drivers.
But 04/2018 – a Bridgestone & Highways England tyre debris study reveals the most common cause of a tyre related breakdown is … road hazards i.e. debris – click here to read more.
Of KPMG an MP says “I wouldn’t trust you to audit the contents of my fridge” with regard to the Carillion collapse – Independent.
Whilst we originally understood Grant Thornton had been instructed, 11/2017, KPMG were appointed to audit Kier Highways Area 9 but has this stalled, stopped or been shared? The outcome appears predetermined and to have been leaked.
06/2018 – ‘KPMG’s audit work unacceptable, says watchdog‘.
“I also want to ensure that drivers only pay appropriately for the damage they do to Crown property. I’m sure the current process could be simpler and I know Tim and Nick will be working to achieve this. We are certainly putting a lot of effort into reconciling the past costs that you are talking about.”
Highways England 21/11/2016
But drivers, fleets and insurers are not paying appropriately, the process has not been simplified but complicated and exaggeration runs rife.
“It appears Highways England has failed in its duty to monitor their contractors” – P. Swift of Claims Management & Adjusting Ltd
In 09/2015, Highways England advised with regard to their contractors “They can do what they like with their own claims, that’s absolutely nothing to do with us”. Similar quotes can be found at: ‘Highways England Do Not Care‘, with Highways England acknowledging that they also have difficulty obtaining information from their own contractors! In 11/2015 we asked pertinent questions of Highways England and a contractor’s extremely crude approach which we believed may be unlawful. The letter is here, to date we have received no response. However, after raising 1,000’s of invoices using the flawed methodology since mid 2014, likely exaggerating each by £1,000’s the contractor, now Kier Highways Ltd, abandoned the process. The replacement we believe to be overstatement in another form.
Indeed, what you will likely not be made aware of is that some contracts have built into them ‘protection’ for Third Parties (drivers, fleets & insurers) – but what use is a shield if you don;t know where to find it, or its existence?
WhatDoTheyKnow (or click image left).
Highways England … the tail wags the dog.
- To report an incident you have been involved in, whether on a motorway or lesser Highway, please click here.
- If you have witnessed an incident and wish to report what you saw, please click here
Other matters of interest: