A collision or ‘accident’ is all too frequent on our roads.  Where the incident causes damage to ‘road side furniture’ or ‘Crown property’ such as a barrier, the Public Authority’s contractor will likely:

  • attend the initial incident
  • plan the repair
  • attended and reinstate the damaged item,
  • dispose of the debris
  • identify the culprit and
  • price the repair

Where damage arises due to a vehicle driver’s negligence it is neither unusual nor unreasonable for this party to be approached and asked to pay for the damage they have caused.  The niceties of the Road Traffic Act mean that ultimately, it is the driver’s insurer who will be asked to pay but on occasions the driver, especially where the vehicle is part of a ‘fleet’, will see their employer, the fleet operator being approached for payment.  It is common for fleets to have high a deductible (excess).  For example, if the fleet has a £20,000 excess, any claim for less than this they will be required to meet.  The approach for payment of the bill for repairing the damage generally follows one of two routes subject, in the main i.e. with some exceptions, to the cost of the repair:

Kier Highways Ltd (Area 9) Over £10,000:

  • having undertaken the repair, the cost is calculated by use of:
    • defined cost (£)
    • fee uplift (%)
  • the total is presented to Highways England
  • Highways England pay the bill
  • Highways England seek recovery from the vehicle insurer

Under £10,000:

  • having undertaken the repair, the cost should be calculated by use of:
    • defined cost (£)
    • Third-Party claims overhead (%)
  • the total is presented to the vehicle insurer

With under-£10,000 (sub-threshold) claims, Kier retains the claim and must seek payment from the insurer.

It will be understood that it matters not what the claim value is, all routes likely lead to the insurer; it is the insurer who will ultimately be asked to meet the cost of repair.  As CMA receive claims from multiple insurer clients and the costs are over and above £10,000 it follows that we see the charges Kier use when billing Highways England and the charges used to bill insurers.  We therefore see and can compare, the charges Kier make to both their Public Authority client and Third Parties (drivers, fleets & insurers).  Based upon the information in our possession:

  • The current (and previous) charging process is contrary to the contract
  • The charges to insurers are unreasonably higher than those to Highways England
  • Facts are misrepresented by Kier Highways Ltd