Empty roads and ghost cities. This is an image that has remained with all of us since the first weeks of lockdown. From Barcelona’s Diagonal to Madrid’s Paseo de la Castellana, the absence of traffic led to an atmosphere of fear and a sensation of luxury at the same time. Silence reigned in the heart of cities where the roar of traffic had predominated for decades, especially at peak times.
A respite that fortunately also entailed advantages, such as the reduction in road accidents. According to data from the Central Traffic Headquarters (DGT), the number of accidents decreased by 22% in 2020, the lowest figure ever recorded. The adoption of teleworking, the closing of schools and the introduction of on-screen classes, combined with the restrictive measures imposed at the time, meant that people travelled by road as little as possible.
For a large part of the population this scenario meant saving time and headaches on the road, but companies owning fleets of vehicles for passenger transport have had a difficult year and a half. As a result of the drop in the sector’s activity many companies experienced financial difficulties, although their unprecedented low accident rates had a positive impact on policies covering vehicles.
Leaving a tight market for fleets behind
The size of the fleet, the types of route (urban/interurban) and the claims record are among the factors that insurance companies take into account when calculating insurance for a fleet.
In this regard, the insurance sector has offered a limited range of options. Why? Very restrictive fleets, well-known to insurance companies, with a historical reputation for high claim rates and, above all, a general shortfall in premiums that made policies unprofitable.
This inertia changed for renewals at the beginning of last year and the trend is continuing for those in the coming year, as the positive effect of low claim figures is being carried over, thanks to the reduction in traffic due to the pandemic.
European funds: a good opportunity
Another piece of good news for the sector is the Next Generation EU package, which provides funding for the Moves Grandes Flotas programme. The initiative is intended to support companies that want to renew fleets of more than 500 vehicles in more than one autonomous community. The budget is €50 million, which can be extended in 2022 and 2023.
The Government also announced a grant of up to 5,000 euros per vehicle for companies that renew their fleet with electric vehicles.
In the light of these new developments, we can see a hopeful future after the difficult circumstances experienced in recent months. The fleet sector has proved resilient, but a favourable scenario provides a great deal of encouragement. This is a good moment for the vehicle fleet market: we should take advantage of it.