Delivery firm Hermes “categorically refutes” allegations made by the GMB that it is putting their drivers and the public, at serious avoidable risk by cutting corners in the interests of profit .
The union which represents some Hermes drivers has said it is seeking clarification and support from the Association of British Insurers regarding Hermes insurance practices.
It claimed the firm was misleading potential drivers by failing to ensure they have informed their insurance companies that they are using their vehicle for business purposes.
“Hermes dodges its responsibility to check proper insurance cover is in place by asking them to acknowledge they ‘understand that motor insurance is required to deliver and collect parcels and/or catalogues on behalf of Hermes,” said the GMB.
Additional insurance, on a third party only basis, can be provided at a daily rate to couriers who are undertaking deliveries of collections for Hermes via a QBE scheme.
But the GMB claimed that if a driver does not return an ‘insurance decision letter’ to Hermes then they are automatically included in the QBE scheme and charged, further boosting Hermes profits. Any drivers who have failed to notify their insurer are likely to find their entire insurance is void.
Drivers who believe that they will be covered by paying for top-up insurance, on a third party basis, at 55p per day are being seriously misled, it said.
Mick Rix, GMB national officer said: “Hermes are deliberately dodging their responsibility to make sure their drivers are properly insured for business purposes, and are in fact knowingly misleading hard working drivers into thinking they have proper cover.”
However, Hermes told Commercial Fleet that every courier that delivers for Hermes is required to have insurance for their vehicles and where this does not include ‘commercial use’ they are covered by the company’s Group scheme.
“This is charged for at 55p a day but only for the days that service is provided on behalf of Hermes,” said a Hermes spokesman. “Hermes does not profit from this.
“The Group scheme is for third party insurance, in respect of use of the vehicles on Hermes business and satisfies legal requirements for motor insurance.”
It says it has been in touch with the ABI and satisfied its enquiries.
The spokesman continued: “Couriers are also free to make their own commercial insurance arrangements and/or ‘opt out’ of the Group scheme if they are already covered, are providing service for other courier companies or wish to have fully comprehensive cover. This is made extremely clear when couriers start to provide services for Hermes and copies of all insurance documents are checked.”
He concluded: “Hermes is committed to industry leading standards of health and safety and these processes have been put in place to ensure the legal protection of the self-employed couriers that provide services to Hermes.”