​Lighting up the skies with our specialist firework transportation cover By Mitul Malkan, Product Manager at ERS

Fireworks Blog

There’s not long to go until Bonfire Night, the UK’s annual commemoration of 17th Century treachery and ritualistic effigy burning.

Aside from celebrating Guy Fawkes’ ignominious demise, Bonfire Night stands out in the calendar as the nation’s biggest annual fireworks extravaganza. 20 million people will attend fireworks displays across Britain during November, with millions of pounds spent by both organisations and individuals on procuring the most exciting and imaginative fireworks on the market.

The build-up to Bonfire Night is always marked by an array of public safety campaigns reminding us that fireworks are dangerous and need to be treated with due caution. After all, rockets can reach speeds of up to 150 mph, while the ‘grand finale’ boxes used at larger displays literally carry the explosive power of a small bomb.

Fireworks cannot be taken lightly, and the same goes for their transportation. Every October and November the fireworks distribution industry goes into overdrive as cars and vans are dispatched to safely ferry these hazardous goods from manufacturer or wholesaler to their point of ignition.

Fireworks shouldn’t be seen as an insurance hazard Not only is Bonfire Night the busiest moment in a highly seasonal industry, it’s a time when many businesses get themselves into a bind trying to source insurance cover for their firework-carrying vehicles, particularly if they’ve left it until the last minute. The market for such a niche insurance need is small, and brokers don’t always know where to turn when placing the risk.

In fact, fireworks-carrying vehicles tend to be standard, everyday cars and vans. Yet the reality is that mainstream, automated online insurers will not accept anything considered high risk – and yes, that includes vehicles perceived to have a higher than average chance of exploding.

However, we understand fireworks distributors and pyrotechnics display companies far better than the average motor insurer. We’ve taken the time to fully explore the true risks involved in transporting fireworks, and we’ve been underwriting policies for these businesses for several years within our Specialist Commercial Vehicles (SCV) offering.

Supporting fireworks distributors everywhere Our SCV product includes a ‘specialist loads’ category that covers any vehicles required to transport hazardous materials, from gunpowder to asbestos. It’s designed with flexibility top of mind, as many of our brokers’ clients only require multi-vehicle policies at specific points in the year from Bonfire Night, New Year’s Eve to Diwali and many more calendar events. So if a client has one annualised SCV policy, we’ll allow them to extend it at peak periods to include multiple vehicles, before reverting to the norm once the next firework distribution frenzy is concluded.

Similarly, smaller clients often need every driver to be covered on every vehicle. Again, our SCV policy can be modified accordingly. And, with very few fireworks actually manufactured in the UK itself, we also provide EU-wide cover – irrespective of whether a client is ferrying fireworks into the country, or shipping them out to a major European public display.

We understand the pressures these companies face when activity heats up and can provide brokers with the right guidance when they’re looking to place fireworks distribution risk for the first time. For example, one misconception is that drivers have to be trained pyrotechnicians. This is not the case: while pyrotechnicians are the only ones authorised to load/unload Category 4 fireworks, drivers need to possess a hazardous goods transportation license.

At ERS we like a challenge, so even if you have clients with particularly hefty pyrotechnics transportation needs, get in touch today and – through our SCV product – we can help them share the fireworks joy safely, flexibly and affordably.

Contact a member of the team today, if you have an SCV opportunity: commercialquotes@ers.com

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