Courier Blog

By Mitul Malkan, Product Manager at ERS

Few might have predicted it at the start of the year, but the UK’s couriers are now increasingly referred to as the nation’s newest emergency service.

From major logistics businesses to single vehicle owner-operators, these couriers are being relied upon like never before, putting themselves on the frontline to support millions of households in lockdown, deliver urgent supplies to medical facilities and help keep the UK’s economy going.

As Government measures to curb the spread of COVID-19 have become more stringent, our delivery needs have shifted radically. Getting items such as prescriptions and protective face masks out to vulnerable people is essential, but even goods previously considered trivial – such as USB mice and Wi-Fi extenders – are proving vital for employees no longer able to return to their offices.

Thousands of additional drivers are required to meet the unprecedented spike in demand for delivery services, far exceeding available capacity within the traditional courier industry. Consequently, workers from a variety of external trades are being encouraged to diversify and help plug the shortfall in supply.

Whether you’re a construction worker or a plumber, if you own a panel van then the courier industry is crying out for your services at this time of national crisis. In fact, diversifying could provide a vital lifeline for the many small business owners and self-employed workers whose day-to-day business has dried up as a result of the pandemic.

Opening up our courier product

At ERS we’ve been supporting the traditional courier trade for several years as part of our Commercial Insurance product suite, offering comprehensive policies for couriers with up to five vehicles that operate on a time critical, pay-per-drop basis.

Today, in recognition of the urgent need for these newly minted couriers to source affordable, Lloyds-backed insurance policies at speed, we’re opening up our courier product to all brokers via our eTrade portal.

In an industry where the majority of couriers are owner-operators responsible for sourcing their own insurance, we want to make it as quick and as easy as possible for their brokers to get the up-to-date policy information and pricing they need.

Unlike many software houses, our eTrade portal can provide multi-vehicle (up to five vehicles) as well as single vehicle policies. Further, we recognise that many of these businesses are having to improvise as they diversify, and won’t necessarily know who will be driving their vans, so for multi-vehicle policies we’re happy to offer these new couriers ‘any driver terms’.

We already quote more than 1,000 risks per month via eTrade, which frees up our underwriters to turn around more complex quotes faster than ever. The upshot is that brokers can get accurate quotes out to both existing couriers and newly diversified businesses within hours rather than days.

It’s impossible to predict how long the current crisis will last. However, in the short- to medium-term, it’s clear that our nation’s reliance on couriers is going to remain paramount, so we’re pleased to be able to offer our support to the courier industry as it steps up to this mighty challenge.

As of today, any broker with an eTrade login now has access to our courier product by default, while for any brokers that wish to register for eTrade can visit here and sign up in minutes.

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