Courier company Hermes has issued a statement saying it “categorically refutes” claims from trade union GMB over insurance for drivers using their own vehicles for business purposes.
A statement released by GMB this week claimed that Hermes is “putting their drivers and the public, at serious avoidable risk by cutting corners in the interests of profit” and alleges that the courier is “failing to ensure its drivers have informed their insurance companies that they are using their vehicle for business purposes”.
The GMB statement said: “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.
“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.
“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.”
In response, Hermes’s statement said it “categorically refutes” the allegations and that it has been in contact with the Association of British Insurers (ABI) to satisfy their enquiries.
The Hermes statement added: “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 our Group scheme.
“This is charged for at 55p a day but only for the days that service is provided on behalf of Hermes. 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.
“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.”
The company added: “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.”