Hermes is putting their drivers and the public, at serious avoidable risk by cutting corners in the interests of profit says GMB.
GMB, the union for Hermes drivers, is seeking clarification and support from the Association of British Insurers regarding Hermes insurance practices.
Hermes misleads potential drivers by failing to ensure that those drivers 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.
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.
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 Hermes drivers into thinking they have proper cover.
"GMB has serious concerns that Hermes is putting their drivers and the public, at serious risk by cutting corners in the interests of profit.
“GMB is calling on the Association of British Insurers to lend their voice to ensure that Hermes behaves responsibly.”
Contact: Mick Rix on 07971268343, Maria Ludkin on 07956 632 657 or GMB Press Office on 07958 156846 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to editors:
 Letter to Huw Evans, Director General of the Association of British Insurers
Dear Huw Evans,
The GMB trade union has broad membership at Hermes, the delivery company.
We recently began legal action which is likely to result in the courts concluding that far from being self-employed, those who drive for Hermes are workers with employment status and associated employment rights.
As a result of our legal action a number of whistle-blowers have emerged raising a variety of concerns about practices at the company, and we are very concerned regarding issues that have arisen regarding insurance.
When Hermes recruit drivers (who they claim are self-employed), they seek people who are prepared to use their personal vehicles for parcel deliveries for short periods each day over the week.
Hermes do not oblige their drivers to inform their insurance company that they are using their personal vehicles for business purposes for part of the day.
As a result, in our view, these drivers (albeit innocently) are effectively driving without proper business insurance.
We recently received information that a driver had a serious accident whilst driving for Hermes and was informed by his insurance company that his entire policy was void due to his failure to notify them of his changing insurance needs.
Hermes offers driver a voluntary top up policy issued by QBE insurance for a small daily fee.
However as this top up policy is not compulsory and in any event the drivers personal insurer has not been fully notified, we believe many drivers are effectively voiding their own insurance without being aware they have done so.
We are writing to you asking for your clarification on what should be best practice in this situation.
We also seek your support in bringing pressure to bear on Hermes and other related logistics companies to clarify the insurance burden on their drivers and ensure that they have appropriate cover.
In GMB's view this comprehensive cover should be supplied by the logistics company concerned, but we would welcome your view.