Statement on current health crisis by GTA Technical Committee
The country faces unparalleled challenge from the impact of Covid-19 on UK mobility, including the GTA.
A fundamental principle of the GTA is that through collaboration and transparency between subscribers, transactional and frictional costs are reduced to ensure improved outcomes for all parties, including the non-fault party. As our understanding of the unique issues created by Covid-19 increases, the industry must take steps to adhere to the spirit of the GTA in a way that not only deals with the crisis as it develops day by day but safeguards the GTA’s future post Covid-19.
With this in mind, the GTA Technical Committee reminds all members to ensure they approach each case in a commercially mature way, recognising that pragmatism on both sides will ensure that the industry remains functional.
The GTA Technical Committee have noted that while a customer’s need for a temporary replacement vehicle must be proven at all times and mitigation appropriate to the case actioned, all parties agree that where there is need, this should justify the provision of a vehicle in accordance with the GTA. Any requirement beyond those periods should be dealt with in accordance with 4.14 and communication in respect of this should be between the Covid-19 contact points. During these uncertain times, ensuring that such customers remain mobile will be paramount. Contrary actions by either insurers or credit hire companies will not be considered to be aligned to the GTA or to have given consideration to treating customers fairly for those credit hire companies who are authorised by the FCA.
The GTA Technical Committee is unable to provide specific guidance in respect of the many new circumstances both insurers and CHCs are dealing with, however, it urges members to consider that everybody is working from home with reduced resource. Unnecessary and repeat emails or calls will add to the difficulties these conditions create. Adoption of less frictional processes including the use of BACS in place of cheques is recommended.
The GTA website holds Covid-19 contact information which should be used for any queries relating to ongoing hires throughout this period including delays to repairs per paragraph 4.11 of the GTA. Irrespective of the size of a company making an approach to that contact point, calls and emails must receive a prompt response, particularly where there is the option of a bi-lateral solution. The GTA confirms within paragraph 1.4 that subscribers may bilaterally negotiate changes to any aspect of the GTA provided they do not do so to the detriment of other subscribers. The GTA Technical Committee considers that for the duration of the Covid-19 crisis, the use of such agreements between subscribers will better address the specific issues that arise between them, and enhance commercial relationships, to improve short and long term use of the GTA.
This statement calls on subscribers to reflect the GTA principles within their Covid-19 strategies and, more importantly, in their handling of cases, including ensuring that handlers are made aware that the way they approach the submission of or response to a claim must be flexible. Constructive behaviours will serve to reduce delay and friction, improve consumer outcomes and underscore the value of the GTA.
The GTA Technical Committee, 9th April 2020