The Rise of the "Mobile Office" Leaves Businesses Vulnerable

Feb 19, 2013, 09:00 ET from AXA Business Insurance

LONDON, February 19, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --

Research among commercial van drivers in the UK has found that modern technology has led to a doubling in the number of small businesses using their vans as a "mobile office" in the last five years. But AXA Business Insurance warns that many could be leaving themselves and their businesses at risk by failing to take sensible precautions around the equipment that keeps them mobile.

The survey, commissioned by AXA Business Insurance, found that two thirds of van drivers now coordinate their businesses from their vans, a rise from 34% five years ago.  This is reflected by the fact that on average, van drivers spend only half (56%) of the time in their vans actually driving while one in seven spend less than 20% of 'van-time' actually on the road.  

Over two thirds believe that the technology they now carry with them in their vans has had a positive effect on running a mobile office and nearly a third believe it improves the image of the business.  However, many admit that losing this equipment would mean their business would suffer.  

Today, 71% of those using a van will carry a smartphone with them and 60% a satnav.  Nearly half (45%) have a laptop or tablet and seven percent even carry a printer in their van.   All of this can add up to well over £1,000 worth of equipment which, if left in a van, could be potentially uninsured. Under a regular van insurance policy, cover will generally be provided for just a few hundred pounds worth of these items. But this cover is also dependent on owners showing due care and attention - which could rule out claims from the half who don't use a functioning alarm or even hide valuables away when they leave their van.

Darrell Sansom, Managing Director at AXA Business Insurance explains: "We appreciate that items such as mobile phones, laptops and tablets are vital to many businesses these days and we, like other insurers, will provide some cover[1] for items stolen from a van.

"However, if you are carrying a lot of equipment, not only should you ensure you do not make it easy pickings for thieves by leaving it in your van, you should contact your business insurer to arrange suitable cover for it."

In the last five years, 15% of van drivers have reported having a technological item stolen from their vehicle with smart phones the number one target followed by laptops and tablets.

Darrell Sansom concludes: "It is a sad fact of life that these items are very attractive to thieves and van owners need to ensure that they take the relevant precautions to keep them safe.  If not, they could not only see business efficiency taking a hit, but could also end up footing a bill for hundreds of pounds to replace them."

Notes to Editors

The survey was carried out in July 2012 and questioned 450 commercial van drivers throughout the UK, representing small and medium sized businesses.

About AXA Business Insurance

AXA Business Insurance is part of AXA Insurance UK plc, which belongs to the AXA group of companies. With us, you choose the business insurance that's right for you. We offer public liabilityemployers' liability and professional indemnity insurance online to start ups, sole traders, self-employed people and small businesses. In addition we offer van insurance and landlord insurance. AXA Business Insurance also runs Business Guardian Angel which provides resources to help protect and grow small businesses.

You can follow AXA Business Insurance on Twitter @AXAbizteam, for business insurance help, and @itsyoursmallbiz, for the latest business news. You'll also find AXA Business Insurance on Google+ and Facebook - and you can watch expert guides and business case studies on the AXA Business Insurance YouTube channel.

About AXA

AXA UK is a part of the AXA Group. The AXA Group is a worldwide leader in insurance and asset management, with 163,000 employees serving 101 million clients in 57 countries. In 2011, IFRS revenues amounted to Euro 86.1 billion and IFRS Underlying Earnings to Euro 3.9 billion. AXA had Euro 1,065 billion in assets under management as of December 31, 2011.  In the UK AXA operates through a number of business units including: AXA Wealth; AXA Commercial Lines and Personal Intermediary, AXA Personal Direct and Partnerships, AXA PPP healthcare, AXA Ireland and an independent distribution business Bluefin. AXA employs over 12,000 staff in the UK. The AXA ordinary share is listed on compartment A of Euronext Paris under the ticker symbol CS (ISN FR 0000120628 - Bloomberg: CS FP - Reuters: AXAF.PA). AXA's American Depository Share is also quoted on the OTC QX platform under the ticker symbol AXAHY. The AXA Group is included in the main international SRI indexes, such as Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) and FTSE4GOOD, and is a founding member of the UN Environment Programme's Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) Principles for Sustainable Insurance.


1. AXA provides up to £250 for items stolen from a van

SOURCE AXA Business Insurance