Somebody is Calling and Wants to Know My Business?
Running a business isn’t easy. Fewer people are doing it and the ones who are face new challenges everyday.
One challenge is all the weird business calls you get, especially if you own a company with trucks. People want to sell you stuff. People are looking for work. People want to do Loss Control Surveys . . . now that’s really weird (in the sense of unusual).
Loss Control is an insurance industry term. Loss Control is sometimes defined as a plan of action to reduce or even eliminate the things in your business that can go wrong (and ultimately result in a “loss” to the business and your risk partner — the insurance company).
Generally the Loss Control representative (called many things: Risk Control Representative, Loss Control Engineer, Risk Engineer, Risk Manager, etc.) will contact a business owner whenever an insurance policy starts or renews, or shortly thereafter (“shortly” in insurance time could be up to a year or so later).
The Loss Control representative may visit you in person or simply ask you questions on the phone.
If you have a truck in your business, the questions will center on how you operate and the scope of your operations. Sometime after the talk, visit, or consultation, you will be sent a letter with a list of recommendations or “rec’s.”
Top Trucker Loss Control Recommendations
Let’s look at a few examples . . .
A safety policy may be mandatory (a rule) or voluntary (a guideline).
Do you have a seatbelt (safety-belt) policy? Most companies do, however, is the policy in writing, with a signed acknowledgement from the driver? How about a cellphone policy? Passenger policy? Personal use of vehicle policy?
A procedure is a series of steps to accomplish a specific task, job, or project.
Do you have a driver’s handbook or manual? How will the driver ever know your specific way of doing things?
A process is a number of procedures, each working together to achieve a result.
Do you have written hiring guidelines that you follow? Many owners tell me they default to their insurance carrier’s rules. Hiring can be complicated when you add in all of the regulatory requirements you must meet.
Safety practices may be thought of as the methods, techniques or precautions we take while performing a task to make sure we or other folks don’t get hurt.
Do you have specific load securement that you need to follow? Does the driver know how to secure a load with the restraining devices given? There are van drivers who have never used a cheetah bar in their lives, and flatbed drivers who have never used a load-lock. Will your new driver know the basics of proper load securement?
Key Loss Control Tips
- Document, document, document. Put things in writing. All policies should be written and critical policies should be acknowledged in writing by the driver. Many times they are not.
- Have your drivers write stuff down, too. Logbooks or timecards, DVIRs, and everything in between. If it’s not documented, it’s not done.
- Keep good records. The new ELD rule will require up to eight driver records per 24 hour shift. Fair or not, will you have a process in place to capture the required records?
- Do you know your specific industry or state’s requirements? Some sectors are heavily regulated, some are not.
- Do you take advantage of your insurance companies loss control department? Every company is different, but your loss control representative can provide you with mock DOT audits, training advice and materials, safety consultations and many other services — for free!
Always keep in mind, better loss control always results in lower insurance premiums. Better safety will improve productivity and this directly affects the bottom line.
Thank you for reading this.