More Insurance Savings Tips for 2021

Up, Up, and Away . . .

Rates in 2021 for commercial insurance seem to be rising faster than a runaway balloon.

But all is not lost. There are things you can do to help lower your insurance premiums. I’ve been posting a few on LinkedIn. I’ve owned a small fleet of large vehicles and probably overpaid for my insurance like everyone else.

But after doing loss control reviews for a number of years, I’ve talked with scores of top fleet owners in various industries about their best practices. These are things I wish someone had told me.

Please note: I am not an insurance agent. I do not sell insurance. This blog is for information purposes only. Please use your discretion in applying any information to your particular situation and circumstances. Results may vary. 

More Insurance Saving Tips

Here are some more random insurance savings tips.

2021 Insurance Saving Tip #5.

Read the insurance policy.

Okay, it’s pages and pages of gobbledygook, part legalese, part esoteric insurance terms. But the policy is a contract . . . a contract which specifies what the parties need to do to remain in good standing with each other.

Some insurance policies follow a standard format. Some, like Inland Marine, covering property or attached equipment, which is mobile, can have their own idiosyncrasies, specific to that insurance company, and should be carefully reviewed. Never skip reviewing an Inland Marine policy.

If you don’t read the policy right away, be sure to always review the “dec sheet” or “Declarations Page” which is a one or two page summary of the policy, names the insurer and insured, and indicates the type of coverage in that particular policy. Make sure all of the information is correct.

Contact your agent immediately, if you have any questions about your policy. It will be too late after a claim . . .

2021 Insurance Saving Tip #7

Expand your “network.”

Networking with personal and business contacts and acquaintances is the number one way people exchange valuable information . . . information that matters.

Track your contacts. Reach out to them and help them, if you can. It’s not about you—it’s about them and building good will by helping them meet their goals and objectives.

Be a joiner. Join any association which represents your interests. Become a member and stay active.

What does any of this have to do with insurance? Some insurance companies will ask you point blank: What associations is your business affiliated with? Membership does have its # benefits . . . like staying aware of coming industry changes, new regulations, new standards . . .

Bottom line: Your network is your “net worth.” But it doesn’t happen overnight. Start building your network now!

021 Insurance Saving Tip #8

Take advantage of expert help to lower risk and improve your safety profile.

Some of the safest companies I have reviewed (close to perfect risk profiles), sourced their safety needs to specialized safety experts. If they had trucks, they used a DOT expert to guide their safety and compliance program. If they worked in construction, they hired an OSHA expert. If they had employees, they either provided in-house training or hired a safety-training expert.

Such experts can sometimes be found at local, state or national associations, dedicated to your respective industry or sector.

Your insurance company may provide these expert safety services at no cost through their loss-control department or outside contractors. In Texas, for example, this is the law.

Be sure to ask your insurance agent what “loss-control” expert assistance they can provide or safety and training resources they have available.

Thank you for reading this. Be sure to subscribe for more money-saving tips. 

Loss Run Lollapuzzoola

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A Harvest of Sorrows

A motor carrier’s loss run report can say a lot about where they are at when it comes to safety. A loss run is a report that offers a history of claims that have been made on a commercial insurance policy.

Here are a few incidents from a loss run I recently viewed . . .

1.) Description of Collision: The tractor-trailer was turning right when the driver realized he did not have enough space to execute the turn, so he backed up in the turning lane and backed into the vehicle in line behind him.

Claims for injuries, as a result of this collision, were presented and the insurance company settled for $100,000.

2.) Description of Collision: Tractor-trailer was making a right and misjudged the turn and said he had to back up to make it. The vehicle behind was slightly bumped while the truck was backing.

The other vehicle left the scene and no police report made.

3.) Description of Collision: The  tractor-trailer missed its turn, stopped and reversed without looking, striking the left front of the other vehicle.

The insurance company paid $6,600 in damages.

4.) Description of Incident: After pulling the loaded trailer from the dock, the driver could not find an empty parking space to drop the trailer. He dropped the trailer on side of driveway where other trailers and rigs had previously parked. After he pulled out from under trailer and went around to pick up an empty, he witnessed the trailer tip over onto its right side. Ground under right landing gear was soft.

The insurance company paid $3,200 in damages to the trailer and the freight, for unloading the trailer, and for tow trucks.

5.) Description of Incident: The driver was backing under trailer. He did not realize the trailer was too high. Damage resulted to the bunk extenders and brackets.

The insurance company paid $6,440 for repairs.

The driver said, "“I didn’t see nothing," after backing into this $250k Ferrari FF.

The driver said, “I didn’t see nothing,” after backing into this $250k Ferrari FF.

Analysis

One thing that can stand out on a loss run report is the fact that some of the same drivers keep having “bad luck.” About ten percent of a fleet’s “high-risk” drivers can result in one third of all claims, according to some studies.

This is why it pays to investigate each and every accident and incident and have an accident preventability program in place and “score” each and every safety event. Was it really a case of the driver being in the wrong place at the wrong time? Or was it simply the bad judgment of the driver that resulted in the collision or incident? We know driver error is responsible for most collisions.

  • Backing in traffic is a major no-no. There is simply no excuse for it. Having a number of these same incidents over time tells me this mid-sized carrier does not care about training or safety (as was the case).
  • Backing under a trailer and ramming the back of the cab is . . . dumb. The driver rolled the dice on that one . . . and lost.
  • Sure . . . they might drop empties along the driveway . . . not fully loaded trailers. Why didn’t the driver find a plank to put under the landing gear if he wanted to set a loaded trailer on bare earth? Why not indeed . . .

In final analysis, in my opinion, this carrier wants to keep expanding, but doesn’t want to bother with investing in safety. They don’t determine accident preventability. They don’t have safety meetings. Their next loss run most likely will be much like their last one . . . if they can find a risk partner to underwrite their losses . . .

Thank you for reading this.

Should Congress Raise Truck Insurance Requirements? Will you be ready?

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Truck Insurance Will Likely Increase

Motor carriers should plan for an eventual increase in truck and bus (including school buses) insurance requirements. In April 2014 the FMCSA issued a report calling for higher truck insurance limits. On July 10, 2015, Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), introduced The Truck Safety Act, requiring, among other things, that motor carriers have at least $1.5 million in insurance.

While that bill won’t become law, on Nov. 13, Jami Jones of Landline Magazine (the official Publication of the Owner-Operator Independent Drives Association — which runs its own truck insurance operation) reported (Battle over attempts to increase trucking insurance heats up) that efforts to raise truck insurance continue — by a push of some Senators to remove the provisions in the current in the House version of the highway bill (Sections 5501 and 5503) that require the FMCSA to justify any increases before raising the minimum insurance requirements. The article recommends immediately contacting specific Congressional Representatives and Senators by phone via the Capitol switchboard or their websites, to show support for keeping motor carrier insurance requirements at their current levels.

The April 2014 FMCSA Report, required under MAP-21, says that motor carrier insurance is inadequate in about 1% of claims (catastrophic claims) due, mostly, to higher medical costs and should be raised — based on the consumer price index — from 1985 levels. Truck insurance based on the CPI would go from the current $750,000 level to $1,623,771. The report says the FMCSA has no data on the projected costs of the increased insurance requirements.

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How to Control Vehicle Insurance Costs

In these days of increasing costs, insurance is a growing, but often overlooked, expense area. As such, not much consideration is given to controlling the expense. Here are a few things that best-in-class organizations do to control insurance costs:

(1.) Assign responsibility to someone in the organization to control the expense. This does not have to be a full time Risk Management job. But any cost area not reviewed or controlled tends to grow over time.

(2.) Get help from the insurance company. Top insurance agents and brokers are always eager to meet with clients to help control their costs — some even on a quarterly basis. Many small business people do not realize that insurance companies have what is known as a loss-control department whose only function is to help businesses reduce claims.

(3.) Make sure your firm or organization has the right amount of insurance. The right amount of insurance may be higher than the statutory or legal requirements. The right amount of insurance may change when operations change. Your agent is happy to help in this area.

(4.) Invest in safety.

  • Do you have a solid safety program?  The primary aim of a health and safety program is to ensure workforce well-being and business continuity. Many times safety training is an automatic boost to productivity, which in turn boosts profitability.
  • Do you assess and deploy new safety technologies? Check out if your insurance company has any discounts available for safety technology.

(5.) Avoid collisions and claims.

  • Do you have written cell-phone, safety belt, passenger, and vehicle-use policies? Many small companies I talk to, do not, assuming employees “know better,” or even admitting they believe there is little the employer can do in these areas. Do everything possible to limit the chances of driver distraction.
  • Do you have a strong vehicle inspection and maintenance program?
  • Are employees vetted for their background and experience? Are all new driver-employees given a road-test? Are more experienced drivers given safety check rides?
  • Do you conduct a post-collision analysis of any crash?  Was the driver following too closely? Was the driver distracted? Was the driver fatigued? Was the driver in a rush because of a deadline? Did poor road, weather, lighting or equipment conditions affect the driver’s ability to drive safely?  Were there any other factors that may have caused the collision — remote (occurring well before the collision) or — direct (occurring immediately before or during the collision). If the answer is “yes” to any of these questions, then examine why the condition existed, to drill down to the root cause of the crash.

In future blogs we’ll review other proven strategies and tactics to better reduce risks and protect assets while lowering overall cost.

“What we truly need to do is often what we most feel like avoiding.” — David Allen

Thank you for reading this.

Disclaimer: Reference to any specific product, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, company name or otherwise does not constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by the author or a guarantee of any specific results. This blog is for informational purposes only. Thank you. 

Other related posts . . .

If Insurance is the Flower, Is Loss Control the Weed?

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