Transparency and technology lead to the best insurance rates

Transparency – along with safety-related investments in technology and people – continue to emerge as the keys to helping fleets secure advantageous insurance rates. But Brandon Guiliani, head of transportation practices at Seubert & Associates, is urging carriers to act on these issues months before their policies are up for renewal.

“Put in proactive coaching steps,” he said during a webinar hosted by the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA). “Nuclear verdicts are on the rise. Give yourself 12 months to put the key ingredients in place. This gives you time to evaluate an insurance company.

(Photo: TCA)

It’s more important than ever. Carriers face challenges such as rising insurance rates, shrinking insurance availability and unpredictable costs, said Idelic Founder and Chief Innovation Officer Hayden Cardiff, who moderated the discussion.

Culture of safety

If carriers don’t use the data they have, plaintiffs’ attorneys will use it against them in the event of a claim, Guiliani added, noting that available technology provides a lot of useful information to put drivers on the right track.

Gary Flaherty, Nationwide’s Senior Vice President – Commercial Automotive E&S, noted that insurers are exploring fleet safety cultures as well as driver and vehicle records. That’s why things like route optimization are becoming increasingly important to those behind the insurance policies.

Companies that grow rapidly will need to show they have the ability — along with the right people and the right technology — to handle the growth, Flaherty said.

Approach to complaints

When complaints arise, Cardiff said fleets need to know who will handle the cases.

Guiliani, for example, said fleets should assess the insurance company‘s expertise in trucking claims.

Fleets, meanwhile, will also be scrutinized in regards to how they handle complaints. Whether it’s a minor or major accident, insurers want to see signs that steps are being taken to minimize losses.

Every driver-related violation could lead to bigger problems in the future, after all. This is why Guiliani insists on the importance of training or retraining. If someone is involved in a collision, plaintiffs’ attorneys won’t care whether it’s the first such collision in the past five years. The warning signs must be identified and treated.

Trucking companies should approach renewals like preparing for a test, Guiliani advised. When an underwriter asks a broker questions and the answers are ready, the process is simple, he added.

Insurers might assume the worst if a fleet isn’t transparent, Flaherty said. If a problem or a problem is discovered later, it leaves a bad taste and could affect the relationship. And that relationship is a valuable asset.

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