I won't pretend that the commercial auto market is not under a great deal of pricing pressure. Many of you may have already experienced the “stocking of coal” equivalent auto renewal from your broker. As I sit here on Christmas Eve, I wanted to make sure my message didn’t come off too “Grinch-like" so I'd like to focus on the things that businesses can control in order to position themselves more favorably in the future. Since this is sometimes the season of lists, I thought I would outline ours from virtually cost free to the most expensive.
1. Pretend that your employees are teen drivers and talk to them regularly and frequently about distracted driving. Reinforce the message of absolutely no texting and driving. I wouldn’t hesitate to share the impact of accidents on the company’s driving record and future insurance costs.
2. Share with your employees if they should become involved in an accident, make certain they immediately take pictures or better yet video upon exiting the vehicle. They should include occupants of the other vehicle as well as any adjacent cars, in particular license plates witness vehicles. The last two things are important because we have seen situations where additional passengers miraculously were reported to insurance companies after the fact. The documentation of possible witness vehicles is also helpful in the event of contested liability, your insurance company could possibly track those drivers down for a statement to exonerate your driver.
3. Since most drivers now use some form of navigation such as Waze or Google maps, provide some basic phone holder that can be snapped onto a vent to promote hands free driving. In the absence of such a device, most people will place the phone in their lap or the seat next to them which brings the head down and eyes off the road.
4. Install a forward facing dash cam that will continuously record the road ahead. Most of the digital cameras now are on a continuous loop so the only time you would need to review it is after an accident. I picked up one of these for $45 on Amazon and put it in my 17-year-old‘s car. The hope is that if he should be involved in an accident, it may catch someone else doing something stupid that caused the accident and insulate my insurance rates from climbing.
5. Install hard-wired dash cams that are both forward facing and cab facing that can measure distracted drivers. Include a GPS monitoring system that will allow you to track their driving habits including speed and hard stops. I will admit this is a pretty good investment but the reality is fleet exposure for most companies represents the greatest loss potential for significant claims.
But enough of this, I hope you all have a fantastic holiday.
Chris is the CEO of The Brokerage and an insurance geek for over 30 years.