In the heat of a protracted battle, it’s not uncommon for those engaged to wonder if it will ever end. Likewise, it’s easy to imagine those active in the commercial auto market might sometimes feel the hard market conditions will never end.
Since no one can predict the turning point, controlling costs is critical for insurance buyers in tough market conditions. Helping you lower your premiums is the reason for our ongoing series looking into ways to drive down your commercial auto insurance premium.
The Reasons Behind Ongoing Hard Market Conditions Create Additional Challenges for Buyers
The factors driving rate increases and carriers to depart the market are many. We outlined the primary causes of current hard market conditions in this first-in-series commercial auto blog post, How to Beat the Trends and Apply the Brakes to Commercial Auto Insurance Rate Increases in 2021.
While knowing about macro trends that affect commercial auto coverage is enlightening, we recognize insureds can’t control nuclear jury verdicts, escalating vehicle repair and medical services costs, or millions more registered vehicles on the road. That’s why our commercial auto specialists concentrate on helping clients implement preemptive measures in areas they control to lower their insurance premiums.
Stay Alert and Make the Best of What You Have
Commercial auto buyers need to focus on areas they can regulate. Don’t believe there is nothing you can do even on the worst days when it seems that way. You have more control over your business and commercial auto rates than you might imagine.
When it comes to managing your commercial fleet, you can’t afford to let your guard down. Everything is at risk – employee safety, business profits, company assets, and reputation – when someone slips up. It’s human nature to be in a hurry or get careless sometimes, but such lapses can lead to catastrophe at the wrong time. Plaintiff lawyers love to present evidence that a driver, the company, or both knew company policies and procedures but failed to comply with them.
Here are some areas where you can influence fleet maintenance and guide your employees in ways that will help to drive down your commercial auto premium.
Distracted driving is the most significant concern and is more than dangerous; it’s often deadly. Distracted drivers were the cause of 3,142 deaths in 2019, according to the NHTSA. Texting is the most hazardous, but any distraction, whether eating, drinking, tuning the radio, or adjusting the climate system that takes a driver’s eyes off the road, is a set up for an accident. A sobering survey from OSHA indicates 47% of commercial drivers have read texts, and 34% dozed off while driving in the past year. Nearly a quarter of respondents reported having a near-miss accident within the past week.
Changing human behavior is challenging. Start with learning what practices work best in your business to eliminate distracted driving. Next, implement strongly worded written company policies that prohibit drivers from using mobile devices while operating a vehicle. Finally, provide training that emphasizes how quickly distractions can cause serious accidents to happen.
Have your employees sign off on receiving distracted driver training, written policies, and their agreement to abide by the company policies regulating distracted driving. Make sure they understand and accept the consequences of the penalties of non-compliance with company policy. Driver recognition that your distracted driver rules are stringently enforced is a strong deterrent.
Realize some personalities may require determined disciplinary methods and severe penalties to deter their behavior. We’ll address identifying and weeding them out before you arrive at this point in a future post. When possible, employ telematics to monitor your driver’s behind-the-wheel performance. Use the results to reward good behavior and institute a coaching program for drivers who fail to comply with established procedures.
Tips to Compete in a Tight Commercial Driver Market
The reality of the qualified commercial driver shortage with no end in sight is a cause for genuine concern. Getting fully staffed, much less competing for top candidates to fill open spots, is a tough task.
Aggressive recruiting is a start. Offering competitive pay along with creating a hospitable and supportive driver experience adds to driver satisfaction and retention. In addition, both drivers and the company benefit from having a fleet of late-model vehicles with up-to-date tech, such as GPS, collision avoidance systems, cameras onboard with in-cab, front and rear views, and telematics that monitor driver behavior, and more.
Creating a culture that welcomes new drivers into a mentorship program to train them personalizes the job to them. In addition, emphasizing the ways your company invests in its employees’ safety and well-being gives an extra ROI to the investment. For jobseekers with equal offers in this competitive market, attractive employee benefits and company culture are tipping points. The payoff for employees is greater job satisfaction, while the company gets better trained and motivated employees who are more likely to adhere to safe driving policies.
Creating a caring environment produces a benefit to the company that is second to none. Whether incidental or evangelical, the value from word-of-mouth recruitment by drivers who are happy to share their positive experiences with their peers is unrivaled. Treat your drivers right, and they will reward you by helping to recruit fellow drivers. In addition, they are a trusted source of validation to prospective drivers.
More Helpful Information and Practical Advice to Come
With many more helpful suggestions to offer, we resist piling on too much at once. In future posts, we’ll drill down deeper to examine the problems affecting commercial auto premiums and how to address them. You’ll learn from the tools, help, and advice we have to help you drive down your insurance premiums.
Seek Commercial Auto Insurance Expertise
As our client, you get a partner dedicated to helping you lower your insurance premiums and improve your claims history. We believe maintaining a healthy, positive business experience with our clients is mutually beneficial. As such, we take pride in our extensive commercial auto expertise and the diverse ways we use it to benefit our clients daily.
It’s our job to help you protect your business with appropriate coverages, to know the best ways to mitigate claims and losses, and keep your premium as low as possible. In addition, we help identify risks to your company and consult with you to protect your employees and all aspects of your business, including your fleet.
The Commercial Auto specialists at Strong Tower are eager to speak with you in more detail about implementing measures you can use to lower your annual premium.
We are here for you. Give us a call at 866-822-6774.