Good drivers bring value to a motor carrier, but motor carriers need to make money before they can recruit and retain good drivers, argues ProSight's Hatahway. (Photo by Sean Kilcarr for Fleet Owner)

Q&A: Tracking insurance trends in trucking

Feb. 22, 2017
Can you use insurance packages to attract and retain good drivers? This expert says yes; and it could also help lower your premiums in the bargain, too.

The world of trucking insurance as we know it is changing, thanks in large measure to the introduction of new safety technologies and especially video camera systems that’s helping not only eliminate or at least reduce the severity vehicle crashes but is also helping properly assign the blame for them – blame that, in past, often got unfairly assigned to truck drivers.

Yet Doug Hathaway, president of transportation services at ProSight Specialty Insurance, recently noted in an interview with Fleet Owner that insurance can also help recruit and retain truck drivers for a fleet – while also helping to lower that fleet’s premiums in the process.

An insurance industry veteran since the 1980s, who’s focused on developing specialized programs with differentiated products for insurers as well as training agents on underwriting, Hathaway noted that taking strides to help boost driver morale goes a long way to help keep them committed to fleet.

Along those lines, one of ProSight’s main insurance offerings now includes what the company calls a “Family Emergency Travel" endorsement, which covers costs the associated with family travel to visit their truck driver in the hospital if they have been injured in an accident. “Nothing speaks louder than caring for a driver and his or her family,” Hathaway said.

But that’s not the only thing changing where trucking insurance is concerned, as he explained via email:

Talk about trucking insurance trends in general. Is greater scrutiny being applied to truck drivers and fleets alike in terms of obtaining insurance coverage?

ProSight's Doug Hathaway

The most obvious trend is that insurance companies are starting to realize what fleets have known for a long time: fleets and their drivers are under attack. They are being attacked from the inside by a revolving door of drivers. This makes it hard for shippers to reliably and predictably be comfortable with people delivering their goods.

They are also being attacked from the outside by certain drivers of personally-owned vehicles who target trucks in insurance claims. Sometimes it seems like a truck just has to be in the general vicinity of a car accident for a truck driver to be accused of being at fault.

Adhering strictly to the published driver hiring guidelines is a start when trying to be more attractive to insurance companies for fleets are only as good as their drivers.

Yet even the best drivers are going to be involved in issues through no fault of their own. Don’t let go of otherwise good drivers just for being involved in an insurance claim. The best way to ensure you’re keeping the right talent is to identify and reward the best drivers; knowing who your key players are lets you get the most out of your fleet. 

ProSight recently unveiled a new ‘family travel’ insurance package for truck drivers. What drove the development of this type of insurance coverage for fleets and drivers?

Figuring this out was actually pretty simple: We listen to our customers and understand the nature of their businesses. Truckers spend a lot of time away from home. If a driver is involved in a severe accident that requires extended hospitalization, travel costs for family to be at their bed side could put a strain on their finances.

We know the healing effects that being with your loved ones can have, so we want to make sure the driver has a support system while trying to get back to health. In these cases, drivers already have to deal with physical injuries; we don’t want there to be any more additional stress. Helping them get their family by their side can truly help.

Can specific types of insurance coverage such as that ‘family travel’ option be used by fleets as a recruiting and retention tool for truck drivers?

This is the chicken and egg problem, right? Good drivers bring value to a motor carrier, but motor carriers need to make money before they can recruit and retain good drivers.

That’s why measuring tools for tracking and rewarding the best drivers are critical. By using driver data to identify the best ones, we make drivers more valuable to shippers.

Shippers can then pay more to motor carriers who will, in turn, be able to pay for the best drivers. When drivers are being properly rewarded, retention rates stay high.

ProSight is also offering new ‘data compromise’ insurance coverage, too, obviously to protect against hacking. Is hacking from where you sit as an insurance provider becoming a bigger problem in trucking?

This is just the world we live in. Data is the lifeblood of business and people get hacked all the time. Fleet owners might not think of themselves as having valuable data, but they deal with credit cards and bank accounts daily. They have sensitive information about their customers, vendors and employees.

If a competitor or malicious source steals this kind of data, it could really bring operations to a screeching halt. Data compromise coverage is there to help insure financial losses attributed to stolen or compromised data.

About the Author

Sean Kilcarr | Editor in Chief

Sean previously reported and commented on trends affecting the many different strata of the trucking industry. Also be sure to visit Sean's blog Trucks at Work where he offers analysis on a variety of different topics inside the trucking industry.

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