THE RISK OF RISING COMMERCIAL AUTOMOBILE PREMIUMS

If you haven’t already seen an increase in your commercial auto liability and physical damage premiums, you should see some increase in the near future. There are a number of factors behind this change:

  • The number of auto fatalities went from a low of 32,479 in 2011 to 37,461 in 2016.
  • Juries are holding commercial drivers to a higher duty of care when deciding awards in litigated auto claims; the overall trucking industry has recently seen jury awards as high as $20 to $40 million. Average settlements for bodily injury and property damage losses have increased by over 50%.
  • As a group, insurance companies providing coverage for the commercial trucking industry had an underwriting loss of $9.7 billion from 2012 to 2016.

All of these factors result in higher premiums. What can you do? More safety training? More stringent driver hiring guidelines? Both of these are difficult when work is increasing, and qualified driver availability is decreasing.

The collision avoidance technology now available in most new cars must come to the trucking industry – automatic braking, blind spot monitoring, lane warnings, etc. Also helpful are the driver behavior monitoring features that can be found bundled with many ELD systems – such as speed monitoring, GPS, hard turns or braking, etc.

360 degree recording cameras can not only help drivers maneuver in tight streets and driveways but can also record what your driver actually did when an accident occurs. In court, a picture really is worth a thousand words!

Budget for premium increases, but also budget for the technology improvements that are your best defense for future cost containment.