Insurance companies will often send a loss control expert to visit fleet operators before issuing a quote or after a new policy is purchased. The goal of the visit is to understand and assess the business’ operations and processes and to pinpoint any hazards that might increase the risk of a future claim. Once completed, the underwriter will often make recommendations for improvement, with the ultimate goal of reducing potential losses for your fleet and the insurance company.
Contrary to popular belief, underwriters aren’t necessarily looking for perfection during their loss control visit. Instead, they’re looking to partner with your business to control losses. They’re looking for businesses open to new ideas and committed to improving safety and operations.
The loss control visit is also a chance for the operator’s risk manager to engage the insurance representative and benefit from their knowledge. The loss control expert will have a unique perspective and knowledge of like businesses. They’ll know how other companies handle things, what incentive programs worked for them and more. It’s easy to make the loss control visit work to your business’ benefit as well.
Use the following road map to prepare for the loss control visit.
Review of operations. Carriers will want to know what you’re hauling, where loads are going, if drivers are coming home nightly and the average and maximum length of haul. Review these details from your policy application to ensure a consistent message. Consider what other questions may be asked specific to your operations and prepare to frame them in the right context.
Driving hiring. What are your hiring parameters? How many accidents or violations will you allow? What age do drivers have to be and how much experience do you require? Carriers will expect you to present your hiring and driver vetting procedures and rules, including orientation and training requirements.
Managing drivers. Once drivers are on board, how do you manage them? Do you have incentive programs around SMS and clean inspections or zero accidents? If a driver gets into an accident, how do you determine if they should be terminated? What is your drug testing policy?
Technology. If employing in-cab cameras, are they forward and rear facing or just forward facing? If using e-logs, are you also utilizing the telematics capabilities? What technology vendor do you partner with? Do you employ anti-collision technology that includes: adaptive cruise control, lane departure assistance and more? How do you coach drivers based on data available from these systems, including critical event alerts? Carriers will want to see that you’re employing technology past just having a video documentation of an accident. If you’re not coaching drivers with technology, then you’re missing a huge risk management opportunity.
Loss analysis. Carriers will want to know if you are analyzing loss data to identify trends and take necessary steps to eliminate future losses. For many fleet operators, this is a chance to show the carrier what you do well. For example, if your fleet has experienced a number of fender benders at a single intersection, and you changed routes to avoid that intersection, tell the carrier. Understanding loss trends, maintaining an updated register of loss details, including location of loss, time of day, weather conditions, driver involved, etc., will help you analyze the trends.
Fleet maintenance. Carriers will want to know that your drivers conduct pre and post trip inspections. They’ll want to know how you handle fleet maintenance – in house or outsourced?
Defensibility. Trending “nuclear verdicts” and social inflation in general mean carriers can no longer rely on a fleet operator’s loss history exclusively to determine risk. Instead, carriers are now looking to understand your fleet’s “defensibility,” or the ability to be defended in court. Because all it takes is a single nuclear verdict to wipe out your policy limits and more, carriers are looking to partner with fleet operators that have a culture of safety in place, are consistent with training and maintenance and sustain a well-documented operation.
Stability. Insurers look for financial stability in a potential insured. When things are unstable, such as during the current pandemic or civil unrest, what are you doing to secure the financial future of your company? Are you cutting corners, i.e. not changing tires as often? Were safety initiatives dropped? You’ll want to be upfront and communicate any operational changes due to COVID-19 as well as your continued commitment to safety and maintenance. For example, insurers are interested if you are losing business with dedicated contracts if you are making up for that with brokered loads, which changes the dynamic of your business.
TIP: Due to the coronavirus, most loss control visits are currently taking place over the phone or via video conference. Because it’s harder to get a feel for the physical space and daily operations when not physically on-site, businesses will want to leverage multiple internal experts on a loss control call instead of just a single internal risk management expert championing all issues in order to better communicate the commitment to a strong safety culture.
Reach out to your HUB Transportation Expert for help in preparing for an upcoming carrier loss control visit.