commercial auto losses
Property Casualty

Steering Clear of the Increasing Trend of Commercial Auto Losses

Jamie Bittle
Jamie Bittle
Sr. Claims Consultant, Property Casualty

If you’ve noticed an increase in your organization’s automobile losses and, along with it, your insurance premium, you’re not alone. It’s clear automobile claims have been increasing in both frequency and severity. While there’s some debate about the cause of these increases, it seems clear based on federal data that the underlying cause of the risk is simple — it’s greater because the number of miles we travel is rising.

Interestingly enough, this increase seems to track with our country’s improved economic conditions. The Federal Highway Administration’s historical data shows the following for average miles traveled in the month of May for each of these years:

  • 2007 — 267.6 billion
  • 2008 — 261.5 billion
  • 2009 — 258.3 billion
  • 2010 — 256.9 billion
  • 2011 — 254.1 billion
  • 2012— 260.8 billion
  • 2013— 263.4 billion
  • 2014— 266.2 billion
  • 2015 — 270.8 billion
  • 2016 — 275.3 billion
  • 2017 — 281.2 billion

As you can see, since 2011, there’s been a steady increase in the amount of time on the road, with the greatest amount of travel happening in the western states.

OK…so I’ve thrown a lot of data at you. My point is that if you or any of your employees hit the road…you need to stay protected. Think about this for a moment — a single incident has the potential of triggering multiple claims, to include:

  • Workers’ compensation for injuries to your driver and any employee passengers
  • Property damage to your product, tools, or equipment
  • Auto physical damage to your vehicle
  • Auto liability for damage to property and injuries to others if the incident is based on your driver’s negligence
  • Auto uninsured/underinsured motorists claim for your injured employees if the incident is due to negligence of another without adequate insurance

In this improved business environment and jockeying to hire qualified employees, it’s critical to implement or improve your employee driver program. I’ve listed a few examples of items to consider:

  • Driver screening to include motor vehicle records (MVRs) at time of hire and on a regular basis thereafter
  • Driver training at time of hire and ongoing to maintain awareness
  • Post-accident investigation training, such as notification to law enforcement and supervisor, collecting information with respect to the others involved, taking photos that tell the story, and completing an incident report
  • Fleet telematics

Business travel won’t slow down or end; it’s just part of the way we work nowadays. Because of this, I encourage you to take a look and see if you can beef up any of your driving programs and policies. You can also reach out to us with any questions.

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