Minimizing Your Fleet Exposure
Accidents are a fact of life. A recent report found the annual accident rate for commercial fleets is around 20%.
These accidents can prove costly: The average cost of a loss related to fleet vehicle accidents is approximately
$70,000. So what’s driving this high rate of accidents?
Bad weather, adverse rates
The number of hours and miles a commercial fleet is on the road obviously contributes to the risk of an
accident. However, there are external forces at work as well. In 2018, for example, an increase in frequency
and severity of weather events adversely affected road conditions.
While the weather can wreak havoc on the roads and play a key role in operations, there’s little you can do to
change its course. However, your agent can help circumvent accidents and rate increases. They can provide
you with tactics to keep both at bay.
Distracted driving, technology solutions
Another factor affecting exposure is distracted driving. For many larger fleet owners, the solution is to
implement technology systems like advanced driver-assistance and telematics. Initially, this can be costprohibitive.
However, insurers are starting to offer credit or cost savings to businesses that invest in these
technologies designed to improve vehicle safety. With continued development and increased use, costs will
continue to drop and your fleet’s safety will improve.
The commercial auto industry is looking to the development of autonomous vehicle (AV) technology to help
combat distracted driving. Warehousing and logistics applications involving yard trucks are becoming popular,
as are low-speed electric vehicle technology applications for local-radius parcel, grocery or food delivery within
a mapped environment. And, while over-the-road AV deployments are still in the future, experts predict that
product developers will test their technology on public roadways either on their own or in partnership with
Ultimately, AV will drive a revolution in the industry as it becomes more acceptable, affordable and available.
However, as highly automated vehicles rely on radar, light detection and ranging (lidar), cameras, graphics
processing units and central processing units to analyze the imagery, there will undoubtedly be new risks
from potential systems failures. This will necessitate a fresh underwriting perspective, as well as a shift in
legislation and liability.
As a commercial fleet owner, you will want to keep a watchful eye on AV. When will this new wave of future
vehicles be safe? When will it be a viable and efficient, cost-effective option for you? That may be anyone’s
guess, but it’s important to speak with your agent to discuss the pros and cons for your business as the
technology continues to develop.
Lack of skilled operators
Another significant challenge facing commercial vehicle fleets is the lack of skilled drivers. The American
Trucking Association has found the industry is currently understaffed by more than 50,000 drivers. And, if
current trends continue, this number could increase more than threefold within eight years.
As a fleet owner, you may be finding it difficult to recruit and retain experienced drivers. Implementing preemployment
screening can help determine a driver’s inspection and accident reports. In addition, partnering
with accredited driver’s license training schools or developing an in-house driver training program will
improve skill sets.
Many internal programs are geared toward recruiting young drivers. Insurers may be willing to waive certain
minimum age and experience requirements for large fleets with sophisticated risk management programs.
Small and midsize fleets, however, may need to trade their desire to hire inexperienced drivers for higher
insurance rates or surcharges.
Whether a lack of skilled operators, weather events or distracted driving, the best protection against fleet
exposure is often an open, continuous conversation with your agent who is well versed in industry trends,
legislation and ways to help mitigate risk and rate increases.
This content is for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing professional, financial, medical or
legal advice. You should contact your licensed professional to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or