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    HOW TO MITIGATE AUTO INSURANCE RATE INCREASES

    In today’s commercial auto insurance marketplace, corporations that utilize company-owned autos are noticing significant auto rate increases. I wish the trend of rising premiums would stabilize, but insurance company analytics suggest otherwise. Fortunately, there are measures a company can take to positively affect or potentially mitigate extreme rate increases. 
     
    STEP 1
    Start with the interview of a potential new hire with driving responsibilities. This comprehensive interview should include: review of the candidate’s accident history, review of any citations, evaluation of their safety performance reports from prior employers and review of prior drug and alcohol test results.
     
    STEP 2
    The next step, if hired, would be an orientation program. During this time, the employer can utilize road tests to be assured that the candidate is qualified to operate the vehicle they will be driving on the job. Orientation is also the perfect time to proactively review the company’s safety manual so that there is clear understanding of company expectations.
     
    STEP 3
    After orientation, continue to monitor employees’ driving habits. This is best achieved using electronic log devices and a tracking system that records speed, hard accelerations, hard braking and other driver tendencies. Companies use these log devices, also known as telematics, for driver training purposes and even disciplinary actions for those who violate any federal and state traffic laws. Conduct regular safety meetings to keep drivers aware of the dangers they can experience themselves or impose on the public due to their actions or inactions. It is of utmost importance to ensure company drivers restrict all use of hand-held devices while operating a company vehicle.
     
    STEP 4
    Not all insurance carriers will pre-inspect your operation prior to releasing terms, conditions and pricing. So, they rely on other means of information to help decide if an inspection is needed. One of these tools is a SAFER report generated by the DOT. If you currently verify that your drivers complete daily DOT required pre-trip and post-trip inspections and that all defects are noted and corrected before that vehicle is put back into service, then this verification system will help keep your company’s SAFER score at or below the national average for out-of-service violations, and could help reduce the possibility of a DOT audit.
     
    HDB can help you develop and implement the above recommended management procedures that are critical to a company’s comprehensive risk management program.
     
    MEET THE EXPERT
    Charles Humphrey has worked in corporate insurance products for the past 16 years and became a shareholder of HDB in 2008.  Call Charles at 334-517-1823 or email him at chumphrey@hdbinsurance.com.
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