Waste haulers face insurance issues due to driver shortage



According to Matt Andrews, associate managing director of Amwins Program Underwriters in Camp Hill, Pa., The shortage of records is not only causing problems for the waste hauling industry from an operational standpoint, but it is also causing problems. from an insurance point of view.

“Waste haulers are under pressure to hire drivers to keep their fleets going, and with the current driver shortage, they may be tempted to hire someone they wouldn’t normally consider – and that’s something that insurers will take into account when purchasing the driver pool, ”Andrews said. “This is where we need to be more creative as underwriters in determining how we can insure an account if they need to change their hiring practices to address the driver shortage.

“Generally, we want to see drivers with a number of years of driving experience and a clean motor vehicle history. If an operator hires a driver who is 21 years old and has only one year of commercial driving experience, we would normally be wary, but we might be willing to make an exception if it is usually an account solid. in a good site, have a thorough driver training and onboarding program, sound risk management practices, and they have a good loss history. “

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Amwins Program Underwriters offers one of the only insurance programs focused exclusively on the waste hauling industry. It is underwritten by a team with more than 25 years of experience, which has successfully navigated the ups and downs of the commercial automotive market through underwriting, loss prevention and claims management solutions. and, most importantly, building and maintaining long-term relationships with carriers. , retailers and waste haulers.

In recent years, as the driver shortage intensified, Andrews has watched waste hauler operators implement a variety of strategies to resolve personnel issues. He said he has seen many operators put in place strong driver training and supervision programs to help younger and less experienced drivers throughout their learning phase. Some drivers also have a trial period where new drivers are supervised by a more experienced colleague until they have gained enough credibility to drive on their own.

“We’ve also seen operators use telematics solutions and other things like in-cab cameras and GPS tracking in their vehicles, so they can monitor their drivers more proactively,” Andrews added. “If there is bad behavior based on the captured data, operators can take corrective action as soon as possible and use that data as an educational opportunity to bring drivers back to higher standards from a safety perspective. Security. “

Telematics allows businesses to collect data on vehicle location, driver behavior and engine diagnostics in real time, potentially helping them lower their insurance premiums by minimizing risk and encouraging driving more sure. Insurance companies are encouraging fleet operators to engage in telematics, especially if they have had to take more risks to stay operational amid the driver shortage. In these cases, insurers may require telematics before renewing a policy or citing new business.

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In addition to mitigating the risks associated with inexperienced drivers, telematics solutions and on-board cameras can also help garbage haulers and other commercial automakers solve another big problem: distracted driving.

Andrews commented: “One thing we are adamant about is if a driver has ever committed cell phone violations, that’s a big red flag. We want to make sure our policyholders have strict policies in place that say their drivers will not have their cell phones pulled out when driving a vehicle, or that they risk being made redundant. Distracted driving is a huge problem. This is not only exclusive to waste haulers, but we must all do our part to prevent it.

Distracted driving is just one of the issues that plaintiff’s lawyers hasten to address. According to Andrews, they also focus on vehicle maintenance, driver data and any information collected by the Central Analysis Bureau (CAB) – which turns Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) data into actionable intelligence – to represent commercial fleet operators as being negligent in disputed claims. This has resulted in a significant increase in the frequency and severity of commercial auto claims, which in turn has impacted the longevity of many insurance programs for accounts on wheels, including waste haulers. .

“We’re all playing in the same sandbox when it comes to the claims environment,” Andrews told Insurance Business. “The commercial automobile, in general, has been difficult for the past two years, where we have had to contend with the impacts of social inflation and nuclear jury trends. There was a recent claim where the plaintiff’s lawyer focused on an inspection of a vehicle with a violation when, from an industry standards perspective, the count was in fact better than average. The lawyer was trying to do that one inspection enough to paint the whole account as a terrible operator.

“That’s another thing that comes into play with the driver shortage. If you have someone with borderline risk, do you want to roll the dice and put them on the road? If they have an accident, the plaintiff’s attorneys will say, “Oh, this person has a history of speeding. It is a limit loss. We want a million dollars. These are the things you need to consider when dealing with the commercial auto space.

To learn more about the Amwins Insurer’s Waste Carrier Program, Click here.



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