by Julio Jimenez
Risk Management Consultant, USI Insurance Services LLC (an AGSC member)
The cost of auto liability insurance for mobile auto glass installers continues to be the leading insurance-related expense for companies in the auto glass repair and replacement industry. While it is too soon to determine the full impact of COVID-19 on insurance rates, capacity and premiums, markets are facing unique and interrelated challenges that industry insiders feel will continue into 2021.
USI’s 2020 Market Outlook highlights how the combined loss payouts for bodily injury and property damage claims on commercial automobile liability policies eclipsed total premium collected by over 5% in 2019. Combined with worsening trends in distracted driving and medical inflation, and increased property damage costs due to the higher cost of vehicles, auto liability premiums are going to increase. Companies with fleets under 100 vehicles will begin to feel more of the impact.
As a small-to-medium-sized company, one of the best ways to control your auto liability insurance costs is with a driving safety program to prevent accidents and reduce loss. While a small company with two or three vehicles may not feel the need to implement a strong driving safety program, doing so is easy and will create a foundation for continued success.
Simple steps and tools to implement a driving safety program:
- Include formal driver expectations in your employee handbook and ask employees to sign that they have received and understand the information. Review expectations thoroughly with each new hire, and periodically with existing employees.
- Develop a training and on-boarding program for new employees. Training programs can be as simple as completing a set number of hours with a supervisor, or more formal training based on your company needs.
- Monitor driver behavior and develop a plan for corrective training if needed, prior to an incident occurring.
- Start every day with a quick safety meeting. Cover topics such as distracted driving.
- Require drivers to complete a vehicle maintenance checklist prior to departure on their shift. This includes verifying they have all their equipment, and that items are properly secured.
According to Paul Morris, president of Jack Morris Auto Glass in Tennessee, the following are two of the most important items that have helped him develop and maintain a strong safety environment for his fleet of more than 50 vehicles:
- Telematics – Using technology to monitor his fleet has helped him keep track of vehicle usage and identify problematic issues such as speeding.
- Reputation and brand protection – Paul stresses to all his employees the importance of preserving the company’s brand and reputation. It doesn’t take an accident or a ticket to have a negative effect on the company’s reputation.
Your employees will only buy into the safety culture if they understand how integral it is to the overall culture of the company. Encouraging this environment from the top will not only create a safe workplace, but will also help control insurance costs and improve your business profitability—now and in the future.