Business Insurance

How long can a truck driver or owner afford to gamble on the future without health insurance? Not having health insurance is, by some estimates, among the top three reasons truck owners fail. If you aren't healthy, nothing else really matters. Read this week's featured article which highlights the importance of having health insurance, and might help get you pointed in the direction to a plan that is right for you.

From Kent Brown, Senior Vice President & Transportation Practice Leader, Hylant:

It's somewhat complicated. It's been a tough road for motor carriers of all sizes, including the guy with 1 truck and the guy with 5,000 trucks. They've all seen these kinds of increases in some part of their insurance program.

But in short, it's due to financial performance within the trucking insurance segment. Losses have increased by a significant amount, and outpaced premiums.

Insurance companies need to have a loss ratio with expenses included of 100% or less in order to be profitable. And as of 4 years ago, their loss ratio was about 158%. So they started to embark on a raising of rates by 25% or so per year for the last several years. That's slowed somewhat, but it's still not in the profitable area just yet.

U.S. trucking firms face a worsening litigation landscape, as jury awards and settlement amounts for trucking litigation have exploded over the last decade.

In a new study examining the long-term trend, the US Chamber Institute for Legal Reform (ILR) called for a “multi-pronged” approach, involving various stakeholders, to tackle rising litigation risks for the trucking industry.

Read the full article to learn about the worst states to operate or drive a truck when it comes to litigation risk, the impact of rising litigation on haulers and consumers, and what can be done to reverse the trend.

From Kent Brown, Senior Vice President & Transportation Practice Leader, Hylant:

There are certain coverages that are absolutely essential and required by law. Those include:

  1. Auto liability. Make sure in your auto liability program that you have coverages that are very specific to your industry.
  2. Cargo. This covers the vehicles you haul and includes constructive total loss and diminished value.
  3. General liability. This provides coverage for liability claims not involving your trucks. It is not a very expensive coverage and is typically required by your shippers.

Beyond those three, it comes down to individual preference and condition. Read more about recommended coverages.

From Kent Brown, Senior Vice President & Transportation Practice Leader, Hylant:

Workers' comp, in many cases, is required by law, and that is the sole source remedy for workplace related injuries. So if you've got employees, you generally are required to have a workers' comp policy, though there are certain conditions where you wouldn't be required to have it.

Worker's comp is state by state, and it's generally fairly generous in the coverages.

You could go without any coverage, if you have owner operators, are a sole proprietor, or you're an LLC with one owned and driven truck. That's probably something that a lot of people do. However, workers' comp rates for truck drivers are among the highest of any worker's comp rates. That's because there are lots of claims. So if you choose to go without coverage and you are hurt and you're down for a while, that's obviously going to cause big problems.

Another option is occupational accident insurance, which is much lower in cost compared to workers' comp, and it provides not only medical benefits, but also disability benefits. So it pays you disability while you're out of work.

From Kent Brown, Senior Vice President & Transportation Practice Leader, Hylant:

It starts with the fact that finding an insurance company compatible with your needs is not an easy task. It's not as simple as going online and giving them your name, number and so on.

It's an effort. It requires the gathering of some information and answering some questions that might not make any sense to you.

So in part, it's easier to stay with your current company, who doesn't have insurance tailored to your car hauling needs.

But if you start looking early enough and accept that it is going to take some effort, there are better options out there.

From Kent Brown, Senior Vice President & Transportation Practice Leader, Hylant:

First and foremost, they often wait too long to start the process. That really limits what an insurance agent or broker can get accomplished. So definitely start your search 90 days out and start preparing the materials for a quote 60 days out, so you can get those materials to the company as soon as possible.

Secondly, they often stick with the path of least resistance, or the least effort, because it's easier. This can lead to not having the specific coverages you need, as a vehicle hauler.

Cost is often the number one factor when looking to switch. But keep in mind when analyzing that cost, what coverages you are getting for it. Make sure the coverages are specific to your industry, and that your agent or broker is knowledgeable about the coverages you need for that industry.

Keep in mind, it's going to get easier over time. The first year, when you're switching to a new company, will be the hardest because you're gathering all that information for the first time (or first time in a while). After that first year, though, the process becomes a lot easier and renewing just requires some updating of information.

From Kent Brown, Senior Vice President & Transportation Practice Leader, Hylant:

Some of it is beyond your control because the risk is spread over the entire industry, not just your specific account. However, I can offer the following recommendations:

  1. Create a safety culture that you believe in and that you promote.
  2. Be very, very diligent about your driver hiring practices and driver hiring guidelines.
  3. Maintain your equipment well.
  4. Pay attention to your SMS scores. Try to keep them out of the alert status whenever possible. Do whatever you have to do to mitigate those scores and improve them if they do get into the alert status stage.

The cost of Premium membership includes NVTA membership dues AND the cost of the insurance coverages you select with Hylant.

The cost of the actual insurance will be provided to you by Hylant, after you provide the proper materials to receive a quote.

NVTA membership dues depend on the number of trucks you have. Your Hylant insurance agent is able to bundle the cost of NVTA membership into your finance agreement.

To receive a specific cost for your NVTA membership dues, please contact us at 518-694-4589 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

From Kent Brown, Senior Vice President & Transportation Practice Leader, Hylant:

To get an insurance quote, carriers need to compile:

  1. Loss runs for five (5) years. And they need to be currently valued. That means, they need to be pulled within sixty (60) days of the expiration date. If your current insurance agent won't supply them to you, you can appeal directly to the insurance company to get that information.
  2. Historical information (how many miles you've driven, how much revenue you've done in the last five years and expect to do next year).
  3. Equipment list.
  4. Driver list. It's preferable if you can pull the medical benefit ratios (MBRs), but if needed, your future agent can (though the agent is limited as to what they can do with them). 
  5. International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) reports.