Nuclear verdicts – or jury awards surpassing $10 million – continue to be granted, often prompting small and mid-size trucking companies to file for bankruptcy. These verdicts do not just impact the defendants; they drive insurance rates up for companies across the industry, as well as the motoring public.
One way carriers can combat those rising rates is by providing evidence of their commitments to safety via safety management technology. On the other hand, one of the worst things carriers can do is collect safety data and then fail to address violations.
“I meet with safety directors all the time. Most carriers have some kind of telematics device that records safety information, and often they have cameras. Even if the trucking company doesn’t have cameras, a lot of pedestrian cars do,” Tenstreet Sales Consultant Josh McAlister said. “There is footage and data out there. One of the biggest risks is having that and not acting on it.”
That is where Tenstreet comes in. The company boasts an open API and offers a wide variety of integrations that enables carriers to feed all their data into one platform, allowing them to get a holistic view of their safety stats and work to implement automated solutions.
“The idea is that, with an interconnected platform, you’ve got everything working together in one spot,” McAlister said. “You can see the full picture of risk and performance while better ensuring a consistent process.”
Tenstreet’s suite of safety management tools enables carriers to automatically send relevant safety trainings directly to a driver’s smart device, no human action required.
“An underwriter looks at a company and says, ‘They’ve got automation in place, so we know the ball won’t get dropped.’ There’s no room for human error. There’s going to be consistent follow through on certain actions,” McAlister said. “For example, Tenstreet brings in FMCSA violations the day they hit the system and sends out an appropriate training course to the driver automatically.”
This instantaneous response is much more attractive to an insurance underwriter than waiting for a safety manager to reach out to the driver and schedule a coaching session. This is true for both traditional insurance companies and captives.
While the industry is working toward tort reform to address the issue of nuclear verdicts and rising rates at traditional insurers, carriers are looking for savings in captives – insurance groups made up entirely of its insured parties.. Both group captives or private captives have become an area of focus. Maybe a carrier will get some umbrella coverage, but many want to self-insure as much as possible or join a group that can do that.
Safety management platforms are appealing to all types of insurers, but they can be especially helpful in the case of group captives.
“It only takes one bad driver or one bad accident to introduce a lot of risk to that group. By putting something like this in place, a captive can assess be confident that each member is leveraging automation to train and coach. The motor carrier can share accident/incident data, remedial coaching and training certificates, and automations with the captive as well.”
The primary purpose of Tenstreet’s safety management tools is to make the road a safer place for truck drivers and the motoring public alike. The cost savings that accompany meeting this goal are, however, a serious added bonus. These savings are only realized because of the system’s ability to bring multiple data streams together in one platform, pointing to the growing importance of collaboration and integration across the industry.
Ultimately, interconnectivity is the key to a comprehensive safety management system that will allow carriers – and insurance companies – to save more, despite the ever-present risk of nuclear verdicts.