Recently, we warned of a “rough road ahead” in the trucking insurance marketplace. We’re now advising our current and prospective clients that we’re in a hard market for trucking insurance. After several years of poor profits in the commercial auto insurance segment, underwriting standards have tightened considerably, and rates are increasing for fleets of all sizes—sometimes dramatically. For fleets that have two or more CSA scores in alert status, high driver turnover, and/or a poor claims history, finding insurance in the standard marketplace is becoming more difficult. If you have multiple issues, you may be facing rates of $15,000 – $20,000 per truck.

CSA scores have become the basis for initial underwriting decisions for small and mid-sized fleets. With a hard market, underwriters are facing a deluge of new business submissions, and they must quickly decide which accounts to work on. Most underwriters will automatically decline accounts with two or more scores in alert status. With some insurance companies, computer programs (using predictive underwriting models) make a decision whether a human underwriter will even review an account.

According to a recent Transport Topics article, high CSA scores are one of the factors in “nuclear verdicts” in favor of plaintiffs’ attorneys, who are using them to make a case that a motor carrier doesn’t care about the safety of the motoring public. The FMCSA is considering changes to the CSA program, but they’re most likely years away from implementation.

What can you do today to obtain more competitive insurance rates?

  • Review your CSA scores on the FMCSA website regularly
  • Immediately create a comprehensive program to reduce CSA scores below alert status and work everyday to keep all scores below the alert status
  • Educate drivers how roadside inspections and moving violations affect your company
  • Develop incentives for clean roadside inspections and penalties for violations
  • Review the PSP report for prospective drivers to ensure you’re not hiring someone who will wreck your CSA scores

The trucking insurance professionals at The Daniel & Henry Company are here to help you maneuver through this hard market and develop strategies to keep insurance costs down for the long-term. Please call us today at 1-877-406-5915 or email us at RuebsamJ@danielandhenry.com