Many clients ask us how they can lower their trucking insurance costs. In years past, we’d always advise that controlling claims and hiring good drivers was the best way to decrease premiums—and these are still true, but these measures require longer-term changes to your culture. However, in the age of algorithm-based underwriting, there is a quicker way to impact your insurance costs—lower your Compliance, Safety, and Accountability (CSA) scores with a three-month period with no violations.

Nowadays, trucking insurance underwriters depend on computer models that help predict risk. Unsafe Driving and Hours of Service scores are highly predictive of future crashes, so these CSA scores have a major impact on your insurance pricing. Most insurance companies will not even consider quoting your account if you have both of these scores in elevated status—even if your claims history is good.

Your CSA score is based on roadside inspections and crash reports from the past, rolling 36 months. More recent violations carry a higher weight—a two-month old speeding ticket will affect your Unsafe Driving score more than an eighteen-month old speeding ticket. Just one recent, severe violation could result in a significant increase in insurance costs at your next renewal. Also, violations carry different severity weights—a table of violations and associated severity can be found here. The good news is that adding a few clean months to your record will have a positive impact—see below for some ideas about how to quickly impact your CSA scores and get on the road to creating a culture of safety with a three month no violations plan.

Three Month No Violation Action Plan Ideas

  • Educate drivers on the impact of violations on your insurance costs and downtime associated with increased DOT inspections.
  • Set a team goal of no violations in a three-month period. An ideal time is six months prior to your insurance renewal (but anytime helps).
  • Create a written incentive and penalty program and communicate your program parameters with drivers. The singular goal is no violations, and incentives and penalties must be significant enough to motivate drivers. As an example, a clean level one inspection during the target time may result in a $250 bonus, while there is a $100 fine per violation severity weight score for any violation (i.e., a seat belt violation has a weight of 7 and would result in a $700 fine).
  • If you already have incentives and penalties in place, double or triple them during the target period.
  • Create both individual driver and team-wide incentives. Drivers who are violation-free during the period will receive an incentive in addition to any clean level one inspections. If all drivers meet the goal, provide the entire company an incentive. This helps generate peer pressure between drivers.
  • Regularly communicate with drivers the positive results. Send messages to your entire team about specific drivers who had a great week or month (“John Smith had no violations and two clean Level One Inspections in June!”).
  • If you have technology that enables you to track safety incidents such as hard braking, sudden lane changes, and other issues, consider factoring this into your program.

A three-month no violations program will not suddenly fix issues with your safety culture, but it can be the jumpstart you need, especially if you’re facing a challenging insurance renewal due to high CSA scores. Of course, long-term safety training is critical to the success of any trucking company.

With a volatile trucking insurance market and increased costs pressures, it’s important to use all tools at your disposal to keep claims and insurance costs in check. As always, the trucking insurance professionals at The Daniel & Henry Company are here to help you understand what measures you can take to reduce risk and insurance costs. Please call us today at 1-877-406-5915 or email us at RuebsamJ@danielandhenry.com