Whether they’re transporting materials and tools to worksites, hauling goods for deliveries or driving to meet clients—companies of all kinds rely on safe and functioning vehicles to serve customers and generate profit. As such, commercial auto insurance has become invaluable for any business that operates vehicles as part of their operations.
However, exposures related to commercial auto insurance are vast, and a number of industry changes, as well as the frequency and severity of claims, have had a significant impact on carriers in the space. In fact, many carriers are finding it difficult to maintain profitability for commercial auto insurance and, in turn, are passing the uptick in cost along to insureds.
It’s not uncommon for businesses to see year-over-year rate increases even when they hire safe drivers and have a clean loss record. But the truth is that claims history is just one piece of the puzzle, and a number of high-level trends affect commercial auto insurance rates. Let’s examine some of the trends driving up the cost of commercial auto insurance.
Distracted Driver Incidents
Distracted driving is an ongoing safety concern for organizations that use vehicles as part of their operations—a concern that continues to impact the cost of coverage for businesses across the board.
The overall cost associated with vehicle collisions has climbed significantly in recent years. While the financial impact of individual accidents can vary based on the severity of a collision, steep medical and repair costs continue to drive up the cost of claims overall.
According to the American Trucking Associations, approximately 160,000 commercial driver positions will go unfilled in the next decade. This ongoing shortage has placed a substantial burden on businesses, often forcing them to hire less experienced drivers.
More Vehicles on the Road
According to industry experts, there are more drivers on the road than ever before. Additionally, industry demand is on the rise, and drivers are logging added miles in order to make deliveries and meet employer demands. Together, this means a higher number of drivers are on the road for longer periods of time, increasing the likelihood of an accident.
Simply put, auto liability claims are increasing in both frequency and severity year over year. This is occurring for a number of reasons, including the following:
- Litigation funding—Litigation funding is when a third party provides resources to attorneys to finance a lawsuit. In exchange, the third party receives a portion of the settlement. This is becoming more common in auto liability claims and often increases the cost of litigation overall, sometimes to seven figures.
- Claim severity—Settlement verdicts for bodily injury claims have been rising steadily. As a result, attorneys are more inclined to go to trial. This extends litigation and significantly raises the cost to defend a claim.
These facts depict an expensive and litigious environment for businesses involved in auto liability claims. In turn, insurers have a lower appetite for risk, making it difficult for employers to secure low rates.
Securing Affordable Coverage
While it can feel like the factors influencing the cost of coverage are out of a business’s control, there are things policyholders can do to secure better rates.
Organizations should have a strong understanding of their exposures and regularly examine the root causes of collisions and similar commercial auto concerns. Additionally, businesses should seek the help of a qualified insurance broker with a deep understanding of their operations and effective risk management strategies.
Contact Field-Waldo Insurance Agencies, Inc. today to learn more.