Don’t let loss control visits catch you off-guard

Before a motor carrier can receive a quote for commercial insurance, some insurance companies will often request a loss control visit to get to know the carrier and assess its risk—especially those with larger fleet sizes.

Insurance carriers use loss control data for underwriting purposes to prescreen potential customers and to advise existing ones on ways to improve safety and reduce losses. 

Receiving a satisfactory loss control score is beneficial for companies seeking to reduce premiums. Scoring poorly can result in higher initial quotes and possibly the denial of coverage from the insurance carrier. 

Motor carriers should take the necessary steps to prepare for the consultation as early as possible to ensure the visit goes smoothly and without any mistakes.

Before the visit

Loss control visits require both parties to do a bit of digging. Motor carriers are expected to have the proper documents available for inspection, so it’s best to gather files ahead of time.

Reliance Partners’ Chief Marketing Officer Brenda Wiser advises motor carriers to provide a copy of its driver manual, as well as vehicle, driver and location schedules to the loss control representatives. Additionally, providing accident registers and a table of contents from any recent safety meeting will give the rep a better understanding of a fleet’s safety record and training. It’s best to have as many documents available as possible to avoid any delays.

“A motor carrier can pull out a few driver files and have those ready, but they should also be prepared that a loss control rep could randomly ask for any driver file so they can see that everything is in order,” said Wiser.

Be advised that consultations can vary in length and, in some cases, be a day-long affair. The members of the company involved in the consultation process should be informed to adjust their schedules accordingly and be willing to speak with the rep throughout the day.

Loss control reps will most likely request to meet with a company’s owner, human resources representative and safety manager. In some cases, especially for smaller motor carriers, one person may hold all these titles.

Management should be ready for the visit

It’s crucial that owners be present during the visit, as they’re often the best ambassadors for the company. Wiser said that preliminary insurance consultations provide a great opportunity for owners to tell the company’s story and describe their insurance needs. Wiser explained that insurance representatives are regularly impressed with owners who show genuine interest in safety and are actively engaged in the loss control process.

Wiser said that an owner should also be ready to discuss other aspects of the business, including its major customers, the lanes it operates and future growth strategies. She also noted that it’s important for owners to portray a safety-first image on behalf of the motor carrier.

“We don’t expect the owner to sit in on the whole loss control visit unless they choose to, but it’s very important that the owner is there,” Wiser said. “There is no one that can tell the story of the business better than the owner.”

Loss control reps are especially interested in hearing from HR representatives to understand the company’s hiring strategies and annual turnover rates. They will most likely want to know the motor carrier’s pre-hire techniques, such as testing methods and screening programs, and the company’s drug and alcohol testing procedures.

A motor carrier’s safety manager is tasked with managing the company’s on-boarding procedures and safety training. It’s no secret that insurance companies favor motor carriers that regularly host safety meetings, webinars, and classroom training sessions, so it’s important that fleet owners value safety as a top priority.

Wiser said that loss control reps will thoroughly review the motor carrier’s use of telematics or recording systems. She said that although many fleets install event-recording technology in their vehicles, safety managers may not know how to monitor the data or use it to coach their drivers. 

“A lot of times motor carriers have these systems in place but the data is overwhelming,” Wiser said. “Consultations are a good time for safety managers to talk to their loss control rep to ask what are good things to be monitoring.”

Loss control reps will also want to know how the motor carrier inspects its vehicles before and after each trip and whether these jobs are performed on-site or by a maintenance vendor.

Regardless of maintenance and safety training, accidents do occur. Loss control reps will ask about the steps safety managers take post-accident. Insurance carriers expect trucking companies to have a thorough accident investigation process in place and properly discipline and train drivers involved in a crash.

It’s common for employees to occasionally not know the answer to a question. Wiser explained that employees should be truthful with the rep by admitting they don’t know the answer but will provide the data to them at a later time. 

“Every single question isn’t always answered during the loss control visit,” Wiser said.

Motor carriers should be accurate and truthful when subject to a loss control consultation. It is likely that an insurance carrier will deny you a quote if they suspect the company is operating dishonestly.

Motor carriers shouldn’t be intimidated by a loss control visit but instead should view it as an opportunity to improve workplace practices and to receive an insurance premium best-fit for the company. As payouts from “nuclear lawsuits” involving truck-related accidents surge to unbelievable amounts, fleet-owners should feel a sense of urgency to reduce the possibilities of accidents any way they can.