NUCLEAR VERDICTS AND LOSS CONTROL
As long as trucks have shared the road with cars there have been serious accidents. For most of that time relatively few have resulted in settlements greater than $1 million. That’s because most people accepted that “accidents will happen.” Increasingly, that attitude has changed to “someone’s going to pay till it hurts!” This shift in attitude is fueled by aggressive legal tactics that appeal to jurors’ anger toward the one liable for the accident. When the liable party is a trucker, two things are apt to occur. First, the public tend to fear big 18-wheelers and accept stereotypical images of truckers as reckless cowboys of the road. Second, most trucks are insured for at least $1,000,000 and the companies who insure them are perceived as having bottomless resources. Finally, most states have no limit on what juries can award for “pain and suffering.” When you add it up, truckers are painted as the villain juries love to hate, insurance companies have “deep pockets” waiting to be picked and there’s no limit on how much the jury can award. Not pretty, but that’s all too often the way it is when a serious accident happens.
Are these verdicts the only reason my insurance keeps going up?
No. “Nuclear verdicts” are well publicized jury awards in the tens of millions of dollars. They mark a hardening in the public’s attitude toward how accident victims are compensated that isn’t likely to soften. Your chances of being involved in a Nuclear verdict case have increased dramatically in recent years. Also, injury accidents are more expensive due to soaring medical costs. Physical damage claims have skyrocketed as technological innovations become more common and repair costs grow proportionately. As lawsuits proliferate, our costs to defend you grow as does our cost for reinsurance (insurance for insurance companies). The explosion in nuclear verdicts only fuels greater costs.
How can I protect myself and reduce my truck insurance premium?
If you’re insured by Eastern Atlantic, or thinking about becoming an insured, chances are you are an owner-operator or a small fleet owner. As an owner-operator you may think “I just need to be a good driver and maintain my truck and I’ll be fine.” As an operator of a small fleet of up to 15 trucks you may feel that a formal loss control program is an expense you can’t afford. “My agent reviews MVRs for my new hires, I maintain basic driver and maintenance files, I subcontract random drug testing and have ELDs in all my trucks. What more can I do without drowning in costs?”
Eastern Atlantic offers several solutions.
- DashCam Reimbursement Program. Simply purchase the dashcams of your choice, install them in all your trucks, provide us with receipts and sign an agreement governing their use in the event of an accident. We’ll reimburse you one time for up to $150.00 per dashcam. If an accident happens, send us the video. We’ll use it to confirm exactly what happened; not how the “other guy” claims it happened, or what an unreliable witness thinks happened. Often the video exonerates our insured, but even if it doesn’t, we’ll be able to settle the claim more quickly so the time you spend dealing with it will be minimized. For more information, click here: https://easternatlanticins.com/dashcam/.
- Loss Control Surveys.* Eastern Atlantic partners with EXL, a nationally known firm that provides detailed inspections in the field, which we use to evaluate areas needing improvement such as driver selection and management, vehicle maintenance and overall safety practices. Those who participate have usually found benefits that go beyond just reducing losses. Your cooperation with recommendations made as a result of a Loss Control Survey can:
- Reduce your CSA BASIC scores.
- Improve driver retention.
- Reduce down time through improved maintenance.
What if my fleet is bigger?
In addition to the above, if you operate a fleet of more than 15 power units Eastern Atlantic partners with Lytx who offers their DriveCam system, part of a comprehensive loss control and driver management program. If utilized to its full potential, your fleet can experience up to 50% reduction in collisions and 80% reduction in claim costs as well as better BASIC scores, driver retention and more. We subsidize $10 per month per truck of the required monthly service charge for this exceptional program. Click here for more information: https://easternatlanticins.com/drivecam/.
What about discounts?
In addition to one-time reimbursements for DashCams, no cost to you for loss control surveys* and $10/month/truck subsidy for DriveCam, insureds who participate in Eastern Atlantic’s loss control program are automatically eligible for up to 25% in discounts off their auto liability and physical damage premiums. Most insureds who qualify earn at least 10%.
How do I get started?
If you are not currently insured with Eastern Atlantic, click here: https://easternatlanticins.com/quick-quote-state/. If you are already insured with us, simply contact your agent or click on one of the links above.
Thank you for your interest in Eastern Atlantic Insurance Company!
*= Loss control surveys are conducted based on the size of the fleet. There may be some costs associated with compliance with some safety recommendations made as the result of a survey. Most recommendations involve FMCSA requirements and are the motor carriers’ responsibility. Eastern Atlantic does not cover these or any other costs of doing business. Discounts are available to first time fleet insureds who indicate they have an active safety program subject to verification through their first loss control survey. Subsequent surveys are conducted at our expense as part of our ongoing loss control program.