Why report all new drivers?
At Eastern Atlantic, we believe experienced and safety conscious drivers are less likely to be involved in preventable accidents. However, we realize drivers change jobs a lot. If you operate five or more trucks you may seldom go more than a few months without hiring at least one new driver. Much of our underwriting and pricing is based on the experience and driving records of those drivers you tell us about. When you hire one without telling us it can lead to problems later in the policy term.
The following questions and answers assume the unreported driver is unacceptable or, acceptable with a surcharge, under our guidelines:
I REPORT ALL MY DRIVERS. WHAT CAN EASTERN ATLANTIC DO FOR ME?
First, thank you for reporting all your drivers! If you hire or lease only experienced drivers with good records and your turnover is low, you may already have received a substantial discount or, you may qualify for one at your next renewal. Ask your agent for details.
When we become aware of an unreported driver, our response is determined by our underwriting guidelines and the circumstances of each case. The following Q&A provide a general idea of what to expect.
WHAT IF I DON’T REPORT A NOT-SO-GOOD DRIVER WHO THEN HAS AN ACCIDENT?
While no pat answer can fit all situations, this question goes to the heart of why it is so important to report new drivers. Many courts have been known to award higher settlements due to so-called “negligent hiring” practices. Depending on the seriousness of the claim and your unreported driver’s history, these awards can exceed your policy limits. If we have to pay a serious claim because of an unreported and unacceptable driver we didn’t have the chance to underwrite, we may have little choice but to nonrenew your policy. That can make finding replacement coverage more difficult and expensive for you.
HOW DOES NOT REPORTING A DRIVER AFFECT MY PREMIUM?
If you hire or contract with a driver who is outside our guidelines you may avoid paying an additional driver surcharge premium now. However, if we learn of that driver through an inspection or because he or she later has an accident, we may increase your policy premium at renewal due to your failure to report. And, you would still have to pay the driver surcharge if that driver is still working for you. By reporting all drivers promptly, Eastern Atlantic has the opportunity to advise you if a new driver is outside our underwriting guidelines. You might still have to pay the surcharge but, you could qualify for a discount for prompt reporting.
WHAT IF I REPORT A DRIVER YOU DON’T WANT TO INSURE?
We won’t tell you not to hire or contract with the driver or to terminate him or her. Our job is to insure your business – not to run it. However, we reserve our right to protect our business from unusually high risk. In most cases, we will accept the driver with a pro-rated surcharge based on the size of your operation and overall driver profile. In a worst case, if the driver is outside our guidelines, you would be asked to sign an endorsement stating if we must pay a claim because of that driver’s negligence we may seek reimbursement from you for that claim.