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The U.S. Is seeing Some of the Largest Increases in Auto Accidents in More Than 50 years…

…And commercial auto insurance rates are spiking hard as a result. Carriers are backing down on coverage and most are putting some serious restrictions on their appetites.

See Property Casualty Insurers Association of America’s (PCI) 7 summer driving safety tips:

Also, see more from Hanover on why auto insurance rates are rising so dramatically:

-JK

Commercial Auto Insurance Prices Likely to Keep Rising

Most lines of insurance cycle between soft and hard markets over a number of years, which has a direct impact on the price of insurance. The commercial auto insurance market is currently hardening after many years of a soft market, which has resulted in higher prices for both commercial and personal auto policies.

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Between 2011 and 2016, competition between auto insurance carriers created a soft, buyer-friendly market. Since then, however, the high cost of claims and increasing costs of vehicle repairs have contributed to a noticeable transition in the market.

Contact me today. I can provide you with resources to help you understand and save on commercial auto insurance, including this prior post, “California Commercial Auto Insurance – Losses & Costs Rising.”

-JK

California Commercial Auto Insurance – Losses & Costs Rising

Right now there are industry-wide challenges with increasing loss costs in commercial and personal auto insurance, particularly in California. If you have a commercial auto insurance policy for your business, you’re probably seeing your premiums increase. If not, you can expect to. I’ve been seeing it with pretty much all major insurance carriers on the market. We’ve been having to shop coverage for clients like crazy due to the steep premium increases.

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California Commercial Auto – What’s Driving Losses?

More trafficTotal miles driven increased 50 percent faster in California than in the rest of the country since the start of 2015. More vehicles = higher frequency of accidents.

Distracted driversOne-quarter of crashes involve drivers talking on phones or texting.

Escalating medical costsMedical care costs are climbing more than 1.5 times faster than other costs.

More fatalities and other severe accidentsAccident rates per person and per mile
of driving are rising in California.

Inexperienced or undesirable driversA shortage of skilled commercial drivers with good driving records = greater odds for accidents.

Rising auto repair costsRecord U.S. auto sales mean garages are often servicing newer cars with more expensive parts. Even minor repairs can cost big bucks.

What you can do to help ease your commercial auto insurance loss costs?

  • Implement a fleet safety program and follow proper fleet maintenance procedures.
  • Enforce company policy for use of company vehicles (e.g., limitation on personal use, who can use company vehicles, hours of operation, etc.).
  • Regularly check employees’ driving records and take appropriate action driving records are not acceptable.
  • Use telematic devices to monitor employee driving habits and usage of company vehicles.
  • Be aware of the risks involved with employees using their personal vehicles on the job.
  • Provide Driver Safety Training for their employees. Important topics include, but are not limited to: Distracted Driving; Speeding; DUI; Need for Rest; What to do if your vehicle breaks down, etc.

Need help with these things? Contact me today. Buying a commercial auto policy is one thing, but implementing these risk management procedures along with the policy can help your business tremendously with costs.

-JK

The 10 Worst Cities for Drivers

Consumer advice website NerdWallet recently compiled a list of the 10 worst cities to drive in, based off five different criteria:

  • number of days of precipitation
  • annual hours of delay per commuter
  • gas prices
  • population density
  • average city car insurance rates.

Here are the results:

  1. New York City, NY
  2. Detroit, MI
  3. San Francisco, CA
  4. Chicago, IL
  5. Washington, DC
  6. Seattle, WA
  7. Boston, MA
  8. Miami, FL
  9. Honolulu, HI
  10. Oakland, CA

I’m absolutely shocked that Los Angeles nor Orange County, CA is on this list. As the most dense city in America, New York City takes the top spot. While many of the others on this list are very dense cities as well, large

public transportation systems can be found in each and offer a less stressful option for getting around (Not true for LA or OC!)

-JK

Drunk Driver Nearly Causes Multiple Accidents – Ends Up Crashing

Check out this cliff-hanger video. This drunk driver nearly causes multiple accidents but ends up crashing and putting his/her own life in jeopardy. Some tense moments on this two lane highway!

According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), out of every three traffic deaths involve drunk driving. Every 53 minutes on average, someone is killed in a drunk driving crash (9,878 people in total in 2011). Every 90 seconds, someone is injured because of this entirely preventable crime.

About one-third of the drunk driving problem – arrests, crashes, deaths, and injuries – comes from repeat offenders. At any given point we potentially share the roads with 2 million people with three or more drunk driving offenses.

What to do when you spot an Impaired Driver

  • Stay far behind the suspected drunk driver.
  • Get out of the way and expect the unexpected.
  • Wear your safety belt (and make sure that any children or other passengers have their safety belts fastened as well) – It is one of your best defenses against a drunk driver.
  • Stop right away and look for a phone.
  • Report suspected and impaired drivers to the California Highway Patrol or local police by dialing 911. Give the location, direction of travel, and description of the car and driver’s behavior.

What NOT to do when you spot an Impaired Driver

  • Do not try to pass the car!
  • Do not try to stop the vehicle.
  • Do not follow too closely. The car may stop abruptly.
  • Do not attempt to act in the capacity of the police.
  • Do not try to detain or confront the driver.
  • Call the local police or 911 and let them take care of it!

Most of the time, the signs of a drunk driver aren’t as obvious as the white Ranger in this video. Stay alert on the roads out there!

JK

How far has car safety come in 50 years? Take a look

1959 Chevrolet Bel Air vs. 2009 Chevrolet Malibu car safety crash test.

In the 50 years since US insurers organized the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, car crashworthiness has improved. Demonstrating this was a crash test conducted between a 1959 Chevrolet Bel Air and a 2009 Chevrolet Malibu. In a real-world collision similar to this test, occupants of the new model would fare much better than in the vintage Chevy.

“It was night and day, the difference in occupant protection,” says Institute president Adrian Lund. “What this test shows is that automakers don’t build cars like they used to. They build them better.”

The crash test was conducted at an event to celebrate the contributions of auto insurers to highway car safety progress over 50 years. Beginning with the Institute’s 1959 founding, insurers have maintained the resolve, articulated in the 1950s, to “conduct, sponsor, and encourage programs designed to aid in the conservation and preservation of life and property from the hazards of highway accidents.”

More information at http://www.iihs.org/50th/default.html

JK

What To Do In the Event of An Insurance Claim

When you deal with an incident that gives rise to an insurance claim, it’s usually a pretty crappy situation. It can be stressful, terrifying, frightening, and alarming in many cases. First things first, try not to panic. Hopefully it’s an incident you carry insurance for to be protected.

Your insurance contract requires that you report all claims promptly. Contact your insurance carrier or broker as possible after a property, liability, worker’s comp or automobile claim. An insurance company claims adjuster will be assigned to handle your claim. You should then be able to deal directly with the adjuster to settle your claim, but your broker can be there with you to assist you along the way.

Here’s step-by-step suggestions on how you should handle property, liability, workers compensation, and auto insurance claims.

Property Claims

In the event of damage to your building or contents:

  1. Protect the property from further damage:
    • Call the proper authorities and utilities (gas, electric, telephone).
    • Take photos of the damage before having emergency repairs made, such as boarding up windows or covering holes in the roof.
  2. Call your insurance broker or carrier to report the loss.
  3. Call a contractor to estimate the building damages.
  4. Separate damaged contents from undamaged contents. Do not discard any items until the claims adjuster gives you the authority to do so.
  5. Keep records of expenses if you are forced to temporarily relocate your business.
  6. Do not authorize repairs until the claims adjuster has given you the authority to do so.

After the claim is reported to the insurance company, the claims adjuster will:

  1. Contact you by phone or mail to discuss the loss
  2. Arrange for an appraiser to inspect extensively damaged property
  3. Assist you with your choice of contractors to make the repairs
  4. Contact you for a settlement

Liability Claims

In the event of injuries or damage to property of others which you allegedly caused:

  1. Call your insurance broker or carrier to report the claim.
  2. Forward any correspondence, including a summons from an attorney representing the other party.
  3. Do not discuss the claim with the other party or their attorney. Refer them to your insurance company’s claims adjuster or to us.

After the claim is reported to the insurance company, the claims adjuster will:

  1. Contact you to discuss the incident that allegedly caused the injury or damage to the property
  2. Deal directly with the other party and/or attorney to handle the claim

Workers’ Compensation Claims

In the event an employee is injured on the job:

  1. Complete the Employer’s First Report of Injury or Disease form for all claims. Either use the “call in” reporting system or fax the original form to the insurance company.
  2. Forward a copy of the First Report to your broker in the event of a disabling injury or death claim. They should follow-up with the insurance company for their prompt handling of the claim.
  3. Contact the insurance company to question the status of a claim. If you experience delays or have questions, contact your broker for assistance.

After you report the claim to the insurance company, the claims adjuster will:

  1. Contact the injured employee to discuss the accident
  2. Request copies of bills and doctors’ reports for medical treatment administered
  3. Contact you, the employer, if there is any lost time from work as a result of the injury

Auto Insurance Claims

In the event of an automobile accident:

  1. Report the accident to the police.
  2. Obtain information about the other people involved in the accident such as:
    1. Names, addresses and phone numbers
    2. Insurance company
    3. Type of vehicle
    4. Auto and driver’s license numbers.
  3. Have your vehicle towed to the nearest repair shop if the vehicle is not drivable. Do not authorize repairs until the claims adjuster gives you the authority to do so.
  4. Call your insurance broker or carrier to report the accident.

In the event of a windshield, vandalism or theft loss:

  1. Report the vandalism loss or theft to the police.
  2. Call us to report a loss.

After the claim is reported to the insurance company, the claims adjuster will:

  1. Contact you to request details of the accident and repair estimates
  2. Arrange for an appraiser to inspect the damages of vehicles that are not drivable or extensively damaged
    1. Contact you for a settlement
    2. Deal directly with the others involved in the accident

You should not talk to others involved in the accident, but refer them to your claims adjuster.

-JK

Source: Zywave, Inc.

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