Any business with job positions that require employees to operate company owned, leased or personal vehicles for business use faces a heightened liability risk.
One small distraction behind the wheel can lead to a serious accident causing injury or death to others. Or, a not so serious accident with someone who sees “deep pockets” because they were hit by a vehicle operated by a business can lead to a large defense claim.
Think about it, you constantly hear personal injury attorney advertisements on the airwaves encouraging people who have been hit by commercial vehicles to call them because “big money can be at stake.”
What this means is your business must have a Motor Vehicle Record (MVR) Program in its driver qualification and selection process.
Without going into full scale detail about MVR programs in this post, businesses should, at a minimum, require applicants for driving positions, to submit a copy of their driving record as part of the application process. Additionally, require drivers to provide updated MVRs on an annual basis to evaluate driving performance and qualify them for continued operation of company owned and/or leased vehicles.
Drivers that received violations and/or were involved in preventable vehicle incidents may need training, counseling or other appropriate actions to correct poor driving behaviors.
This is where the the California DMV Employer Pull Notice (EPN) program comes in to play.
The California DMV Employer Pull Notice (EPN) program enables commercial organizations to monitor the driving records of employees who drive for them. By monitoring their employees’ driving records, organizations can:
- Ensure that each driver has a valid driver license.
- Recognize problem drivers or driving behavior.
- Improve public safety.
- Minimize liability.
How it Works:
Each employer enrolled in the EPN program is assigned a requester code. The requester code is added to applicable employees’ driver license records. When an employee’s driver license record is updated due to an action or activity, the DMV makes an electronic check to determine if a pull notice is on file. If the action or activity is one that must be reported under the EPN program, a driver record is generated and mailed to the employer.
Every year on the enrollment date, the EPN program automatically generates and mails a driver record when any of the following actions or activities occurs:
- The driver is enrolled in the EPN program.
- When a driver has any of the following actions or activities added to their driver record:
- Failures to appear (FTAs).
- Driver license suspensions or revocations.
- Any other actions taken against their driving privilege.
With the potential risk your business faces by having owned, leased or personal vehicles on the road, now is the time to put any and all risk management practices into place to to help lessen the likelihood of a loss. And the California DMV Employer Pull Notice (EPN) program is a great starting point. Check it out for yourself and contact me if you need any help with this.
Uber and Lyft passengers can now buy insurance before their rides to cover any accidents or even death. Chubb, one of the world’s biggest property-casualty insurers, is joining ranks with startup Sure to sell policies on an “on-demand, per-day basis,” to cover accidents or death. The initiative will be called RideSafe and will pay up to $10,000 in medical costs per accident and include a $100,000 death benefit. Eventually, RideSafe plans to offer insurance for autonomous vehicle rides.
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.
California Commercial Auto – What’s Driving Losses?
More traffic: Total 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 drivers: One-quarter of crashes involve drivers talking on phones or texting.
Escalating medical costs: Medical care costs are climbing more than 1.5 times faster than other costs.
More fatalities and other severe accidents: Accident rates per person and per mile
of driving are rising in California.
Inexperienced or undesirable drivers: A shortage of skilled commercial drivers with good driving records = greater odds for accidents.
Rising auto repair costs: Record 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.
Travelers Insurance Company has joined the ranks of other major carriers such as The Hartford in writing coverage for technology companies. Travelers Global Technology President Ronda Wescott and Chief Underwriting Officer Mike Thoma provide their perspective:
If you have a Life Science or Software and Information Technology Company and would like a review of your current insurance portfolio, feel free to contact me anytime. I can help market your coverage’s with all the major carriers specializing in this sector.
Some of the most common insurance coverage’s important to the Life Science or Software and Information Technology industry are:
- Commercial General Liability
- Professional Liability (Errors & Omissions)
- Workers’ Compensation
- Commercial Automobile
- Commercial Umbrella/ Excess Liability
- Cyber Liability & First Party Data Privacy Expense
- Directors and Officers Liability (D&O)
- Employment Practices Liability
- Fiduciary Liability
- Kidnap and Ransom
- Group Medical Insurance
- Group Life and Disability
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:
- New York City, NY
- Detroit, MI
- San Francisco, CA
- Chicago, IL
- Washington, DC
- Seattle, WA
- Boston, MA
- Miami, FL
- Honolulu, HI
- 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!)
Volkswagen created a pretty impressive PSA for an audience in Hong Kong that shows what happens when you look at your phone while driving.
After they were seated, the audience was shown a first-person view of a car on the road.
Using a location-based broadcaster, a person hiding upstairs then sent a text to everyone in the theater.
See what happens next…
“Mobile use is now the leading cause of death behind the wheel,” the ad finished.
Good work Volkswagen. I thought this was a clever and thoughtful message.
What’s Wrong With This Picture?
This powerful and simple driving safety advertisement from the New Zealand Transport Agency will really make you think about speeding and will probably give you some serious goosebumps when you watch it.
From Mashable: the public-service announcement dissects an accident by freezing the moment before impact. A man who pulled out of an intersection too fast pleads for his life and that of his son. The request falls on deaf ears, though. “I’m going too fast,” replies the driver of the oncoming car. The point: Other drivers make mistakes, too, so be careful.
Take a look for yourself:
Be careful out there and make sure you think of others first before yourself when you’re running late for that party, for work, or wherever else you’re trying get to. Give yourself plenty of time so that you’re not putting yourself in the situation where you feel the need to speed.
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!
I found this picture on Google+ today. Talking about rolling deep! Check this guy out…
Thinking about purchasing a used car? If so, protect yourself from buying a flood damaged vehicle by doing a little research and by having the vehicle thoroughly checked by a mechanic.
Every year, tens of thousands of cars are damaged by floodwaters and more than half end up back on the road. Damaged cars are often repaired cosmetically and moved to adjacent states or other areas of the country where many are sold to unsuspecting consumers. These floodwaters can cause damage to a vehicle’s computer and electrical systems, as well as potentially causing anti-lock braking and airbag systems to malfunction.
Used Car Buying Tips: Detecting and Avoiding Flood Damaged Vehicles (from CARFAX Vehicle History Reports)
To help you avoid cars with water damage, CARFAX offers these tips:
- Check the trunk, glove compartment, the dashboard and below the seats for signs of water damage such as silt, mud or rust.
- Examine upholstery and carpeting closely; if it doesn’t match the interior or fits loosely, it may have been replaced. Discolored, faded or stained materials could indicate water damage.
- Turn the ignition key and make sure that accessory and warning lights and gauges come on and work properly. Make sure the airbag and ABS lights come on.
- Test lights (interior and exterior), windshield wipers, turn signals, cigarette lighter, radio, heater and air conditioner several times to make sure they work.
- Flex some of the wires beneath the dashboard. Wet wires will become brittle upon drying and may crack.
- Take a deep breath and smell for musty odors from mildew.
- Go to a trusted mechanic for a pre-purchase inspection. Always get vehicles checked BEFORE handing over any money.
- Ask to see a vehicle history report.
Facts: Flood Damage from Hurricanes and Tropical Storms
- Hurricane Floyd (1999) damaged 75,000 vehicles and than half were put back out on the road.
- Tropical Storm Allison (2001) – More than 95,000 vehicles flooded by the most extensive tropical storm in U.S. history.
- Hurricane Ivan (2004) – Left more than 100,000 cars submerged in floodwaters throughout the Southeast.
- Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Rita and Hurricane Wilma (2005) – claimed more than 600,000 cars across the Gulf Coast. Many of these cars still are showing up for sale around the country.
- Hurricane Ike (2008) – more than 100,000 cars in Texas and Louisiana, from Galveston and Houston over to Baton Rouge, were left underwater.
If all else fails, you can do what the dude above did and you won’t have to worry about flood damage to your car.