Brian Fielkow recently wrote a terrific article on the rising cost of liability insurance and the negative impact it’s having on the trucking industry. Fielkow’s piece is both informative and inspirational. In my early career inside the trucking industry, I held executive level positions in safety and risk management. Then, I worked on the other side, writing insurance for trucking companies. I can confirm that Brian’s opening remarks are perfect:
“Insurance is not the problem. Blaming insurance companies is like blaming the mirror for the image it reflects.”
For 500 years, the availability and cost of insurance has ebbed and flowed, usually in eight to ten- year cycles. The current “crisis” is in part due to this pattern. However, rates are always tied to losses; specifically, the underwriters’ expectations of what future losses will be. Although rates can sometimes be more favorable for a safe operation, they are mostly based on the entire class of business. As an industry, trucking is shooting itself in the foot. Everyone can do better.
You can lament the never-ending challenge of finding and retaining safe drivers. You can complain about high insurance rates and blame your problems on others. Or you can do something about it. Brian aptly points out that you need to control what you can control. He also points out:
Safety is not a department – it’s a way of life.
Creating a safety culture is not rocket science. However, it does take a deep understanding of safety, risk management, human behavior and organizational systems. It also takes time and persistent effort. Brian Fielkow provides several great ideas to get you started. We provide proven best practices, systems and processes for every idea he lists, and we’ve helped dozens of world leading companies create and sustain World Class Safety Cultures.
You can choose to continue doing what you’re doing and getting the same results, or you can choose to do something new and different. Adapt your driver training to focus on the behavioral aspects of safety and what “safety” really means. Educate your drivers on the dangers of risk homeostasis and understand how all accidents are preventable. Cultivate habits that discourage distracted driving and promote critical LLLC principles. Insurance always responds to the market; safer drivers will mean lesser insurance costs. It’s just that simple.