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Brooker Insurance Agency https://brookertransportation.com Home, Auto & More Fri, 11 Jan 2019 15:49:07 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=6.1.1 How Insurance Can Help Retain and Recruit Good Drivers https://brookertransportation.com/how-insurance-can-help-retain-and-recruit-good-drivers/ https://brookertransportation.com/how-insurance-can-help-retain-and-recruit-good-drivers/#respond Fri, 28 Dec 2018 15:48:36 +0000 https://www.brooker-ins.com/?p=1407 Hiring and retaining commercial drivers of all stripes is particularly challenging at the moment. The American Trucking Association, in a 2017 report, indicated that the shortage of qualified drivers was...

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Hiring and retaining commercial drivers of all stripes is particularly challenging at the moment. The American Trucking Association, in a 2017 report, indicated that the shortage of qualified drivers was projected to be 50,000 in 2017 and could grow to over 174,000 by 2026. It will become increasingly important that you’re set up to recruit good drivers.

Thus, fleets are actively looking to incentivize drivers to join and stay. If you manage a fleet, don’t overlook creative approaches. Think about upgrading your transportation insurance policy and company benefits as part of your hiring and retention programs.

 

Lower Premiums, Happier Truckers

Insurance rates for commercial autos may continue to rise, but being proactive may reduce your premium cost, resulting in happier drivers. Lower premiums allow companies to staff more, releasing pressure on drivers trying to meet deadlines and handling too much of a workload. Trucking companies with any history of compliance issues or drivers with marks on their record, no matter how minor, are having the hardest time. The extent of compliance problems for insurers has caused the outright exit from commercial autos by some of the markets dominant carriers, such as AIG, Lexington, and Zurich. The good news is that relief has come in the form of an increased opportunity for specialty brokers. Trucking companies should consider using a broker to navigate the myriad of options and to create a personalized policy that better caters to their unique needs.

 

Due Diligence when Hiring and Good Perks

The hiring gap has put a pinch on many commercial fleets. Avoid making hasty mistakes to save money, like easing up on your hiring qualifications and requirements. Insurers will view a company with high-risk drivers and lax hiring processes unfavorably. A risky driver might become a liability that you can’t afford down the road. The following are additional perks that will help encourage your drivers’ company commitment, for any size fleet;

 

Easing Travel Costs in Case of an Emergency

Strictly speaking, the driver is your employee. However, the choices they make impact their families. While everyone may hope otherwise, accidents do happen. If your driver finds him/herself in the hospital several states away from home as the result of an accident, it’s not an ideal station for either them or their family.

You can consider incorporating ancillary benefits, such as “family travel” insurance, which can be an affordable perk. A voluntary endorsement can defray the costs of bringing an injured driver’s family to them in the event of an emergency at a distant location.

 

Health Insurance Benefits

You might consider upgrading your health insurance packages for drivers. A good place to start is to consider allowing drivers to get health insurance coverage more quickly. Another way to attract and retain drivers, according to RTS Carrier Services, is to help pay for their health insurance premiums. While many fleets pass at least some of the costs associated with healthcare plans on to their drivers, you can set your fleet apart by offering to pay premiums in their entirety.

 

Engaging Family Members

Because commercial drivers can spend an inordinate amount of time away from their families, finding other ways to engage them can foster trust and encourage commitment to the fleet. In a 2015 article in Commercial Carrier Journal (CCJ), David Dallas of Milan Supply Chain Solutions said the company changed its hiring policies to more effectively explain insurance and other benefits not only to drivers but also to their spouses. He said the company made the change after acknowledging the role spouses play in driver retention — and after seeing turnover for that year hit 100 percent.

Attracting and retaining drivers for your fleet has been and will likely continue to be a challenge. As you look for ways to bring them — and keep them — aboard, good insurance policies and benefits can be key. Look at your drivers’ current insurance packages and see how you might be able to make them more attractive. It could help you fight the ongoing issue in hiring and retaining quality drivers.

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Join Brooker Insurance at the UMA Motorcoach Expo https://brookertransportation.com/join-brooker-insurance-at-the-uma-motorcoach-expo/ https://brookertransportation.com/join-brooker-insurance-at-the-uma-motorcoach-expo/#respond Wed, 05 Dec 2018 19:01:08 +0000 https://www.brooker-ins.com/?p=1401 The ocean breeze, palm trees, and warm sand, The UMA Motorcoach Expo in Fort Lauderdale, FL is the perfect way to motivate and educate your team! Come hang out with...

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The ocean breeze, palm trees, and warm sand, The UMA Motorcoach Expo in Fort Lauderdale, FL is the perfect way to motivate and educate your team! Come hang out with Brooker Transportation and motorcoach industry leaders January 6-10, 2019.

 

Visit us at the Expo

We’re excited that Brooker Transportation will have a front-row seat as an exhibitor at the exhibit hall, where the most innovative trends are showcased. The exhibit hall is where you’ll find all of the motorcoach manufacturers, operators, thought leaders, vendors, and 2,000 professionals in the motorcoach industry. Find Brooker Transportation in the middle of the Expo floor, near the entrance.

 

Mark Your Calendar

UMA Motorcoach Expo 2019

January 6-10th

Broward County Convention Center, Fort Lauderdale, FL

When you arrive in Fort Lauderdale there is complimentary shuttle service from the airport to UMA host hotels. After you get settled in, join us at the Broward County Convention CenterRegistration opens 10:30am-5pm, Check out the full schedule of events at the UMA Motorcoach Expo website.

  • Jan. 6 – UMA State Association Summit and Welcome Receptions
  • Jan. 7 – Expo Opening and Sneak Preview After Party
  • Jan. 8 – UMA Maintenance Competition and International Driver Competition
  • Jan. 9 – Education sessions and Bus Operations Site Visit
  • Jan. 10 – 15th Annual Ray Dupuis Memorial Golf Tournament

 

Party at the Beach

The Expo’s networking opportunities are laid-back, collegial events that encourage you to connect with industry peers and have fun. In the past, UMA has hosted networking events at places like the Coca-Cola Factory, Anheuser-Busch, and the St. Louis City Museum.

This year’s will take place on the beach with bonfires and s’mores. Steel drum music, pig roasts, fire dancers, and all sorts of fun entertainment are also on the expo agenda.

 

Make it a Vacation

Educating your team and networking is the point, but a beach-town vacation is a great perk. Fort Lauderdale has more than 400 miles of canals, hence its nickname, “Venice of America.” There’s plenty to do outside the Expo, from world-class art, craft breweries, unbeatable scuba diving and the wild and exotic Everglades. Don’t forget to take a walk along the 23-mile beachfront promenade.

 

As an independent insurance agent, we take pride in our premier transportation partnerships. We’re able to quote your insurance with multiple carriers, and we represent the best in the industry. We can’t wait to meet you and learn about your transportation business. Let the good times roll. We’ll see you in Fort Lauderdale!

 

PHOTO: Pixabay / CC0 Public Domain

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How Independent Truckers Can Lower Their Insurance Rates https://brookertransportation.com/how-independent-truckers-can-lower-their-insurance-rates/ https://brookertransportation.com/how-independent-truckers-can-lower-their-insurance-rates/#respond Thu, 29 Nov 2018 20:12:02 +0000 https://www.brooker-ins.com/?p=1397 If you drive a commercial truck, you know that insurance rates have risen dramatically over the past few years. Running a successful business means keeping costs down. With higher premiums...

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If you drive a commercial truck, you know that insurance rates have risen dramatically over the past few years. Running a successful business means keeping costs down. With higher premiums as the new norm for independent truck drivers and industry management, new approaches to insurance and insurance risks are essential.

 

Why Insurance Rates Rise

Your premiums are pooled with those of others paying for the same type of insurance. In theory, this gives the insurance companies the financial strength to cover large payouts. Unfortunately, things don’t always work that way.

Recently, a dire situation arrived at the doors of those providing insurance for independent truck drivers. As reported on TRUCKS, 2016 brought much higher-than-expected number claims involving commercial vehicles. The payouts depleted the cash reserves of an alarming number of insurance carriers. This caused such a drastic loss in profits, insurers reported their worst economic performance in fifteen years.

In response to the elevated risk, insurers raised their rates. They also started charging even higher premiums for new drivers, categorizing them as “high risk.” 

 

The Challenge of Lowering Insurance Rates for Truckers

Faced with these challenges, how do independent truckers lower their insurance rates? Insurance companies have to not only cover the costs of doing business, they must show profits year-over-year, so a raise in rates after a red-line year like 2016 was inevitable. The lesson here is that lowering your risk has everything to do with lowering your rates. This moves safety to the front of the line when it comes to lowering insurance rates.

 

Truck Improvements

One way to increase safety involves improvements to the vehicles themselves. Many of the injuries and damages that occur in trucking happen on the receiving end–that is, to those driving smaller vehicles that collide with trucks. Finding ways to reduce those damages has inspired safety experts and truck trailer manufacturers to create improved underride guards, the bars that prevent smaller vehicles from driving underneath tractor trailers. According to TRUCKS, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety recently honored a number of truck manufacturers for improving the strength of their underride guards.

 

Safety Cameras on Trucks

FleetOwner reports many truckers and trucking companies are installing cameras on their vehicles. Safety cameras help drivers maintain best driving practices, which results in fewer accidents and helps keep insurance costs lower. These cameras also help record who is to blame during accidents. This prevents frivolous lawsuits brought against truckers and trucking companies, which also lowers insurance costs. 

 

Taking Control of Costs for Independent Truckers Insurance

An understanding of how insurance companies work and the challenges they face will help independent truckers to lower their insurance rates. A safety-minded driver with a similar minded team can prevent significant losses. Improved truck features, like stronger underride guards and safety cameras, will also help lower insurance premiums. When it comes to truckers’ insurance, understanding how the system works and that you can do something about it provides a welcome measure of control.

 

PHOTO: Pixabay / CC0 Public Domain

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Prepare Your Fleet for the Holiday Season https://brookertransportation.com/prepare-your-fleet-for-the-holiday-season/ https://brookertransportation.com/prepare-your-fleet-for-the-holiday-season/#respond Mon, 19 Nov 2018 19:41:36 +0000 https://www.brooker-ins.com/?p=1393 With increased workload, more traffic, and possibly inclement weather, the holiday season brings a feast of risk for truckers. Ensuring holiday season safety for your fleet involves two components. The...

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With increased workload, more traffic, and possibly inclement weather, the holiday season brings a feast of risk for truckers. Ensuring holiday season safety for your fleet involves two components. The first component requires checking, updating, and stocking the vehicles for cold conditions. The second consideration involves educating drivers in the best practices for winter weather driving. Combining the two offers the best protection for fleet owners and independent truckers.

 

Preparing Commercial Vehicles for Holiday Season Driving

Commercial vehicles carry greater safety concerns due either their weight or whether they carry passengers. Both of those factors pose safety issues of major importance. Prepping a vehicle for winter may add a bit of time and extra vigilance, but the results are well worth it. Regularly inspect tires, batteries, and antifreeze, at minimum. FleetEquipmentMag.com also recommends having “cold-weather clothing and footwear, a shovel, flashlight with extra batteries, blankets, first aid kit, flares, radio, anti-gel fuel additive and food and water.” Drivers and commercial truck driving companies should create, build upon, and adhere to their own lists.

 

Preparing Commercial Drivers for Holiday Season Driving

Following a thorough winterization of your fleet for the holiday season, you should also prepare the drivers. An essential part of any fleet operation includes safety training. Preparing for winter driving should be no exception. Ryder posts a helpful list of safety tips for truckers. Prominently mentioned on those lists are driver stress and fatigue, the risks of which can increase with winter driving conditions. Experts overwhelmingly agree that pulling a vehicle off the road when drowsiness or fatigue sets is the best course of action. The added risks of winter driving should make a yearly appearance in addition to other training.

 

Continuing Education Improves Winter Driving Safety

Education for fleet drivers for holiday season driving should also include reminders of troublespots. A fantastic list of safety tips by DMV.org points out such winter driving hazards as black ice, exit ramps, bridges, intersections, and areas prone to high winds. Keeping drivers up to date on training and alert of conditions is a step in the right direction.

 

Drunk Driving Hazards for Truckers during the Holiday Season

The holiday season also sees an increase in drunk driving. Independent truckers and fleet drivers should exercise extra caution on dates historically known to have a higher number of impaired drivers on the road, as well as any other time during the season. Transportation.gov reported that in the U.S., 781 fatalities related to drunk driving crashes occurred in 2016, just in the month of December.

 

Continued Insurance Coverage Assurance for Winter Driving

With road dangers higher during the holiday season for trucking and transportation, insurance becomes a major concern as well. A fundamental and rather simple means to improve safety for fleets and drivers is to confirm current insurance coverage and that it provides for all of the potential risks.

 

Peace of Mind for Truckers this Holiday Season

Getting ready in advance will reduce stress later on in the winter months. Create a checklist now with dates to apply each step. With awareness of the risks, mindful preparation, training, and proper coverage for drivers, you can head into the holiday season with a greater peace of mind.

PHOTO: Pixabay / CC0 Public Domain

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Educate Your Drivers About Distracted Driving https://brookertransportation.com/educate-your-drivers-about-distracted-driving/ https://brookertransportation.com/educate-your-drivers-about-distracted-driving/#respond Tue, 30 Oct 2018 18:03:15 +0000 https://www.brooker-ins.com/?p=1385 Keeping your company’s drivers safe on the road is a big responsibility. It’s getting increasingly difficult to keep commercial drivers focused with the ubiquity of smartphones and other mobile devices....

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Keeping your company’s drivers safe on the road is a big responsibility. It’s getting increasingly difficult to keep commercial drivers focused with the ubiquity of smartphones and other mobile devices. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) found, in a 2009 study, that 71 percent of large-truck crashes occurred when the truck driver was doing something besides driving the truck.

Of course, the foremost concern is the safety of everyone on the road. But jobs and employees are also on the line, no matter the incident. The FMCSA also states “drivers caught texting or using hand-held mobile phones are subject to fines, disqualifications, and being put out-of-service.”

Although drivers may be well aware of these dangers, they can get comfortable after being on the road a while, and an incoming text from a loved one or friend may prove too tempting. Here’s some advice on keeping your trucking fleet accident and worry-free.

 

Smart Phones and Tech in the Cab

A lot is going on in a modern trucker’s cab, from the newly required electronic logging devices to navigation and fleet management devices and apps. It’s easy to imagine the difficulty in focusing on the road with so many internal-cab distractions.

Limit the number of gadgets in your cabs. It’s easy to get carried away with fuel-coaching devices and other truck tech, but you should consider company policies that limit excessive gizmos. So, your driver’s cabs aren’t too busy, but what about distractions outside of the trucks?

 

Anything that Takes Your Eyes Away from Driving is Dangerous

When discussing safety tips and processes with your drivers, don’t underestimate eye-catching distractions beyond the cab. The FMCSA and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found, in a three-year study, that an estimated 11,000 truck crashes in the U.S. involved external distractions.

Outdoor advertising, such as static and moving billboards, cleverly capture people’s attention. Remind your drivers to avoid looking at these objects, and even a quick glimpse could lead to a fatal accident.

 

Do Not Use Dispatch Devices While Driving

Let your drivers know that no matter how convenient it seems to pick up a message on a dispatch device, it must wait. There is nothing urgent enough to warrant the increased risk of a crash. According to the FMCSA, “texting on a dispatching device is indistinguishable from texting on another text-capable device, and is therefore prohibited.”

As technology advances, companies are creating easier-to-use and safer dispatching devices. Implement a dispatching device that supports voice-recognition and the ability to respond and read messages aloud without looking at a screen.

It’s a good practice to routinely remind your drivers:

  • Never eat while driving
  • Do not reach for objects
  • Do not read anything
  • No dialing or texting

Bob Bringgold, national director of risk control for Northland offers a great idea. During team meetings, ask drivers to recall the craziest distraction or thing they’ve seen on the road. It will encourage conversation and help get drivers engaged in company safety and risk prevention.

 

What are the Penalties for Distracted Driving?

The penalties for truck drivers caught driving-while-distracted, accident or not, vary per extenuating circumstances and location. The FMCSA states:

“Using a hand-held mobile phone while driving a CMV can result in driver disqualification. Penalties can be up to $2,750 for drivers and up to $11,000 for employers who allow or require drivers to use a hand-held communications device while driving.”

You also risk disqualification by the FMCSA. Multiple violations can result in disqualification by a state. Some helpful reminders from the FMCSA include:

  • Use voice-activated dialing
  • Use an earpiece or speakerphone
  • Drivers are not in compliance if they unsafely reach for a mobile phone, even if they intend to use the hands-free function.

 

Talk to your trusted agent at Brooker Transportation Agency to learn more about protecting your drivers from distracted driving. We are your source for comprehensive truck insurance. We provide protection from a variety of commercial trucking risks.

 

PHOTO: Wikimedia Commons / CC0 Public Domain

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How to Prepare Your Drivers in Case of an Accident https://brookertransportation.com/how-to-prepare-your-drivers-in-case-of-an-accident/ https://brookertransportation.com/how-to-prepare-your-drivers-in-case-of-an-accident/#respond Thu, 18 Oct 2018 17:46:08 +0000 https://www.brooker-ins.com/?p=1382 Things are going great for your company. You’re meeting deadlines, making revenue goals, and growing your team. It’s easy to develop an attitude that the worst won’t happen. But the...

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Things are going great for your company. You’re meeting deadlines, making revenue goals, and growing your team. It’s easy to develop an attitude that the worst won’t happen. But the road is a dangerous place. Driving a commercial truck is, at times, like maneuvering an obstacle course. Even when you take steps to keep your drivers safe, accidents happen. The best thing you can do is to prepare. Besides checking that you have sufficient, trustworthy insurance, prepare your drivers. Make sure they know how to respond in this rare but highly stressful situation.

 

Prevention is Best

Preventing accidents should be your motto, no matter who’s at fault, a scratch or fatality. Discuss with drivers ways to stay alert on the road and not take unnecessary risks. Provide drivers with a 24-hour first point of contact list at your company.

Truckers are often in a rush to meet a deadline, and this can result in pushing themselves to drive past their limits. Truck drivers might think they are capable of operating with little sleep, but the DOT found that 87% of trucker-caused crashes were due to driver fatigue. Make sure your drivers adhere to FMCSA regulations by driving a maximum of 11 hours after ten consecutive work days, and 10 hours after eight straight hours off-duty.

Another major contributor to all auto accidents is cell phone usage. Set and routinely explain policies prohibiting cell phone use while driving. Include other distractions, too, like eating on the road.

 

In Case of an Accident

Everything that happens following an accident, such as dealing with insurance, is easier if your drivers react appropriately. Here are steps to request of your drivers if they get in an accident.

Keep calm and turn on your hazards. Take a deep breath and do not move. While mentally assessing the situation, remind yourself that you are a professional and still representing your company.

  1. Do not admit fault! You may want to say, “I’m sorry” even when you did nothing wrong, but this could be used against you in court.
  2. Do not move. Leave your truck at the crash site unless police instruct you otherwise. Also, never purposefully park the truck as a barricade in any situation.
  3. Put out reflectors as soon as you’re able. One reflector goes 10 feet behind the vehicle and a second 100 feet behind.
  4. Call 911. If you cannot operate your phone, ask multiple people to get help. Do not rely on one person who says they are going to get help.
  5. Collect information. Don’t focus on this step too much, as it can be seen as coercion if excessive or aggressive. Get the name, address, and phone number of any witnesses. At minimum, take a photo or write down license plate numbers of involved vehicles.
  6. Call the company. Report what happened clearly, accurately, and without defensiveness. They will likely contact the insurance company for you.
  7. Take photos. Capture as many images as you can of the accident and damage to either your truck or another vehicle. Also, include skid marks or vehicle positions, signals, and anything that may deem useful. A smartphone is great for this as it timestamps the images.

It’s up to your company to decide whether or not to provide first aid training. It would seem very reasonable and responsible if you do, especially in a courtroom. If you do, be sure to provide proper training and first-aid kits.

 

Other Tips for Truck Drivers

After ensuring everyone involved is safe and unharmed, and taking care of the above necessary steps, it’s a good idea to check your cargo. If you were hauling anything dangerous, get the road flares out sooner than later to keep traffic from harm.

Cooperate with any police officers at the scene. Agree to blood and alcohol tests if they ask. If you were operating by the law and, depending on the severity of the accident, you shouldn’t have to worry about losing your CDL, but may require review.

Make sure your drivers and trucks are covered and secure. Call Brooker Transportation Agency at 440-238-5454 for comprehensive truck insurance, as well as; bus, motor coach, limousine, charter and tour company, school bus, public transit, and more.

 

PHOTO: Pixabay / CC0 Public Domain

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Employment Practices Liability Insurance https://brookertransportation.com/employment-practices-liability-insurance/ https://brookertransportation.com/employment-practices-liability-insurance/#respond Fri, 22 Jun 2018 23:07:26 +0000 http://brooker-ins.com/?p=1190 The post Employment Practices Liability Insurance appeared first on Brooker Insurance Agency.

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Employment Practices Liability Insurance (EPLI) is something that you may want to consider as you look at the coverages on your current policy. It turns out that sixty to seventy percent of companies do not have EPLI or think that their current policy covers them when it really does not. Our goal today is to promote awareness in regard to this important coverage to help you make an informed decision as you review your policy with your agent.
APLI covers your business in case you face a lawsuit in regard to your employees. For instance, it might be an issue related to hiring malpractice, inappropriate background checks, wrongful termination, harassment, discrimination, or other similar matters. The lawsuits related to these kinds of matters are rising by approximately 400% ins one years. Many companies believe that this type of liability is covered under their General Liability policy, but that is often not the case.
It is so important that, at Brooker Insurance, we are talking about EPLI with each and every commercial client we meet for an insurance review. We encourage you to talk to your trusted agent or broker about it as well.

“Sixty to seventy percent of companies do not have EPLI!”

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Target Premium https://brookertransportation.com/target-premium/ https://brookertransportation.com/target-premium/#respond Fri, 22 Jun 2018 22:49:27 +0000 http://brooker-ins.com/?p=1188 The post Target Premium appeared first on Brooker Insurance Agency.

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When working with an insurance underwriter in regard to your insurance, your insurance broker may provide a target premium amount. That amount may be related to a number you provide or it may be determined by the broker in accordance with what would be best for you, the customer. At other times, it may simply be that the broker asks the underwriter at the insurance carrier to provide the very best rate possible.
The takeaway point is that it is in the insured’s best interest to have a target. That is why, if you are shopping for insurance, your new broker may ask you what you have been paying in the past. This allows him or her to help determine a good target to pass along to the carrier. It maximizes the possibility that the carrier will provide aggressive and favorable pricing back to you.
In the end, you want a target that is not too high or not too low. Something that is too low may simply mean that the underwriter walks away and does not provide a quote. That is why an experienced broker can be your best advocate in gaining the best coverage at the right price.

“The takeaway point is that it is in the insured’s best interest to have a target.”

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Looking for Profitability https://brookertransportation.com/looking-for-profitability/ https://brookertransportation.com/looking-for-profitability/#respond Fri, 06 Apr 2018 16:31:29 +0000 The post Looking for Profitability appeared first on Brooker Insurance Agency.

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Bill Brooker, Commercial Account Executive, discusses his interactions with a commercial customer in regard to an insurance review of the coverage on one of their large office buildings. The review resulted in the realization that the business contents, which was currently being insured by the business policy, was being double-covered by their building policy. In only about ten minutes time, Bill was able to recommend changes which would result in approximately a $10,000 premium savings each year.
The main point is one of profitability. At Brooker Insurance, our goal is to help you manage your risk in a way that not only maximizes your coverage, but also considers your long-term profitability. We highly encourage you to take the time to have a review of your insurance policies and the associated coverages at least every three to five years. As an independent agent, we value the opportunity to shop on behalf of our clients in order to keep their insurance costs as low as possible, while still maintaining proper coverage.
Employee benefits is another place to evaluate costs and look for options to help keep your bottom line healthy. The ever-changing landscape of healthcare regulations and benefits systems means that frequent reviews are always valuable.
At the end of the day, one of our main goals as an insurance agency is to help your company remain strong and profitable!

“Our goal is to help you manage your risk in a way that not only maximizes your coverage, but also considers your long-term profitability.”

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