How a proactive strategy on risk management may help lower commercial auto insurance rates

With commercial auto insurance rates consistently increasing, many business owners are looking for any ways to reduce cost, all the while keeping their employees safe. Contrary to what most people realize, this can be addressed proactively rather than reactively.

Here are a few ways companies with commercial automobiles can manage their losses and in turn, keep insurance rates as low as possible…

Make safety a priority: Running MVRs (Motor Vehicle Reports) prior to hiring a prospective employee is huge. This shows you factually how safe of a driver they are, which is also a reflection of their character in many ways. Staying on top of their driving records is equally as important, which can be done with ongoing MVR monitoring.

Offer trainings and education: Distracted and Defensive Driving courses have been proven to be highly effective in encouraging techniques that promote safety and awareness. These can be made as a requirement to obtain access to a company vehicle or, similar to a CE course for a license, something that has to be maintained semi-annually or annually as a refresher. According to the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration), distracted driving claims 9 lives per day — approximately 3,500 per year. This data also states that more than 1,000 people are injured daily in accidents in which at least one driver was distracted. In 2019, distracted driving was a reported factor in 8.5% of fatal motor vehicle crashes. Defensive driving is just as important in recognizing accident prevention methods, identifying the importance of seat belts and always being fully aware of surroundings.

Update your technology: We recently talked about the “tattle tales of driving habits” in telematics. Front facing cameras and GPS systems are among the most commonly used now that gain popularity by the day. Optimizing technology pays for itself in the real-time data you receive. There are also apps to detect distracted driving or disable certain modes of technology that serve as a distraction.

Vehicle Maintenance program: Maintaining a commercial fleet can be extremely helpful in keeping everyone safe. There are apps and software programs that do the heavy lifting of this and keep check-ups consistent. Without a system in place, it’s essentially unmanageable and will be a major headache, rather than a seamless process you can count on and not have to worry about.

Having a policy in place is one of the most beneficial plans you can make and stick to. Implementing these few things can ultimately reduce the amount of claims for damages and injuries, as well as paint a picture of how you as the business owner view risk management… all things that can come full circle and help bring rates down.

Vehicle Telematics: the tattletales of driving habits

The words “Fleet Management” may make some business owners’ skin crawl but it’s one of those things they just can’t ignore. For most companies, this is a key aspect of their overall operations and something that needs constant attention.

Some commercial insurance companies are providing “Fleet Monitoring” premium discounts for the use of telematics, with the hopes that it will reduce the amount of claims and incidents within their commercial auto fleet.

Telematics refers to technology such as front facing cameras, sensors, GPS, and vehicle engine diagnostics. These devices can effectively monitor driving behaviors such as location, hard braking, rapid acceleration, speeding and hard cornering. Identifying these habits is an important element of commercial auto insurance, especially given the increasing rates lately.

The results of these telematics can help determine the risk, along with appropriate pricing and proactive loss control. Some of the technology can even alert the driver itself in real-time of any unacceptable driving behaviors to prevent an accident or injury. Vehicle engine diagnostics also helps tremendously with monitoring things like the health of the vehicle, for example: oil life, fuel efficiency, tire pressure, engine or fluid needs, etc. This is yet another part of fleet management that can be very time consuming and stressful on a business owner/manager.

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the amount of fatal crashes involving large trucks and/or buses has increased by 42% since 2009. Ironically, technology such as cell phones could have contributed to that and here we are, talking about technology of other forms to help prevent it. But isn’t that our reality now… All things technology? But shouldn’t we be open to anything that can get that number back down? While telematics are optional for now, it could be very soon that they are actually required and that may not be a bad thing.

Additional auto insurance carriers are issuing premium refunds

Some people may think insurance companies are only there for them when they need to file a claim. Well, we are pleased to share some good news that shows how much auto insurance carriers across the board really do care.

These are challenging times and your insurance company wants to help! Many drivers are using their vehicles less as they abide by our current stay-at-home orders. Therefore, the following companies will all be issuing a one-time premium refund for personal auto policies during the COVID-19 pandemic. Each company is handling it slightly different so we’ve included the details below. This only applies to motor vehicle policies (not including golf cart, motorcycle, ATV or boat). This is still awaiting final regulatory approval but is headed in the right direction.

The best part about this is that policyholders don’t need to do anything! Refunds will automatically be either credited to their policy account or refunded.

*Nationwide: $50 per policy active as of March 31, 2020

*Safeco: 15% of premium as of April 7, 2020 for 2 months

*Auto Owners: 15% of premium for April and May, 2020

*Mercury: 15% of premium for April and May, 2020

*Progressive: 20% of April premium (refunded in May) and 20% of May premium (refunded in June)

*Chubb: 35% of premium for April and May, 2020 upon annual renewal

*Travelers: 15% of premium for April and May, 2020

*MetLife: 15% of premium for April and May, 2020

*AAA: 20% of auto premium for April and May, 2020

Geico: 15% of premium as the policy comes up for renewal between April 8-October 7, 2020. The credit will also apply to any new policies purchased during this period.

Allstate: 15% of premium for April and May, 2020

USAA: 20% of premium as of March 31, 2020 for 2 months

State Farm: 25% of premium for policies in-force between March 20-May 31, 2020

Hartford: 15% of premium for April and May, 2020

Liberty Mutual: 15% of premium as of April 7, 2020 for 2 months

Florida Fam Bureau: 15% of premium for April and May, 2020

*The companies with an * are the carriers in which we, at McGriff-Williams, represent and received this data directly from. Information regarding the other companies listed here was collected from their individual websites.

Auto Insurance Relief Refunds pending approval

Our agency is proud to partner with several companies that not only provide great coverage for our clients but also keep their best interest at heart. Our goal is to help protect our clients and their families during these challenging times and we are excited to share some good news!

Many drivers are using their vehicles less as they abide by our current stay-at-home orders. Therefore, Nationwide, Safeco, Auto Owners, Mercury, Progressive, Chubb and AAA will all be issuing a one-time premium refund for personal auto policies during the COVID-19 pandemic. Each company is handling it slightly different so we’ve included the details below. This only applies to motor vehicle policies (not including golf cart, motorcycle, ATV or boat). This is still awaiting final regulatory approval but is headed in the right direction.

The best part about this is that policyholders don’t need to do anything! Refunds will automatically be either credited to their policy account or refunded to the most recent method of payment (for example: automatic withdrawal, credit card, personal check), likely within the next 30 days.

Nationwide:
$50 per policy active as of March 31, 2020

Safeco:
15% of premium as of April 7, 2020 for 2 months

Auto Owners:
15% of premium for April and May, 2020

Mercury:
15% of premium for April and May, 2020

Progressive:
20% of April premium (refunded in May) and 20% of May premium (refunded in June)

Chubb:
35% of premium for April and May, 2020 upon annual renewal

AAA:
20% of auto premium for April and May, 2020

Again, we are honored and grateful to do business with companies like these that really look out for their clients and do what’s right in times of need. Please reach out to us any time you have questions regarding auto insurance. You can call us at (352) 371-7977 or email info@mcgriffwilliams.com. Stay well and safe!

Benefits of Auto Pay for Your Insurance Premiums

We currently happen to be in a time of uncertainty with some businesses temporarily closing or being short staffed due to Covid-19 social distancing recommendations. One of the concerns that has developed is people still being able to pay their bills, such as insurance premiums.

Thankfully, most insurance carriers accept payment either online or via an automated phone system but Auto Pay could alleviate any worry or doubt you might have about these payments being processed correctly and on time. There are several benefits to Auto Pay, depending on what type of policy it is.


• When it comes to life or disability insurance, a lapse without timely reinstatement could mean that you will now require an underwriting review, sometimes involving medical evidence… or you could even have to secure new coverage at your current, older age and possibly lesser health.


• For a health insurance policy that cancels due to late or non-payment, it cannot be reinstated at all and you would be left without coverage until the next open enrollment period for the following year. Scary, right?!


• For auto or home insurance, it would depend on the company if they were willing to reinstate or rewrite the coverage. The biggest risk here is that something detrimental and very expensive could happen in that lapse period where you would have no coverage at all.


Auto Pay is convenient, yes. It saves paper and printing costs, yes. It’s peace of mind and one less thing to worry about, yes. But it’s also imperative for maintaining some pretty important coverage. This is coverage that you may not be able to get back if you elect to receive a paper bill that gets lost or doesn’t get paid. An Added bonus is cost savings as well… you can almost always save on installment fees by going this route.


If you’re able to arrange Auto Pay either through EFT (electronic funds transfer from a checking account), recurring credit card, online bill pay with your bank, or whatever options there are… it’s definitely the safest way to ensure that your coverage will not be interrupted or affected.


If you have questions about a specific policy or company that we work with, please let us know anytime at info@mcgriffwilliams.com or (352) 371-7977.