The unemployment rate has been steadily dropping since 2010.
That may be great news for the U.S. workforce and economy, but with more employment options available, commercial fleet managers must do more to attract top-talent drivers.
Independent insurance agents are well positioned to provide clients with valuable guidance and resources for acquiring the safest and most prudent drivers—and in turn, prevent losses, reduce overall premium and grow their business.
By encouraging commercial fleet clients to take the appropriate steps to minimize losses, independent agents develop a stronger, safer group of commercial fleet accounts that are more attractive to underwriters.
Nearly all fleet managers process a standard application and driver’s license verification, but other hiring practices can strengthen driver selection, including:
- Understanding state and federal hiring rules
- Reviewing the candidate’s motor vehicle record and medical certificate
- Conducting reference and background checks
- Conducting drug, alcohol and road tests
- Administering personality assessment tools to further ensure the candidate is the right fit for the demands of the job
The most essential part of a commercial fleet’s driver qualification process is reviewing each applicant’s motor vehicle record—it’s the company’s best indication of how a prospective driver will represent their business while on the road. A driver with three or more violations, at-fault accidents or both in the last three years is more likely to be involved in an accident than one with no violations or accidents. Assisting commercial fleet clients indeveloping motor vehicle record standards helps make a clear distinction between acceptable and unacceptable drivers.
Once commercial fleet managers have selected the right driver to represent their business, they should facilitate a comprehensive training program to ensure drivers consistently practice the necessary safety precautions on the road. Providing the right training, tools and resources will help an agent’s clients prevent losses, and demonstrate that the agent is a trusted advisor who understands and responds to their needs.
Every client is unique and training is most effective when the agent, loss control representative and client work together to develop a program that works best for their drivers.
Topics to look for in a driver training program include pre-trip safety, special conditions and situational driving. Classes can also incorporate the client’s own data and loss experience, which gives drivers an opportunity to monitor their driving habits and the areas in which they can improve. Depending upon the needs of the drivers, interactive and hands-on methods may be suitable, including group exercises, discussions and video. Many drivers enter training feeling like they don’t need it but walk away with valuable information they had never heard before. Finding ways to customize fleet training is valuable great opportunity for agents to strengthen their commercial fleet account and enhance its underwriting desirability, while building trust with clients.
In today’s insurance landscape, it is more important than ever to demonstrate the value of a local, independent agent through one-on-one communication and consultation. Independent agents who help clients put the best drivers on the road help their clients’ businesses thrive and strengthen and grow their own book of business.
Most important, an independent agent’s guidance instills faith in their clients and assures them they are working with someone who cares about their success—a valuable competitive advantage that cannot be replicated.
Eileen Currie is senior vice president of commercial lines at Arbella Insurance Group.