Declaration of Independents: Tracy Lange

DOITracy Lange

Vice President, Transportation Group
Higginbotham
Mount Pleasant, Texas

Before transitioning to a career as a trucking and transportation insurance specialist, Tracy Lange spent nearly three decades in the health care field.

His work encompassed a wide range of patients but focused especially on pediatric and neonatal intensive care, including helicopter and fixed-wing transport of newborns.

“You think everything’s going to translate from helping people who can’t breathe,” says Lange, who now works with commercial insurance clients in industries ranging from distribution to oil and gas. “But it turns out insurance is not quite so straightforward.”

WHY INSURANCE?

It’s the human touch. Coming from the medical field and working with people for years, I still have the same desire once I get involved with a company to do whatever I can to help them move the company forward. Anytime I can help somebody see some positive results from a safety or operations perspective, to me, that’s very rewarding.

TRANSPORTATION ADVICE?

Learn as much as you can. Team up with somebody who’s been in the business for a while until you get some real knowledge under your belt, and don’t just focus on the biggest accounts out there. Look for opportunities where you’ll be able to really help people.

GOING ABOVE AND BEYOND?

We want to provide more than just a policy. With all the services Higginbotham provides, we’re able to do that on a regular basis thanks to all the people that are in the background, from our legal team to our risk control and compliance people—everybody who takes care of the client after the sale has been made.

WHY TRANSPORTATION?

We initially started out with a contract mail program and then quickly learned that we needed some specialized training. We ended up really liking it—it was a good program, it’s a good area, and just like with any industry vertical out there, there are some specialty coverages you need to really understand to make sure your insureds are covered.

One of our agents, Norman Wilson, wound up developing a pretty extensive database program to manage all the information you have to gather and put it in the format that’s how the underwriters want it, and that gave us a leg up approaching different insurance markets to get quotes. Now, we feel like we can do a good job helping people.

BIGGEST TRANSPORTATION CHALLENGES?

The pricing has been hard to chase, and all the carriers have different appetites and different underwriting metrics that constantly change. Trying to keep up with those is probably the biggest challenge, along with just gathering all the information. It’s a little bit different in the transportation realm from some of the other verticals—until you have all the information pretty well checked off, you can’t really secure a proposal. There’s a lot more understanding of the operation and data gathering that goes on initially.

FAVORITE SUCCESS STORY?

We came into a client by acquisition, and the people involved were more truckers than business owners. We were able to come alongside them and teach them how to run the metrics of the business on a day-to-day basis, then slowly progress them over a number of years to where they wound up going into a captive insurance arrangement because they had elevated their safety to a certain level.

Sometimes straight-up traditional insurance is not always the best solution for a client. If they’re running a super-safe operation, looking at alternatives—whether it be a captive, a risk retention group or some other type of a larger deductible plan—makes sense to help those customers that are doing a good job keep their costs down.

EMBRACING CHANGE?

We’re just trying to stay ahead of the curve by researching the changes that are going to affect the different industries. We’re working with all the professionals within the group to be able to provide solutions to our clients that would help them adapt to those changes, whether it be autonomous trucking, different safety initiatives, the various telematics that are being looked at very hard with all the transportation accounts. We want to educate our clients on the best alternatives available.

Photo by Callynth Finney