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The Drive Toward AI in the Commercial Auto Insurance Market

The use of technology continues to revolutionize most industries, with improvements in artificial intelligence (AI) having a direct impact on the trucking industry.
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the drive toward ai in the commercial auto insurance market by olivia overman

It is estimated that there are over 3.5 million truck drivers in the U.S. today, according to, hauling 72.6% of the nation's freight tonnage shipped, valued at $940.8 billion in gross freight revenue in 2022, according to the American Trucking AssociationsMeanwhile, the frequency and severity of commercial auto and trucking losses, social inflation and nuclear verdicts—along with increasing medical costs and driver shortages—are continuing to adversely impact the market.

As the use of technology continues to revolutionize most industries and improvements in artificial intelligence (AI) come to the forefront, it begs the question: How will the increasing penetration of technology and AI impact the trucking industry?

“In this marketplace, we are seeing some programs that actually underwrite a portion of their underwriting using telematics data specifically," says Jennifer Nuest, senior vice president, transportation practice leader, Amwins. “We're starting to see a lot of carriers invest more and figure out a model that can incorporate telematics data to electronic logging devices (ELDs)."

“The highest potential right now for technology comes with GPS data because it very clearly improves upon a data source that underwriters are using in this realm," she says.

By using real-time data, underwriters have a direct insight into the driver's location, allowing them to understand whether it is urban driving, residential driving, interstate driving or country driving.

“The desire to have transportation clients share their driving behavior data from their ELDs with insurance providers has certainly been on the rise these last few years, and more transportation clients are embracing the benefits of doing so," says Mark Gallagher, vice president national transportation, RPS. “We will see a rise in this over the next few years as more education becomes available as to the benefits of doing so—AI can be a tool that provides some efficiencies in harnessing and better understanding that data in the future." 

Developments in data capture will enable the industry to more accurately rate individual clients. While “different vendors capture that data differently, insurance carriers and programs are starting to develop models that are predictive based on driving behavior data, because that is the consistent behavior of that fleet," Nuest says. “The problem today lies in the fact that plaintiff attorneys are going to continue utilizing Compliance, Safety, and Accountability (CSA) and the Inspection Selection System (ISS) scores to convince juries that a motor carrier is operating unsafely. Telematics data can paint a different picture, as these scores are based on violation data of when drivers did something wrong."

Nevertheless, the potential benefits of capturing and utilizing this data for the industry are vast. AI can help with minimizing downtime caused by mechanical failure by using algorithms that predict vehicle maintenance while also optimizing routes, fuel consumption and reducing emissions.

Additionally, the potential for improved safety features through AI is set to benefit the industry overall. The integration and adoption of safety features, such as the use of cameras, is becoming the norm for some companies.

“Some technology offerings are deep into AI where they can actually help coach the driver when it is identified, for example, if a driver ran a red light. There is just an increased speed to the coaching of the driver with a video camera vendor," Nuest says. “We're seeing a lot higher adoption of this, whether companies are required to or not, especially because many trucking companies are seeing where it helps exonerate them in claim cases."

Some carriers may offer incentives when it comes to the use of cameras or telematics devices. “This is one of those things where agents really need to pay close attention," Nuest explains. “Some carriers require specific vendors to be used and they may or may not provide these vendors equipment, or they may say you get a subsidy for their use."

“On the other hand, several of the big telematics and video vendors have referral programs for agents, so if you understand their product and how they operate typically, you'll get some type of referral fee and maybe a discount for the insured," she adds.

Olivia Overman is IA content editor.

Monday, September 11, 2023
Big I Markets