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Insurance Crisis Still Threatens Fleets

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As private fleet insurance prices and nuclear verdicts continue to skyrocket, many businesses paying to keep their fleet covered are feeling the pressure of remaining profitable in the face of steeply increasing insurance premiums and their ripple effects. Here’s what you need to know about how rising insurance costs may affect your fleet management practices and what you can do to help protect your business.

Trucking Insurance Trends

When examining the commercial trucking insurance market specifically, you will find that rates have been trending upward, especially for those running smaller fleets. According to the American Trucking Research Institute’s (ATRI) Operational Costs of Trucking: 2023 Update, when comparing insurance premiums for large truckload fleets with over 100 power units versus small with 100 or fewer, the small carriers paid nearly 90% more on premiums on an average per-mile basis in 2022 alone.

While larger fleets may not suffer as acutely from the steep premium increases that smaller fleets have experienced, they are certainly not immune from the ripple effects of these higher rates. Nuclear verdicts and litigation awards have been on the uptick. In 2020, ATRI analyzed 600 trucking-related jury awards and reported that the average dollar amount awarded for verdicts against commercial trucking companies was $3.16 million with the mean verdict awards increasing 51.7% per year from 2010 to 2018. High dollar verdicts like this can at best put a strain on trucking companies of any size, and in some cases can even force them out of business altogether. 

Unsurprisingly, as litigation awards increase, so does the strain on insurance companies. According to a 2023 report by the U.S. Chamber for Commerce Institute for Legal Reform, there are fewer insurers in the trucking market today, and many of the ones left now offer reduced coverage. This means small and large trucking companies alike are finding it increasingly difficult to secure adequate insurance coverage and being forced to assume more risk than they have in the past. 

The same report by the U.S. Chamber for Commerce Institute for Legal Reform found that the average verdict against freight brokers from 2015 to 2021 was $12.5 million. Litigation awards of this magnitude can affect the bottom line for businesses of any size.


Safe Fleet Management Practices

You’re not totally helpless in the face of these rising costs. You can take steps to help make sure your fleet is operating as safely as possible, which can influence premium rates. Here are some recommendations you can take to position your business and fleet for success:

  • Build an employee culture around safety
  • Invest in the right equipment and safety technologies
  • Set clearly defined safety standards that all employees adhere to
  • Continued education and training on best safety practices for employees

Get Stability with Dedicated Coverage

Can your business withstand year after year of increasing premiums? What about a nuclear verdict?

You can forgo the stress that comes with fleet management and choose to outsource to a stable dedicated provider with an excellent safety record, like J.B. Hunt. We work to uphold a culture of safety at every level of our operations – conducting routine J.B. Hunt driver training as well as industry-leading drug screenings and utilizing different safety technologies, like driver assist features. Our safety culture equips company drivers to cover millions of miles each year, while maintaining an excellent safety record and a 98% customer retention rate.

When you work with our Dedicated Contract Services® teams, we’ve got you covered. Give yourself peace of mind – fill out our form now to get started!