The Insurance Brokers Association of Ontario (IBAO) and the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) have partnered together to address insurance availability issues within the commercial trucking industry. For years, truck drivers with limited years’ experience, and their carriers, have struggled securing the proper insurance coverage they need. At the same time, insurance companies have been paying out an unsustainable amount of earned premiums (105%!) through claims and related expenses.
Now, the problem has come to a head – meaning that drivers and carriers may be left in a situation where they cannot obtain the insurance coverage they need. This joint IBAO and IBC partnership, which Staebler Insurance proudly supports, has created three key recommendations to help improve the future of trucking and insurance. They are:
· Create a
Central Database for Insurers
The first recommendation is overdue in the industry. An unfortunate reality is that there are high quality forged documents, like claims and driver history, used to obtain insurance coverage. The IBAO and IBC are proposing a "fraud proof” central database for brokers and insurers to receive the most up to date and accurate information for things like operator’s licenses and insurance history. By cutting off the possibility of forgeries, we can ensure that the documents and history are real and that only experienced and trained drivers hit the road in Ontario.
Employment History Verification
In the competitive trucking industry there is a shortage of good, qualified drivers. This is largely due to a recent wave of older, experienced drivers retiring, thus increasing the competition between carriers to secure talent. Companies can be aggressive with incentives to attract drivers to come over from a competitor. The problem for insurers is that the former employer(s) may withhold important information like a driver’s history (because that information is going to help their competitor). What’s the solution? A possible solutions is to mandate, through the ESA (Employment Standards Act), that all employers must verify their ex-employee’s history and provide a letter outlining their tenure and experience. This allows the insurance company to accurately assess each driver’s risk in a timely manner.
· Develop a
Robust Driver Training Program
In 1997, Nova Scotia introduced the TTIP (Tractor Trailer Internship Program). This was thanks to the government and trucking industry realizing that they needed a stronger professional truck driver training program. This has become the industry standard in Atlantic Canada, and while the current Ontario training program is a positive training step, insurers and trucking associations believe a longer, more substantial and rigorous training program would provide the invaluable experience that drivers require for safety and insurance purposes. The IBAO and IBC are calling for a new program in Ontario. This could help newly-licensed drivers obtain transferrable driving experience recognized by insurers.
As an insurance broker working closely with the trucking industry, we welcome these suggestions and look forward to the benefits they propose. While we understand they may not solve all the issues facing the trucking industry, we are certainly optimistic that the above recommendations will bring both more accuracy to the insurance process and improve road safety in Ontario.