Resources & Insights

Putting the Brakes on Soaring Commercial Auto Rates

October 15, 2019

Scott Carlson,
VP, Insurance Advisor

Distracted driving and more people on the roads.

It’s more than a lethal formula. It’s also the reason commercial auto claims have increased in both frequency and severity over the past few years and why rates have climbed so steeply.

Rising medical and repair costs and astronomic court settlements and verdicts haven’t helped, either.

Rates this year were expected to go up by about 7%, although companies with an inordinate number of more serious claims will no doubt have seen their commercial auto coverage costs climb even higher.

In any case, coverage isn’t only more expensive; it’s also harder to get.

Insurers have been shifting gears to higher deductibles, offering lower limits and are being much more selective about who they’ll cover. Some have pulled out of the market entirely.

It’s really no wonder. As a whole, commercial auto insurance has been an unprofitable line of business for insurers for close to a decade. Not every carrier is losing money, of course, but when the industry reported a record-breaking $23 billion in losses in 2018, it was clear misery levels were at all-time highs.

The road ahead

So, what’s the immediate-term forecast?

That’s easy: Rate relief is definitely not around the corner and we’re all likely to see even more premium increases before any rate calming.

The question ahead really is this: what risk management strategies can your company embrace to try to keep your commercial auto insurance costs under control?

GPS and speed monitoring, in-cab cameras, telematics, and other technology-laden loss-prevention tools all help.

But driver training today is as important as ever. After all, if the drivers are not doing their jobs properly or are not following best practices, all of those monitoring systems will pick up on that and will feed that information back to you – and the insurance company.

While there are no magic bullets, here are four fleet safety tips that can make a difference:

  1. Assure that emergency equipment, such as fire extinguishers, traffic control devices, or personal protective equipment (PPE), are stored in a clear and easily-accessible location in your vehicles.
  2. Conduct pre-trip and post-trip inspections of your vehicle at the beginning and end of each day’s shift.
  3. Make sure your drivers adhere to specific Hours of Service, including mini-breaks as needed during long periods of driving.
  4. Make sure everyone knows to wear their seatbelts when using any vehicle (including their own) for company business.

If any of the above sounds basic, that’s because it is. But ask yourself the question: are you doing it all? And are your employees really following the rules?

Lawyers who specialize in auto claims have been around for decades and they know exactly what to look for to make their case. If you have a driver safety or vehicle maintenance issue, they’ll do all they can to find out what’s what and will hit you with a negligence suit.

Scott Carlson is a Vice President at CCIG and leads the firm’s construction practice. Reach him at or 720-212-2040.

CCIG is a Denver-area insurance, employee benefits and surety brokerage with clients nationwide. We do more than make sure you have the right policy. We help you manage your long-term cost of insurance with our risk and claims management expertise and a commitment to service excellence.

Sign up today: Join us for a free seminar at CCIG’s offices at 7 a.m., Wednesday, Nov. 6, to learn more about what you can do to address the problem, protect your employees your fleet and your balance sheet. RSVP today:

Also readNon-Owned and Hired Auto Insurance: Why Your Business Needs It


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