We recently spoke with an insurance industry-veteran who provided great insight on key industry trends. Here’s the trends that should be on every safety expert’s radar in 2021 as they solidify driver risk management strategies.

Increased auto liability

When looking at the past five years, the average total cost of incidents like rear ending another vehicle or distracted driving shows that there’s more costly risk on the roads than ever before.That’s why it’s more necessary than ever to have layers of insurance coverage when dealing with auto liability. These layers exist to protect loss-sensitive companies that are oftentimes deemed liable in an effort to protect their bottom lines due to substantial deductible risk.
What does this mean for those companies like yours who are working with insurers to get the most competitive rates? That a targeted focus on auto liability does matter, with companies like yours facing the consequences of poor results and increased claims activity.

Legal verdicts

Some phrases you never want to see include direct cause and proximate cause. Laid out in a lawsuit’s standard doctrine of negligence, direct or proximate cause states that a company at-hand should have recognized an action that occurred was preventable but instead still caused harm.

Three more terms you never want to hear that can come from direct or proximate cause are:

  • Vicarious liability, meaning that the employer is responsible for the actions of the worker
  • Negligent hiring, defined as careless hiring, retention or supervision
  • Negligent entrustment, or providing an unskilled worker with an instrument/tool/equipment

It’s more important than ever to ensure the right people are behind the wheel on behalf of your company. Negligent hiring can lead to negligent entrustment, bringing about vicarious liability and the dreaded nuclear verdicts. Insurers will never provide enough coverage for those who are hit with nuclear verdicts.

Worker’s compensation

Auto incidents have one of the biggest correlations to worker’s compensation claims. After all, if one of your drivers is driving a company vehicle (or even personal vehicle on company time) and is part of a behind the wheel incident, your company can be held liable for damages to the other party involved.

Slips, trips, falls and struck-by incidents are common – but consider the rate of vehicle incidents. According to insurance data, vehicle incidents have consistently ranked as one of the top ten most common cause of worker’s compensation claims for the past ten years. What steps are you taking to proactively mitigate your auto liability by preventing the impact of worker’s compensation claims?

Hired/non-owned drivers

It’s critical to recognize and properly manage hired/non-owned driver risk. Companies who don’t ultimately lose high stakes visibility into who’s driving on behalf of their company. What is one of the best ways to start gaining further insight into this seemingly elusive driver population? Understand what drivers fall into the hired/non-owned definition, like those who receive an allowance to use their own vehicle or go out for a casual coffee run once a week on the clock, among others.

Are your hired/non-owned drivers’ part of the company MVR program? If not, you open yourself up to immense risk, as hired/non-owned drivers present the same liability to the employer as their full-time drivers. If companies aren’t actively working to mitigate hired/non-owned exposure, it’s a massive risk.

How to bypass these trends

By recognizing that the average driver controls no longer cut it. Even five years ago, when assessing the effectiveness of mitigating driver risk, having the basics like an auto policy, driver training, loose MVR criteria, no real use of available technology and no real skills testing, was considered acceptable. We’re here to tell you that’s no longer the case.

A great place to start working on mitigating driver risk is by making sure that you have insight into your hired/non-owned drivers. Download our white paper to learn more.