By Jason Patchen
Chief Marketing Officer
Throughout 2017, premiums within the commercial auto space have seen increases – some of which are significant.
According to various industry rating agencies, in 2016 the United States commercial auto industry reported its worst underwriting performance since 2001 with a 110.4 percent combined ratio. The segment produced an underwriting loss for six consecutive years, unfavorable claim trends indicate continued high loss ratios, and adverse reserve development will continue throughout 2017 and beyond. Several factors are driving these claim trends including:
- More traffic. Nationwide, vehicle miles driven increased 3.3 percent year-over-year in the first half of 2016 and is now at an all-time high. More vehicles = higher frequency of accidents.
- Distracted drivers. More than 25 percent of crashes have been attributed to distracted driving.
- Escalating medical costs. Medical costs are climbing more than 1.5 times faster than other costs.
- Risk repair costs. Record U.S. auto sales mean newer cars require more expensive parts.
- Increased accident frequency plus severity. Rising claims costs typically stem from either increased frequency or severity – but in the case of commercial auto, it’s both.
- Inexperienced or undesirable drivers. A shortage of skilled commercial drivers with good driving records = greater odds for accidents.
While other commercial insurance industry segments have seen more competitive pricing, continued rate increases are expected going forward as a result of these trends. Our insurance carrier partners are teaming with us in an attempt to mitigate losses for our clients through risk control measures – these include implementing a fleet safety program and a distracted driving policy.
One of our carrier partners, United Fire Group, has launched the “Worth It” campaign. This distracted driving educational and incentive program aims to bring people together and asks participants to pledge an end to distracted driving. However, hands-free devices also are contributing to this issue. Full campaign details including research findings and a distracted driving presentation are located on the following website: www.ufgworthit.com.
Are you interested in learning more about the commercial auto marketplace, need assistance with your risk control measures, or want more information on the Worth It distracted driving presentation? Please contact your Truss representative today!