by Jim Duncan
Moving and Storage Companies saw an uptick in claims between 2011 and 2013. 2014 seemed to be a little better. We are currently researching the losses to see if there are definable trends but don’t have all the data yet. One area that we know has been a factor is distracted driving. It is clear that rear-ending claims have increased. In fact, it continues to be the number one cause of accidents.
You should have a written distracted driving policy. It should be issued to all employees and signed that they read it and understand it. Then, you need to enforce it. That means if you call an employee while they are driving, ask them to pull over and call you back, or speak to the helper. Don’t condone employees texting or using the phone while driving.
Secondly, make sure that you are hiring the right drivers. If the insurance company says they cannot drive, there is usually a good reason. We can make exceptions, but it is not always a good idea. At a minimum, it increases your liability and your chance of having a claim.
Lastly, make sure that you regularly communicate your commitment to safety to the employees. It cannot be said enough. You also need to live it. You need to enforce it. It does no good to have a policy if the employees see others get by acting in an unsafe manner. Reward good behavior. Even a simple acknowledgment or a “thank you” helps.
We are in an interesting period right now as some carriers are trying to get increases in premiums. In workers compensation, the State approved a 5.3% decrease this year, but our 8293 code actually increased 3 cents. That shows that we need to do a better job. We also feel that the courts could make adverse changes to workers comp this year that will require a special session to fix. That is not good any time you hear it.
As an industry, we need to work harder and better at avoiding claims. It will help us protect what we have and insure our future (pun intended).