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State of the Market
CRC Group | CRC | CRC Swett | SCU
The market for excess trucking liability insurance is facing some of the most
challenging conditions it has experienced in decades. The decision by the market’s
leading insurance company to no longer underwrite transportation-for-hire risks due
to profitability concerns has made finding replacement coverage at lower layers more
difficult for retail agents and brokerage firms.
CRC, CRC Swett and SCU have centuries of combined experience in solving insurance
problems for trucking risks. We are focused on delivering solutions regardless of
market conditions and have a long track record of success in helping meet the needs of
retailers’ customers. The current market is challenging but not in crisis, and we are able
and committed to help clients find the best solutions.
The Most Challenging Conditions in Decades
Business owners deal everyday with the
dynamics of supply and demand and its effect
on pricing. Insurance works in much the same
way. When multiple insurers compete to write
a given set of risks, premiums tend to come
down. The reverse is also true—fewer insurers
competing means rates will tend to increase,
sometimes sharply. This is the situation that
the excess trucking liability marketplace is
seeing. In the current environment, insurers’
resources—both in terms of available
underwriters and their time to evaluate
trucking risks—are limited, but demand remains
high. This is making it harder for trucking firms
to keep their insurance costs in line with their
One positive is that capacity for excess trucking
risks remains available, but limits are coming
at a price, particularly for lower excess layers.
Even with the withdrawal of a leading insurer,
there is still capital available from highly
rated companies to underwrite these risks.
However, because of limited time and resources
Becoming much more selective about the
risks they entertain
Evaluating each risk on its own merits
Pushing for higher rates on both new
business and renewals with unfavorable loss
Raising attachment points and cutting back
limits for excess layers, in certain situations
Besieged with submissions seeking quotes
Naturally, the most challenging segment at
the moment are the lead layers above primary.
This means an account placing $19 million
excess of a $1 million primary could likely
require four excess insurers to complete the
placement, while only requiring two, possibly
three, insurers in the past. As has been the
case in the market, the premium on the first
excess layers may increase substantially. With
that said, however, CRC, CRC Swett and SCU
have successfully placed new and renewal
business at or around expiring rates, and on
some occasions, reductions where warranted.
Above the first $20 million excess layers aren’t
facing quite the same challenges in the current
Profitability in excess trucking liability has
been problematic for insurers over the past
several years. Even though claim frequency
is up, the main factor in reduced profitability
is a spike in claim severity. Litigation arising
from trucking accidents has led to costlier
settlements, particularly in certain states that
are considered more favorable to plaintiffs. It
is not uncommon for a single excess liability
claim today to equal several years of collected
premium for a given risk.
HOW TO GET TO THE TOP OF THE PILE
With relatively few underwriters seeing a
greater number of submissions for excess
trucking liability insurance, the ability to
get insurers’ time and attention is critical to
success. Insurers are not issuing quotes on
every submission, which means that
obtaining quotes is more difficult now.
Here are some ways to ensure your risk gets
to the top of the pile:
Clean, complete submissions. In
this marketplace, underwriters will
automatically move sloppy or incomplete
coverage applications to the bottom of the
pile or reject those applications outright.
Information on risk improvement.
Accounts should emphasize what they are
doing to improve their risk profiles, such
as using technology in fleet operations.
If possible, demonstrate improvements in
safety scores in the Federal Motor Carrier
Safety Administration’s Compliance, Safety,
Accountability (CSA) program.
Engage with us early on. It may take time
to gather all the necessary information to
prepare a submission. Working with CRC,
CRC Swett and SCU two to three months
before renewal will help smooth the path to
the best solutions for insureds.
Communication with underwriters and
clients. Clear, frequent communication
with excess trucking underwriters and
the customers is imperative to manage
expectations and obtain the best results in
the current marketplace.
CRC, CRC Swett and SCU have strong
relationships and significant premium flow
with every leading insurance market in excess
trucking. Our business volume, longstanding
relationships with underwriters, and deep
expertise in trucking risks mean we can obtain
coverage indications quickly, even in the
How Much to Buy:
Limits Benchmarking Reports
CRC and CRC Swett can provide retailers
with access to limits benchmarking
reports based on proprietary trucking
account data. When facing tough
decisions in light of increased rates,
higher attachment points or reduced layer
limits, these reports offer insights on
total recommended limits ensuring well
informed decisions. Contact
your CRC or CRC Swett broker for
access to these reports.
Non-fatal crashes involving large trucks
and buses have risen since 2009.
Data gathered by FMCSA for 411,000
police reported crashes in 2014.
(2009 - 2014)
21% INCREASE IN
EXCESS TRUCKING BY THE NUMBERS
$281.6M $165M $58.5M
In 2013, a Texas jury
awarded $281.6 million to
the family of a man killed
when a driveshaft broke off
an oncoming tractor-trailer
and struck his vehicle.4
In 2015, a New Mexico jury
awarded $58.5 million to the
family of a woman who was
killed with her 4-year-old
daughter in a 2011 accident
involving a FedEx truck.5
In 2013, a New Mexico jury
awarded $58.5 million to
the family of a man killed
in a 2010 trucking accident.
The award consisted of $11.5
million in compensatory
damages and $47 million in
LARGE AWARDS FOR FATAL ACCIDENTS
TRENDS IN INJURY CRASHES
For more information, contact your CRC, CRC Swett or SCU broker.
To find a conveniently located broker visit us on the web at:
crcins.com, crcswett.com or scui.com.
Excess liability insurance for trucking companies is one of the most challenging lines in the current
marketplace. Reduced profitability and increased exposure are forcing underwriters to adopt a much
more selective approach to writing excess trucking risks. With loss frequency up and loss severity
spiking, claims costs have become inflated. This has been exacerbated by the withdrawal of a leading
insurance company from the trucking-for-hire sector. The number of participating insurers for excess
trucking liability has shrunk, and they have a limited amount of time to consider the high volume of
requests for coverage.
The combination of fewer players, worse-than-expected underwriting results and greater selectivity
means that, in general, accounts are likely to see significant increases at renewal. Every deal is different,
however, and an account with good loss experience is likely to fare better than those with poor loss
experience or recent large claims. Critical to smooth renewals are complete and accurate submissions,
information on risk improvement, working with an experienced and expert wholesale broker, and clear
communication with underwriters as well as insureds.
Regardless of an account’s risk profile, CRC, CRC Swett and SCU are well-positioned as the leading
wholesale insurance firm, with significant expertise, market relationships, and proprietary limits
benchmarking reports, to help retailers navigate current market challenges and obtain the right
solutions for insureds.
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) maintains a searchable database
of interstate motor carriers with scores on seven Behavioral Analysis & Safety Improvement Categories, or BASICs: unsafe driving,
crash indicator, vehicle maintenance, hours of service compliance, controlled substances/alcohol compliance, hazardous materials
compliance and driver fitness. https://ai.fmcsa.dot.gov/SMS
As part of the FAST Act, FMCSA in February 2016 contracted with the National Academy of Sciences to conduct a thorough
study of the CSA program, specifically the Safety Measurement System. NAS will examine the accuracy of safety metrics and
their correlation to high-risk motor carriers. A report to Congress is scheduled for June 2017. Until the study is completed and
published, FMCSA has removed the alerts and certain percentiles of SMS scores from public view. https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/
Among the requirements of the FAST Act, which authorizes FMCSA funding through fiscal year 2020, is the development of a
Beyond Compliance program that will recognize and give credit under the CSA program for motor carriers that voluntarily adopt
advanced safety and monitoring technologies or enhanced driver fitness measures.
A jury in Dimmitt County, Texas, awarded $281.6 million in damages in 2013 against a trucking company after one of its tractor-
trailers broke a driveshaft, which struck and killed a passenger in another vehicle, according to news reports.
A Santa Fe, New Mexico, jury awarded $165 million damages against FedEx following a 2011 accident that claimed the live of the
FedEx driver as well as a woman and her 4-year-old daughter, according to news reports.
Another Santa Fe, New Mexico, jury awarded $58.5 million in damages against a small trucking operator after a 2010 crash that
killed a man, according to news reports. http://www.ttnews.com/articles/printopt.aspx?storyid=31688
The Truck Accident Attorneys Roundtable – Fried, Gursten, Leizerman P.L.L.C. was founded in 2015 to specialize in trucking
accident litigation. The firm’s founders have litigated more than 600 cases collectively.