Risk Management Tools for the Transportation Industry

When we refer to risk management tools we gravitate to specific accessories that record, provide data, instruments that assist with eliminating or avoiding risk.   For example fire extinguishers, sprinkler systems, alarms, dash cams, data compiled to determine high risk drivers, etc.

The most important instrument in risk management

First and foremost the most important instrument when thinking of risk management is the individual.  The individual that educates and engages into risk management.  One who can identify, determine risk and prepare to avoid or reduce the inherent risk.  

We all live with risk from our business to personal lives.   There are signs of risk management in various forms of our daily living ~ ever wonder why all side view mirrors have an inscription on them warning that objects are closer than they appear?  Ever notice sprinklers in buildings or fire extinguishers?  Off switches on escalators?  Easy identifiers of improvements made through the years to warn or reduce exposure to risk or further loss.   When an event happens we create avoidance or awareness of risk for the future.

Risk management as a mindset

Risk management is such an important mindset.  It’s about safety.  In transportation some carriers have safety and compliance departments merely as a window dressing.  Although a safety manger might have an office and a desk, management has not “bought” into the idea of safety.    The safety manager has a hard time to enlighten management about the importance of risk management or to invest into the tools that are available.  Alternatively there are carriers that invest heavily into creating a culture of safety and promote risk management at every opportunity possible.   These carriers are easily identifiable and have some of the strongest financial positions in the industry.  And in a hardened marketplace a culture of safety makes a difference.

With the evolution of the internet and other organizations, risk management tools are at our fingertips. The investment is time.  Encourage staff to be involved with transportation safety organizations or other organization that can enhance ones knowledge.   There are courses both on line and by attending schools.  The message is to be involved, be educated and be aware. 

Call to Action box that says "Questions about Risk Management? Get in touch with us today."

Linda started her career in the insurance industry in 1979 and gravitated toward the niche market of transportation insurance in 1986. Linda has been active in the transportation community since her beginnings and is a Board Member with the Durham Region Transportation Association. Since 2006, Linda has been contributing relevant industry articles in Ontario Trucking monthly periodicals

Takeaways from Observing the 2018 CSVA Inspection Blitz

Last week I attended the 2018 Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s (CSVA) annual inspection blitz as an observer. This is an annual opportunity to get first-hand inspection experience, gain insight from other safety professionals in the industry and learn some new tools being utilized. MTO Inspectors under the hood of a long-haul truck during the 2018 CSVA Inspection Blitz

To learn about the 72-hour blitz we previously published an article on the 2018 CVSA Inspection Blitz

I wanted to take a moment to share a few random insights:

  • A very quick and easy safety tip! Three-point contact is the practice of always having three secure points of contact when mounting or dismounting a vehicle. This has proven to reduce the number of injuries suffered when operators enter and exit their vehicles. The MTO notes, and from what I saw, most drivers do not follow this easy safety protocol.
  • Truckerpath is an app that transportation professionals use. One of the biggest benefits is that it lets drivers know what weigh stations are open and when they are open.
  • Fleetio is a good tool that creates an automatic notification from an inspection station to the company’s maintenance department. Maintenance instantly knows what is needed and allows the company to order the parts before the commercial vehicle gets back to the service bay. 

    Transportation truck wheel that looks a little questionable may increase chance of being inspected at a MTO stop
    This wheel may increase your chances of getting a ‘red’ light at your inspection stop.
  • Each Ministry of Transportation Ontario officer is required to conduct a minimum of 600 inspections per year. This keeps the inspectors active and there is no mandate on how many infractions need to be handed out.
  • Ministry of Transportation Ontario officers have the authority to enter the trailer at their discretion. Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) officers do not have that authority unless they have a search warrant.
  • The MTO says that inspection checks are given at random. During my time observing, I could see a couple instant ‘caution flags’. If I were an inspector, it would be difficult not to inspect those vehicles. You can see from this wheel that it may prompt a “red” light.  

Creating a safety culture leads to improved profitability. We are always looking to serve and are willing to help companies dedicated to creating a safety culture. If you are looking for an insurance brokerage focused on the transportation niche, with a track record of service excellence, get in touch with us today.

My purpose within the organization is to provide leadership and mentorship to position the company at the forefront of the industry, develop a strategic plan to advance the company’s mission and objectives, and to promote revenue, profitability and growth as an organization. It Is also important to me to build a great workplace where people feel listened to and are able to contribute to an environment that means something to all of us.

Are you prepared for the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s (CSVA) 2018 Inspection Blitz?

Take a moment to mark June 5th to 7th in your calendar! The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) are gearing up for their annual 72-hour inspection blitz. Take precautions as being placed out-of-service is an unneeded expense and can create major delivery headaches.

A snippet from the CVSA’s official release:

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s (CVSA) annual International Roadcheck will run June 5-7, 2018. During the International Roadcheck, inspectors will conduct the North American Standard Level I Inspection, a 37-step procedure that includes an examination of both driver operating requirements and vehicle mechanical fitness. This year’s blitz will place a special emphasis on hours-of-service compliance.

Over the 72-hour blitz period, commercial motor vehicle inspectors in jurisdictions throughout North America will conduct assessments of commercial motor vehicles and drivers. Drivers are required to provide their driver’s licence, hours-of-service documentation, motor carrier registration and shipping documentation. As mentioned above, this year’s roadcheck will focus heavily on hours-of-service compliance.

Wheels and rims of Transportation and long haul trucks waiting for CVSA June inspection blitz

A catalyst for this years’ hours-of-service focus is the findings from last year’s blitz. It was discovered that 3 out of every 10 drivers drivers who were placed out-of-service were removed from roadways due to hours-of-service violations. During the blitz, drivers will be asked to provide their operating credentials, hours-of-service documentation and proper seat-belt usage will also be checked.

Other items evaluated during this blitz period include but are not limited to:

  • exhaust systems
  • fuel systems
  • lighting devices
  • coupling devices
  • break systems
  • drivelines and drive shafts
  • frames
  • steering mechanisms
  • suspensions
  • tires
  • van and open-top trailer bodies
  • wheels
  • rims and hubs
  • windshield wipers
  • and emergency exits

If no critical inspection item violations are found during a Level I inspection a CVSA decal will be placed on the vehicle indicating that the vehicle successfully passed an inspection conducted by a CVSA-certified inspector.

If an inspector identifies any violations, they may render the driver or vehicle out-of-service. This means that the driver cannot operate the vehicle until all the violations are corrected.

Take extra care to review hours-of-service logs and the other North American Level I Inspection items to ensure your driving force is compliant with the CVSA standards to avoid expensive out-of-service vehicles and remember to be safe out there!

Neil has quickly become on of the top trucking insurance professionals in Ontario. His love for his wife and daughter is the only thing higher on his priority list then providing great service for those he serves.

Impact felt with ferocity throughout the transportation marketplace

The insurance marketplace has been sending signals that an intense market is coming.  Many articles, including my own, have been waving the flag in an effort to forewarn those in the transportation industry that another hard market is imminent and to pay attention to detail.   Some took heed to the warnings while others sneered in disbelief.

For some who never invested in safety and compliance the echoes of “it’s too late” became a bitter reality.

The new year in its infancy has already seen insurance premiums forcing carriers out of business due to their past claims history.   Unappealing loss history will make the decision process easy for insurance providers not offer renewal terms.    With transportation insures trying to correct their poor loss ratio, there is no one volleying to write bad business.  Each Insurer is seeking to write good business as new business.

The “safe” carriers in this category (blemished claims history, lack of adherence to safety and compliance) who have been granted terms have felt the financial blow on the insurance premiums as well as terms that were once lenient.   Examples of higher deductibles, aggregates on cargo premiums, implementing theft restrictions on cargo and yes, even excluding drivers from being insurable have familiarized themselves once again.

Insurers have captured an abundance of data in their computer systems over the years.  Be wary to all the fleets who are “adopting” those whose insurance lapsed because of terms not being offered.  Cancellation or non-renewal happened for a reason. Don’t inherit problems unless you can fix them.

For those fleets that renew at the latter part of this year, get the game plan in play if you have not done so already.   Once again, have your insurance renewal information available to your Broker well in advance of renewal date.  One Insurer needs a minimum of 45 days lead time to compete on NON fleet accounts.  This is a sign of the times that safety and compliance and a tight ship is needed to weather the storm ahead.

*First appeared in the March 2018 issue of Ontario Trucking

Linda started her career in the insurance industry in 1979 and gravitated toward the niche market of transportation insurance in 1986. Linda has been active in the transportation community since her beginnings and is a Board Member with the Durham Region Transportation Association. Since 2006, Linda has been contributing relevant industry articles in Ontario Trucking monthly periodicals