The Dovetail: Commercial Auto: Kicking Risk Management into High Gear

For several years you have heard and read about the problems related to commercial auto exposures. This is an issue that not only affects PLM and its customers, but the insurance industry as a whole. Some of the factors affecting the commercial auto loss results are inexperienced drivers, distracted driving, overcrowded roads, increase in road construction, as well as rising medical and repair costs.

PLM has taken dramatic actions to improve our commercial auto results through tightening our underwriting standards and enhancing our loss control assistance for our customers. We also have raised rates accordingly.

So, what else can be done?

Driver Selection & Training: More than 75 percent of the new losses we have seen have been caused by “driver error.” PLM has partnered with companies to help aid our customers with driver monitoring and training. Samba Safety, an industry leader in driver risk management, offers continuous MVR monitoring. Continuous MVR monitoring goes a step ahead of simply pulling MVRs at one point in time by monitoring behavior in real time, so it can be addressed as soon as possible. This service identifies at-risk drivers, assesses driver performance and enforces driver policies.

PLM has also partnered with Driver’s Alert, a safety solution that helps improve driver behavior and mitigate financial losses. Driver’s Alert is one of the pioneers of the “How’s My Driving” program, a decal-based driver observation program. Their meticulous validation process ensures that you receive accurate driver behavior data and identify unsafe drivers before an accident occurs. Driver’s Alert also offers corrective action training courses designed to raise employee awareness and address specific unsafe driving behaviors.

Preventative Maintenance: It is important insureds maintain their fleets and keep equipment up-to-date and running through scheduled servicing, inspections and vehicle repairs. Preventative maintenance proactively avoids and reduces vehicle breakdowns and the number of unscheduled repairs and downtime. Some practices to consider as preventative maintenance include: oil changes, tire rotations, worn parts replacement and overall vehicle inspections such as fluid levels and air pressure in tires. An effective program should include a checklist of service tasks with scheduled maintenance times.

PLM Loss Control Resources: In addition to our partnerships with companies like Samba Safety and Driver’s Alert, PLM also provides valuable resources to our customers. Below are the different resources available on our website. Plus, we can ship printed copies of these resources to customers:

  • Business Auto Standard Checklist.
  • Sample Fleet Management Policy.
  • Loss Control Guides.
  • Safety Stickers for vehicles.

PLM Loss Control Representatives also work with customers to enhance their risk management capabilities and provide useful guidance on fleet safety.

Ultimately, it is up to customers to be proactive in building a fleet safety program in their organization. But PLM and brokers can work with them to help make their businesses safer, minimize losses and prevent any costly interruptions in daily operations.

Loss control materials can be found on our website at To request any specific materials, please contact Customer Service at 800-752-1895 or by email at