A soft, competitive market certainly makes it harder to sell transportation insurance. But agents still can win by paying attention to the details and gathering the data that in turn will help brokers obtain the best possible terms from our transportation insurance carriers.
Providing the following ten critical information components will enhance your competitive edge and put you on the road to the sale:
1. Completed Application – A surprising number of applications are incomplete when submitted, resulting in delays and sub-optimal terms from carriers if they are willing to quote.
2. Carrier Type and Operations – Indicate the customer’s radius of operations (long haul or short haul) and whether it is a for-hire or private operator.
3. Comprehensive Driver Information – Insurance carriers need the list of drivers and their complete motor vehicle records (MVRs). They also need to know the company’s guidelines. What is the minimum age for drivers? Are drivers properly licensed for the equipment they operate and the loads they haul? What experience must the driver have?
4. Comprehensive Fleet Information – Essential information includes the fleet’s composition—the number and types of power units and trailers—as well as the current vehicle schedule (stated amount values).
5. Content Hauled – Carriers need to know the details of commodities hauled— especially if there are any liquid, flammable or hazardous loads.
6. Safety Programs – Formalized safety activities make a huge difference; a copy of the safety program often is used to justify application of credits. Carriers care about whether the company has a full-time director of safety, if it holds regular safety meetings and if drivers are incentivized for safe driving records. The customer also must provide complete information on all federal or state filings that are required—including docket numbers.
7. Losses – Procuring at least four years’ history of loss experience and loss runs enables experience ratings and can help get the competitive lower price points needed to bind business. Some carriers require five years of currently valued loss runs.
8. Fuel Tax Reports – These are used to verify the radius of operations of for-hire truckers. Obtain reports from the past four quarters.
9. Financials – These are required for larger fleet accounts.
10. Operational Narrative – Some specifics and nuances about an account can be hard to capture on an application form. A brief narrative provides additional insight into the insured’s operational activities.
Following this checklist may seem like an unusual answer to helping agents sell in a soft marketplace for transportation insurance. But these are the details that can make the difference. Without this information, we simply cannot access the best possible pricing. There are often very large debit/credit swings available. This information helps us access the rate the agent will need to be successful in this very competitive market.