Claim Spotlight

Defensive Driving

July 14, 2014

Defensive Driving Lesson:

It was a late Friday afternoon and Jeremy was just one town away from home.  The wide suburban road he was driving on had three lanes going east, three lanes going west, and a shared center turn lane.  Although it was almost rush hour, there were hardly any cars on the road.  Jeremy was in the far left west-bound lane.  He knew he was exceeding the speed limit by going 45 mph in a 40 mph zone, but he was so close to home and trying to beat the traffic.

Up ahead on the left, he saw a box truck slowly cut across the oncoming, east-bound lanes, headed for his own lane.  Jeremy looked to his right, hoping the lane was empty, but there was a lady in a silver SUV, passing him in the middle lane.  Her kids were in the back seat.  Slamming on his brakes, he allowed her to pass him so he could change lanes.  He was barely able to complete the lane change when the box truck entered the far left lane where Jeremy would have been in another five seconds.  But then the box truck moved from the left lane to the middle lane right ahead of the SUV.  The SUV driver braked and narrowly avoided hitting the box truck as it proceeded into the far right lane.  Jeremy hit the SUV, despite braking as hard as he could.

The damage to the rear of the SUV was massive and Jeremy’s employer was upset.  The ensuing property damage and liability claims for the driver of the SUV and her children ended up totaling more than $100,000.

 

Lessons Learned:
Although accidents frequently happen in merging environments, most of these collisions are considered preventable.  According to the Texas Department of Insurance, defensive drivers follow these four practices:

-1- Pay attention to surroundings in order to foresee potential perils

-2- Begin braking the moment a hazard starts to develop

-3- Apply brakes as gradually as possible to avoid causing another accident from behind

-4- Anticipate that other drivers will not be as aware of their surroundings and will attempt potentially unsafe maneuvers to avoid unexpected hazards.

Although there was no way to predict the exact scenario above, Jeremy should have anticipated hazards from both right and left sides and known what cars were next to him. Just as importantly, had Jeremy been driving at a safe speed, he could have avoided the accident entirely. Safety is the most important part of being a professional driver. Following the above practices keep you, your job, and your fellow motorists safe on the roads.

Industry Insights

Cyber Liability, Data Breach and Privacy Coverage

July 7, 2014

Cyber Liability

In today’s data driven world, protecting electronic information against theft or attack is a major concern among many businesses. As the transportation industry has become increasingly reliant on digital connections, they have increased their cyber security exposure.  Any company that transmits, collects, or stores private information is at risk for a cyber-attack.  For the trucking and transportation industry, that could include employee and customer information.  Just one stolen laptop, tablet, or one resourceful hacker can create enormous financial and reputational consequences for your business.

Here are several ways you can protect your business:

-1- Work with your IT professional to improve security measures and develop a written security policy, putting measures in place to safeguard private information.

For example:
Use passwords or physical locks to keep sensitive data accessible only to those who need it to do their jobs.
Deploy extensive network security and firewalls. Limit the use of portable technology and provide employees a VPN connection for access to company computers.
Train employees on proper care and control of sensitive data.

-2- Develop an incident response plan.

-3-  Consider a Cyber Liability policy.  Data breach and Cyber Liability are excluded under most traditional GL and Crime policies.  A Cyber Liability policy offers two major types of coverage.
      -First party coverage offers financial compensation to help you address immediate customer and business needs.
      -Third party coverage protects you in the event of a lawsuit brought by a customer or partner for data breach.

In the event of a data breach, Cyber Liability coverage allows you to focus on rebuilding and restoring your reputation without worrying about the related expenses.

Claim Spotlight

Claim Spotlight: Situational Awareness

March 24, 2014

Situational Awareness

Janice Monroe had been a professional driver for 15 years and never had an accident…

It was very early morning when she arrived at the dealership. She pulled safely off the roadway, well into the right shoulder, and completed her delivery. The sun was barely over the horizon when Janice finished, but it was bright. Since she was parked on the shoulder, she did not look at the traffic passing beside her as she secured the lift at the rear of the trailer. Janice heard the screeching tires but never saw the vehicle that hit her, pinning her between the trailer and the car that struck her. The teenager driving the car did not see Janice since the sun was shining in his eyes. He only saw the truck a few seconds before impact, and barely had any time to hit the brakes.

Janice sustained multiple fractures to her legs, pelvis, spine, and skull, as well as significant ligament and soft tissue injuries. She underwent more than 15 surgeries and the doctors were able to save both legs. Janice was kept in the ICU for two weeks and was released from the hospital five weeks after the accident. She continued therapy for over two years before the doctors advised she was as well as she was going to get. However, Janice would have to live with ongoing pain and difficulties doing ordinary tasks.

Although the driver that hit Janice had liability limits of $100,000, the medical bills alone far exceeded $500,000. Due to the extreme severity of her injuries, the at-fault driver’s liability policy was exhausted immediately. Workers Compensation paid over $500,000 in medical bills and lost wages, with another $300,000 in anticipated payments. The underinsured motorist policy of $1,000,000 that Janice’s company maintained also will be exhausted when it is over.

Lessons Learned:

Without a doubt, this accident was caused by the teenage driver who veered onto the shoulder. Janice thought she was safe to walk behind her vehicle without being concerned about the passing traffic. However, Janice might have been able to avoid being injured by maintaining her situational awareness. Being more conscientious of the passing traffic and recognizing the bright sun as possible dangers may have prevented her role in the accident. Remember, being a defensive driver means being defensive both inside and outside of your vehicle while you are on the road. It will not only prevent expensive insurance claims, but it will keep you and the other motorists safe.

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