Moving nearly 71% of all domestic freight shipments, commercial trucking is the lifeblood of the U.S. economy. According to the Bureau
of Transportation Statistics, in 2015
alone those goods totaled some 176
million metric tons worth about $700
billion; since then, both the total tonnage and its value have only increased.
For commercial trucking insurers,
thanks to chronic driver shortages,
pressures to make same-day deliveries
and exploding claims costs, there has
never been a more challenging — or
more opportune — time than now.
DRIVING FOR RATE
Large trucks in particular have a
higher fatality rate in collisions, though
most of those fatalities are the drivers
and passengers of other vehicles. A
2007 report commissioned by the
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) pegged the average
cost of a police-reported crash involving a large truck (those with a gross
weight rating of 10,000 lbs. or more)
at just over $120,000, as adjusted for
inflation. Crashes involving tractor-trailers average out to $382,000.
Crashes that only involve property
damage average $20,000, while those
involving fatalities average $4.8 million.
But even those numbers are likely low,
as they do not account for rising repair
and liability costs in the 11 years since
the study was published. The FMCSA
has not produced more recent numbers,
but insurers hardly need them. They
know how bad the claims situation is.