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Investing in drivers will pay off

Investing in drivers will pay off

Making certain that drivers are adequately trained and mindful of every aspect of their job is a crucial factor in a making a trucking account attractive to underwriters, according to experts.

That’s particularly true given the changing demographics of trucking, with older, experienced drivers leaving the workforce.

Although improved technology is making trucking safer, no technological advance can totally control the human element, they say.

“Invest in your drivers,” said Liam Hutelmyer, vice president of underwriting and operations at AmWINS Transportation Underwriters in Burlington, North Carolina. “These men and women drive your success, and their familiarity with their equipment, commodities and routes will have a direct impact on improving your operation.”

But training and investment aren’t limited to direct driving duties, he said. Some insurers offer loss-control materials on topics such as what to do in the event of a crash and best practices for load securement.

“The toughest challenge is turnover,” said Marguerite Dixen, president of Chicago-based Fundamental Underwriters. Finding creative ways to reduce turnover in the driver pool is a huge issue, she said.

“Drivers are getting older,” she said. “We’re looking at ways to be creative in bringing young drivers into the workforce. There’s an advantage to having a younger staff that heals more quickly than an older staff that may take longer to heal.”

A technological answer to the driver question may be years into the future, however.

“The shortage of drivers in the marketplace can’t be dismissed and ultimately may lead to the substantive entry of driverless vehicles, but we’re years away from that,” said Mr. Hutelmyer.

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