Category: Transportation Companies
I received a telephone call from a motorcoach company today and the owner advised that they had had a multi-bus collision over the weekend. He advised that he had already reported it to his insurance company and his insurance agent. He wanted to know what I would recommend doing after this accident.
All of the buses involved in the accident were owned by this company and they were driven by company drivers as a shuttle service. All the buses were following each other; the accident occurred because the first driver had to slam on the brakes to avoid hitting another vehicle and this resulted in the other three buses rear ending each other. There was damage to all vehicles. The owner stated that his insurance company had asked how many passengers were on each of the buses. Since this was a shuttle service, there was not an accurate count of the number of passengers on each bus.
What to Do Now
There are a couple of lessons we can learn from this situation. First, when you have multiple vehicles following each other on a trip, it is a good idea to leave enough space between each vehicle, so there is not a possibility of a multi-vehicle collision. Second, even though they were operating a shuttle, the drivers could have kept a headcount. Using a simple counting device as passengers enter the vehicle can help your insurance company know how many potential claims they are facing.
We also discussed the importance of maintaining evidence. Remember, the goal after an accident is to “freeze time.” You don’t want to have a claim for spoliation of evidence on top of all the other claims. I advised the owner to make sure that he makes a complete copy of the driver files and maintenance files. He advised that he had his drivers complete a drug and alcohol test immediately after the accident and that was the right thing to do. I also suggested that he tell his drivers to be prepared to have their phone records reviewed and their social media accounts reviewed. More than likely, this type of accident will involve some type of attorney and they generally review that type of information.
I also suggested that the owner talk to all of the drivers and make sure that they only speak to the insurance company representative. I further recommended that the drivers should notify the owner immediately if anyone tries to contact them about the accident and for the owner to verify that the contact is from his insurance company. You don’t want to have your drivers giving a recorded statement to someone other than your insurance company. It’s also a good idea to advise your drivers in this type of situation to cooperate with your insurance company’s investigation.
Remember, to avoid these types of accidents don’t follow too close. Try to maintain some type a headcount on each vehicle to help your insurance company understand how many potential claims they may have. Maintain records that are pertinent to the investigation and cooperate with your insurance company’s investigation.
The conditions of your automobile liability insurance policy state that you should report all claims in a timely manner. So, what does that mean? Should you report claims when you get all the information? Report them when you feel like it? No, you should report any claim the same day it occurs and no later than 24 hours from the time of the accident. Late reporting of claims is something that your insurance company tracks in their reporting system. If you are trying to obtain new insurance or renewing insurance and there is late reporting of previous claims, the insurance company may hold that against you when evaluating your company. The insurance company equates late reporting to increased claim costs. Don’t put yourself in this situation. Remember, you want your company to be in the best position to obtain the best insurance rates.
So, what should you do to train your employees to report claims timely? To start, have a written post-accident policy stating that all claims should be reported to management the same day an accident occurs. Any claim reported more than 24 hours late will result in disciplinary action. Be sure to have your employees sign and date this policy. Having a reminder of this policy in your accident kit may help them remember to report claims timely.
You should train your employees to obtain contact information of the other party involved in the accident and any witnesses. This should include names, telephone numbers, and email addresses of all potential parties of the claim. This is critical information for the claim and generally the hardest to obtain. The simple solution is to provide blank index cards in every accident kit. That way, your employee can quickly hand those to any potential witnesses and ask them to put their names, telephone numbers, and addresses directly on the cards.
After your employee has obtained witness information, they should write a personal statement of what happened and send it to management within 24-hours. This statement should include the weather conditions, location, law enforcement contact, statements made by the adverse party, and the mechanics of what happened.
Once you receive the information, do not delay in reporting the claim to your insurance company. You should always have the insurance company’s contact information handy. Additionally, you should report the claim to your insurance agent, since they may be able to assist you with investigation and reporting.
“I have a Facebook page, why do I need a website?”
We get this question all the time from clients, especially from those that have little or no staff. They’ve taken the time and effort to build a Facebook page and build a following, so why on earth would they need to spend the time and money on a website?
Here’s the bottom line: YOUR WEBSITE = YOUR KINGDOM
The social media platforms control every aspect of THEIR product.
THEY dictate the color scheme.
THEY dictate what you can or cannot say/sell/do on THEIR platform.
THEY dictate how you appear and how often you appear to your potential customers.
Why are you letting social media dictate how you interact with YOUR customers?
Having a website that is mobile-friendly, secure, and interactive allows YOU to control how the customer interacts with YOUR business.
YOUR message, YOUR rules.
Social media can be a valuable tool. But it will always be a tool built by someone else, with their best interests in mind.
Isn’t it time you had a tool with YOUR best interests in mind?
One of your largest business operating costs is insurance premiums. Commercial insurance is just plain…expensive! We understand that and we want to assist you with keeping those costs as minimal as possible. A well designed and up-to-date website can help.
Your insurance company is looking at certain things to determine what type of business you are and how insurable you are. Here are the top three things they look at:
- Loss History. How many accidents/incidents has your company reported in the last few years? They look at the severity and frequency of those accidents.
- CSA SMS Scores. Are your scores within acceptable levels? Do you have alerts? Is your MCS-150 report up-to-date?
- Your Company Website. Does your site have clear information about your company’s capabilities? Is the site up-to-date? Does your site have driver hiring capabilities? Do you promote safety on your site?
Transport Studios specializes in transportation company websites. We tailor our sites to help you provide the best information for your customers, drivers, and your insurance company. We have built in forms for accident reporting (optional), driver hiring forms (optional), and easy tools to assist you with keeping your site up-to-date. Transport Studios is here to help design or update your website today!