Insurance rates could go up over 20% next year.
This is bad news for the transportation industry but especially bad news for smaller carriers. A 20% jump in insurance rates would be one of if not the largest single year jump in insurance rates ever. It is unlikely that small carriers already struggling in an uncompetitive and settlement prohibitive insurance market will be able to continue to operate profitably or at all.
Think, this only affects trucking companies? You would be wrong. Insurance rates are a major factor in the rates trucking companies charge their customers, insurance increases mean higher rates which means it will cost more to transport goods. This will increase the price of those goods to the consumers. This is you and me.
Why are we seeing insurance rates soar? The simple answer is that as a whole we are a nation that dislikes the trucking industry. Big trucks are scary and they slow you down when you are behind them on the interstate. When there is an accident, the big truck usually wins. But, the vast majority of accidents involving big trucks are the cars fault.
Still think the nation as a whole does not dislike the trucking industry? Then look at a billboard or pay attention to commercials on television or the radio. How often do you hear a lawyer say “in a wreck with a big truck, we can help”. What they really mean is they realize that the trucking industry is an easy target for a quick settlement.
Yes, there are serious accidents where the big truck is responsible and insurance payouts are justified. However, these are not the norm.
I cannot tell you how many frivolous I have seen. One a person hit a big truck, left the scene, was chased down by the big truck and got a ticket when the police arrived. This person sued the big truck for $13 million dollars for mental anguish. He lost the lawsuit but it put the small trucking company out of business because their insurance jumped 40% the next year because the insurance company had to reserve money for the lawsuit until it was settled.
True, the case was settled for a small amount of money but it should not have cost the insurance company anything and it put a small transportation company out of business. You may be asking why the insurance company settled and did not go to court? Simple, insurance are terrified to face a jury because they know the general public dislikes big trucks.
So, what can be done?
First of all, let’s quit suing everyone for a quick dollar.
Second, let’s have some sort of legislation that limits payouts for accidents involving big trucks. Before you say NO, that is not fair, remember that the airlines and train companies already have this protection. I am not even suggesting a low amount; just pick a number that the insurance companies can plan around. Of course, the higher the number the more everything we buy will cost.
Third, we need some sort of deterrent for people and lawyers who place frivolous lawsuits. Yes, trucking companies can counter sue people that file a frivolous lawsuit but even if they win they are unlikely to even get enough money to cover their legal fees. There needs to be a way to punish the lawyers that actively seek these types of lawsuits.
Finally, we as the general public need to understand that big trucks are not our enemy. They provide a crucial link between manufactures and us. Without big trucks there would be not food, gas, clothing or anything else we buy. Truck drivers are people doing a job just like us all. They are not monsters driving death machines.