Large settlements against companies operating fleets of vehicles have gone up nearly 1,000% since 2010 according to data from the American Transportation Research Institute. The average verdict has increased from $5 million to over $20 million, Louise Vallee, Crum & Forster’s vice president for risk engineering, said at a session at the IRMI conference. The size of jury verdicts has increased so much that the industry has coined a new term: Thermonuclear verdicts, for awards of $10 million or more
If you own or manage a company that operates a fleet of vehicles, you may be wondering how to reduce the risk of costly lawsuits and insurance claims. One of the best ways to do that is to install dashcams in your company vehicles.
Dashcams are small cameras that record the road ahead, behind, and sometimes inside the vehicle. They can provide valuable evidence in case of an accident, theft, or dispute. In this blog post, we will explore how dashcams can help you prevent large settlements and save money in the long run. Many rideshare drivers have begun doing this to protect themselves in case of accidents involving riders.
One of the main benefits of installing dashcams is that they can exonerate your drivers from false or exaggerated claims. According to a study by the Insurance Research Council, about 10% of auto insurance claims involve some degree of fraud. Some common examples of fraud are staged accidents, inflated injuries, and phantom passengers. These fraudulent claims can result in large settlements that can hurt your bottom line and reputation.
Dashcams can help you avoid these costly scenarios by providing clear and objective evidence of what actually occurred in an accident. For example, if another driver claims that your driver rear-ended them, but the dashcam footage shows that they brake-checked your driver, you can use the video to prove your driver’s innocence and avoid paying for damages and injuries you are not responsible for.
Similarly, if a pedestrian or cyclist claims that your driver hit them, but the dashcam footage shows that they jumped in front of your vehicle, you can use the video to refute their claim and avoid a costly lawsuit.
Dashcams can also help you defend your drivers from false accusations of reckless or distracted driving, which can lead to higher insurance premiums, fines, or even criminal charges.
For example, suppose another driver or a witness claim that your driver was speeding, running red lights, or texting while driving, but the dashcam footage shows that your driver was following the traffic rules and paying attention to the road. In that case, you can use the video to clear your driver’s name and protect your company’s reputation.
Another benefit of dashcams is that they can speed up the claims process and reduce the hassle and stress of dealing with insurance companies. According to a survey by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, the average time to settle an auto insurance claim is 30 days. However, this can vary depending on the complexity and severity of the claim, and it can take much longer if there is a dispute or a lack of evidence.
Dashcams can help you expedite the claims process by providing irrefutable proof of what happened and who was at fault. This can eliminate the need for lengthy investigations, negotiations, and litigation, and help you get your claim resolved faster and more efficiently. Dashcams can also help you avoid unnecessary delays and denials by insurance companies, who may try to find loopholes or discrepancies in your claim to reduce or reject your payout.
Dashcams can also help you save money on deductibles, which are the amount of money you have to pay out of pocket before your insurance coverage kicks in. Depending on your policy, your deductible can range from $0 to $1,000 or more.
If you have a high deductible, you may end up paying more than the actual cost of the repair or replacement of your vehicle. However, if you have dashcam footage that proves that the other party was at fault, you may be able to recover your deductible from them or their insurance company and save yourself some money.
A third benefit of dashcams is that they can improve your fleet safety program and reduce the risk of accidents and injuries. Dashcams can help you monitor and evaluate your drivers’ performance and behavior, and provide feedback and coaching to improve their skills and safety awareness.
Dashcams can also help you enforce your company’s policies and procedures, such as wearing seat belts, avoiding distractions, and following speed limits. Dashcams can also deter your drivers from engaging in risky or illegal activities, such as drinking and driving, using drugs, or stealing company property, as they know they are being recorded and can be held accountable for their actions. While some drivers may object to being on camera there is no legitimate reason unless they intend to do something illegal or against company policy.
Conversely, dashcams can also help you reward your drivers for good driving and recognize their achievements. You can use dashcam data to track and measure your drivers’ performance, such as fuel efficiency, braking, acceleration, and cornering. You can also use dashcam footage to identify and highlight your drivers’ best practices, such as avoiding collisions, helping other road users, or reporting hazards. You can use these metrics and examples to create incentives and recognition programs for your drivers, such as bonuses, prizes, certificates, or public praise. This can boost your drivers’ morale, motivation, and loyalty, and create a positive and supportive work culture.
Dashcams are a smart and cost-effective investment for any company that operates a fleet of vehicles. They can help you prevent large settlements, speed up the claims process, and improve your fleet safety program. They can also protect your drivers, your vehicles, and your reputation, and save you money in the long run.
Data from cameras and tracking systems can produce scores for drivers. Matching these with incentives, scorecards can produce friendly competition among employees.
Vehicle inspection records are publicly available and required by law in many states. Ensure that fleet vehicles are well-maintained and inspected properly – and know what the public records indicate.
Having a banner that states something like “Safety is our No. 1 priority,” should be avoided. That’s just asking an insurance company’s legal team to say, “Prove it.”
SIA Insurance Group can help protect your business with the best policies to suit your needs and help you avoid being liable for large settlements in case of an accident. Contact SIA at 630-325-4000.
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