This session at PRIMA’s 2015 Annual Conference highlighted national auto claim trends and provided insights for reducing auto liabilities. The session was led by Kenny Smith, CSP, Risk Control Manager at OneBeacon Government Risks.
Since nearly every public entity owns automobiles – whether they are police or emergency response vehicles, buses or passenger vehicles – automobile accidents are consistently one of the top-reported entity claims. Managing those automobiles, drivers and claims isn’t simple, but it can be managed.
96% of auto accidents are caused by poor driver choices. Accident prevention efforts should include ways to identify and predict what choices are causing the accidents and implementing controls (fixes) where you find deficiencies.
A great starting point is to conduct accident reviews to look at potential causes. 95% of accidents have more than two of the following causes:
- Entity Policy
- Department Policy
Typically, if you evaluate these six items during the accident review, you will find indicators as to what caused the accident and how you can adjust your program to try to alleviate these causes in the future. This evaluation is a key step to helping improve your program.
Accident trends indicate that law enforcement and public works employees have the most accidents and the most common claims include hitting the vehicle ahead and backing up. This points to a high level of distracted driving and complacency.
Trends also show that entities often begin an accident investigation immediately after an accident occurs, rather than notifying their insurance agent. Claims professionals can have a dramatic impact on how much money is spent on claims, but only if you involve them early.
Create a Safety Culture
Culture has a lot to do with success. It’s important to create a safety culture that includes mindsets, values and beliefs. It should be driven by management and communicated through every department to every employee who drives. The same safety culture should be shared and followed at the main office and remote worksites.
Creating a culture of safety includes three major traits:
- Culture – Create an atmosphere where everyone wants to be better and safer. Expectations must be accepted and fostered by management.
- Compliance – Rules, regulations, procedures and discipline. Being lax in any of these areas hurts your program. They must be enforced.
- Support – Management must support the safety culture by originating dialogue, funding safety machinery and equipment, and demanding that safety be a priority.
Failure to train negates all of the hard work an organization puts into developing a culture of safety. It’s critical to follow through with detailed training, both proactive and defensive, for every employee who drives as part of their job. The best fleet safety program is the one that has management support and is enforced.