Will Younger Truckers Equal Higher Insurance Costs?

Written By Charlotte Insurance on August 27, 2015. It has 0 comments.

In 48 states across the country, someone who is 18 years old can receive their commercial drivers license (CDL), assuming that they can past the required tests. Garbage trucks, 18-wheelers, delivery trucks, you name it, they could all potentially have an 18 year old behind the wheel.

What a driver that young cannot do is cross state lines. Drivers must be at least 21 to be an interstate trucker. That is, unless a recently added provision in the six-year highway bill currently being proposed passes into law.

The Senate Commerce Committee added a provision to lower the interstate trucking minimum age to 18 – with mixed reviews.

Advocates of the decrease in age say it only makes sense. If drivers can travel hundreds of miles within their state with a load or to make a delivery, they should also be able to cross state lines.

Opponents disagree and feel that 18 is too young in or out of state. Truckers between the age of 18 and 21 are four to six times likely to get into an accident than truckers older than 21. Insurance companies tend to agree. Some insurance companies even require that all drivers be at least 22 years old.

There are no easy answers. By 2017, we could be facing a shortage of 250,000 truck drivers nationwide as truckers age out and retire while demands for goods continue to increase. Shipping rates are already increasing three to five percent a year. A shortage of trucks on the road could easily bring those costs higher.

If this change passes, are higher insurance costs in the future?

There’s no way to know for sure what lowering the age for interstate truckers could mean for insurance rates, but it’s possible to guess that companies who hire younger drivers could see higher rates. Younger drivers mean higher risks, and higher risks translate into more accidents and insurance claims.

Workers compensation premiums could go up based on the risk associated with younger drivers. Businesses who file big claims will see premiums rise, regardless of the age of the driver. Younger drivers tend to have more accidents on the road.

Premiums are affected by a number of factors. Insurance companies must assess the risks when calculating trucking insurance costs, and the age of a trucker is definitely one to consider for any trucking business. Businesses will need to make hiring decisions with those risks in mind.

At Charlotte Insurance, we’re here to help you with all of your insurance needs. As an independent insurance company, we work with multiple companies to find the best rates for you. If you’re considering hiring younger truckers, let’s talk and find out how that might affect your insurance costs.

Image courtesy of Flickr user Ryan Holst.

Drone Insurance is Becoming a Reality

Written By Charlotte Insurance on August 20, 2015. It has 0 comments.

Just a few years ago, drones were solely associated with the military, but now an enterprising business owner or a gadget-loving homeowner can own their very own drone.

For business applications, the possibilities vary. Real estate, film, agriculture, photography, public safety, marketing, shipping – the list of current uses already in place is long. As time goes on, people will find more ways to incorporate the use of drones into their businesses.

With the use of any equipment or new adoption of technology comes certain risks. Malfunctions, impact from and into other objects, crash landings – it’s impossible to count the risks until we discover all the potential uses for it. That doesn’t mean you can’t guard against those risks and protect your investments with the right insurance policy.

Homeowners using drones for personal use may be covered under their homeowner’s insurance policy, but business owners need to weigh the risks and potential liability as they add unmanned aircraft to their business model. You won’t automatically be covered under any existing policy.

Your typical commercial general liability insurance does not and will not cover any aircraft, as the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has recently classified drones. You’ll need a separate insurance policy to protect your business and your drone.

Insurance companies are already beginning to offer drone coverage for businesses. Some are offering endorsements to existing policies while others have created “all risks of ground and flight” coverage that’s similar to standard aviation policies. Coverage could include electrical malfunctions, third party liability, non-flight crew, and potentially even war and terrorism, plus many other hazards.

It will be important to detail how you plan to operate your drone, what it will be used for, and who will have access to it. This will help determine the amount and type of coverage you’ll need. Be prepared for the costs to reflect the risk based on how you’re using a drone with your business. Thankfully, you’ve got a little time. Many of the rules and regulations that FAA has proposed won’t take affect until 2017.

Technology changes from moment to moment. It’s exciting to think how far we’ve come in just the past 20 years or so. Drone technology for business use isn’t something we would have considered in the last century. Now it’s time to think about protecting yourself with property and liability insurance as you purchase your drone to help you have a more profitable business. It’s hard to imagine what’s next.

If you’re considering drone technology for your business and want to learn more about insurance policy options, contact us today. We’re excited about the future of technology and business and can’t wait to work with you!

Image courtesy of Flickr user Don McCullough.

Does your Hotel Need Cyber Liability Insurance?

Written By Charlotte Insurance on August 13, 2015. It has 0 comments.

No company that does business online is safe from hacking. Hotels are no exception. It doesn’t matter how sophisticated the hotel or who owns it, if you’re taking in someone’s personal information, it can be stolen. Not even Donald Trump and his hotels are immune.

The recent breach of the Trump properties didn’t appear in the news until early July, but investigators believe the theft goes all the way back to February. The credit card breach was only found after tracking a pattern of fraudulent charges back to the only common denominator – the hotels the victims stayed in.

We may never know how long or how many records were actually stolen, but with multiple properties in large cities, a few months is a long time to steal credit card numbers. That’s a lot of angry customers who are going to be asking hard questions like how the hotel could let it happen and what they will do to prevent it from happening in the future.

Don’t be fooled into thinking you’re safe because you’re small or you’re part of a franchise. Hackers don’t just seek out the big guys. Your hotel needs a cyber liability insurance policy, regardless of its size.

A good cyber liability insurance policy will help you with the fallout.

  1. Using your franchise’s system is not a guarantee of protection by the parent company. Check your contract with the franchise. You might be one of the few fortunate hotels protected in case of a data breach. Most franchisees aren’t so lucky. In fact, there will most likely include a line that specifically holds the parent company harmless and places the burden squarely on your shoulders.
  2. The Payment Card Processing company does not automatically cover you, even if the data breach originated with them. Unless you managed to include specific language to be covered under their policy in your contract, you’re on your own. Without cyber liability insurance, you’ll be responsible for all attorney costs, notification fees, and any monetary settlement. Plus, if the data breach can be traced back to your hotel property, the Payment Card Industry requires you to conduct a forensic accounting audit at your own expense. You’re looking at $25,000 plus any fines for non-compliance found in the audit.
  3. The notification fees alone could bankrupt you. Once you discover a data breach, you are required to notify every guest in your database. Think about how long your hotel has been in business and how many guests you’ve had over the years. Now multiply that number by $30, the approximate notification fee per guest.

Cyber liability insurance doesn’t sound too bad now, does it?

Every time you hand your credit card over, you’re placing your trust in the person and the company. The same is true with your hotel. Every single guest expects their information to be safe. In the world we live in, we all know that a data breach can happen at any point. If it happens at your hotel, your guests won’t be looking to the hackers or your Payment Card Processing company for information, they’re coming to you. Make sure you’re protected with cyber liability insurance.

Image courtesy of Flickr user Loozrboy.