ArborTimes Winter 2023

businesses don’t have controls in place, a schedule for regular safety training, a personal-use policy, haven’t created a policy on equipment training prior to use and don’t have plans for regular skills assessments. The most important part of safety isn’t the financial aspect. The real cost is having to call an employee’s family member to tell them they’re at the hospital or not coming home. That’s why we do these things,” says Blackman. DANGERS OF LAPSED POLICIES Lapsed policies raise red flags for insur- ers because they make a business a risky prospect. However, some insurers are willing to consider renewing coverage pending reasonable and valid reasons for letting the policy lapse. Aer all, business and life sometimes do get in the way of the administrative work of renewing in- surance policies, and how the carrier will handle it varies. “It’s very tough getting back from a lapsed policy depending on how long the lapse has been,” cautions Rook. “If it’s only a few days or a week it’s generally not a huge issue. You’ll have to provide a no-known-loss letter certifying that there were no incidents during the lapse.” However, when an incident oc- curs and insurance coverage has lapsed, no insurer will backdate a policy to cover that event, leaving the business on the hook for the bill. Ultimately, insurance is simply a cost of business, and it does require at least annual maintenance to ensure the cov- erages are sufficient. While the right insurance partner will help with the annual insurance audit, there could be changes throughout the year requiring a call to the agent to update policies as needed. Having solid safety training and documentation programs in place will go a long way in minimizing claims and managing costs. “Lapsed policies raise red flags for insurers because they make a business a risky prospect.”

into their fleet vehicles when they are on the road. This technology can be used to evaluate speed, braking, cornering and idle time, as well as provide engine statistics such as oil temperature and pressure. Cameras offer an additional level of insight. At minimum, a camera should be facing the road, but additional cameras can be used inside the cab of a vehicle to monitor driver activity for things like distracted driving. Research has shown that when people know they’re being watched, their behaviors are vastly improved. Documentation that shows a proactive approach to the safe operation of fleet vehicles, machinery and equipment will go a long way in getting better rates on insurance. Businesses with multiple claims, poor driver history and lacking documentation of formal safety pro- grams are riskier for carriers and are subject to much higher rates. Similarly, it can be difficult for new tree care companies to get the best rates on the market. However, many agents are willing to work with new businesses to build a safety program and documenta- tion plan which will lead to rate improve- ments over time. “Most of the time, new

and it could be a very big loss for your company that translates to higher pre- miums in the future.” Across the board, insurers recommend issuing a road test for new employees as a condition of employment. Rook continues, “Owners must be cognizant of all kinds of expo- sures. Just because someone has three years of work experience at a different tree care company doesn’t mean they drove a fleet vehicle or towed a large piece of equipment.” Conducting a road test, and even testing their abili- ty to maneuver equipment around the yard without causing damage, is im- portant for proactively protecting the company’s assets. Driver safety doesn’t start and end on the first day. It requires a robust pro- gram that is addressed regularly and well documented. “Having a good driv- er-safety program in place, and sticking by it, helps your employees become better and safer drivers and will mini- mize claims. Minimal claims generally translate to better insurance rates, and makes your business attractive to insur- ance carriers,” says Rook. Telematics have gained popularity for companies looking to have more insight

ArborTIMES Winter 2023 | 45

Made with FlippingBook - professional solution for displaying marketing and sales documents online