NASTC INSURANCE NEWS
Stay Aware! Protect Your USDOT Number!
Although fraud is an issue, we have all been aware of for quite some time, it is beginning to be more prevalent in the commercial trucking industry. The increased use of technology in the industry has been greatly beneficial but has also created easier outlets for others to gain access to your company’s information. The largest form of fraud, or identity theft, seen in the commercial transportation industry today relates to the company’s USDOT number. The DOT number assigned to your company is created by the FMCSA to monitor and regulate commercial motor vehicles. Hackers are now using these numbers to harm carriers as well as brokers. Just like we protect our banking and personal information, it is now crucial that you protect your DOT number too.
Unfortunately, when a USDOT number is compromised, the hacker will use this information to disrupt your daily operations as well as corrupt your financials if they can do so. If a hacker is physically running under your authority and an accident (or other type of claim) occurs, you may be forced to face the repercussions of the claim. When your daily operations are interrupted for these matters, it is helpful to rely on law enforcement or other agencies to help get your business back on the right track in a timely manner. The quicker your company can get back in business, the more likely you are to maintain the relationships you work hard to keep with brokers and partners around you.
How can you avoid these hackers? The answer is simple. Be aware and be prepared! Stay up to date on the technology you can use to help prevent anyone from stealing your company’s information. Changes are happening all around us every day, so use that to your advantage and keep yourself protected. It is also imperative that company owners regularly check on their SMS results from the FMCSA. You can log into your portal account to see more information regarding: inspections, incidents, and even who all is affiliated with your company. This is a great way to catch signs of fraud or identity theft before they can hurt your company worse. NASTC offers an annual CSA review as part of our Management and Safety Program that would also be a great resource in preventing fraud against your company. We use the information provided on the FMCSA website to keep you informed on your safety ratings.
The FMCSA has provided great tips to help your company stay safe:
- Confirming phone numbers of brokers and carriers using SAFER at https://safer.fmcsa.dot.gov. If the number you were given by the carrier/broker does not match the number posted, call the number posted in SAFER for the company to discuss the load. It is possible the identity of an employee of the business you are contacting has also been stolen.
- Document examination is critical. Even insurance certificates can be fraudulent. If you suspect something is not right, research the numbers and call the companies.
- STOP the transaction if:
a. your broker asks you to present yourself as a carrier of a different name or asks your driver to lie about who they work for.
b. you question the destination of the load and are told it’s a “blind load”.
c. the broker is quick to agree in paying you more; or
d. the rate far exceeds the current market rate.
- Encourage your customers to maintain driver and vehicle logs. Confirm the name and numbers on the truck that shows up to load are the same as the one with which you contracted. Having your customer record the tractor and trailer plate information will assist in identifying the actual carrier. Request pictures of the truck and trailer and compare and verify information provided on the carrier packets. If you have been involved in a fraudulent load, this will be important information for law enforcement.
If your company falls victim to fraud or identity theft, be sure to notify the correct people. As we discussed, rely on law enforcement to be in your corner. If your company’s information is compromised, be sure to report the activity to your local law enforcement as well as the Department of Transportation. It is crucial that you also inform your insurance company of the fraudulent activity that has taken place under your USDOT number in case any claims, violations or other data appears under your company’s name.
Fraud or identity theft is something we hope no one has to experience, but unfortunately there are individuals out there who may try to target your company and your USDOT number. Stay aware! Protect your company and your drivers with new technologies, better security, staying up to date on your SMS data and relying on law enforcement to help. If you suspect fraudulent activity and need help, please don’t hesitate to contact us!
Don’t Forget To DataQ Your Non-Preventable Accidents! It Can Help Preserve Your Safety Scores And Insurance Rates
As a commercial truck driver today, you face challenges while out over the road. There are countless rules and regulations to abide by to keep you and those around you safe. Although these regulations are extremely helpful, they can also lead to false reports or convictions. Because of the occurrence of these incorrect reports, the FMCSA has created a system to allow commercial drivers to challenge the information presented on their safety ratings in the SMS system. The system known as DataQs. When filing a DataQ, you are submitting an RDR, or a “request for data review.”
The program ensures these challenges are sent to the correct state agency for review. The DataQ system keeps the FMCSA involved so the information is processed in a timely manner. It is a common opinion among commercial drivers to think submitting these challenges are a waste of time. We are here to ensure NASTC’s Member companies, the FMCSA amends your requests daily. You as a driver must keep your best interest in mind, so it is important to have the correct data reflected on your SMS safety rating. Below we will discuss the most common scenarios reported using the DataQ system.
Common reasons for a commercial driver to report a DataQ may include the following:
- The inspection or crash does not belong to you, but to another carrier.
- You have an inspection report, but the inspection, is not in the FMCSA safety data.
- In contrast, you may have gone through an inspection with FMCSA, but did not receive a copy of the report.
- You received a violation that is not correct or not a true violation.
- A crash that was NOT DOT-recordable finds its way to your data.
A DOT-recordable crash includes either fatalities involved, injuries that require immediate treatment away from the scene, or a vehicle towed from the accident scene. Unless your accident is a DOT-recordable accident, it should not appear on your SMS safety rating.
Now that we have covered reasons why you may file a DataQ, lets discuss how to file a request for review. You will need to start by creating your own DataQ login through the FMCSA DataQ portal. If you already have an FMCSA portal account, you can use those credentials to login and file a request as well. Once you have created your account, you are ready to start your review request. In the portal, you will start the process by choosing “Add a request.” After selecting this option, the DataQ system will guide you through the process step by step with interactive tools and tips to make your experience super simple. Following the submission of your request, you may check the status at any time in your DataQ portal. Typically, you will receive notification of a decision within 14 days.
Another form of review you may submit falls into a category known as the “Crash Preventability Determination Program.” There are specific categories the requests must fall into to qualify for review. These types of crashes are considered “non-preventable.” Each non-preventable crash request requires an Accident/Crash report to validate the request. The categories of this program are:
- Struck in the Rear
- Wrong Direction or Illegal Turns
- Parked or Legally Stopped
- Failure of Other Vehicle to Stop
- Under the Influence
- Medical Issues, Falling Asleep or Distracted Driving
- Cargo/Equipment/Debris or Infrastructure Failure
- Animal Strike
- Rare or Unusual Types of Crashes
If you are preparing to submit your first request for review, please review these helpful tips to strengthen your case with the FMCSA:
- Make sure you select the review category that best describes your situation.
- Ensure you have the correct report numbers for police reports and inspections.
- There will be an explanation box that allows you to give details in your own words. Details Matter!
- Proof, Proof, Proof! - Gather as many photos, dashcam videos, and other documentation as possible.
More proof will strengthen your case.
It is our hope that you will now utilize this system to better your safety ratings. Although not all requests are successful, it is beneficial to get a second opinion on crashes and inspections in the case they mended for your benefit.
It is crucial to maintain a great safety rating in this industry! Please make note that tickets or traffic violations cannot run through the DataQ system, but incorrect inspections and crashes can be processed for review. We here at NASTC are happy to assist you through this process as well. Take time to care for your safety scores and pride yourself in being a safe driver!
To Interchange Or To Non-Owned Trailer, That Is The Question
Reference: Going Deeper on insurance requirement unique to power only operations: Trailer Interchange v. Non-owed Trailer (W.Joel Baker-Jan18th, 2022)
This week NASTC Insurance Services, LLC. and a few of our clients, were reminded that not all coverage is created equal when it pertains to needing Trailer Interchange vs. Non-Owned Trailer coverage. When an insurance agent is in the discovery process and discussing trailer usage with a prospect, we are asking details about the types of trailers an insured will use in their operation as well as the specific types of cargo commodities that each will haul on a regular basis. The reason this is important is because not all insurance companies view the coverage the same way. If this information is not communicated properly and understood, it could have disastrous and costly consequences for a motor carrier. Unfortunately, the term Trailer Interchange is often used as a “loose” term describing any trailer that a motor carrier uses to transport loads when the insured does not own one directly. Insurance companies and risk managers with large brokerage operations have taken it upon themselves to tell us there is a difference.
Trailer Interchange is used to cover hauling units that are owned by a single company or customer. The interchange agreement will contain information on scope, usage, and coverage of the trailer while it is in your possession and will typically need to be signed by both parties to be considered valid. Most insurance companies believe the above items need to be present, to be considered a valid Trailer Interchange agreement. The cost of Trailer Interchange is also calculated differently than non-owned trailer. As an agent, we need to know the value limit to cover the trailer for comprehensive and collision, the number of loads or turns per week that will be hauled by the motor carrier, and how many weeks per year usage is needed. The rating factors used in pricing the interchange coverage can be less than the basic method used for Non-Owned Trailer coverage depending on the usage. If the trailer type and cargo commodities are the same and a valid interchange agreement exists, a Trailer Interchange can apply to multiple agreements. The value limit just needs to be high enough to cover the multiple agreements and updated load figures and usage time provided to the insurance company.
Non-Owned trailer coverage is used to provide comprehensive and collision coverage on a trailer that is not owned by the motor carrier. The trailer is also one that does not have the same vin# used on a regular basis. As an agent, if we do not have a copy of the interchange agreement from the insured, we are most likely going to put this type of coverage on a policy. It is important for your insurance agent to know which companies / polices will allow Non-Owned trailer coverage or will only accept a signed Interchange Agreement. The cost for Non-Owned trailer coverage is typically calculated the same as an “Owned” trailer would be. All Power units and trailers will have a physical damage rate based on percent of value. If you have a current physical damage rate of (5%), that rate would also be used to calculate the value of the Non-Owned trailer. The cost could vary somewhat if you already have a primary rated trailer on policy as the liability cost associated with this trailer might be rated as a spare unit, which would be a small bit less than the primary trailer.
Until recently, it has been easier for agents and insureds to just have Non-Owned added to their policies so neither had to worry about policing the interchange information required by the insurance companies. Claims issues and concerns with some insurance and brokerage companies have made it necessary to have both coverages represented on an insurance policy. One of the larger companies is shifting to Trailer Interchange only coverage when a client is hauling their owned trailers omitting the fact that they have accepted Non-Owned trailer coverage in the past. So, if you are dealing with some of the larger asset-based brokers moving forward, it may be a requirement for you to have both coverages if their company loads are not 100% of the load volume that you carry.
Tis The Season For Holiday Distractions!
Tis The Season For Holiday Distractions!
It is almost that time of year again… HOLIDAY SEASON! With that being said, there will be a lot of people on the highways travelling to and from visiting with loved ones during the upcoming months. As commercial drivers, we strongly encourage you to be exceptionally aware of your surroundings and avoid distracted driving while on the road.
Most of us hear the term “Distracted Driving” and immediately think of cell phones. Although there is a large percentage of accidents that are caused by drivers being on their mobile devices, there are numerous other distractions that may lead to crashes and injuries. When driving down the interstate, it is easy to lose site of the road when coming up to things like police stops, construction, billboards, etc. You may also be tempted to pick up your cell phone, change the radio station or reach into the passenger seat. All the above-mentioned distractions could very easily turn into havoc very quickly if your focus is not on the road in front of you.
How can you as a commercial driver help prevent distractions on the road? Let’s start with pre-trip inspections. Although these inspections are very important because they are federally mandated, they are also equally as critical when an inspection is the reason someone may have prevented a crash. Making sure the exterior of your truck is ready to hit the road for another long trip down the highway is one of the most important ways to prevent accidents or distractions for yourself and those around you. An additional step you can take to avoid danger on the road, is to check the interior of your truck as well. As commercial drivers, you are responsible for things like checking gauges, shifting through numerous gears, using your ELD or logging systems, etc. These tasks already use a large part of your attention, so it is up to you as the commercial driver to be even more aware of the road while running the truck down that asphalt. This idea is exactly why we strongly encourage to not miss out on those pre-trip inspections and doing a little bit of your own inspecting before hitting the highway.
Another helpful tip to fend off possible dangers on the road involves your well-being as the driver. As the backbone of our supply chains, commercial drivers like you are running long hours for days on end. It is crucial to take breaks, get plenty of rest and keep your mind clear. While there are regulations in place to create break times for commercial drivers, you may at times have to go beyond these few hours to make sure you are ready to keep on truckin’. There may also be times when you catch your mind wandering or getting exhausted as you are moving along. Do not ignore these signs. Pull over, take a breath, and get your mind back on the right track. Often you do not realize your mind and body are over-exerted until you are behind the wheel. Therefore, it is especially important for you as a commercial driver to concentrate on your body and watch for signs of distress or fatigue as you are travelling.
All things considered; we are moving into a busy season for the trucking industry. Take time to prepare your truck, prepare yourself, and watch for signs of distraction as you head down the highway. Although not all accidents are preventable, by making the effort to reduce the number of distractions on the road, you just might be the reason one less incident happens.
If you or your company would like to learn more about the available options for Driver Training related to “Driver Distractions” or any of the other quality online training courses, please contact the NASTC Compliance Dept for further Information.
From the team at NASTC Insurance Services, stay safe and Happy Holidays
ICC Broker Bonds (BMC-84)
ICC Broker Bonds (BMC-84)
For many of you October 1st represents your $75,000 Broker Bond renewal date. If you feel you are paying too much or you have been thinking about getting your broker’s authority, then NASTC Insurance Services, LLC can help with rates as low as $925/annually.
NASTC Insurance Services Broker Insurance Options
A growing concern for many truck brokerage operations is risk exposers created from deficiencies or gaps in insurance coverage. A freight broker is not legally required to have liability insurance, but the cost of not having it could be disastrous to your brokerage and in some instances your trucking company can be tied into litigation against the brokerage. 95% of all motor carriers have $1,000,000 in liability coverage, where the average judgement in a fatality is $2,600,000. The damaged party would then be looking to the Broker and Shipper to pick up the rest of the judgement. Liability and cargo coverages will ensure that you are protected from litigation, and it also protects your relationships with your shippers.
NASTC Insurance Services, LLC offers the following insurance options for your brokerage:
Truck Broker Liability covers the legal liability of the broker for bodily injury, property damage, and pollution for negligence in the supply chain.
General Liability covers the premises and can include miscellaneous operation.
Contingent Cargo covers the property or cargo loss that results from the failure of the trucker’s policy to provide coerage.
Professional Liability policy covers errors and omissions that are committed during a truck broker’s business day such as misdelivery, miscommunication, discrimination, negligent hiring, and negligent acts or omissions.
Excess Liability adds an additional layer of protection on your Broker Liability and General Liability policies. These higher limits should be considered when a shipper’s contract requests it or based on your financial size and how many shippers your brokerage has listed as additional insured.
One-Time Excess Cargo coverage is available to both brokers and carriers who need a quick excess cargo policy for one specific load. These are same day quotes with very little information needed.
If you would like to go over your current operation, please give us a call at 844-264-8500.
Insurance Services Product Manager