Hub snaps up Michigan-based agency

Hub International has announced that it has acquired the assets of The Right Choice Insurance Agency, which also operates as Woodward Insurance Group. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

Based in Warren, Mich., Woodward Insurance is a full-service commercial and personal insurance agency. Woodward Insurance will join Hub Midwest. Company CEO David James will report to Caroly Hofstee, president of Hub Midwest East.

Woodward Insurance is the latest of several acquisitions Hub has made in recent months. In May, Hub acquired The Barnett Group, a Tennessee-based employee benefits firm, and Easy Truck Insurance Services, a California-based brokerage. The same month, it acquired Kelly King Insurance Services, a California-based property and casualty agency. In April, it acquired BK-JET Group, a brokerage based in Washington State, and Canada-based ES3 Insurance Services.


Get Truck Insurance Now To Protect Your Future

Do you know what insurance companies hate? An informed customer. Knowledgeable truck insurance customers get better coverage and lower rates than those less informed. Who do you want to have the advantage when you buy truck insurance, yourself or your insurer? Read on to learn how you can tip the balance in your favor.

To keep your insurance claim going smoothly, you should start a notebook with details as soon as you make the claim. The first thing you will get is a claim number and everyone involved will be asking for that. Documenting every contact, conversation and promise will help you negotiate your settlement later.

With truck insurance, the lower your deductible rate is, the more you have to pay out of pocket when you get into an accident. A great way to save money on your truck insurance is to opt to pay a higher deductible rate. This means the insurance company has to pay out less when you’re involved in an accident, and thus your monthly premiums will go down.

A great way for you to save money on your truck insurance is to find an all-in-one insurance carrier. If you can find a company to provide your truck insurance, homeowners’ insurance, and health insurance, you can purchase one large package and save up to 40% off of purchasing separate insurance packages.

Buy an older and cheaper vehicle. Most insurance companies will only allow you to put liability of older vehicles, automatically lowering your premiums. If you do have greater coverage, your rates will be lower anyway, because the insurance company knows you will not be paid much for your truck in the event that it is totaled.

If your annual mileage driven is low, your truck insurance premium should be, too. Fewer miles on the road translates directly into fewer opportunities for you to get into accidents. Insurance companies typically provide a quote for a default annual mileage of 12,000 miles. If you drive less than this be sure your insurance company knows it.

To get the best deals on truck insurance you should be sure to understand the types of policies. This is because there are many types of coverage and they each protect you in different situations. Some of them will be more expensive but also provide higher coverage, while others will be much cheaper but not protect you as much.

In order to protect yourself and your truck with the best insurance must understand the difference between the types of liabilities and which policies cover them. This is because there are major differences between coverage for basic bodily injuries, damage to the truck, and in the worst case, major medical problems to you or the other driver. If you aren’t properly covered in these cases it could be a major problem.

If you are a younger driver who is being hit with extra insurance charges because of your age, don’t worry too much. Many agencies work with a “good student” discount. This means if you have above a certain GPA and bring in your transcripts you can receive a discount, sometimes a quite substantial one. Make sure not to overlook this opportunity.

To make sure you’re approved for reasonable truck insurance rates, check to see if you have any traffic violations on record before you can apply. These violations can have a big impact on the rates you pay. In many cases, a minor traffic violation can be expunged from your record, and taking the time to do this will ensure you’re offered good rates.

Don’t forget to inquire about special discounts when you are purchasing an truck insurance policy. Discounts are usually based on risk, and if you are a lesser risk to the insurer, they may lower your premium. Discounts may be given if you’ve had a good driving record, have an anti-theft device installed in your vehicle, or if you’ve taken courses on safe driving. Check with your agent to see if you qualify for any of these, or any other discount that might be available.

To streamline your insurance needs and get the best possible rate on several different insurance types, consider combining your truck insurance, home insurance and life insurance under one company. The more policies you have with a company, the steeper your overall discount will be. As an added bonus, this also means only one bill to pay at the same time every month.

Truck Insurance

A great way to save some money on your truck or truck insurance is to drive your vehicle less frequently. Many of today’s best truck insurance companies offer discounts to customers for low-mileage, incentivizing people to keep their trucks parked. If you can walk instead of drive, you can get some good exercise and save money on your insurance.

When you pick up simple truck insurance tips like these, you arm yourself to fight for the best insurance deals available to you. You stand out of the pack and get better treatment from your insurer. Educating yourself on truck insurance is bad news for insurance companies, but good news for you and your wallet!

Excellent Suggestions For Purchasing The Correct Truck Insurance

It can be hard to decided which truck insurance policy is right for you. There are many other factors to consider other than the cost of the policy alone.

Contact your truck insurance agency if you have a change in your work situation. Retiring, cutting back your hours, or switching to telecommuting all mean that you will be driving considerably fewer miles each week. The number of miles you drive can have a significant impact on your truck insurance rates.

If you have a student in college who is not driving one of the family trucks, speak to your truck insurance company about a discount. Most insurance companies understand that a resident student is unlikely to be driving your truck very often while they are away at school, and will offer a discount comparable to removing them from the policy.

Reassess what kind of truck you are driving. Your truck insurance premiums may be based on what kind of truck you are driving. Sportier trucks or SUV’s can carry higher premiums because they have more liability and they are generally more expensive to replace or fix when they have been damaged.

One of the best ways to get great deals on truck insurance is to speak to someone in person or at least on the phone. Insurance is automated and very easy to get online, but actually speaking with someone allows for the back-and-forth Q “?n’ A session that may introduce you to some discounts you did not previously know about.

With your truck insurance, it is important that you know what your coverage covers. There are certain policies that only cover certain things. It is important that you understand what your plan covers so that you do not get stuck in a sticky situation where you get into trouble.

Look up grade discounts if you are a student. Many insurance companies offer rate reductions for students who do well in school, so find out if yours does. Bring your transcript by to show off your grades, and you may be rewarded with a great discount. Good grades show the insurance company that you are responsible.

If your annual mileage driven is low, your truck insurance premium should be, too. Fewer miles on the road translates directly into fewer opportunities for you to get into accidents. Insurance companies typically provide a quote for a default annual mileage of 12,000 miles. If you drive less than this be sure your insurance company knows it.

If you are a newlywed, have your truck insurance policies combined. Companies offer something called a “multi-truck discount”?, which means that you will save money just by putting your trucks on the same plan. If the two of you don’t have the same insurance company, consider changing one of your policies.

Always check with the state insurance department before you sign an application for truck insurance. You want to make sure that the company you are working with is licensed in the area that you live in. If they aren’t, you may not receive any help after an accident.

Buy your insurance through the internet. Sometimes companies offer lower rates if you sign up for their service online, and some companies have deals available online only. This is because the service is automated and you don’t have to deal with an agent. You may see rates reduced up to 10% or more.

You should not let your insurance coverage lapse. If you are not able to pay for your insurance policy in full, you should call and talk to an agent. If you allow the policy to lapse it is very possible that you will not have coverage should an accident take place. That is a big risk that can be avoided by making a simple phone call.

Before buying a new truck, you should research the frequency with which the particular model is targeted by thieves and vandals in your area. Trucks that are popular with thieves are unpopular with truck insurance companies. They can and will charge a higher rate for a model that is especially attractive to criminals.

You should consider your monthly insurance payments when you are truck shopping. Remember that trucks with good safety features will get you a discount on your truck insurance. Sportier trucks are frowned upon and will cost you more. You should remember to include the expense of insurance when you are calculating your monthly truck budget.

An often overlooked truck insurance tip is to always investigate the experience and financial standing of any potential insurer. By checking into the background of a prospective coverage provider, you can gain confidence in their ability to fulfill their obligations to policyholders in the event they must file a claim.

There are a few things which you can do to help bring your cost of truck insurance down. If you are over 25 years old you can receive a discount. If you are a safe driver who always buckles up, and has airbags in the vehicle, you can receive a discount. The best way to get the lowest prices is to have a clean driving record along with no prior insurance claims.

Work with an insurance broker or aggregator online. Sites like or can help you get quotes from several insurance companies at once for no charge so you can get a feel for how your current rates stack up, and whether you need to switch to a new insurance company.

Go directly to the websites of insurance companies such as GEICO or Allstate to get quotes for truck insurance coverage. These companies are not usually represented by the online insurance aggregator sites, but you can still request quotes online for no charge and have an estimate for truck insurance coverage in about 10 minutes.

As you can see, there’s more to an truck insurance policy than the price. Make sure you keep these things in mind as you choose your insurance provider, to make sure that you don’t get a policy that doesn’t come through when you need it to. Keep this article handy!

Data helping insurers, government crack down on chameleon trucking companies

A few weeks ago, WOOD TV 8 in Michigan broadcast an investigative report into what it said was a “chameleon” trucking company that had actually been reborn several times, it alleged, to avoid unsatisfactory safety ratings.

That story generated local interest in so-called chameleon carriers, and produced enough discussion that lawyer Steven Gursten of Michigan Auto Law published a blog post on the topic.

“Lawyers who specialize in helping people injured in truck accidents have known about unsafe trucking companies known as ‘chameleon carriers’ for years,” he wrote. “These are truck companies and busing outfits that try to hide from their dismal safety records and often deadly crash history by shutting down and then re-opening under different carrier names. This allows them to game the system and hide safety records by obtaining a new name and a new USDOT number.

“Sadly, these unsafe trucking companies have caused an inordinate number of preventable wrecks, but until recently there has been very little that federal and state regulators could do to stop this dangerous practice,” he added.

Chameleon carriers have been around for a long time, as most in the industry know. Most are carriers that have been given out-of-service orders by FMCSA and the owner simply creates a new name, gets new insurance, and fills out the paperwork for the new company.

According to the WOOd TV report, FMCSA data shows that in 2005, about 1.5% of all new carrier authority applications had “chameleon traits,” meaning that may be a chameleon company. By 2010, that percent had increased slightly to 1.7%.

Put in perspective, in 2010, FMCSA received 65,631 applications, so about 1,100 carriers approved for authority may have been born out a company that had previously been placed out of service.

In 2012, the Government Accountability Office issued a report that urged FMCSA to expand efforts to identify freight carriers evading detection. It wrote:

“FMCSA does not determine the total number of chameleon carriers within the motor carrier industry. Such a determination would require FMCSA to investigate each of the tens of thousands of new applicants that register annually and then complete a legal process for some of these suspected chameleon carriers, an effort for which FMCSA does not have sufficient resources. Rather, FMCSA’s attempt to identify chameleon carriers among new applicants, referred to as the vetting program, is limited to bus companies (passenger carriers) and movers (household goods carriers). These two relatively small groups, representing only 2 percent of all new applicants in 2010, were selected because they present consumer protection and relatively high safety risks. Through the vetting program, FMCSA conducts electronic matching of applicant registration data against data on existing carriers and investigates each application from these two small groups, but does not determine whether all other new applicants, including freight carriers, may be attempting to assume a new identity.”

For truly safe trucking companies, chameleon carriers are a problem. While they may not directly impact an operation, a chameleon carrier that shouldn’t be on the road can lead to an impact on overall insurance premiums for all carriers as that risk and increased claim payouts are absorbed into the marketplace.

GAO found that chameleon carriers were responsible for 3,561 injuries and 217 deaths from 2005 to 2010.

Fortunately, data is providing both FMCSA and insurers the chance to root out these bad players before they ever return to the road.

“They are able to track even down to the VIN number of vehicles historically, allowing you to identify chameleon carriers,” Andrew Ladebauche, CEO of Reliance Partners, told FreightWaves in an earlier interview. “We’re able to track that all the way down to say that Company X that was shut down in 2015, now those trucks are being used by Carrier Y in 2017,” which allows an insurer to dig deeper and determine if that new carrier may pose a risk or is operating illegally.

FMCSA, which the GAO report found to only be checking bus companies and household goods movers, has taken steps in recent years to crack down. It’s issued two separate rules and worked with the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration to develop a data-and-web-based interface to help identify carriers. Known as the Hazmat Intelligence Portal (HIP), the program proved successful in identifying chameleon carriers during testing.

“The resulting prototype method was named ARCHI, for Application Review and CHameleon Investigation,” wrote Sid Nair, senior director of transport and compliance at Teletrac Navman in a company blog posting last summer. “Its process is to first compare each new carrier to older carriers for similarities in name, ownership, and other criteria. Each new carrier then gets a score based on how closely it matched older businesses. Those that score above a certain cut-off are then evaluated for motive—did the older company declare bankruptcy? Did it have outstanding safety violations or fines? Was it previously placed out of order or was it involved in a serious crash?”

The proliferation of data use in trucking is now making possible the opportunity for FMCSA and insurers to identify chameleon carriers, and that is leading to safer roads and lower premiums.


Global Commercial Insurance Prices Rise for 3rd Consecutive Quarter: Marsh

Global commercial insurance prices rose in the second quarter of 2018, marking the third consecutive quarter of increases, according to Marsh’s “Global Insurance Market Index.”

These average increases were driven by property insurance, which continued to be affected by 2017’s catastrophe losses, as well as financial and professional lines, said Marsh’s quarterly market index report. The report measures commercial insurance premium price changes at renewal, covering the world’s major insurance markets and comprising 90 percent of Marsh’s premium.

Globally, property insurance prices increased 2.3 percent, on average, during the second quarter, which was slightly less than that observed in the previous two quarters, the report said.

Financial and professional line prices increased 3.3 percent on average, with much of the increase due to directors and officers (D&O) insurance prices in multiple regions.

Casualty prices declined an average of 1.4 percent around the globe, continuing a trend of annual rate declines, stretching back to 2013,

Australia again had the largest price increases, at an average of 13 percent.

While average prices trended up overall (driven primarily by the UK and Australia), pricing decreased slightly in Continental Europe and Asia.

“The global property insurance market continues to be impacted by last year’s losses, and we are now seeing increases in financial and professional lines pricing in several regions,” said Dean Klisura, president, Global Placement and Specialties at Marsh. “However, overall pricing is generally stable across all lines of business and market capacity remains strong.”

The report also covered regional trends, including:

  • United States. Insurance prices in the U.S. were flat in the second quarter of 2018, following three-plus years of composite decreases. Average property rates in the U.S. increased 3 percent, the third consecutive quarter of low-single digit increases, driven by catastrophe-exposed risks and large layered programs. More than 50 percent of property clients experienced price increases. Average U.S. cyber insurance prices increased in the quarterly index by 2.1 percent.
  • United Kingdom. Average composite insurance prices in the UK rose for the third consecutive quarter, a Q2 increase of 0.8 percent. Prices increased, on average, by 5 percent across financial and professional lines, driven by increases in D&O and professional indemnity. Property pricing decreased, on average, for the second straight quarter. All major casualty line coverages saw a decrease in average pricing for a second quarter.
  • Continental Europe. Composite insurance prices in Continental Europe decreased 1.5 percent, on average, in the second quarter, counter to the global trend. While competition for good quality risks drove price decreases, most reductions were modest. Casualty rates dropped by 1.4 percent in Q2, which slowed from the prior quarter when rates dropped by 1.6 percent. Property prices declined by 1.3 percent, after two consecutive quarters of price increases.
  • Australia. Average composite prices increased 13 percent, more than any other region, with increases seen across all major product lines. Financial and professional liability prices rose significantly with the largest price increases seen for D&O coverages as a result of the challenging claims environment and reduced capacity. Financial institutions prices rose 20-25 percent, on average, following several large losses and an ongoing Banking Royal Commission review. Casualty pricing increased in the low-to-high single digits for all product lines.
  • Asia. Average composite prices in Asia declined in the second quarter by 0.4 percent, albeit at a slower rate than observed in the last three years. (Composite prices in Q1 2018 dropped by 1.8 percent). Average property insurance rates decreased by 0.4 percent, compared to a drop of 1.4 percent in the Q1 2018. Casualty pricing decreased in the quarter (0.5 percent), a lower rate than those reported since early 2014. (The Q1 drop was 2.7 percent).
  • Latin America. Average composite insurance prices in Latin America increased for the second quarter by 0.3 percent, compared to Q1’s increase of 0.8 percent. Overall, LatAm’s Q2 casualty price increases moderated from prior quarters with average prices rising by 1.6 percent, compared with 4.3 percent for Q1. The report said casualty price increases across Latin America are tied primarily to auto rate corrections, with rate hikes seen for eight consecutive quarters. Financial and professional liability rates saw an acceleration of increase at 3.2 percent, driven largely by D&O losses.

Source: Marsh


Truck Insurance Is A Priority That Should Not Be Overlooked!

You need to have some knowledge of what to look for and expect from an truck insurance policy. You need to know what resources are available to you and who can provide you answers as to what you need for your future. The tips below can help you with how to start.

Look around on the web for the best deal in truck insurance. Most companies now offer a quote system online so that you don’t have to spend valuable time on the phone or in an office, just to find out how much money it will cost you. Get a few new quotes each year to make sure you are getting the best possible price.

When you have truck insurance you want to do what you can to keep your premiums low. Something that you can do is to make sure that you get all discounts that you are able to get. Some things to look into are things like if your truck has a alarm on it, how many airbag does it have? A lot of insurance companies will also offer a discount if you take a defensive-driving course.

You can reduce the cost of truck insurance by making sure you don’t buy coverage that you really don’t need. For instance, if you have an older truck with a relatively low replacement value then you may not need comprehensive or collision coverage. Eliminating excess coverage from your policy could lower your premiums considerably.

To save money on truck insurance, be sure to take your children off of your policy once they’ve moved out on their own. If they are still at college, you may be able to get a discount through a distant student credit. These can apply when your child is attending school a certain distance from home.

Before you add your teenage driver to your truck insurance policy, take a look at your own credit history. If your credit is good, it’s usually cheaper to add a teen to your own policy. But if you have had credit problems, it would be better not to hand that on to your child; start them off with a policy in their own name.

Having multiple drivers on one insurance policy is a good way to save money, but having multiple drivers of one truck is an even better way. Instead of opting for multiple trucks, have your family make do with one truck. Over the life of your policy, you can save hundreds of dollars by driving the same vehicle.

Lower your truck insurance premiums by taking a safe driver class. Many truck insurance companies will offer a discount if you can provide proof of completion of a safety driving class. Taking, and passing, such a class gives the insurance company a good indication that you take your driving skills seriously and are a safe bet.

Being an truck dealership can have it’s insurance perks. You must maintain insurance policies on the vehicles you carry, but you can get a deal for this through dealers insurance. These policies will allow you to drive any of the company owned trucks, essentially eliminating the need for personal truck insurance.

If you are thinking about purchasing a new vehicle, you should look for a large vehicle. If you buy a van or a truck, chances are damages will not be too bad if you get into an accident. Most insurance companies know this, and offer relatively low rates for these types of vehicles.

If your annual premium corresponds to ten percent of your truck’s blue book value, you should drop your collision coverage. Coverage is limited to a truck’s blue book value: if your truck is too old, you are paying a lot of money for an insurance that will not pay you much when you file a claim.

Investigate which discounts are open to you and ensure you capitalize on all of them. You will be shocked at how you can save on premiums.

If your truck is deemed to be “totaled” don’t fret. In many cases this can be one of the best things to happen to you. Although you may be without a truck for a small period the insurance company will eventually provide you with the value of your previous truck to apply towards a new truck.

Make sure that you closely analyze exactly how much coverage you need. If you have too little than you can be in a very bad situation after an accident. Likewise, if you have too much than you will be paying more than necessary month by month. An agent can help you to understand what you need, but he may be pushing you for too much.

You shouldn’t buy a vehicle unless you check the insurance rates on it first. You may find the truck you really want has higher insurance rates for many different reasons. It may have a high rate of being stolen or wrecked, which can cause your insurance to be higher and you will be paying more for it.

If you want to save even more money, check into getting all your insurance needs through the same company. Most insurance companies will offer a discount on their insurance if you have more than one policy with them, such as your homeowner’s insurance or renters’ insurance. This can reduce your rates.

Truck Insurance

A great way to save some money on your truck or truck insurance is to drive your vehicle less frequently. Many of today’s best truck insurance companies offer discounts to customers for low-mileage, incentivizing people to keep their trucks parked. If you can walk instead of drive, you can get some good exercise and save money on your insurance.

As you have seen in the above tips, there is a lot of knowledge that you can acquire before choosing and purchasing an truck insurance policy and it’s this knowledge that can help you with your truck’s future. Do everything you must, to find out what policy is best for your needs.

Insureds misusing their personal vehicles for commercial work? They’re going to get caught

A technology data company is helping carriers catch out insureds who are misusing their policies by using personal vehicles for commercial work.

Alex Young, vice president of risk solutions at Digital Recognition Network (DRN), said the company has contracts with 11 carriers and is in talks with 15 more – which would make up 70% of the vehicle insurance market in the United States.

The company’s data recognition service has built up more than six billion data points of car license plate sightings across the country. With 2,000 car-mounted license plate readers circling the country’s streets non-stop, all day, every day, using license plate-recognition technology, the company can spot when identified vehicles are being used inappropriately.

“Every insurance carrier knows they have this problem,” Young said. “Many believe the problem is minor, and, in any case, up to this point there has been no effective way of discovering the issue. When insurance carriers see the results of DRN’s [data recording], they are generally surprised by the size of the problem.

“We have had carriers with as much as 40% of their ‘at risk’ VINs showing signs of commercial use. The adoption of this product to eradicate commercial use from the personal lines insurance carriers has been rapid.”

Young said a carrier provides a list of VIN numbers it considers “at risk” for commercial use – such as Transits, Sprinters, Econolines, large pickups – and then DRN can pull from its database multiple shots of those vehicles in various situations they’ve been spotted.

“We discover the commercial use by reviewing our pictures gathered from license plate recognition sightings and look for commercial attributes such as signage, ladders, ladder racks, tools, equipment, commercial trailers, etc.,” Young said.

“We look for vehicles that have been insured for personal use and look for indicators that they are used for commercial purposes. The reason this is important is that the risk is significantly different and can lead to losses that are not reflected in the premium charged.”


GM Seeks OK for Self-Driving Commercial Vehicle Without Steering Wheel for 2019

General Motors Co. is seeking U.S. government approval for a fully autonomous car – one without a steering wheel, brake pedal or accelerator pedal – to enter the automaker’s first commercial ride-sharing fleet in 2019, executives said.

For passengers who cannot open doors, the Cruise AV – a rebranded version of GM’s Chevrolet Bolt EV – has even been designed to perform that task. It will have other accommodations for hearing and visually impaired customers.

This will be one of the first self-driving vehicles in commercial passenger service and among the first to do away with manual controls for steering, brakes and throttle. What is the driver’s seat in the Bolt EV will become the front left passenger seat in the Cruise AV, GM said.

Company President Dan Ammann told reporters GM had filed on Thursday for government approval to deploy the “first production-ready vehicle designed from the start without a steering wheel, pedals or other unnecessary manual controls.”

GM is part of a growing throng of vehicle manufacturers, technology companies and tech startups seeking to develop so-called robo-taxis over the next three years in North America, Europe and Asia. Most of those companies have one or more partners.

Ford Motor Co said on Tuesday it will partner with delivery service Postmates Inc. as the automaker starts testing ways to transport people, food and packages this spring in its self-driving cars, which are being developed by Ford’s Argo unit.

Other companies, from Uber Technologies Inc to Alphabet Inc.’s Waymo, have been testing self-driving vehicle prototypes in limited ride sharing applications, but have been less explicit than GM in announcing plans for commercial robo-taxi services.

GM executives said the automaker has asked the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to allow 16 alterations to existing vehicle safety rules – such as having an airbag in what would normally be the driver’s seat, but without a steering wheel – to enable the deployment of the Cruise AV.

The automaker would then need to obtain similar approval from individual U.S. states. GM executives said seven U.S. states already allow the alterations sought by the automaker. In other states – including those that stipulate a car must have a licensed human driver – GM will work with regulators to change or get a waiver from existing rules.

The company declined to identify the first states in which it plans to launch the vehicle or say when it would begin testing.

GM wants to control its own self-driving fleet partly because of the tremendous revenue potential it sees in selling related services, from e-commerce to infotainment, to consumers riding in those vehicles.

At a Nov. 30 briefing in San Francisco, GM’s Ammann told investors the lifetime revenue generation of one of its self-driving cars could eventually be “several hundred thousands of dollars.” That compares with the $30,000 on average that GM collects today for one of its vehicles, mostly derived from the initial sale.

GM’s Cruise AV is equipped with the automaker’s fourth-generation self-driving software and hardware, including 21 radars, 16 cameras and five lidars – sensing devices that use laser light to help autonomous cars “see” nearby objects and obstacles.

The Cruise AV will be able to operate in hands-free mode only in premapped urban areas.

GM’s prototype self-driving vehicles have been developed in San Francisco by Cruise Automation, the onetime startup that GM acquired in March 2016 for a reported $1 billion.