Becoming a Superior Auto Risk



“There! I have a fleet safety program.  What more would anyone expect?  After all, I’m not in the transportation business….”

It might be natural for business owners whose commercial auto exposure is incidental to their primary business activities to think of these risk control components or tools as all that is necessary to be a good auto risk.  But what does this approach to controlling commercial auto exposure really tell us?  Does the practice of these activities say this is a superior risk, one deserving of superior insurance placement, products, and pricing?  Is this employer truly in control of their exposure?  It might be more indicative of an honest attempt to address exposures, but with little enthusiasm, investment, and consequently no expectation of superior results.

Like all safety matters, a superior approach to risk control for fleet exposures will demonstrate a concern for employee and public safety that is engrained in the corporate culture and which is a core value of business’ leaders.  As applied to business auto exposure, corporate culture is created by four distinct methods in an organization¹:

1. The actions and behaviors of leaders
  • Is the importance of safety declared and communicated as a core value? “Safety is Job One.” “Our jobs are not well done unless they are done safely.”
  • Do business leaders make safety accountability part of each job responsibility? Safety accountabilities for all drivers are explicit, measured and evaluated as an integral part of performance evaluation
  • Do leaders model safe behaviors themselves? Do leaders personally use seatbelts and practice the company mobile phone use policy while driving?  What are their personal driving habits?
2. What leaders pay attention to
  • Are expectations clearly presented to all drivers? Driver distraction policies, acceptable MVRs
  • Is leadership involved in setting hiring standards and the review of accident causes and trends?
  • Do front-line supervisors get involved with accident reviews?
3. What gets rewarded and what gets punished
  • Does leadership celebrate good safety performance? Acknowledgement of “accident free” performance
  • Will an employee be held accountable for violation of a personal use or no-cell phone policy?
  • Will an employee actually lose driving privileges for an unacceptable MVR?

 4. The allocation and attention of resources

  • Are funds budgeted for driver training, safety communications, vehicle upkeep, and replacement?
  • Is time allocated to safety meetings, incident review, employee coaching, etc.?
  • Do business leaders make their own time available in the risk control effort?

Superior commercial auto risks will demonstrate sound risk control principles and practices as core organizational values.  Superior leadership demands, cultivates, and models these values to allow them to become cultural within the organization.  Business owners who integrate such core values into their corporate culture are well on their way to becoming truly superior commercial auto risks.


¹Pellet, Lizz. “How leaders can impact organizational cultures with their actions and behaviors.” (retrieved June 5, 2017)

²“10 Ways to Create a Safety Culture Among Fleet Drivers.” (retrieved June 5, 2017)

Robert Roe, Loss Control Director

Robert (Bob) Roe is the Director of Old Republic Risk Management’s loss control function. He is responsible for coordination of policyholder loss control services with an emphasis on carrier service compliance in regulated jurisdictions. Robert is located at ORRM's corporate offices in Brookfield, Wisconsin.