How to Insure Transportation Network Companies: A Detailed Guide to Getting your TNC off the Ground

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How to Insure Transportation Network Companies: A Detailed Guide to Getting your TNC off the Ground

Written by Laura Loftus on Monday, May 6th, 2019

Whether you are looking to start your own Transportation Network Company, On-Demand Delivery App or other Shared Economy business, one of the most important factors to consider is insurance! Sounds boring, I know. But as the world around us changes, insurance markets for transportation network companies are creating new structures and products. As an independent agency, American Business Insurance has direct relationships with all insurance companies currently writing specialized policies for transportation network companies.

Finding insurance for transportation network companies or other app-based businesses is no easy feat. As you may have already come to realize, most of your local brokers who specialize in personal lines don’t have relationships with insurance companies in this space. Many local brokers don’t understand what information to collect from business owners to present your transportation network company in the most insurable light.

Finding An Insurance Broker To Write Policies For Your Transportation Network Company

Most of the common insurance companies you may have already heard of are not writing policies because of the high-risk nature for transportation network companies. Insurance companies who are writing policies for transportation network companies are Surplus Lines carriers whose focus is in this specialized, technology driven market place.

Some people think that it is easy to join the long list of people who are trying to start transportation network companies to compete with those already dominating the world – Uber and Lyft. But in reality, the people who have created these transportation network companies worked for many years prior to actually launching.

To some, that might seem like a really long time but when an experienced insurance broker who is familiar with writing policies for transportation network companies asks you to assemble a list of items, it’s best to know exactly what you are getting yourself into. Don’t be fooled, there is a lot of prep, time and money that is required to build transportation network companies like Uber or Lyft.

transportation network companies

Minimum Premiums For Transportation Network Companies

As you might have anticipated, buying an insurance policy for transportation network companies is not cheap since most insurers in this space have minimum premiums of $75,000-100,000. We know, that is a lot of dough! The good news is, most of the carriers will accept a portion of that up-front and some even offer premium eroding endorsements. This means if your business doesn’t generate premium up to that amount within the year, they will carry over the credit to the following year.

Obtaining a quote requires you to find a broker who specializes in writing insurance for transportation network companies. Working with the right broker will not only save you time and money, but prevent you from buying coverages you don’t need and making sure that you have the ones you do. An experienced broker who is familiar with writing insurance for transportation network companies will know exactly what information to collect from you. They will also know how to present it best to the insurance markets who are writing policies for transportation network companies.

American Business Insurance Services, Inc.

Lucky for you, you found us! As an agency, we have been around long before ordering a ride from your smart-phone was an option. We specialize in public auto which means we understand more than anyone how transportation network companies operate.

transportation network companies

Items Transportation Network Companies Should Have Ready Before Calling Your Broker For A Quote:

Build the App:

  • One of the first questions I ask customers looking for insurance for transportation network companies is if the app is complete. Insurance company underwriters will want to download your app and make sure it’s working. Also, some companies have technology-based policies, meaning they integrate with your app to capture data on the drivers. Some even offer lower insurance rates based on favorable data collected (less speeding, hard stops, etcetera). Most policies for transportation network companies are usage based, so they have to be able to download your app and make sure it’s compatible with their insurance structure. Insurance companies often want to be able to pull reports from your app which include and are not limited to:

1. Knowing When A Trip Starts and Stops

2. How Many Miles For Each Trip

3. How Many Minutes/Hours For Each Trip

Business Plan & Projections:

  • There is a checklist of items the insurance company will want to see attached to the submission your broker sends. Your broker should be narrating to the insurance company all the hard work and thought you’ve put into creating these transportation network companies. Insurers will want to see a “pitch deck” which is something you might already have created to obtain investors. This document will present and explain your business model, why it is different from what is alreadyout there and how it will work long term. Some of the questions this document should answer are:

transportation network companies1. What are the company’s growth plans?

2. How will you monitor safety/loss control?

3. How is pricing structured so that the company is profitable?

 Safety and Training:

  • Safety and training is a big deal for insurers who are writing policies for transportation network companies. They will want to know what restrictions, checks and balances and training you will provide to drivers. They want to know how often you will check driving records and how often people have to pass background checks. The younger in age the drivers are that you allow to join your transportation network companies, the more expensive you can expect your insurance prices to be. Insurance companies want to know how you are going to prevent accidents from happening so that you build a positive reputation within the industry along side other transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft.

Bios on Key Officers/Investors:

  • Insurance companies want to know about the people behind the transportation network companies! If you want to join the group of dominating transportation network companies, they are going to want to know what experience you have, not only in transportation but also in being an entrepreneur. Take the time to write detailed bios for yourself and all other key members, officers and investors behind your transportation network company. Make sure to detail the knowledge and life experience you are bringing to the table in starting transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft. A well written, detailed bio will separate your company from all the rest and will give you a better advantage to better pricing on insurance for transportation network companies.

 Terms of Service & Privacy Conditions:

  • Although this may seem like a small piece of the puzzle to getting insurance for transportation network companies, most insurers want to see the liability of the app in regards to what they are promising to both their drivers and users. If you are a peer to peer platform, they want to see how the transaction will take place. Some of the questions that should be answered here are:

1. What Security Measures Are In Place To Protect The User?

2. How Should Complaints Be Filed?

3. What Terms and Conditions Does Your Company Adhere To? 

transportation network companies

Financial Balance Sheet:

  • Basically, a lot of what it takes to insure transportation network companies is having money, and a lot of it. Due to the hefty size of the minimum premiums for transportation network companies, generally ranging from $75,00-100,000, insurers want to make sure you not only have money to pay for the policy, but to also keep your business afloat and operating before you start turning a profit. It’s no secret that most transportation network companies do not profit until after the first year. Insurers want to see that you have raised money, not just for the cost of insurance but also for operating expenses, advertising and promotions.
  • When I review the balance sheet for transportation network companies, I know that most insurers want to see that you’ve raised at minimum $250,000-$1,000,000 in capital. Sometimes more. The reason for them wanting transportation network companies to raise this much money is because they know what it takes to gain traction in this unique space. They want to make sure the work they are putting in to quote and bind your policy will create a lasting relationship with you.

Guidance From American Business Insurance Services, INC

Starting any business takes time, research and money. We get phone calls from people daily thinking they are going to be the next Uber and Lyft. And believe me, we want you to make it big and compete against the monopoly that currently exists for transportation network companies. But in reality, we know that few of the phone calls we receive have actually taken the above steps which are required to make transportation network companies insurable.

If you have questions or need guidance, please give us a call and we will be happy to discuss over the phone! While some of the larger, corporate run agencies have the same relationships as us, few will offer the personal touch and value we have with every client.

Exclusive Contracts

Additionally, we have exclusive contracts with some companies that allow us to write at a lower minimum premium than others. We are an independent, family-run business with 75+ years of combined experience in the business insurance industry. We have invested in other transportation network companies, peer to peer and shared economy types of businesses. Most of us utilize transportation network companies and peer-to-peer apps regularly.

We literally have boots on the ground in this space and if you want the best pricing with the smoothest transaction – we are here for you!

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How to Save the MOST Money on Your Commercial Fleet Insurance Rates

ABI Transportation Experts Speak: How to Save the MOST Money on Your Commercial Fleet Insurance Rates

Written by Laura Loftus on Thursday, February 28th, 2019

 

When speaking with clients about their commercial fleet insurance, the most common concern is how to get the lowest insurance rates. About 100% of the customers I speak to daily all have the same goal – they want the lowest insurance rates available and will do whatever it takes to get it. Whether you own a Taxi, Limo, Paratransit or Shared Economy company (peer to peer platform app), it’s a given that you want your commercial fleet insurance coverage at the lowest insurance rates available. What many companies don’t realize, especially start-ups, is that commercial fleet insurance underwriters do quite a bit of digging on your company through a variety of platforms to “check you out” prior to releasing a quote. They read Yelp reviews, they look at your website, they do Better Business Bureau checks – all of it.

There are common mistakes that transportation service companies are repeatedly making that will create doubt in a commercial fleet insurance company. These mistakes actually prevent your broker from being able to find the lowest insurance rates for your company. Most of these companies think they are making business decisions that will guide them toward the lowest insurance rates, and are unaware that their current website or driver pool is actually hurting their chances of achieving the lowest possible commercial fleet insurance rate.

Five common flubs transportation service companies are making that prevent your commercial fleet insurance broker from obtaining the lowest insurance rates possible:

1) Company Website

The first and most common mistake we see from commercial auto risks who are in the “wheels” business as us underwriters call it – is that you over the amount of experience or size of your transportation service company.  It is common for commercial fleet insurance underwriters to google your company to pick apart your website. Here are some items you may think are helping your chances at obtaining the lowest insurance rates but are actually red flags to commercial fleet insurance companies:

  •  Words like “Fast Pick-up” or ‘Delivery in Minutes” – no commercial fleet insurance underwriter wants to see that you are promising rushed services. Rushing = equals unsafe driving behavior.

commercial fleet insurance

  • Advertising vehicles that are not actually part of your fleet. For example, just yesterday I was helping a 35-car fleet in Portland with obtaining commercial fleet insurance quotes. The list of vehicles they provided were all private passenger type vehicles (meaning seating capacity of 8 or less) – good! But when I searched the company online, they advertised a large shuttle bus and a higher seating capacity van. When I asked the client about this, they those vehicles had been sold and they had no plans to replace them. Keeping your website up to date and only advertising only what you can actually deliver will keep unwanted questions from creeping into the commercial fleet insurance underwriters’ mind. Creating uncertainty is the last thing you want to do with a commercial fleet insurance underwriter when trying to obtain the lowest insurance rates.
  •  Age of vehicles is important to commercial fleet insurance companies. Publishing a picture of a 30-year-old vehicle is no bueno. Keep your fleet serviced regularly (we recommend every three to four thousand miles and cycle out old units. Newer, cleaner & well-maintained vehicles are not only more desired by clientele (when trying to compete with Uber/Lyft) but also preferred by commercial fleet insurance companies trying to avoid claims due to mechanical defect.
  • If you boast 20 years of experience but your LLC was filed three years ago, it creates uncertainty with insurance companies. It’s better to accurately reflect your business as it is now, and not what you want it to be five years from now. Just as there are items to avoid putting on your website, there are points that you should include on your website. It is always a good idea to brag about highly trained drivers and safety training you provide (more on this later). Be sure to note the maintenance you keep up with for your fleet, the background checks the city you operate in mandates and the highest level of driving records required for your drivers. Commercial fleet insurance underwriters like stable fleets with safe drivers. Bottom line, safer risks translates to commercial fleet insurance underwriters offering the lowest insurance rates.

2) Creating a Business Name

This may seem simple enough but for transportation business owners looking to for the lowest insurance rates, people often think that commercial fleet insurance companies give the lowest insurance rates to Limo’s and Non-Emergency Medical risks over a taxi or airport shuttle. While this might be true, cornering yourself into a specific type of transportation in your business name narrows the list of commercial fleet insurance carriers you are eligible for. Many markets write only taxis or only limos. So, if you file your business name with the Secretary of State as Laura’s Taxi & Limo Service, LLC. – it could possibly make you ineligible for a limo commercial fleet insurance program because they don’t insure taxis and vice versa – even if your unit type meets their requirements. When talking with clients, I always say it’s best to be general about the transportation type within the name of their business, especially as market conditions change. You may be heavy in taxi trips one year but then obtain a paratransit contract and do more of that the following year. The more years of favorable loss history (loss runs) you can provide, the better chance you have at obtaining the lowest insurance rates. Choosing a business name that is general such as Laura’s Transportation Service, LLC. allows you flexibility to transform and evolve your business as the industry demands change.

3) Loss Control is Everything

Underwriters give commercial fleet insurance at the lowest insurance rates to companies with low levels of paid claims. Even in a hard insurance market, with rates rising for the good guys too, you can expect to pay more for commercial fleet insurance if you’re prior insurance companies have paid a lot in claims. Here are some suggestions in tightening loss control for your transportation service company:

  •  Hire a full-time loss control or driver manager who will enforce a safety culture. Doing this, will lower the frequency and severity of claim payouts and put your transportation service company in a better position to obtain the lowest insurance rates. This person should be in charge of overseeing the overall safety of your company. Managing and coaching your drivers is the key to a successful transportation service company. You are only as good as your worst driver.
  • commercial fleet insurance Invest in cameras that capture not only accidents but also driver analytics. This type of camera system will allow you to review driver behavior and correct bad habits before they cause an accident. We like to say this method is similar to that of a professional athlete. How do they improve? They watch their game film and correct bad habits. Driving professionally is the same. The more you do it, the more comfortable you get and having drivers watch themselves reduces risky behavior dramatically. Additionally, it’s a known fact that many commercial fleet insurance claims are paid because of he said/she said situations. Having accidents on camera is the best way to know who exactly was at fault and exonerate innocent drivers.
  •  Hold weekly safety huddles and or monthly meetings. Review the data and claims that have occurred recently and talk to your drivers about how they could have been prevented.
  •  Commit to investing in annual defensive driving training for your drivers. This annual reminder to drivers will ensure that bad habits are addressed and give each driver a time to reflect on their own performance.
  • Implement a reward program for safe drivers. Giving an incentive, even if it’s small monetary gift cards – keeps your drivers focused and motivated on safe driving habits.

4) The Driver Pool

The Driver Pool is so important when trying to achieve the lowest insurance rates from commercial fleet insurance providers for your transportation company. How you chose to manage drivers and who you hire is crucial. Create formal guidelines that clearly outline what is acceptable for employment. We recommend only hiring drivers with zero accidents within the past three years and minimal moving violations. Clean MVRs are best but we know that professional drivers with experience usually do not have clean MVRs and this is ok. Professional drivers are on the road up to 3x more than someone commuting to/from work so it’s a given that they will most likely have more violations on their records. Repeat offenders can impact the cost of your commercial fleet insurance and should be let go. No one is perfect, but you should train your drivers with the goal to be as safe as possible. Excessive violations on a driving record can cause surcharges and prevent you from obtaining the lower insurance rates. Additionally, younger drivers sometimes generate higher premiums for commercial fleet insurance as well as newly licensed individuals.

5) Contact an Experienced, Transportation Insurance Broker

commercial fleet insurance

Working with a transportation specialist versus a local agency makes a huge difference as commercial fleet insurance brokers have access to many more transportation focused insurance companies. Also, an experienced broker will review your company data prior to submitting to commercial fleet insurance companies. If they see something a commercial fleet insurance company won’t like, they can address it with you and provide you with an opportunity to make changes before submitting to each carrier. The more information you can provide to a commercial fleet insurance underwriter, the better chances you have at achieving the lowest insurance rates. Because the for-hire, livery insurance market is so thin, carriers often get multiple submissions from duplicate brokers. Try to work with one broker at a time. You may think contacting multiple agencies well help you, but if they are all going to the same markets for commercial fleet insurance – it’s duplicating not only your own work, but the insurance companies as well. The livery market is a tough class of business and finding an experienced broker will absolutely give you a leg up on finding the lowest insurance rates over a generalist broker.

American Business Insurance Services, Inc. has been working with transportation companies across the nation for 35+ years. We have direct relationships with the most competitive commercial fleet insurance companies. We know what it takes to submit a complete application and present your company in the best light possible – which will no doubt translate to finding commercial fleet insurance at the lowest insurance rate.

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HyreCar CEO Thanks Us

HyreCar CEO Thanks American Business Insurance

In an interview with Nasdaq, HyreCar CEO, Joe Furnari, shared how American Business Insurance helped the company grow and succeed. It is our pleasure to work with this amazing company. Read below about the HyreCar company origins, the ways Uber and Lyft drivers can succeed despite obstacles, and the role of transportation network insurance.

The Origins of HyreCar

Three years ago, Joe Furnari was not the CEO of HyreCar. In fact, he was their first customer. At the time, he had a car in his garage that he barely drove. He was actually getting ready to sell his car when he came across the HyreCar start-up. So, he decided to give it a shot by listing his car for rent. When HyreCar had matched him to a driver, the three original founders were so excited they drove to Furnari’s house to meet their first client and be there when the driver came to pick up his car. The driver could then drive for Uber or Lyft. It didn’t take long for Furnari to see a profit by renting his car out, and he became so enamored with the business model that he eventually left his job at the time to become the CEO of HyreCar.

As insurance brokers, we get calls all the time from people who are looking to start a new commercial transportation business. Whether it be someone aspiring to start the next Uber and Lyft or someone who wants to start a small shuttle business, it is our priority to weed out those who are serious and have spent time in their business model, compared to those who woke up one day thinking it would be easy to hit the ground running.

HyreCar lyft uber insurance

 

Where We Came into the Picture

In 2015, our agency President Dave Haley and insurance industry veteran (as recently dubbed by BusinessWire) received a call from the two original founders of HyreCar. Marciano Kim and Abhi Arorahe, the HyreCar founders, found our auto insurance company via google. “I spent 3 minutes on the phone with the founders and immediately, I loved the idea HyreCar was going for. I knew there were a lot of people who wanted work (for Transportation Network Companies like Uber and Lyft) but couldn’t because they didn’t have a vehicle that qualified for it,” Haley said.

At the time, HyreCar and similar companies represented an untapped insurance market as well. Haley was tasked with what felt like an impossibility – to find an insurance company to charge per day, per mile, and per minute. After shopping the marketplace and many declinations, he finally found a carrier that was as interested in the business model as he was. And within a rapid 60 days, HyreCar was insured and able to really launch their platform.

Uber and Lyft Drivers Can Rejoice

There is a big problem for many people who want to drive for Uber or Lyft. The obstacle is obtaining a vehicle that meets Uber or Lyft company requirements. Many drivers have to rent cars and then have to procure insurance on that vehicle. Personal auto specifically excludes any use of your vehicle that generates revenue.

Many Transportation Network Company (TNC) drivers use their personal auto regardless, but technically this is risky. In the case of an accident while driving for Uber or Lyft, their personal auto carrier would deny the claim. Additionally, the driver would face  the possibility of cancellation and non-renewal. With HyreCar’s model, drivers are able to rent a car at an affordable price. Plus, they would obtain an insurance ID card through HyreCar that allows them to qualify for Uber and Lyft. The great news is it does not put them at risk for being cancelled for unauthorized use of the vehicle.

HyreCar CEO Speaks to the Importance of Good Insurance

Uber driver Lyft Driver insurance hyrecar

 

Since launching three years ago, HyreCar has expanded into all 50 states. They have provided solutions for a disrupted transportation, car dealership and insurance industry. HyreCar recently went public and CEO Joe Furnari was interviewed by Nasdaq. In the Nasdaq interview, Furnari attributes part of HyreCar’s ability to grow and succeed to partnering with the right people on the insurance side. Furnari spoke specifically of American Business Insurance. The video clips and press releases included in this article effectively articulate from Furnari on how HyreCar has helped drivers, car dealers, and the insurance industry step forward into this ever-changing transportation marketplace.

Written by Laura Loftus on October 16th, 2018.

 

For more information about insuring your shared economy or transportation network company like HyreCar, click here: https://abiweb.com/services/tnc-provider/

WATCH THE INTERVIEW BETWEEN NASDAQ AND FURNARI BELOW

WATCH ANOTHER INTERVIEW WITH FURNARI HERE: https://www.facebook.com/Nasdaq/videos/2638290029729362/UzpfSTI2ODE1MjMzOTg2NjU2NzoyMjg5Mjc2ODE3NzU0MDk5/

Autonomous Vehicle Insurance: Self-Driving Cars

I know it is hard to believe that autonomous vehicle insurance is actually a thing now, but it is and it’s only going to become more relevant as time goes on. So, when your business decides to join the self-driving car movement it will be pertinent for your vehicles to be properly covered. This is where ABI Insurance Services Inc. comes in!

ABI Insurance Services Inc.
ABI has been around since 1985, making them a veteran when it comes to insurance services. Currently, they are one of the largest providers for commercial transportation insurance in the nation with over 40,000 vehicles being covered. Although they are seasoned when it comes to insurance policies they are also well aware of the rapid growth and change within the vehicle industry. This not only makes ABI highly experienced in business vehicle insurance, but also makes them one of the most innovative and up-to-date when it comes to the latest advancements in cars.

Autonomous Vehicle Insurance
With autonomous vehicle insurance being a newer concept, it is paramount for your small or large fleet insurance to be up to par with policies. At ABI, exclusive relationships with various insurance carriers allows for policies to meet all the specific criteria for your business. This means that the agonizing insurance process of underwriting, quoting, and binding of policies can all be done in house which in turn means faster, more specific services for your insurance needs. It is ABI’s business to understand their client’s business and this is exactly why ABI has been around for over 30 years and created such strong partnerships.

Why Autonomous Cars
Studies have shown that a computer is more of an ideal motorist than humans, this is further supported with the statistic that over 81% of car crashes are a direct result of human error. This only makes more sense when you put into consideration that there are no opportunities for a computer to be distracted by its surrounding environment. For human driven cars, most accidents are outcomes of the distractions correlated with simultaneously driving and texting or eating food. With autonomous cars, you can focus more on those things that would otherwise distract you from the road which in turn would save you time in your busy lifestyle. Not if, but when self-driving cars start to take over the roads it will improve traffic conditions exponentially because large numbers of self-driving cars mean less human errors which would result in less overall congestion.

Recap and other Pro’s for Self-Driving Vehicles:

  • Less car crashes
  • More free time
  • Less congestion
  • Higher speed limits
  • Less drunk drivers
  • Less parking concerns
  • Disabled support

ABI’s portfolio of coverages include Auto Liability, General Liability, Work Comp, Occupational Injury and Collision insurance for virtually any commercial vehicle including Truckers, Movers, and more. With their focus falling within the commercial vehicle realm they are the ideal service to contact when you make that innovative transfer from a fleet of human-driven cars to self-driven cars. You can contact ABI for a quote today by clicking on button below. Safe autonomous driving!

A.M. Best Rating Service: The Credibility of Insurance Companies

Best’s Credit Rating (BCR)
When it comes to knowing whether or not an insurance company is going to be a reliable fit for your needs the first thing to verify is the company’s Best’s Credit Rating (BCR). This is an objective judgement regarding the insurer’s creditworthiness. The BCR is essentially a grade given based on quantitative and qualitative evaluations of the insurer’s balance sheet, operating performance, and business profile. There are various credit and independent rating options, to include:

  • Best’s Financial Strength Ratings (FSR) – This rating is an opinion provided on a specific insurer’s financial strengths and their ability to meet current insurance policy and contract obligations.
  • Best’s Issuer Credit Rating (ICR) – This rating is an opinion of an entity’s ability to meet ongoing financial obligations that can be issued on a long or short-term basis.
  • Best’s Issue Credit Rating (IR) – This rating is an opinion on the credit quality assigned to issues that determines how likely they are to meet the terms of obligation and can be issued on a long or short-term basis.
  • Best’s National Scale Rating (NSR) – This rating is based on a measurement of creditworthiness in a specific jurisdiction that is issued on a long-term basis.
  • Preliminary Credit Assessment (PCA) – This is an independent opinion based on the general credit strengths/weaknesses of an issuer, security, obligor, business plans, and term sheets.
  • Rating Assessment Service (RAS) – This is a rating solicited by non-rated entities that provides an opinion of a company’s rating prospects based on their financial statements and other financial information.
  • Rating Evaluation Service (RES) – This is a rating solicited by rated entities that provides an opinion on the impact of hypothetical scenarios based on financial projections and other financial information.
  • Financial Size Category (FSC) – This a grading scale designed to provide an indicator on the size of a company in terms of its statutory surplus and related accounts.

Choosing the Right Partner
For example, if you are searching for an insurance carrier to cover your commercial vehicles then it is crucial to look at their BCR. By looking at the ratings above it will give you a much better understanding of a company’s legitimacy when it comes to covering vehicles such as cabs, limos, ambulances, and trucks. BCR’s also allow you to get an in-depth understanding on how well different coverage options will be. For instance, Auto Liability, General Liability, Work Comp, Occupational Injury, and Collision Insurance.

Based on BCR, American Business Insurance Services is a great option when looking for commercial vehicle coverage. They are a small insurance carrier that has been around since 1984 and know how to cater to their partner’s needs. They are one of the largest commercial transportation insurance providers in the country with thousands of customers and over 40,000 vehicles insured. Now that you have a much better understanding of what goes into a BCR your options for choosing a potential insurance carrier should be much more clear. Happy insurance!

How to Insure Transportation Network Companies: A Detailed Guide to Getting your TNC off the Ground

GET A QUOTE

How to Insure Transportation Network Companies: A Detailed Guide to Getting your TNC off the Ground

Written by Laura Loftus on Monday, May 6th, 2019

Whether you are looking to start your own Transportation Network Company, On-Demand Delivery App or other Shared Economy business, one of the most important factors to consider is insurance! Sounds boring, I know. But as the world around us changes, insurance markets for transportation network companies are creating new structures and products. As an independent agency, American Business Insurance has direct relationships with all insurance companies currently writing specialized policies for transportation network companies.

Finding insurance for transportation network companies or other app-based businesses is no easy feat. As you may have already come to realize, most of your local brokers who specialize in personal lines don’t have relationships with insurance companies in this space. Many local brokers don’t understand what information to collect from business owners to present your transportation network company in the most insurable light.

Finding An Insurance Broker To Write Policies For Your Transportation Network Company

Most of the common insurance companies you may have already heard of are not writing policies because of the high-risk nature for transportation network companies. Insurance companies who are writing policies for transportation network companies are Surplus Lines carriers whose focus is in this specialized, technology driven market place.

Some people think that it is easy to join the long list of people who are trying to start transportation network companies to compete with those already dominating the world – Uber and Lyft. But in reality, the people who have created these transportation network companies worked for many years prior to actually launching.

To some, that might seem like a really long time but when an experienced insurance broker who is familiar with writing policies for transportation network companies asks you to assemble a list of items, it’s best to know exactly what you are getting yourself into. Don’t be fooled, there is a lot of prep, time and money that is required to build transportation network companies like Uber or Lyft.

transportation network companies

Minimum Premiums For Transportation Network Companies

As you might have anticipated, buying an insurance policy for transportation network companies is not cheap since most insurers in this space have minimum premiums of $75,000-100,000. We know, that is a lot of dough! The good news is, most of the carriers will accept a portion of that up-front and some even offer premium eroding endorsements. This means if your business doesn’t generate premium up to that amount within the year, they will carry over the credit to the following year.

Obtaining a quote requires you to find a broker who specializes in writing insurance for transportation network companies. Working with the right broker will not only save you time and money, but prevent you from buying coverages you don’t need and making sure that you have the ones you do. An experienced broker who is familiar with writing insurance for transportation network companies will know exactly what information to collect from you. They will also know how to present it best to the insurance markets who are writing policies for transportation network companies.

American Business Insurance Services, Inc.

Lucky for you, you found us! As an agency, we have been around long before ordering a ride from your smart-phone was an option. We specialize in public auto which means we understand more than anyone how transportation network companies operate.

transportation network companies

Items Transportation Network Companies Should Have Ready Before Calling Your Broker For A Quote:

Build the App:

  • One of the first questions I ask customers looking for insurance for transportation network companies is if the app is complete. Insurance company underwriters will want to download your app and make sure it’s working. Also, some companies have technology-based policies, meaning they integrate with your app to capture data on the drivers. Some even offer lower insurance rates based on favorable data collected (less speeding, hard stops, etcetera). Most policies for transportation network companies are usage based, so they have to be able to download your app and make sure it’s compatible with their insurance structure. Insurance companies often want to be able to pull reports from your app which include and are not limited to:

1. Knowing When A Trip Starts and Stops

2. How Many Miles For Each Trip

3. How Many Minutes/Hours For Each Trip

Business Plan & Projections:

  • There is a checklist of items the insurance company will want to see attached to the submission your broker sends. Your broker should be narrating to the insurance company all the hard work and thought you’ve put into creating these transportation network companies. Insurers will want to see a “pitch deck” which is something you might already have created to obtain investors. This document will present and explain your business model, why it is different from what is alreadyout there and how it will work long term. Some of the questions this document should answer are:

transportation network companies1. What are the company’s growth plans?

2. How will you monitor safety/loss control?

3. How is pricing structured so that the company is profitable?

 Safety and Training:

  • Safety and training is a big deal for insurers who are writing policies for transportation network companies. They will want to know what restrictions, checks and balances and training you will provide to drivers. They want to know how often you will check driving records and how often people have to pass background checks. The younger in age the drivers are that you allow to join your transportation network companies, the more expensive you can expect your insurance prices to be. Insurance companies want to know how you are going to prevent accidents from happening so that you build a positive reputation within the industry along side other transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft.

Bios on Key Officers/Investors:

  • Insurance companies want to know about the people behind the transportation network companies! If you want to join the group of dominating transportation network companies, they are going to want to know what experience you have, not only in transportation but also in being an entrepreneur. Take the time to write detailed bios for yourself and all other key members, officers and investors behind your transportation network company. Make sure to detail the knowledge and life experience you are bringing to the table in starting transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft. A well written, detailed bio will separate your company from all the rest and will give you a better advantage to better pricing on insurance for transportation network companies.

 Terms of Service & Privacy Conditions:

  • Although this may seem like a small piece of the puzzle to getting insurance for transportation network companies, most insurers want to see the liability of the app in regards to what they are promising to both their drivers and users. If you are a peer to peer platform, they want to see how the transaction will take place. Some of the questions that should be answered here are:

1. What Security Measures Are In Place To Protect The User?

2. How Should Complaints Be Filed?

3. What Terms and Conditions Does Your Company Adhere To? 

transportation network companies

Financial Balance Sheet:

  • Basically, a lot of what it takes to insure transportation network companies is having money, and a lot of it. Due to the hefty size of the minimum premiums for transportation network companies, generally ranging from $75,00-100,000, insurers want to make sure you not only have money to pay for the policy, but to also keep your business afloat and operating before you start turning a profit. It’s no secret that most transportation network companies do not profit until after the first year. Insurers want to see that you have raised money, not just for the cost of insurance but also for operating expenses, advertising and promotions.
  • When I review the balance sheet for transportation network companies, I know that most insurers want to see that you’ve raised at minimum $250,000-$1,000,000 in capital. Sometimes more. The reason for them wanting transportation network companies to raise this much money is because they know what it takes to gain traction in this unique space. They want to make sure the work they are putting in to quote and bind your policy will create a lasting relationship with you.

Guidance From American Business Insurance Services, INC

Starting any business takes time, research and money. We get phone calls from people daily thinking they are going to be the next Uber and Lyft. And believe me, we want you to make it big and compete against the monopoly that currently exists for transportation network companies. But in reality, we know that few of the phone calls we receive have actually taken the above steps which are required to make transportation network companies insurable.

If you have questions or need guidance, please give us a call and we will be happy to discuss over the phone! While some of the larger, corporate run agencies have the same relationships as us, few will offer the personal touch and value we have with every client.

Exclusive Contracts

Additionally, we have exclusive contracts with some companies that allow us to write at a lower minimum premium than others. We are an independent, family-run business with 75+ years of combined experience in the business insurance industry. We have invested in other transportation network companies, peer to peer and shared economy types of businesses. Most of us utilize transportation network companies and peer-to-peer apps regularly.

We literally have boots on the ground in this space and if you want the best pricing with the smoothest transaction – we are here for you!

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How to Save the MOST Money on Your Commercial Fleet Insurance Rates

ABI Transportation Experts Speak: How to Save the MOST Money on Your Commercial Fleet Insurance Rates

Written by Laura Loftus on Thursday, February 28th, 2019

 

When speaking with clients about their commercial fleet insurance, the most common concern is how to get the lowest insurance rates. About 100% of the customers I speak to daily all have the same goal – they want the lowest insurance rates available and will do whatever it takes to get it. Whether you own a Taxi, Limo, Paratransit or Shared Economy company (peer to peer platform app), it’s a given that you want your commercial fleet insurance coverage at the lowest insurance rates available. What many companies don’t realize, especially start-ups, is that commercial fleet insurance underwriters do quite a bit of digging on your company through a variety of platforms to “check you out” prior to releasing a quote. They read Yelp reviews, they look at your website, they do Better Business Bureau checks – all of it.

There are common mistakes that transportation service companies are repeatedly making that will create doubt in a commercial fleet insurance company. These mistakes actually prevent your broker from being able to find the lowest insurance rates for your company. Most of these companies think they are making business decisions that will guide them toward the lowest insurance rates, and are unaware that their current website or driver pool is actually hurting their chances of achieving the lowest possible commercial fleet insurance rate.

Five common flubs transportation service companies are making that prevent your commercial fleet insurance broker from obtaining the lowest insurance rates possible:

1) Company Website

The first and most common mistake we see from commercial auto risks who are in the “wheels” business as us underwriters call it – is that you over the amount of experience or size of your transportation service company.  It is common for commercial fleet insurance underwriters to google your company to pick apart your website. Here are some items you may think are helping your chances at obtaining the lowest insurance rates but are actually red flags to commercial fleet insurance companies:

  •  Words like “Fast Pick-up” or ‘Delivery in Minutes” – no commercial fleet insurance underwriter wants to see that you are promising rushed services. Rushing = equals unsafe driving behavior.

commercial fleet insurance

  • Advertising vehicles that are not actually part of your fleet. For example, just yesterday I was helping a 35-car fleet in Portland with obtaining commercial fleet insurance quotes. The list of vehicles they provided were all private passenger type vehicles (meaning seating capacity of 8 or less) – good! But when I searched the company online, they advertised a large shuttle bus and a higher seating capacity van. When I asked the client about this, they those vehicles had been sold and they had no plans to replace them. Keeping your website up to date and only advertising only what you can actually deliver will keep unwanted questions from creeping into the commercial fleet insurance underwriters’ mind. Creating uncertainty is the last thing you want to do with a commercial fleet insurance underwriter when trying to obtain the lowest insurance rates.
  •  Age of vehicles is important to commercial fleet insurance companies. Publishing a picture of a 30-year-old vehicle is no bueno. Keep your fleet serviced regularly (we recommend every three to four thousand miles and cycle out old units. Newer, cleaner & well-maintained vehicles are not only more desired by clientele (when trying to compete with Uber/Lyft) but also preferred by commercial fleet insurance companies trying to avoid claims due to mechanical defect.
  • If you boast 20 years of experience but your LLC was filed three years ago, it creates uncertainty with insurance companies. It’s better to accurately reflect your business as it is now, and not what you want it to be five years from now. Just as there are items to avoid putting on your website, there are points that you should include on your website. It is always a good idea to brag about highly trained drivers and safety training you provide (more on this later). Be sure to note the maintenance you keep up with for your fleet, the background checks the city you operate in mandates and the highest level of driving records required for your drivers. Commercial fleet insurance underwriters like stable fleets with safe drivers. Bottom line, safer risks translates to commercial fleet insurance underwriters offering the lowest insurance rates.

2) Creating a Business Name

This may seem simple enough but for transportation business owners looking to for the lowest insurance rates, people often think that commercial fleet insurance companies give the lowest insurance rates to Limo’s and Non-Emergency Medical risks over a taxi or airport shuttle. While this might be true, cornering yourself into a specific type of transportation in your business name narrows the list of commercial fleet insurance carriers you are eligible for. Many markets write only taxis or only limos. So, if you file your business name with the Secretary of State as Laura’s Taxi & Limo Service, LLC. – it could possibly make you ineligible for a limo commercial fleet insurance program because they don’t insure taxis and vice versa – even if your unit type meets their requirements. When talking with clients, I always say it’s best to be general about the transportation type within the name of their business, especially as market conditions change. You may be heavy in taxi trips one year but then obtain a paratransit contract and do more of that the following year. The more years of favorable loss history (loss runs) you can provide, the better chance you have at obtaining the lowest insurance rates. Choosing a business name that is general such as Laura’s Transportation Service, LLC. allows you flexibility to transform and evolve your business as the industry demands change.

3) Loss Control is Everything

Underwriters give commercial fleet insurance at the lowest insurance rates to companies with low levels of paid claims. Even in a hard insurance market, with rates rising for the good guys too, you can expect to pay more for commercial fleet insurance if you’re prior insurance companies have paid a lot in claims. Here are some suggestions in tightening loss control for your transportation service company:

  •  Hire a full-time loss control or driver manager who will enforce a safety culture. Doing this, will lower the frequency and severity of claim payouts and put your transportation service company in a better position to obtain the lowest insurance rates. This person should be in charge of overseeing the overall safety of your company. Managing and coaching your drivers is the key to a successful transportation service company. You are only as good as your worst driver.
  • commercial fleet insurance Invest in cameras that capture not only accidents but also driver analytics. This type of camera system will allow you to review driver behavior and correct bad habits before they cause an accident. We like to say this method is similar to that of a professional athlete. How do they improve? They watch their game film and correct bad habits. Driving professionally is the same. The more you do it, the more comfortable you get and having drivers watch themselves reduces risky behavior dramatically. Additionally, it’s a known fact that many commercial fleet insurance claims are paid because of he said/she said situations. Having accidents on camera is the best way to know who exactly was at fault and exonerate innocent drivers.
  •  Hold weekly safety huddles and or monthly meetings. Review the data and claims that have occurred recently and talk to your drivers about how they could have been prevented.
  •  Commit to investing in annual defensive driving training for your drivers. This annual reminder to drivers will ensure that bad habits are addressed and give each driver a time to reflect on their own performance.
  • Implement a reward program for safe drivers. Giving an incentive, even if it’s small monetary gift cards – keeps your drivers focused and motivated on safe driving habits.

4) The Driver Pool

The Driver Pool is so important when trying to achieve the lowest insurance rates from commercial fleet insurance providers for your transportation company. How you chose to manage drivers and who you hire is crucial. Create formal guidelines that clearly outline what is acceptable for employment. We recommend only hiring drivers with zero accidents within the past three years and minimal moving violations. Clean MVRs are best but we know that professional drivers with experience usually do not have clean MVRs and this is ok. Professional drivers are on the road up to 3x more than someone commuting to/from work so it’s a given that they will most likely have more violations on their records. Repeat offenders can impact the cost of your commercial fleet insurance and should be let go. No one is perfect, but you should train your drivers with the goal to be as safe as possible. Excessive violations on a driving record can cause surcharges and prevent you from obtaining the lower insurance rates. Additionally, younger drivers sometimes generate higher premiums for commercial fleet insurance as well as newly licensed individuals.

5) Contact an Experienced, Transportation Insurance Broker

commercial fleet insurance

Working with a transportation specialist versus a local agency makes a huge difference as commercial fleet insurance brokers have access to many more transportation focused insurance companies. Also, an experienced broker will review your company data prior to submitting to commercial fleet insurance companies. If they see something a commercial fleet insurance company won’t like, they can address it with you and provide you with an opportunity to make changes before submitting to each carrier. The more information you can provide to a commercial fleet insurance underwriter, the better chances you have at achieving the lowest insurance rates. Because the for-hire, livery insurance market is so thin, carriers often get multiple submissions from duplicate brokers. Try to work with one broker at a time. You may think contacting multiple agencies well help you, but if they are all going to the same markets for commercial fleet insurance – it’s duplicating not only your own work, but the insurance companies as well. The livery market is a tough class of business and finding an experienced broker will absolutely give you a leg up on finding the lowest insurance rates over a generalist broker.

American Business Insurance Services, Inc. has been working with transportation companies across the nation for 35+ years. We have direct relationships with the most competitive commercial fleet insurance companies. We know what it takes to submit a complete application and present your company in the best light possible – which will no doubt translate to finding commercial fleet insurance at the lowest insurance rate.

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HyreCar CEO Thanks Us

HyreCar CEO Thanks American Business Insurance

In an interview with Nasdaq, HyreCar CEO, Joe Furnari, shared how American Business Insurance helped the company grow and succeed. It is our pleasure to work with this amazing company. Read below about the HyreCar company origins, the ways Uber and Lyft drivers can succeed despite obstacles, and the role of transportation network insurance.

The Origins of HyreCar

Three years ago, Joe Furnari was not the CEO of HyreCar. In fact, he was their first customer. At the time, he had a car in his garage that he barely drove. He was actually getting ready to sell his car when he came across the HyreCar start-up. So, he decided to give it a shot by listing his car for rent. When HyreCar had matched him to a driver, the three original founders were so excited they drove to Furnari’s house to meet their first client and be there when the driver came to pick up his car. The driver could then drive for Uber or Lyft. It didn’t take long for Furnari to see a profit by renting his car out, and he became so enamored with the business model that he eventually left his job at the time to become the CEO of HyreCar.

As insurance brokers, we get calls all the time from people who are looking to start a new commercial transportation business. Whether it be someone aspiring to start the next Uber and Lyft or someone who wants to start a small shuttle business, it is our priority to weed out those who are serious and have spent time in their business model, compared to those who woke up one day thinking it would be easy to hit the ground running.

HyreCar lyft uber insurance

 

Where We Came into the Picture

In 2015, our agency President Dave Haley and insurance industry veteran (as recently dubbed by BusinessWire) received a call from the two original founders of HyreCar. Marciano Kim and Abhi Arorahe, the HyreCar founders, found our auto insurance company via google. “I spent 3 minutes on the phone with the founders and immediately, I loved the idea HyreCar was going for. I knew there were a lot of people who wanted work (for Transportation Network Companies like Uber and Lyft) but couldn’t because they didn’t have a vehicle that qualified for it,” Haley said.

At the time, HyreCar and similar companies represented an untapped insurance market as well. Haley was tasked with what felt like an impossibility – to find an insurance company to charge per day, per mile, and per minute. After shopping the marketplace and many declinations, he finally found a carrier that was as interested in the business model as he was. And within a rapid 60 days, HyreCar was insured and able to really launch their platform.

Uber and Lyft Drivers Can Rejoice

There is a big problem for many people who want to drive for Uber or Lyft. The obstacle is obtaining a vehicle that meets Uber or Lyft company requirements. Many drivers have to rent cars and then have to procure insurance on that vehicle. Personal auto specifically excludes any use of your vehicle that generates revenue.

Many Transportation Network Company (TNC) drivers use their personal auto regardless, but technically this is risky. In the case of an accident while driving for Uber or Lyft, their personal auto carrier would deny the claim. Additionally, the driver would face  the possibility of cancellation and non-renewal. With HyreCar’s model, drivers are able to rent a car at an affordable price. Plus, they would obtain an insurance ID card through HyreCar that allows them to qualify for Uber and Lyft. The great news is it does not put them at risk for being cancelled for unauthorized use of the vehicle.

HyreCar CEO Speaks to the Importance of Good Insurance

Uber driver Lyft Driver insurance hyrecar

 

Since launching three years ago, HyreCar has expanded into all 50 states. They have provided solutions for a disrupted transportation, car dealership and insurance industry. HyreCar recently went public and CEO Joe Furnari was interviewed by Nasdaq. In the Nasdaq interview, Furnari attributes part of HyreCar’s ability to grow and succeed to partnering with the right people on the insurance side. Furnari spoke specifically of American Business Insurance. The video clips and press releases included in this article effectively articulate from Furnari on how HyreCar has helped drivers, car dealers, and the insurance industry step forward into this ever-changing transportation marketplace.

Written by Laura Loftus on October 16th, 2018.

 

For more information about insuring your shared economy or transportation network company like HyreCar, click here: https://abiweb.com/services/tnc-provider/

WATCH THE INTERVIEW BETWEEN NASDAQ AND FURNARI BELOW

WATCH ANOTHER INTERVIEW WITH FURNARI HERE: https://www.facebook.com/Nasdaq/videos/2638290029729362/UzpfSTI2ODE1MjMzOTg2NjU2NzoyMjg5Mjc2ODE3NzU0MDk5/

Autonomous Vehicle Insurance: Self-Driving Cars

I know it is hard to believe that autonomous vehicle insurance is actually a thing now, but it is and it’s only going to become more relevant as time goes on. So, when your business decides to join the self-driving car movement it will be pertinent for your vehicles to be properly covered. This is where ABI Insurance Services Inc. comes in!

ABI Insurance Services Inc.
ABI has been around since 1985, making them a veteran when it comes to insurance services. Currently, they are one of the largest providers for commercial transportation insurance in the nation with over 40,000 vehicles being covered. Although they are seasoned when it comes to insurance policies they are also well aware of the rapid growth and change within the vehicle industry. This not only makes ABI highly experienced in business vehicle insurance, but also makes them one of the most innovative and up-to-date when it comes to the latest advancements in cars.

Autonomous Vehicle Insurance
With autonomous vehicle insurance being a newer concept, it is paramount for your small or large fleet insurance to be up to par with policies. At ABI, exclusive relationships with various insurance carriers allows for policies to meet all the specific criteria for your business. This means that the agonizing insurance process of underwriting, quoting, and binding of policies can all be done in house which in turn means faster, more specific services for your insurance needs. It is ABI’s business to understand their client’s business and this is exactly why ABI has been around for over 30 years and created such strong partnerships.

Why Autonomous Cars
Studies have shown that a computer is more of an ideal motorist than humans, this is further supported with the statistic that over 81% of car crashes are a direct result of human error. This only makes more sense when you put into consideration that there are no opportunities for a computer to be distracted by its surrounding environment. For human driven cars, most accidents are outcomes of the distractions correlated with simultaneously driving and texting or eating food. With autonomous cars, you can focus more on those things that would otherwise distract you from the road which in turn would save you time in your busy lifestyle. Not if, but when self-driving cars start to take over the roads it will improve traffic conditions exponentially because large numbers of self-driving cars mean less human errors which would result in less overall congestion.

Recap and other Pro’s for Self-Driving Vehicles:

  • Less car crashes
  • More free time
  • Less congestion
  • Higher speed limits
  • Less drunk drivers
  • Less parking concerns
  • Disabled support

ABI’s portfolio of coverages include Auto Liability, General Liability, Work Comp, Occupational Injury and Collision insurance for virtually any commercial vehicle including Truckers, Movers, and more. With their focus falling within the commercial vehicle realm they are the ideal service to contact when you make that innovative transfer from a fleet of human-driven cars to self-driven cars. You can contact ABI for a quote today by clicking on button below. Safe autonomous driving!

A.M. Best Rating Service: The Credibility of Insurance Companies

Best’s Credit Rating (BCR)
When it comes to knowing whether or not an insurance company is going to be a reliable fit for your needs the first thing to verify is the company’s Best’s Credit Rating (BCR). This is an objective judgement regarding the insurer’s creditworthiness. The BCR is essentially a grade given based on quantitative and qualitative evaluations of the insurer’s balance sheet, operating performance, and business profile. There are various credit and independent rating options, to include:

  • Best’s Financial Strength Ratings (FSR) – This rating is an opinion provided on a specific insurer’s financial strengths and their ability to meet current insurance policy and contract obligations.
  • Best’s Issuer Credit Rating (ICR) – This rating is an opinion of an entity’s ability to meet ongoing financial obligations that can be issued on a long or short-term basis.
  • Best’s Issue Credit Rating (IR) – This rating is an opinion on the credit quality assigned to issues that determines how likely they are to meet the terms of obligation and can be issued on a long or short-term basis.
  • Best’s National Scale Rating (NSR) – This rating is based on a measurement of creditworthiness in a specific jurisdiction that is issued on a long-term basis.
  • Preliminary Credit Assessment (PCA) – This is an independent opinion based on the general credit strengths/weaknesses of an issuer, security, obligor, business plans, and term sheets.
  • Rating Assessment Service (RAS) – This is a rating solicited by non-rated entities that provides an opinion of a company’s rating prospects based on their financial statements and other financial information.
  • Rating Evaluation Service (RES) – This is a rating solicited by rated entities that provides an opinion on the impact of hypothetical scenarios based on financial projections and other financial information.
  • Financial Size Category (FSC) – This a grading scale designed to provide an indicator on the size of a company in terms of its statutory surplus and related accounts.

Choosing the Right Partner
For example, if you are searching for an insurance carrier to cover your commercial vehicles then it is crucial to look at their BCR. By looking at the ratings above it will give you a much better understanding of a company’s legitimacy when it comes to covering vehicles such as cabs, limos, ambulances, and trucks. BCR’s also allow you to get an in-depth understanding on how well different coverage options will be. For instance, Auto Liability, General Liability, Work Comp, Occupational Injury, and Collision Insurance.

Based on BCR, American Business Insurance Services is a great option when looking for commercial vehicle coverage. They are a small insurance carrier that has been around since 1984 and know how to cater to their partner’s needs. They are one of the largest commercial transportation insurance providers in the country with thousands of customers and over 40,000 vehicles insured. Now that you have a much better understanding of what goes into a BCR your options for choosing a potential insurance carrier should be much more clear. Happy insurance!

How to Insure Transportation Network Companies: A Detailed Guide to Getting your TNC off the Ground

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How to Insure Transportation Network Companies: A Detailed Guide to Getting your TNC off the Ground

Written by Laura Loftus on Monday, May 6th, 2019

Whether you are looking to start your own Transportation Network Company, On-Demand Delivery App or other Shared Economy business, one of the most important factors to consider is insurance! Sounds boring, I know. But as the world around us changes, insurance markets for transportation network companies are creating new structures and products. As an independent agency, American Business Insurance has direct relationships with all insurance companies currently writing specialized policies for transportation network companies.

Finding insurance for transportation network companies or other app-based businesses is no easy feat. As you may have already come to realize, most of your local brokers who specialize in personal lines don’t have relationships with insurance companies in this space. Many local brokers don’t understand what information to collect from business owners to present your transportation network company in the most insurable light.

Finding An Insurance Broker To Write Policies For Your Transportation Network Company

Most of the common insurance companies you may have already heard of are not writing policies because of the high-risk nature for transportation network companies. Insurance companies who are writing policies for transportation network companies are Surplus Lines carriers whose focus is in this specialized, technology driven market place.

Some people think that it is easy to join the long list of people who are trying to start transportation network companies to compete with those already dominating the world – Uber and Lyft. But in reality, the people who have created these transportation network companies worked for many years prior to actually launching.

To some, that might seem like a really long time but when an experienced insurance broker who is familiar with writing policies for transportation network companies asks you to assemble a list of items, it’s best to know exactly what you are getting yourself into. Don’t be fooled, there is a lot of prep, time and money that is required to build transportation network companies like Uber or Lyft.

transportation network companies

Minimum Premiums For Transportation Network Companies

As you might have anticipated, buying an insurance policy for transportation network companies is not cheap since most insurers in this space have minimum premiums of $75,000-100,000. We know, that is a lot of dough! The good news is, most of the carriers will accept a portion of that up-front and some even offer premium eroding endorsements. This means if your business doesn’t generate premium up to that amount within the year, they will carry over the credit to the following year.

Obtaining a quote requires you to find a broker who specializes in writing insurance for transportation network companies. Working with the right broker will not only save you time and money, but prevent you from buying coverages you don’t need and making sure that you have the ones you do. An experienced broker who is familiar with writing insurance for transportation network companies will know exactly what information to collect from you. They will also know how to present it best to the insurance markets who are writing policies for transportation network companies.

American Business Insurance Services, Inc.

Lucky for you, you found us! As an agency, we have been around long before ordering a ride from your smart-phone was an option. We specialize in public auto which means we understand more than anyone how transportation network companies operate.

transportation network companies

Items Transportation Network Companies Should Have Ready Before Calling Your Broker For A Quote:

Build the App:

  • One of the first questions I ask customers looking for insurance for transportation network companies is if the app is complete. Insurance company underwriters will want to download your app and make sure it’s working. Also, some companies have technology-based policies, meaning they integrate with your app to capture data on the drivers. Some even offer lower insurance rates based on favorable data collected (less speeding, hard stops, etcetera). Most policies for transportation network companies are usage based, so they have to be able to download your app and make sure it’s compatible with their insurance structure. Insurance companies often want to be able to pull reports from your app which include and are not limited to:

1. Knowing When A Trip Starts and Stops

2. How Many Miles For Each Trip

3. How Many Minutes/Hours For Each Trip

Business Plan & Projections:

  • There is a checklist of items the insurance company will want to see attached to the submission your broker sends. Your broker should be narrating to the insurance company all the hard work and thought you’ve put into creating these transportation network companies. Insurers will want to see a “pitch deck” which is something you might already have created to obtain investors. This document will present and explain your business model, why it is different from what is alreadyout there and how it will work long term. Some of the questions this document should answer are:

transportation network companies1. What are the company’s growth plans?

2. How will you monitor safety/loss control?

3. How is pricing structured so that the company is profitable?

 Safety and Training:

  • Safety and training is a big deal for insurers who are writing policies for transportation network companies. They will want to know what restrictions, checks and balances and training you will provide to drivers. They want to know how often you will check driving records and how often people have to pass background checks. The younger in age the drivers are that you allow to join your transportation network companies, the more expensive you can expect your insurance prices to be. Insurance companies want to know how you are going to prevent accidents from happening so that you build a positive reputation within the industry along side other transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft.

Bios on Key Officers/Investors:

  • Insurance companies want to know about the people behind the transportation network companies! If you want to join the group of dominating transportation network companies, they are going to want to know what experience you have, not only in transportation but also in being an entrepreneur. Take the time to write detailed bios for yourself and all other key members, officers and investors behind your transportation network company. Make sure to detail the knowledge and life experience you are bringing to the table in starting transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft. A well written, detailed bio will separate your company from all the rest and will give you a better advantage to better pricing on insurance for transportation network companies.

 Terms of Service & Privacy Conditions:

  • Although this may seem like a small piece of the puzzle to getting insurance for transportation network companies, most insurers want to see the liability of the app in regards to what they are promising to both their drivers and users. If you are a peer to peer platform, they want to see how the transaction will take place. Some of the questions that should be answered here are:

1. What Security Measures Are In Place To Protect The User?

2. How Should Complaints Be Filed?

3. What Terms and Conditions Does Your Company Adhere To? 

transportation network companies

Financial Balance Sheet:

  • Basically, a lot of what it takes to insure transportation network companies is having money, and a lot of it. Due to the hefty size of the minimum premiums for transportation network companies, generally ranging from $75,00-100,000, insurers want to make sure you not only have money to pay for the policy, but to also keep your business afloat and operating before you start turning a profit. It’s no secret that most transportation network companies do not profit until after the first year. Insurers want to see that you have raised money, not just for the cost of insurance but also for operating expenses, advertising and promotions.
  • When I review the balance sheet for transportation network companies, I know that most insurers want to see that you’ve raised at minimum $250,000-$1,000,000 in capital. Sometimes more. The reason for them wanting transportation network companies to raise this much money is because they know what it takes to gain traction in this unique space. They want to make sure the work they are putting in to quote and bind your policy will create a lasting relationship with you.

Guidance From American Business Insurance Services, INC

Starting any business takes time, research and money. We get phone calls from people daily thinking they are going to be the next Uber and Lyft. And believe me, we want you to make it big and compete against the monopoly that currently exists for transportation network companies. But in reality, we know that few of the phone calls we receive have actually taken the above steps which are required to make transportation network companies insurable.

If you have questions or need guidance, please give us a call and we will be happy to discuss over the phone! While some of the larger, corporate run agencies have the same relationships as us, few will offer the personal touch and value we have with every client.

Exclusive Contracts

Additionally, we have exclusive contracts with some companies that allow us to write at a lower minimum premium than others. We are an independent, family-run business with 75+ years of combined experience in the business insurance industry. We have invested in other transportation network companies, peer to peer and shared economy types of businesses. Most of us utilize transportation network companies and peer-to-peer apps regularly.

We literally have boots on the ground in this space and if you want the best pricing with the smoothest transaction – we are here for you!

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How to Save the MOST Money on Your Commercial Fleet Insurance Rates

ABI Transportation Experts Speak: How to Save the MOST Money on Your Commercial Fleet Insurance Rates

Written by Laura Loftus on Thursday, February 28th, 2019

 

When speaking with clients about their commercial fleet insurance, the most common concern is how to get the lowest insurance rates. About 100% of the customers I speak to daily all have the same goal – they want the lowest insurance rates available and will do whatever it takes to get it. Whether you own a Taxi, Limo, Paratransit or Shared Economy company (peer to peer platform app), it’s a given that you want your commercial fleet insurance coverage at the lowest insurance rates available. What many companies don’t realize, especially start-ups, is that commercial fleet insurance underwriters do quite a bit of digging on your company through a variety of platforms to “check you out” prior to releasing a quote. They read Yelp reviews, they look at your website, they do Better Business Bureau checks – all of it.

There are common mistakes that transportation service companies are repeatedly making that will create doubt in a commercial fleet insurance company. These mistakes actually prevent your broker from being able to find the lowest insurance rates for your company. Most of these companies think they are making business decisions that will guide them toward the lowest insurance rates, and are unaware that their current website or driver pool is actually hurting their chances of achieving the lowest possible commercial fleet insurance rate.

Five common flubs transportation service companies are making that prevent your commercial fleet insurance broker from obtaining the lowest insurance rates possible:

1) Company Website

The first and most common mistake we see from commercial auto risks who are in the “wheels” business as us underwriters call it – is that you over the amount of experience or size of your transportation service company.  It is common for commercial fleet insurance underwriters to google your company to pick apart your website. Here are some items you may think are helping your chances at obtaining the lowest insurance rates but are actually red flags to commercial fleet insurance companies:

  •  Words like “Fast Pick-up” or ‘Delivery in Minutes” – no commercial fleet insurance underwriter wants to see that you are promising rushed services. Rushing = equals unsafe driving behavior.

commercial fleet insurance

  • Advertising vehicles that are not actually part of your fleet. For example, just yesterday I was helping a 35-car fleet in Portland with obtaining commercial fleet insurance quotes. The list of vehicles they provided were all private passenger type vehicles (meaning seating capacity of 8 or less) – good! But when I searched the company online, they advertised a large shuttle bus and a higher seating capacity van. When I asked the client about this, they those vehicles had been sold and they had no plans to replace them. Keeping your website up to date and only advertising only what you can actually deliver will keep unwanted questions from creeping into the commercial fleet insurance underwriters’ mind. Creating uncertainty is the last thing you want to do with a commercial fleet insurance underwriter when trying to obtain the lowest insurance rates.
  •  Age of vehicles is important to commercial fleet insurance companies. Publishing a picture of a 30-year-old vehicle is no bueno. Keep your fleet serviced regularly (we recommend every three to four thousand miles and cycle out old units. Newer, cleaner & well-maintained vehicles are not only more desired by clientele (when trying to compete with Uber/Lyft) but also preferred by commercial fleet insurance companies trying to avoid claims due to mechanical defect.
  • If you boast 20 years of experience but your LLC was filed three years ago, it creates uncertainty with insurance companies. It’s better to accurately reflect your business as it is now, and not what you want it to be five years from now. Just as there are items to avoid putting on your website, there are points that you should include on your website. It is always a good idea to brag about highly trained drivers and safety training you provide (more on this later). Be sure to note the maintenance you keep up with for your fleet, the background checks the city you operate in mandates and the highest level of driving records required for your drivers. Commercial fleet insurance underwriters like stable fleets with safe drivers. Bottom line, safer risks translates to commercial fleet insurance underwriters offering the lowest insurance rates.

2) Creating a Business Name

This may seem simple enough but for transportation business owners looking to for the lowest insurance rates, people often think that commercial fleet insurance companies give the lowest insurance rates to Limo’s and Non-Emergency Medical risks over a taxi or airport shuttle. While this might be true, cornering yourself into a specific type of transportation in your business name narrows the list of commercial fleet insurance carriers you are eligible for. Many markets write only taxis or only limos. So, if you file your business name with the Secretary of State as Laura’s Taxi & Limo Service, LLC. – it could possibly make you ineligible for a limo commercial fleet insurance program because they don’t insure taxis and vice versa – even if your unit type meets their requirements. When talking with clients, I always say it’s best to be general about the transportation type within the name of their business, especially as market conditions change. You may be heavy in taxi trips one year but then obtain a paratransit contract and do more of that the following year. The more years of favorable loss history (loss runs) you can provide, the better chance you have at obtaining the lowest insurance rates. Choosing a business name that is general such as Laura’s Transportation Service, LLC. allows you flexibility to transform and evolve your business as the industry demands change.

3) Loss Control is Everything

Underwriters give commercial fleet insurance at the lowest insurance rates to companies with low levels of paid claims. Even in a hard insurance market, with rates rising for the good guys too, you can expect to pay more for commercial fleet insurance if you’re prior insurance companies have paid a lot in claims. Here are some suggestions in tightening loss control for your transportation service company:

  •  Hire a full-time loss control or driver manager who will enforce a safety culture. Doing this, will lower the frequency and severity of claim payouts and put your transportation service company in a better position to obtain the lowest insurance rates. This person should be in charge of overseeing the overall safety of your company. Managing and coaching your drivers is the key to a successful transportation service company. You are only as good as your worst driver.
  • commercial fleet insurance Invest in cameras that capture not only accidents but also driver analytics. This type of camera system will allow you to review driver behavior and correct bad habits before they cause an accident. We like to say this method is similar to that of a professional athlete. How do they improve? They watch their game film and correct bad habits. Driving professionally is the same. The more you do it, the more comfortable you get and having drivers watch themselves reduces risky behavior dramatically. Additionally, it’s a known fact that many commercial fleet insurance claims are paid because of he said/she said situations. Having accidents on camera is the best way to know who exactly was at fault and exonerate innocent drivers.
  •  Hold weekly safety huddles and or monthly meetings. Review the data and claims that have occurred recently and talk to your drivers about how they could have been prevented.
  •  Commit to investing in annual defensive driving training for your drivers. This annual reminder to drivers will ensure that bad habits are addressed and give each driver a time to reflect on their own performance.
  • Implement a reward program for safe drivers. Giving an incentive, even if it’s small monetary gift cards – keeps your drivers focused and motivated on safe driving habits.

4) The Driver Pool

The Driver Pool is so important when trying to achieve the lowest insurance rates from commercial fleet insurance providers for your transportation company. How you chose to manage drivers and who you hire is crucial. Create formal guidelines that clearly outline what is acceptable for employment. We recommend only hiring drivers with zero accidents within the past three years and minimal moving violations. Clean MVRs are best but we know that professional drivers with experience usually do not have clean MVRs and this is ok. Professional drivers are on the road up to 3x more than someone commuting to/from work so it’s a given that they will most likely have more violations on their records. Repeat offenders can impact the cost of your commercial fleet insurance and should be let go. No one is perfect, but you should train your drivers with the goal to be as safe as possible. Excessive violations on a driving record can cause surcharges and prevent you from obtaining the lower insurance rates. Additionally, younger drivers sometimes generate higher premiums for commercial fleet insurance as well as newly licensed individuals.

5) Contact an Experienced, Transportation Insurance Broker

commercial fleet insurance

Working with a transportation specialist versus a local agency makes a huge difference as commercial fleet insurance brokers have access to many more transportation focused insurance companies. Also, an experienced broker will review your company data prior to submitting to commercial fleet insurance companies. If they see something a commercial fleet insurance company won’t like, they can address it with you and provide you with an opportunity to make changes before submitting to each carrier. The more information you can provide to a commercial fleet insurance underwriter, the better chances you have at achieving the lowest insurance rates. Because the for-hire, livery insurance market is so thin, carriers often get multiple submissions from duplicate brokers. Try to work with one broker at a time. You may think contacting multiple agencies well help you, but if they are all going to the same markets for commercial fleet insurance – it’s duplicating not only your own work, but the insurance companies as well. The livery market is a tough class of business and finding an experienced broker will absolutely give you a leg up on finding the lowest insurance rates over a generalist broker.

American Business Insurance Services, Inc. has been working with transportation companies across the nation for 35+ years. We have direct relationships with the most competitive commercial fleet insurance companies. We know what it takes to submit a complete application and present your company in the best light possible – which will no doubt translate to finding commercial fleet insurance at the lowest insurance rate.

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HyreCar CEO Thanks Us

HyreCar CEO Thanks American Business Insurance

In an interview with Nasdaq, HyreCar CEO, Joe Furnari, shared how American Business Insurance helped the company grow and succeed. It is our pleasure to work with this amazing company. Read below about the HyreCar company origins, the ways Uber and Lyft drivers can succeed despite obstacles, and the role of transportation network insurance.

The Origins of HyreCar

Three years ago, Joe Furnari was not the CEO of HyreCar. In fact, he was their first customer. At the time, he had a car in his garage that he barely drove. He was actually getting ready to sell his car when he came across the HyreCar start-up. So, he decided to give it a shot by listing his car for rent. When HyreCar had matched him to a driver, the three original founders were so excited they drove to Furnari’s house to meet their first client and be there when the driver came to pick up his car. The driver could then drive for Uber or Lyft. It didn’t take long for Furnari to see a profit by renting his car out, and he became so enamored with the business model that he eventually left his job at the time to become the CEO of HyreCar.

As insurance brokers, we get calls all the time from people who are looking to start a new commercial transportation business. Whether it be someone aspiring to start the next Uber and Lyft or someone who wants to start a small shuttle business, it is our priority to weed out those who are serious and have spent time in their business model, compared to those who woke up one day thinking it would be easy to hit the ground running.

HyreCar lyft uber insurance

 

Where We Came into the Picture

In 2015, our agency President Dave Haley and insurance industry veteran (as recently dubbed by BusinessWire) received a call from the two original founders of HyreCar. Marciano Kim and Abhi Arorahe, the HyreCar founders, found our auto insurance company via google. “I spent 3 minutes on the phone with the founders and immediately, I loved the idea HyreCar was going for. I knew there were a lot of people who wanted work (for Transportation Network Companies like Uber and Lyft) but couldn’t because they didn’t have a vehicle that qualified for it,” Haley said.

At the time, HyreCar and similar companies represented an untapped insurance market as well. Haley was tasked with what felt like an impossibility – to find an insurance company to charge per day, per mile, and per minute. After shopping the marketplace and many declinations, he finally found a carrier that was as interested in the business model as he was. And within a rapid 60 days, HyreCar was insured and able to really launch their platform.

Uber and Lyft Drivers Can Rejoice

There is a big problem for many people who want to drive for Uber or Lyft. The obstacle is obtaining a vehicle that meets Uber or Lyft company requirements. Many drivers have to rent cars and then have to procure insurance on that vehicle. Personal auto specifically excludes any use of your vehicle that generates revenue.

Many Transportation Network Company (TNC) drivers use their personal auto regardless, but technically this is risky. In the case of an accident while driving for Uber or Lyft, their personal auto carrier would deny the claim. Additionally, the driver would face  the possibility of cancellation and non-renewal. With HyreCar’s model, drivers are able to rent a car at an affordable price. Plus, they would obtain an insurance ID card through HyreCar that allows them to qualify for Uber and Lyft. The great news is it does not put them at risk for being cancelled for unauthorized use of the vehicle.

HyreCar CEO Speaks to the Importance of Good Insurance

Uber driver Lyft Driver insurance hyrecar

 

Since launching three years ago, HyreCar has expanded into all 50 states. They have provided solutions for a disrupted transportation, car dealership and insurance industry. HyreCar recently went public and CEO Joe Furnari was interviewed by Nasdaq. In the Nasdaq interview, Furnari attributes part of HyreCar’s ability to grow and succeed to partnering with the right people on the insurance side. Furnari spoke specifically of American Business Insurance. The video clips and press releases included in this article effectively articulate from Furnari on how HyreCar has helped drivers, car dealers, and the insurance industry step forward into this ever-changing transportation marketplace.

Written by Laura Loftus on October 16th, 2018.

 

For more information about insuring your shared economy or transportation network company like HyreCar, click here: https://abiweb.com/services/tnc-provider/

WATCH THE INTERVIEW BETWEEN NASDAQ AND FURNARI BELOW

WATCH ANOTHER INTERVIEW WITH FURNARI HERE: https://www.facebook.com/Nasdaq/videos/2638290029729362/UzpfSTI2ODE1MjMzOTg2NjU2NzoyMjg5Mjc2ODE3NzU0MDk5/

Autonomous Vehicle Insurance: Self-Driving Cars

I know it is hard to believe that autonomous vehicle insurance is actually a thing now, but it is and it’s only going to become more relevant as time goes on. So, when your business decides to join the self-driving car movement it will be pertinent for your vehicles to be properly covered. This is where ABI Insurance Services Inc. comes in!

ABI Insurance Services Inc.
ABI has been around since 1985, making them a veteran when it comes to insurance services. Currently, they are one of the largest providers for commercial transportation insurance in the nation with over 40,000 vehicles being covered. Although they are seasoned when it comes to insurance policies they are also well aware of the rapid growth and change within the vehicle industry. This not only makes ABI highly experienced in business vehicle insurance, but also makes them one of the most innovative and up-to-date when it comes to the latest advancements in cars.

Autonomous Vehicle Insurance
With autonomous vehicle insurance being a newer concept, it is paramount for your small or large fleet insurance to be up to par with policies. At ABI, exclusive relationships with various insurance carriers allows for policies to meet all the specific criteria for your business. This means that the agonizing insurance process of underwriting, quoting, and binding of policies can all be done in house which in turn means faster, more specific services for your insurance needs. It is ABI’s business to understand their client’s business and this is exactly why ABI has been around for over 30 years and created such strong partnerships.

Why Autonomous Cars
Studies have shown that a computer is more of an ideal motorist than humans, this is further supported with the statistic that over 81% of car crashes are a direct result of human error. This only makes more sense when you put into consideration that there are no opportunities for a computer to be distracted by its surrounding environment. For human driven cars, most accidents are outcomes of the distractions correlated with simultaneously driving and texting or eating food. With autonomous cars, you can focus more on those things that would otherwise distract you from the road which in turn would save you time in your busy lifestyle. Not if, but when self-driving cars start to take over the roads it will improve traffic conditions exponentially because large numbers of self-driving cars mean less human errors which would result in less overall congestion.

Recap and other Pro’s for Self-Driving Vehicles:

  • Less car crashes
  • More free time
  • Less congestion
  • Higher speed limits
  • Less drunk drivers
  • Less parking concerns
  • Disabled support

ABI’s portfolio of coverages include Auto Liability, General Liability, Work Comp, Occupational Injury and Collision insurance for virtually any commercial vehicle including Truckers, Movers, and more. With their focus falling within the commercial vehicle realm they are the ideal service to contact when you make that innovative transfer from a fleet of human-driven cars to self-driven cars. You can contact ABI for a quote today by clicking on button below. Safe autonomous driving!

A.M. Best Rating Service: The Credibility of Insurance Companies

Best’s Credit Rating (BCR)
When it comes to knowing whether or not an insurance company is going to be a reliable fit for your needs the first thing to verify is the company’s Best’s Credit Rating (BCR). This is an objective judgement regarding the insurer’s creditworthiness. The BCR is essentially a grade given based on quantitative and qualitative evaluations of the insurer’s balance sheet, operating performance, and business profile. There are various credit and independent rating options, to include:

  • Best’s Financial Strength Ratings (FSR) – This rating is an opinion provided on a specific insurer’s financial strengths and their ability to meet current insurance policy and contract obligations.
  • Best’s Issuer Credit Rating (ICR) – This rating is an opinion of an entity’s ability to meet ongoing financial obligations that can be issued on a long or short-term basis.
  • Best’s Issue Credit Rating (IR) – This rating is an opinion on the credit quality assigned to issues that determines how likely they are to meet the terms of obligation and can be issued on a long or short-term basis.
  • Best’s National Scale Rating (NSR) – This rating is based on a measurement of creditworthiness in a specific jurisdiction that is issued on a long-term basis.
  • Preliminary Credit Assessment (PCA) – This is an independent opinion based on the general credit strengths/weaknesses of an issuer, security, obligor, business plans, and term sheets.
  • Rating Assessment Service (RAS) – This is a rating solicited by non-rated entities that provides an opinion of a company’s rating prospects based on their financial statements and other financial information.
  • Rating Evaluation Service (RES) – This is a rating solicited by rated entities that provides an opinion on the impact of hypothetical scenarios based on financial projections and other financial information.
  • Financial Size Category (FSC) – This a grading scale designed to provide an indicator on the size of a company in terms of its statutory surplus and related accounts.

Choosing the Right Partner
For example, if you are searching for an insurance carrier to cover your commercial vehicles then it is crucial to look at their BCR. By looking at the ratings above it will give you a much better understanding of a company’s legitimacy when it comes to covering vehicles such as cabs, limos, ambulances, and trucks. BCR’s also allow you to get an in-depth understanding on how well different coverage options will be. For instance, Auto Liability, General Liability, Work Comp, Occupational Injury, and Collision Insurance.

Based on BCR, American Business Insurance Services is a great option when looking for commercial vehicle coverage. They are a small insurance carrier that has been around since 1984 and know how to cater to their partner’s needs. They are one of the largest commercial transportation insurance providers in the country with thousands of customers and over 40,000 vehicles insured. Now that you have a much better understanding of what goes into a BCR your options for choosing a potential insurance carrier should be much more clear. Happy insurance!

How to Insure Transportation Network Companies: A Detailed Guide to Getting your TNC off the Ground

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How to Insure Transportation Network Companies: A Detailed Guide to Getting your TNC off the Ground

Written by Laura Loftus on Monday, May 6th, 2019

Whether you are looking to start your own Transportation Network Company, On-Demand Delivery App or other Shared Economy business, one of the most important factors to consider is insurance! Sounds boring, I know. But as the world around us changes, insurance markets for transportation network companies are creating new structures and products. As an independent agency, American Business Insurance has direct relationships with all insurance companies currently writing specialized policies for transportation network companies.

Finding insurance for transportation network companies or other app-based businesses is no easy feat. As you may have already come to realize, most of your local brokers who specialize in personal lines don’t have relationships with insurance companies in this space. Many local brokers don’t understand what information to collect from business owners to present your transportation network company in the most insurable light.

Finding An Insurance Broker To Write Policies For Your Transportation Network Company

Most of the common insurance companies you may have already heard of are not writing policies because of the high-risk nature for transportation network companies. Insurance companies who are writing policies for transportation network companies are Surplus Lines carriers whose focus is in this specialized, technology driven market place.

Some people think that it is easy to join the long list of people who are trying to start transportation network companies to compete with those already dominating the world – Uber and Lyft. But in reality, the people who have created these transportation network companies worked for many years prior to actually launching.

To some, that might seem like a really long time but when an experienced insurance broker who is familiar with writing policies for transportation network companies asks you to assemble a list of items, it’s best to know exactly what you are getting yourself into. Don’t be fooled, there is a lot of prep, time and money that is required to build transportation network companies like Uber or Lyft.

transportation network companies

Minimum Premiums For Transportation Network Companies

As you might have anticipated, buying an insurance policy for transportation network companies is not cheap since most insurers in this space have minimum premiums of $75,000-100,000. We know, that is a lot of dough! The good news is, most of the carriers will accept a portion of that up-front and some even offer premium eroding endorsements. This means if your business doesn’t generate premium up to that amount within the year, they will carry over the credit to the following year.

Obtaining a quote requires you to find a broker who specializes in writing insurance for transportation network companies. Working with the right broker will not only save you time and money, but prevent you from buying coverages you don’t need and making sure that you have the ones you do. An experienced broker who is familiar with writing insurance for transportation network companies will know exactly what information to collect from you. They will also know how to present it best to the insurance markets who are writing policies for transportation network companies.

American Business Insurance Services, Inc.

Lucky for you, you found us! As an agency, we have been around long before ordering a ride from your smart-phone was an option. We specialize in public auto which means we understand more than anyone how transportation network companies operate.

transportation network companies

Items Transportation Network Companies Should Have Ready Before Calling Your Broker For A Quote:

Build the App:

  • One of the first questions I ask customers looking for insurance for transportation network companies is if the app is complete. Insurance company underwriters will want to download your app and make sure it’s working. Also, some companies have technology-based policies, meaning they integrate with your app to capture data on the drivers. Some even offer lower insurance rates based on favorable data collected (less speeding, hard stops, etcetera). Most policies for transportation network companies are usage based, so they have to be able to download your app and make sure it’s compatible with their insurance structure. Insurance companies often want to be able to pull reports from your app which include and are not limited to:

1. Knowing When A Trip Starts and Stops

2. How Many Miles For Each Trip

3. How Many Minutes/Hours For Each Trip

Business Plan & Projections:

  • There is a checklist of items the insurance company will want to see attached to the submission your broker sends. Your broker should be narrating to the insurance company all the hard work and thought you’ve put into creating these transportation network companies. Insurers will want to see a “pitch deck” which is something you might already have created to obtain investors. This document will present and explain your business model, why it is different from what is alreadyout there and how it will work long term. Some of the questions this document should answer are:

transportation network companies1. What are the company’s growth plans?

2. How will you monitor safety/loss control?

3. How is pricing structured so that the company is profitable?

 Safety and Training:

  • Safety and training is a big deal for insurers who are writing policies for transportation network companies. They will want to know what restrictions, checks and balances and training you will provide to drivers. They want to know how often you will check driving records and how often people have to pass background checks. The younger in age the drivers are that you allow to join your transportation network companies, the more expensive you can expect your insurance prices to be. Insurance companies want to know how you are going to prevent accidents from happening so that you build a positive reputation within the industry along side other transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft.

Bios on Key Officers/Investors:

  • Insurance companies want to know about the people behind the transportation network companies! If you want to join the group of dominating transportation network companies, they are going to want to know what experience you have, not only in transportation but also in being an entrepreneur. Take the time to write detailed bios for yourself and all other key members, officers and investors behind your transportation network company. Make sure to detail the knowledge and life experience you are bringing to the table in starting transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft. A well written, detailed bio will separate your company from all the rest and will give you a better advantage to better pricing on insurance for transportation network companies.

 Terms of Service & Privacy Conditions:

  • Although this may seem like a small piece of the puzzle to getting insurance for transportation network companies, most insurers want to see the liability of the app in regards to what they are promising to both their drivers and users. If you are a peer to peer platform, they want to see how the transaction will take place. Some of the questions that should be answered here are:

1. What Security Measures Are In Place To Protect The User?

2. How Should Complaints Be Filed?

3. What Terms and Conditions Does Your Company Adhere To? 

transportation network companies

Financial Balance Sheet:

  • Basically, a lot of what it takes to insure transportation network companies is having money, and a lot of it. Due to the hefty size of the minimum premiums for transportation network companies, generally ranging from $75,00-100,000, insurers want to make sure you not only have money to pay for the policy, but to also keep your business afloat and operating before you start turning a profit. It’s no secret that most transportation network companies do not profit until after the first year. Insurers want to see that you have raised money, not just for the cost of insurance but also for operating expenses, advertising and promotions.
  • When I review the balance sheet for transportation network companies, I know that most insurers want to see that you’ve raised at minimum $250,000-$1,000,000 in capital. Sometimes more. The reason for them wanting transportation network companies to raise this much money is because they know what it takes to gain traction in this unique space. They want to make sure the work they are putting in to quote and bind your policy will create a lasting relationship with you.

Guidance From American Business Insurance Services, INC

Starting any business takes time, research and money. We get phone calls from people daily thinking they are going to be the next Uber and Lyft. And believe me, we want you to make it big and compete against the monopoly that currently exists for transportation network companies. But in reality, we know that few of the phone calls we receive have actually taken the above steps which are required to make transportation network companies insurable.

If you have questions or need guidance, please give us a call and we will be happy to discuss over the phone! While some of the larger, corporate run agencies have the same relationships as us, few will offer the personal touch and value we have with every client.

Exclusive Contracts

Additionally, we have exclusive contracts with some companies that allow us to write at a lower minimum premium than others. We are an independent, family-run business with 75+ years of combined experience in the business insurance industry. We have invested in other transportation network companies, peer to peer and shared economy types of businesses. Most of us utilize transportation network companies and peer-to-peer apps regularly.

We literally have boots on the ground in this space and if you want the best pricing with the smoothest transaction – we are here for you!

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How to Save the MOST Money on Your Commercial Fleet Insurance Rates

ABI Transportation Experts Speak: How to Save the MOST Money on Your Commercial Fleet Insurance Rates

Written by Laura Loftus on Thursday, February 28th, 2019

 

When speaking with clients about their commercial fleet insurance, the most common concern is how to get the lowest insurance rates. About 100% of the customers I speak to daily all have the same goal – they want the lowest insurance rates available and will do whatever it takes to get it. Whether you own a Taxi, Limo, Paratransit or Shared Economy company (peer to peer platform app), it’s a given that you want your commercial fleet insurance coverage at the lowest insurance rates available. What many companies don’t realize, especially start-ups, is that commercial fleet insurance underwriters do quite a bit of digging on your company through a variety of platforms to “check you out” prior to releasing a quote. They read Yelp reviews, they look at your website, they do Better Business Bureau checks – all of it.

There are common mistakes that transportation service companies are repeatedly making that will create doubt in a commercial fleet insurance company. These mistakes actually prevent your broker from being able to find the lowest insurance rates for your company. Most of these companies think they are making business decisions that will guide them toward the lowest insurance rates, and are unaware that their current website or driver pool is actually hurting their chances of achieving the lowest possible commercial fleet insurance rate.

Five common flubs transportation service companies are making that prevent your commercial fleet insurance broker from obtaining the lowest insurance rates possible:

1) Company Website

The first and most common mistake we see from commercial auto risks who are in the “wheels” business as us underwriters call it – is that you over the amount of experience or size of your transportation service company.  It is common for commercial fleet insurance underwriters to google your company to pick apart your website. Here are some items you may think are helping your chances at obtaining the lowest insurance rates but are actually red flags to commercial fleet insurance companies:

  •  Words like “Fast Pick-up” or ‘Delivery in Minutes” – no commercial fleet insurance underwriter wants to see that you are promising rushed services. Rushing = equals unsafe driving behavior.

commercial fleet insurance

  • Advertising vehicles that are not actually part of your fleet. For example, just yesterday I was helping a 35-car fleet in Portland with obtaining commercial fleet insurance quotes. The list of vehicles they provided were all private passenger type vehicles (meaning seating capacity of 8 or less) – good! But when I searched the company online, they advertised a large shuttle bus and a higher seating capacity van. When I asked the client about this, they those vehicles had been sold and they had no plans to replace them. Keeping your website up to date and only advertising only what you can actually deliver will keep unwanted questions from creeping into the commercial fleet insurance underwriters’ mind. Creating uncertainty is the last thing you want to do with a commercial fleet insurance underwriter when trying to obtain the lowest insurance rates.
  •  Age of vehicles is important to commercial fleet insurance companies. Publishing a picture of a 30-year-old vehicle is no bueno. Keep your fleet serviced regularly (we recommend every three to four thousand miles and cycle out old units. Newer, cleaner & well-maintained vehicles are not only more desired by clientele (when trying to compete with Uber/Lyft) but also preferred by commercial fleet insurance companies trying to avoid claims due to mechanical defect.
  • If you boast 20 years of experience but your LLC was filed three years ago, it creates uncertainty with insurance companies. It’s better to accurately reflect your business as it is now, and not what you want it to be five years from now. Just as there are items to avoid putting on your website, there are points that you should include on your website. It is always a good idea to brag about highly trained drivers and safety training you provide (more on this later). Be sure to note the maintenance you keep up with for your fleet, the background checks the city you operate in mandates and the highest level of driving records required for your drivers. Commercial fleet insurance underwriters like stable fleets with safe drivers. Bottom line, safer risks translates to commercial fleet insurance underwriters offering the lowest insurance rates.

2) Creating a Business Name

This may seem simple enough but for transportation business owners looking to for the lowest insurance rates, people often think that commercial fleet insurance companies give the lowest insurance rates to Limo’s and Non-Emergency Medical risks over a taxi or airport shuttle. While this might be true, cornering yourself into a specific type of transportation in your business name narrows the list of commercial fleet insurance carriers you are eligible for. Many markets write only taxis or only limos. So, if you file your business name with the Secretary of State as Laura’s Taxi & Limo Service, LLC. – it could possibly make you ineligible for a limo commercial fleet insurance program because they don’t insure taxis and vice versa – even if your unit type meets their requirements. When talking with clients, I always say it’s best to be general about the transportation type within the name of their business, especially as market conditions change. You may be heavy in taxi trips one year but then obtain a paratransit contract and do more of that the following year. The more years of favorable loss history (loss runs) you can provide, the better chance you have at obtaining the lowest insurance rates. Choosing a business name that is general such as Laura’s Transportation Service, LLC. allows you flexibility to transform and evolve your business as the industry demands change.

3) Loss Control is Everything

Underwriters give commercial fleet insurance at the lowest insurance rates to companies with low levels of paid claims. Even in a hard insurance market, with rates rising for the good guys too, you can expect to pay more for commercial fleet insurance if you’re prior insurance companies have paid a lot in claims. Here are some suggestions in tightening loss control for your transportation service company:

  •  Hire a full-time loss control or driver manager who will enforce a safety culture. Doing this, will lower the frequency and severity of claim payouts and put your transportation service company in a better position to obtain the lowest insurance rates. This person should be in charge of overseeing the overall safety of your company. Managing and coaching your drivers is the key to a successful transportation service company. You are only as good as your worst driver.
  • commercial fleet insurance Invest in cameras that capture not only accidents but also driver analytics. This type of camera system will allow you to review driver behavior and correct bad habits before they cause an accident. We like to say this method is similar to that of a professional athlete. How do they improve? They watch their game film and correct bad habits. Driving professionally is the same. The more you do it, the more comfortable you get and having drivers watch themselves reduces risky behavior dramatically. Additionally, it’s a known fact that many commercial fleet insurance claims are paid because of he said/she said situations. Having accidents on camera is the best way to know who exactly was at fault and exonerate innocent drivers.
  •  Hold weekly safety huddles and or monthly meetings. Review the data and claims that have occurred recently and talk to your drivers about how they could have been prevented.
  •  Commit to investing in annual defensive driving training for your drivers. This annual reminder to drivers will ensure that bad habits are addressed and give each driver a time to reflect on their own performance.
  • Implement a reward program for safe drivers. Giving an incentive, even if it’s small monetary gift cards – keeps your drivers focused and motivated on safe driving habits.

4) The Driver Pool

The Driver Pool is so important when trying to achieve the lowest insurance rates from commercial fleet insurance providers for your transportation company. How you chose to manage drivers and who you hire is crucial. Create formal guidelines that clearly outline what is acceptable for employment. We recommend only hiring drivers with zero accidents within the past three years and minimal moving violations. Clean MVRs are best but we know that professional drivers with experience usually do not have clean MVRs and this is ok. Professional drivers are on the road up to 3x more than someone commuting to/from work so it’s a given that they will most likely have more violations on their records. Repeat offenders can impact the cost of your commercial fleet insurance and should be let go. No one is perfect, but you should train your drivers with the goal to be as safe as possible. Excessive violations on a driving record can cause surcharges and prevent you from obtaining the lower insurance rates. Additionally, younger drivers sometimes generate higher premiums for commercial fleet insurance as well as newly licensed individuals.

5) Contact an Experienced, Transportation Insurance Broker

commercial fleet insurance

Working with a transportation specialist versus a local agency makes a huge difference as commercial fleet insurance brokers have access to many more transportation focused insurance companies. Also, an experienced broker will review your company data prior to submitting to commercial fleet insurance companies. If they see something a commercial fleet insurance company won’t like, they can address it with you and provide you with an opportunity to make changes before submitting to each carrier. The more information you can provide to a commercial fleet insurance underwriter, the better chances you have at achieving the lowest insurance rates. Because the for-hire, livery insurance market is so thin, carriers often get multiple submissions from duplicate brokers. Try to work with one broker at a time. You may think contacting multiple agencies well help you, but if they are all going to the same markets for commercial fleet insurance – it’s duplicating not only your own work, but the insurance companies as well. The livery market is a tough class of business and finding an experienced broker will absolutely give you a leg up on finding the lowest insurance rates over a generalist broker.

American Business Insurance Services, Inc. has been working with transportation companies across the nation for 35+ years. We have direct relationships with the most competitive commercial fleet insurance companies. We know what it takes to submit a complete application and present your company in the best light possible – which will no doubt translate to finding commercial fleet insurance at the lowest insurance rate.

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HyreCar CEO Thanks Us

HyreCar CEO Thanks American Business Insurance

In an interview with Nasdaq, HyreCar CEO, Joe Furnari, shared how American Business Insurance helped the company grow and succeed. It is our pleasure to work with this amazing company. Read below about the HyreCar company origins, the ways Uber and Lyft drivers can succeed despite obstacles, and the role of transportation network insurance.

The Origins of HyreCar

Three years ago, Joe Furnari was not the CEO of HyreCar. In fact, he was their first customer. At the time, he had a car in his garage that he barely drove. He was actually getting ready to sell his car when he came across the HyreCar start-up. So, he decided to give it a shot by listing his car for rent. When HyreCar had matched him to a driver, the three original founders were so excited they drove to Furnari’s house to meet their first client and be there when the driver came to pick up his car. The driver could then drive for Uber or Lyft. It didn’t take long for Furnari to see a profit by renting his car out, and he became so enamored with the business model that he eventually left his job at the time to become the CEO of HyreCar.

As insurance brokers, we get calls all the time from people who are looking to start a new commercial transportation business. Whether it be someone aspiring to start the next Uber and Lyft or someone who wants to start a small shuttle business, it is our priority to weed out those who are serious and have spent time in their business model, compared to those who woke up one day thinking it would be easy to hit the ground running.

HyreCar lyft uber insurance

 

Where We Came into the Picture

In 2015, our agency President Dave Haley and insurance industry veteran (as recently dubbed by BusinessWire) received a call from the two original founders of HyreCar. Marciano Kim and Abhi Arorahe, the HyreCar founders, found our auto insurance company via google. “I spent 3 minutes on the phone with the founders and immediately, I loved the idea HyreCar was going for. I knew there were a lot of people who wanted work (for Transportation Network Companies like Uber and Lyft) but couldn’t because they didn’t have a vehicle that qualified for it,” Haley said.

At the time, HyreCar and similar companies represented an untapped insurance market as well. Haley was tasked with what felt like an impossibility – to find an insurance company to charge per day, per mile, and per minute. After shopping the marketplace and many declinations, he finally found a carrier that was as interested in the business model as he was. And within a rapid 60 days, HyreCar was insured and able to really launch their platform.

Uber and Lyft Drivers Can Rejoice

There is a big problem for many people who want to drive for Uber or Lyft. The obstacle is obtaining a vehicle that meets Uber or Lyft company requirements. Many drivers have to rent cars and then have to procure insurance on that vehicle. Personal auto specifically excludes any use of your vehicle that generates revenue.

Many Transportation Network Company (TNC) drivers use their personal auto regardless, but technically this is risky. In the case of an accident while driving for Uber or Lyft, their personal auto carrier would deny the claim. Additionally, the driver would face  the possibility of cancellation and non-renewal. With HyreCar’s model, drivers are able to rent a car at an affordable price. Plus, they would obtain an insurance ID card through HyreCar that allows them to qualify for Uber and Lyft. The great news is it does not put them at risk for being cancelled for unauthorized use of the vehicle.

HyreCar CEO Speaks to the Importance of Good Insurance

Uber driver Lyft Driver insurance hyrecar

 

Since launching three years ago, HyreCar has expanded into all 50 states. They have provided solutions for a disrupted transportation, car dealership and insurance industry. HyreCar recently went public and CEO Joe Furnari was interviewed by Nasdaq. In the Nasdaq interview, Furnari attributes part of HyreCar’s ability to grow and succeed to partnering with the right people on the insurance side. Furnari spoke specifically of American Business Insurance. The video clips and press releases included in this article effectively articulate from Furnari on how HyreCar has helped drivers, car dealers, and the insurance industry step forward into this ever-changing transportation marketplace.

Written by Laura Loftus on October 16th, 2018.

 

For more information about insuring your shared economy or transportation network company like HyreCar, click here: https://abiweb.com/services/tnc-provider/

WATCH THE INTERVIEW BETWEEN NASDAQ AND FURNARI BELOW

WATCH ANOTHER INTERVIEW WITH FURNARI HERE: https://www.facebook.com/Nasdaq/videos/2638290029729362/UzpfSTI2ODE1MjMzOTg2NjU2NzoyMjg5Mjc2ODE3NzU0MDk5/

Autonomous Vehicle Insurance: Self-Driving Cars

I know it is hard to believe that autonomous vehicle insurance is actually a thing now, but it is and it’s only going to become more relevant as time goes on. So, when your business decides to join the self-driving car movement it will be pertinent for your vehicles to be properly covered. This is where ABI Insurance Services Inc. comes in!

ABI Insurance Services Inc.
ABI has been around since 1985, making them a veteran when it comes to insurance services. Currently, they are one of the largest providers for commercial transportation insurance in the nation with over 40,000 vehicles being covered. Although they are seasoned when it comes to insurance policies they are also well aware of the rapid growth and change within the vehicle industry. This not only makes ABI highly experienced in business vehicle insurance, but also makes them one of the most innovative and up-to-date when it comes to the latest advancements in cars.

Autonomous Vehicle Insurance
With autonomous vehicle insurance being a newer concept, it is paramount for your small or large fleet insurance to be up to par with policies. At ABI, exclusive relationships with various insurance carriers allows for policies to meet all the specific criteria for your business. This means that the agonizing insurance process of underwriting, quoting, and binding of policies can all be done in house which in turn means faster, more specific services for your insurance needs. It is ABI’s business to understand their client’s business and this is exactly why ABI has been around for over 30 years and created such strong partnerships.

Why Autonomous Cars
Studies have shown that a computer is more of an ideal motorist than humans, this is further supported with the statistic that over 81% of car crashes are a direct result of human error. This only makes more sense when you put into consideration that there are no opportunities for a computer to be distracted by its surrounding environment. For human driven cars, most accidents are outcomes of the distractions correlated with simultaneously driving and texting or eating food. With autonomous cars, you can focus more on those things that would otherwise distract you from the road which in turn would save you time in your busy lifestyle. Not if, but when self-driving cars start to take over the roads it will improve traffic conditions exponentially because large numbers of self-driving cars mean less human errors which would result in less overall congestion.

Recap and other Pro’s for Self-Driving Vehicles:

  • Less car crashes
  • More free time
  • Less congestion
  • Higher speed limits
  • Less drunk drivers
  • Less parking concerns
  • Disabled support

ABI’s portfolio of coverages include Auto Liability, General Liability, Work Comp, Occupational Injury and Collision insurance for virtually any commercial vehicle including Truckers, Movers, and more. With their focus falling within the commercial vehicle realm they are the ideal service to contact when you make that innovative transfer from a fleet of human-driven cars to self-driven cars. You can contact ABI for a quote today by clicking on button below. Safe autonomous driving!

A.M. Best Rating Service: The Credibility of Insurance Companies

Best’s Credit Rating (BCR)
When it comes to knowing whether or not an insurance company is going to be a reliable fit for your needs the first thing to verify is the company’s Best’s Credit Rating (BCR). This is an objective judgement regarding the insurer’s creditworthiness. The BCR is essentially a grade given based on quantitative and qualitative evaluations of the insurer’s balance sheet, operating performance, and business profile. There are various credit and independent rating options, to include:

  • Best’s Financial Strength Ratings (FSR) – This rating is an opinion provided on a specific insurer’s financial strengths and their ability to meet current insurance policy and contract obligations.
  • Best’s Issuer Credit Rating (ICR) – This rating is an opinion of an entity’s ability to meet ongoing financial obligations that can be issued on a long or short-term basis.
  • Best’s Issue Credit Rating (IR) – This rating is an opinion on the credit quality assigned to issues that determines how likely they are to meet the terms of obligation and can be issued on a long or short-term basis.
  • Best’s National Scale Rating (NSR) – This rating is based on a measurement of creditworthiness in a specific jurisdiction that is issued on a long-term basis.
  • Preliminary Credit Assessment (PCA) – This is an independent opinion based on the general credit strengths/weaknesses of an issuer, security, obligor, business plans, and term sheets.
  • Rating Assessment Service (RAS) – This is a rating solicited by non-rated entities that provides an opinion of a company’s rating prospects based on their financial statements and other financial information.
  • Rating Evaluation Service (RES) – This is a rating solicited by rated entities that provides an opinion on the impact of hypothetical scenarios based on financial projections and other financial information.
  • Financial Size Category (FSC) – This a grading scale designed to provide an indicator on the size of a company in terms of its statutory surplus and related accounts.

Choosing the Right Partner
For example, if you are searching for an insurance carrier to cover your commercial vehicles then it is crucial to look at their BCR. By looking at the ratings above it will give you a much better understanding of a company’s legitimacy when it comes to covering vehicles such as cabs, limos, ambulances, and trucks. BCR’s also allow you to get an in-depth understanding on how well different coverage options will be. For instance, Auto Liability, General Liability, Work Comp, Occupational Injury, and Collision Insurance.

Based on BCR, American Business Insurance Services is a great option when looking for commercial vehicle coverage. They are a small insurance carrier that has been around since 1984 and know how to cater to their partner’s needs. They are one of the largest commercial transportation insurance providers in the country with thousands of customers and over 40,000 vehicles insured. Now that you have a much better understanding of what goes into a BCR your options for choosing a potential insurance carrier should be much more clear. Happy insurance!

How to Insure Transportation Network Companies: A Detailed Guide to Getting your TNC off the Ground

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How to Insure Transportation Network Companies: A Detailed Guide to Getting your TNC off the Ground

Written by Laura Loftus on Monday, May 6th, 2019

Whether you are looking to start your own Transportation Network Company, On-Demand Delivery App or other Shared Economy business, one of the most important factors to consider is insurance! Sounds boring, I know. But as the world around us changes, insurance markets for transportation network companies are creating new structures and products. As an independent agency, American Business Insurance has direct relationships with all insurance companies currently writing specialized policies for transportation network companies.

Finding insurance for transportation network companies or other app-based businesses is no easy feat. As you may have already come to realize, most of your local brokers who specialize in personal lines don’t have relationships with insurance companies in this space. Many local brokers don’t understand what information to collect from business owners to present your transportation network company in the most insurable light.

Finding An Insurance Broker To Write Policies For Your Transportation Network Company

Most of the common insurance companies you may have already heard of are not writing policies because of the high-risk nature for transportation network companies. Insurance companies who are writing policies for transportation network companies are Surplus Lines carriers whose focus is in this specialized, technology driven market place.

Some people think that it is easy to join the long list of people who are trying to start transportation network companies to compete with those already dominating the world – Uber and Lyft. But in reality, the people who have created these transportation network companies worked for many years prior to actually launching.

To some, that might seem like a really long time but when an experienced insurance broker who is familiar with writing policies for transportation network companies asks you to assemble a list of items, it’s best to know exactly what you are getting yourself into. Don’t be fooled, there is a lot of prep, time and money that is required to build transportation network companies like Uber or Lyft.

transportation network companies

Minimum Premiums For Transportation Network Companies

As you might have anticipated, buying an insurance policy for transportation network companies is not cheap since most insurers in this space have minimum premiums of $75,000-100,000. We know, that is a lot of dough! The good news is, most of the carriers will accept a portion of that up-front and some even offer premium eroding endorsements. This means if your business doesn’t generate premium up to that amount within the year, they will carry over the credit to the following year.

Obtaining a quote requires you to find a broker who specializes in writing insurance for transportation network companies. Working with the right broker will not only save you time and money, but prevent you from buying coverages you don’t need and making sure that you have the ones you do. An experienced broker who is familiar with writing insurance for transportation network companies will know exactly what information to collect from you. They will also know how to present it best to the insurance markets who are writing policies for transportation network companies.

American Business Insurance Services, Inc.

Lucky for you, you found us! As an agency, we have been around long before ordering a ride from your smart-phone was an option. We specialize in public auto which means we understand more than anyone how transportation network companies operate.

transportation network companies

Items Transportation Network Companies Should Have Ready Before Calling Your Broker For A Quote:

Build the App:

  • One of the first questions I ask customers looking for insurance for transportation network companies is if the app is complete. Insurance company underwriters will want to download your app and make sure it’s working. Also, some companies have technology-based policies, meaning they integrate with your app to capture data on the drivers. Some even offer lower insurance rates based on favorable data collected (less speeding, hard stops, etcetera). Most policies for transportation network companies are usage based, so they have to be able to download your app and make sure it’s compatible with their insurance structure. Insurance companies often want to be able to pull reports from your app which include and are not limited to:

1. Knowing When A Trip Starts and Stops

2. How Many Miles For Each Trip

3. How Many Minutes/Hours For Each Trip

Business Plan & Projections:

  • There is a checklist of items the insurance company will want to see attached to the submission your broker sends. Your broker should be narrating to the insurance company all the hard work and thought you’ve put into creating these transportation network companies. Insurers will want to see a “pitch deck” which is something you might already have created to obtain investors. This document will present and explain your business model, why it is different from what is alreadyout there and how it will work long term. Some of the questions this document should answer are:

transportation network companies1. What are the company’s growth plans?

2. How will you monitor safety/loss control?

3. How is pricing structured so that the company is profitable?

 Safety and Training:

  • Safety and training is a big deal for insurers who are writing policies for transportation network companies. They will want to know what restrictions, checks and balances and training you will provide to drivers. They want to know how often you will check driving records and how often people have to pass background checks. The younger in age the drivers are that you allow to join your transportation network companies, the more expensive you can expect your insurance prices to be. Insurance companies want to know how you are going to prevent accidents from happening so that you build a positive reputation within the industry along side other transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft.

Bios on Key Officers/Investors:

  • Insurance companies want to know about the people behind the transportation network companies! If you want to join the group of dominating transportation network companies, they are going to want to know what experience you have, not only in transportation but also in being an entrepreneur. Take the time to write detailed bios for yourself and all other key members, officers and investors behind your transportation network company. Make sure to detail the knowledge and life experience you are bringing to the table in starting transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft. A well written, detailed bio will separate your company from all the rest and will give you a better advantage to better pricing on insurance for transportation network companies.

 Terms of Service & Privacy Conditions:

  • Although this may seem like a small piece of the puzzle to getting insurance for transportation network companies, most insurers want to see the liability of the app in regards to what they are promising to both their drivers and users. If you are a peer to peer platform, they want to see how the transaction will take place. Some of the questions that should be answered here are:

1. What Security Measures Are In Place To Protect The User?

2. How Should Complaints Be Filed?

3. What Terms and Conditions Does Your Company Adhere To? 

transportation network companies

Financial Balance Sheet:

  • Basically, a lot of what it takes to insure transportation network companies is having money, and a lot of it. Due to the hefty size of the minimum premiums for transportation network companies, generally ranging from $75,00-100,000, insurers want to make sure you not only have money to pay for the policy, but to also keep your business afloat and operating before you start turning a profit. It’s no secret that most transportation network companies do not profit until after the first year. Insurers want to see that you have raised money, not just for the cost of insurance but also for operating expenses, advertising and promotions.
  • When I review the balance sheet for transportation network companies, I know that most insurers want to see that you’ve raised at minimum $250,000-$1,000,000 in capital. Sometimes more. The reason for them wanting transportation network companies to raise this much money is because they know what it takes to gain traction in this unique space. They want to make sure the work they are putting in to quote and bind your policy will create a lasting relationship with you.

Guidance From American Business Insurance Services, INC

Starting any business takes time, research and money. We get phone calls from people daily thinking they are going to be the next Uber and Lyft. And believe me, we want you to make it big and compete against the monopoly that currently exists for transportation network companies. But in reality, we know that few of the phone calls we receive have actually taken the above steps which are required to make transportation network companies insurable.

If you have questions or need guidance, please give us a call and we will be happy to discuss over the phone! While some of the larger, corporate run agencies have the same relationships as us, few will offer the personal touch and value we have with every client.

Exclusive Contracts

Additionally, we have exclusive contracts with some companies that allow us to write at a lower minimum premium than others. We are an independent, family-run business with 75+ years of combined experience in the business insurance industry. We have invested in other transportation network companies, peer to peer and shared economy types of businesses. Most of us utilize transportation network companies and peer-to-peer apps regularly.

We literally have boots on the ground in this space and if you want the best pricing with the smoothest transaction – we are here for you!

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How to Save the MOST Money on Your Commercial Fleet Insurance Rates

ABI Transportation Experts Speak: How to Save the MOST Money on Your Commercial Fleet Insurance Rates

Written by Laura Loftus on Thursday, February 28th, 2019

 

When speaking with clients about their commercial fleet insurance, the most common concern is how to get the lowest insurance rates. About 100% of the customers I speak to daily all have the same goal – they want the lowest insurance rates available and will do whatever it takes to get it. Whether you own a Taxi, Limo, Paratransit or Shared Economy company (peer to peer platform app), it’s a given that you want your commercial fleet insurance coverage at the lowest insurance rates available. What many companies don’t realize, especially start-ups, is that commercial fleet insurance underwriters do quite a bit of digging on your company through a variety of platforms to “check you out” prior to releasing a quote. They read Yelp reviews, they look at your website, they do Better Business Bureau checks – all of it.

There are common mistakes that transportation service companies are repeatedly making that will create doubt in a commercial fleet insurance company. These mistakes actually prevent your broker from being able to find the lowest insurance rates for your company. Most of these companies think they are making business decisions that will guide them toward the lowest insurance rates, and are unaware that their current website or driver pool is actually hurting their chances of achieving the lowest possible commercial fleet insurance rate.

Five common flubs transportation service companies are making that prevent your commercial fleet insurance broker from obtaining the lowest insurance rates possible:

1) Company Website

The first and most common mistake we see from commercial auto risks who are in the “wheels” business as us underwriters call it – is that you over the amount of experience or size of your transportation service company.  It is common for commercial fleet insurance underwriters to google your company to pick apart your website. Here are some items you may think are helping your chances at obtaining the lowest insurance rates but are actually red flags to commercial fleet insurance companies:

  •  Words like “Fast Pick-up” or ‘Delivery in Minutes” – no commercial fleet insurance underwriter wants to see that you are promising rushed services. Rushing = equals unsafe driving behavior.

commercial fleet insurance

  • Advertising vehicles that are not actually part of your fleet. For example, just yesterday I was helping a 35-car fleet in Portland with obtaining commercial fleet insurance quotes. The list of vehicles they provided were all private passenger type vehicles (meaning seating capacity of 8 or less) – good! But when I searched the company online, they advertised a large shuttle bus and a higher seating capacity van. When I asked the client about this, they those vehicles had been sold and they had no plans to replace them. Keeping your website up to date and only advertising only what you can actually deliver will keep unwanted questions from creeping into the commercial fleet insurance underwriters’ mind. Creating uncertainty is the last thing you want to do with a commercial fleet insurance underwriter when trying to obtain the lowest insurance rates.
  •  Age of vehicles is important to commercial fleet insurance companies. Publishing a picture of a 30-year-old vehicle is no bueno. Keep your fleet serviced regularly (we recommend every three to four thousand miles and cycle out old units. Newer, cleaner & well-maintained vehicles are not only more desired by clientele (when trying to compete with Uber/Lyft) but also preferred by commercial fleet insurance companies trying to avoid claims due to mechanical defect.
  • If you boast 20 years of experience but your LLC was filed three years ago, it creates uncertainty with insurance companies. It’s better to accurately reflect your business as it is now, and not what you want it to be five years from now. Just as there are items to avoid putting on your website, there are points that you should include on your website. It is always a good idea to brag about highly trained drivers and safety training you provide (more on this later). Be sure to note the maintenance you keep up with for your fleet, the background checks the city you operate in mandates and the highest level of driving records required for your drivers. Commercial fleet insurance underwriters like stable fleets with safe drivers. Bottom line, safer risks translates to commercial fleet insurance underwriters offering the lowest insurance rates.

2) Creating a Business Name

This may seem simple enough but for transportation business owners looking to for the lowest insurance rates, people often think that commercial fleet insurance companies give the lowest insurance rates to Limo’s and Non-Emergency Medical risks over a taxi or airport shuttle. While this might be true, cornering yourself into a specific type of transportation in your business name narrows the list of commercial fleet insurance carriers you are eligible for. Many markets write only taxis or only limos. So, if you file your business name with the Secretary of State as Laura’s Taxi & Limo Service, LLC. – it could possibly make you ineligible for a limo commercial fleet insurance program because they don’t insure taxis and vice versa – even if your unit type meets their requirements. When talking with clients, I always say it’s best to be general about the transportation type within the name of their business, especially as market conditions change. You may be heavy in taxi trips one year but then obtain a paratransit contract and do more of that the following year. The more years of favorable loss history (loss runs) you can provide, the better chance you have at obtaining the lowest insurance rates. Choosing a business name that is general such as Laura’s Transportation Service, LLC. allows you flexibility to transform and evolve your business as the industry demands change.

3) Loss Control is Everything

Underwriters give commercial fleet insurance at the lowest insurance rates to companies with low levels of paid claims. Even in a hard insurance market, with rates rising for the good guys too, you can expect to pay more for commercial fleet insurance if you’re prior insurance companies have paid a lot in claims. Here are some suggestions in tightening loss control for your transportation service company:

  •  Hire a full-time loss control or driver manager who will enforce a safety culture. Doing this, will lower the frequency and severity of claim payouts and put your transportation service company in a better position to obtain the lowest insurance rates. This person should be in charge of overseeing the overall safety of your company. Managing and coaching your drivers is the key to a successful transportation service company. You are only as good as your worst driver.
  • commercial fleet insurance Invest in cameras that capture not only accidents but also driver analytics. This type of camera system will allow you to review driver behavior and correct bad habits before they cause an accident. We like to say this method is similar to that of a professional athlete. How do they improve? They watch their game film and correct bad habits. Driving professionally is the same. The more you do it, the more comfortable you get and having drivers watch themselves reduces risky behavior dramatically. Additionally, it’s a known fact that many commercial fleet insurance claims are paid because of he said/she said situations. Having accidents on camera is the best way to know who exactly was at fault and exonerate innocent drivers.
  •  Hold weekly safety huddles and or monthly meetings. Review the data and claims that have occurred recently and talk to your drivers about how they could have been prevented.
  •  Commit to investing in annual defensive driving training for your drivers. This annual reminder to drivers will ensure that bad habits are addressed and give each driver a time to reflect on their own performance.
  • Implement a reward program for safe drivers. Giving an incentive, even if it’s small monetary gift cards – keeps your drivers focused and motivated on safe driving habits.

4) The Driver Pool

The Driver Pool is so important when trying to achieve the lowest insurance rates from commercial fleet insurance providers for your transportation company. How you chose to manage drivers and who you hire is crucial. Create formal guidelines that clearly outline what is acceptable for employment. We recommend only hiring drivers with zero accidents within the past three years and minimal moving violations. Clean MVRs are best but we know that professional drivers with experience usually do not have clean MVRs and this is ok. Professional drivers are on the road up to 3x more than someone commuting to/from work so it’s a given that they will most likely have more violations on their records. Repeat offenders can impact the cost of your commercial fleet insurance and should be let go. No one is perfect, but you should train your drivers with the goal to be as safe as possible. Excessive violations on a driving record can cause surcharges and prevent you from obtaining the lower insurance rates. Additionally, younger drivers sometimes generate higher premiums for commercial fleet insurance as well as newly licensed individuals.

5) Contact an Experienced, Transportation Insurance Broker

commercial fleet insurance

Working with a transportation specialist versus a local agency makes a huge difference as commercial fleet insurance brokers have access to many more transportation focused insurance companies. Also, an experienced broker will review your company data prior to submitting to commercial fleet insurance companies. If they see something a commercial fleet insurance company won’t like, they can address it with you and provide you with an opportunity to make changes before submitting to each carrier. The more information you can provide to a commercial fleet insurance underwriter, the better chances you have at achieving the lowest insurance rates. Because the for-hire, livery insurance market is so thin, carriers often get multiple submissions from duplicate brokers. Try to work with one broker at a time. You may think contacting multiple agencies well help you, but if they are all going to the same markets for commercial fleet insurance – it’s duplicating not only your own work, but the insurance companies as well. The livery market is a tough class of business and finding an experienced broker will absolutely give you a leg up on finding the lowest insurance rates over a generalist broker.

American Business Insurance Services, Inc. has been working with transportation companies across the nation for 35+ years. We have direct relationships with the most competitive commercial fleet insurance companies. We know what it takes to submit a complete application and present your company in the best light possible – which will no doubt translate to finding commercial fleet insurance at the lowest insurance rate.

Looking for a quote? Click here

HyreCar CEO Thanks Us

HyreCar CEO Thanks American Business Insurance

In an interview with Nasdaq, HyreCar CEO, Joe Furnari, shared how American Business Insurance helped the company grow and succeed. It is our pleasure to work with this amazing company. Read below about the HyreCar company origins, the ways Uber and Lyft drivers can succeed despite obstacles, and the role of transportation network insurance.

The Origins of HyreCar

Three years ago, Joe Furnari was not the CEO of HyreCar. In fact, he was their first customer. At the time, he had a car in his garage that he barely drove. He was actually getting ready to sell his car when he came across the HyreCar start-up. So, he decided to give it a shot by listing his car for rent. When HyreCar had matched him to a driver, the three original founders were so excited they drove to Furnari’s house to meet their first client and be there when the driver came to pick up his car. The driver could then drive for Uber or Lyft. It didn’t take long for Furnari to see a profit by renting his car out, and he became so enamored with the business model that he eventually left his job at the time to become the CEO of HyreCar.

As insurance brokers, we get calls all the time from people who are looking to start a new commercial transportation business. Whether it be someone aspiring to start the next Uber and Lyft or someone who wants to start a small shuttle business, it is our priority to weed out those who are serious and have spent time in their business model, compared to those who woke up one day thinking it would be easy to hit the ground running.

HyreCar lyft uber insurance

 

Where We Came into the Picture

In 2015, our agency President Dave Haley and insurance industry veteran (as recently dubbed by BusinessWire) received a call from the two original founders of HyreCar. Marciano Kim and Abhi Arorahe, the HyreCar founders, found our auto insurance company via google. “I spent 3 minutes on the phone with the founders and immediately, I loved the idea HyreCar was going for. I knew there were a lot of people who wanted work (for Transportation Network Companies like Uber and Lyft) but couldn’t because they didn’t have a vehicle that qualified for it,” Haley said.

At the time, HyreCar and similar companies represented an untapped insurance market as well. Haley was tasked with what felt like an impossibility – to find an insurance company to charge per day, per mile, and per minute. After shopping the marketplace and many declinations, he finally found a carrier that was as interested in the business model as he was. And within a rapid 60 days, HyreCar was insured and able to really launch their platform.

Uber and Lyft Drivers Can Rejoice

There is a big problem for many people who want to drive for Uber or Lyft. The obstacle is obtaining a vehicle that meets Uber or Lyft company requirements. Many drivers have to rent cars and then have to procure insurance on that vehicle. Personal auto specifically excludes any use of your vehicle that generates revenue.

Many Transportation Network Company (TNC) drivers use their personal auto regardless, but technically this is risky. In the case of an accident while driving for Uber or Lyft, their personal auto carrier would deny the claim. Additionally, the driver would face  the possibility of cancellation and non-renewal. With HyreCar’s model, drivers are able to rent a car at an affordable price. Plus, they would obtain an insurance ID card through HyreCar that allows them to qualify for Uber and Lyft. The great news is it does not put them at risk for being cancelled for unauthorized use of the vehicle.

HyreCar CEO Speaks to the Importance of Good Insurance

Uber driver Lyft Driver insurance hyrecar

 

Since launching three years ago, HyreCar has expanded into all 50 states. They have provided solutions for a disrupted transportation, car dealership and insurance industry. HyreCar recently went public and CEO Joe Furnari was interviewed by Nasdaq. In the Nasdaq interview, Furnari attributes part of HyreCar’s ability to grow and succeed to partnering with the right people on the insurance side. Furnari spoke specifically of American Business Insurance. The video clips and press releases included in this article effectively articulate from Furnari on how HyreCar has helped drivers, car dealers, and the insurance industry step forward into this ever-changing transportation marketplace.

Written by Laura Loftus on October 16th, 2018.

 

For more information about insuring your shared economy or transportation network company like HyreCar, click here: https://abiweb.com/services/tnc-provider/

WATCH THE INTERVIEW BETWEEN NASDAQ AND FURNARI BELOW

WATCH ANOTHER INTERVIEW WITH FURNARI HERE: https://www.facebook.com/Nasdaq/videos/2638290029729362/UzpfSTI2ODE1MjMzOTg2NjU2NzoyMjg5Mjc2ODE3NzU0MDk5/

Autonomous Vehicle Insurance: Self-Driving Cars

I know it is hard to believe that autonomous vehicle insurance is actually a thing now, but it is and it’s only going to become more relevant as time goes on. So, when your business decides to join the self-driving car movement it will be pertinent for your vehicles to be properly covered. This is where ABI Insurance Services Inc. comes in!

ABI Insurance Services Inc.
ABI has been around since 1985, making them a veteran when it comes to insurance services. Currently, they are one of the largest providers for commercial transportation insurance in the nation with over 40,000 vehicles being covered. Although they are seasoned when it comes to insurance policies they are also well aware of the rapid growth and change within the vehicle industry. This not only makes ABI highly experienced in business vehicle insurance, but also makes them one of the most innovative and up-to-date when it comes to the latest advancements in cars.

Autonomous Vehicle Insurance
With autonomous vehicle insurance being a newer concept, it is paramount for your small or large fleet insurance to be up to par with policies. At ABI, exclusive relationships with various insurance carriers allows for policies to meet all the specific criteria for your business. This means that the agonizing insurance process of underwriting, quoting, and binding of policies can all be done in house which in turn means faster, more specific services for your insurance needs. It is ABI’s business to understand their client’s business and this is exactly why ABI has been around for over 30 years and created such strong partnerships.

Why Autonomous Cars
Studies have shown that a computer is more of an ideal motorist than humans, this is further supported with the statistic that over 81% of car crashes are a direct result of human error. This only makes more sense when you put into consideration that there are no opportunities for a computer to be distracted by its surrounding environment. For human driven cars, most accidents are outcomes of the distractions correlated with simultaneously driving and texting or eating food. With autonomous cars, you can focus more on those things that would otherwise distract you from the road which in turn would save you time in your busy lifestyle. Not if, but when self-driving cars start to take over the roads it will improve traffic conditions exponentially because large numbers of self-driving cars mean less human errors which would result in less overall congestion.

Recap and other Pro’s for Self-Driving Vehicles:

  • Less car crashes
  • More free time
  • Less congestion
  • Higher speed limits
  • Less drunk drivers
  • Less parking concerns
  • Disabled support

ABI’s portfolio of coverages include Auto Liability, General Liability, Work Comp, Occupational Injury and Collision insurance for virtually any commercial vehicle including Truckers, Movers, and more. With their focus falling within the commercial vehicle realm they are the ideal service to contact when you make that innovative transfer from a fleet of human-driven cars to self-driven cars. You can contact ABI for a quote today by clicking on button below. Safe autonomous driving!

A.M. Best Rating Service: The Credibility of Insurance Companies

Best’s Credit Rating (BCR)
When it comes to knowing whether or not an insurance company is going to be a reliable fit for your needs the first thing to verify is the company’s Best’s Credit Rating (BCR). This is an objective judgement regarding the insurer’s creditworthiness. The BCR is essentially a grade given based on quantitative and qualitative evaluations of the insurer’s balance sheet, operating performance, and business profile. There are various credit and independent rating options, to include:

  • Best’s Financial Strength Ratings (FSR) – This rating is an opinion provided on a specific insurer’s financial strengths and their ability to meet current insurance policy and contract obligations.
  • Best’s Issuer Credit Rating (ICR) – This rating is an opinion of an entity’s ability to meet ongoing financial obligations that can be issued on a long or short-term basis.
  • Best’s Issue Credit Rating (IR) – This rating is an opinion on the credit quality assigned to issues that determines how likely they are to meet the terms of obligation and can be issued on a long or short-term basis.
  • Best’s National Scale Rating (NSR) – This rating is based on a measurement of creditworthiness in a specific jurisdiction that is issued on a long-term basis.
  • Preliminary Credit Assessment (PCA) – This is an independent opinion based on the general credit strengths/weaknesses of an issuer, security, obligor, business plans, and term sheets.
  • Rating Assessment Service (RAS) – This is a rating solicited by non-rated entities that provides an opinion of a company’s rating prospects based on their financial statements and other financial information.
  • Rating Evaluation Service (RES) – This is a rating solicited by rated entities that provides an opinion on the impact of hypothetical scenarios based on financial projections and other financial information.
  • Financial Size Category (FSC) – This a grading scale designed to provide an indicator on the size of a company in terms of its statutory surplus and related accounts.

Choosing the Right Partner
For example, if you are searching for an insurance carrier to cover your commercial vehicles then it is crucial to look at their BCR. By looking at the ratings above it will give you a much better understanding of a company’s legitimacy when it comes to covering vehicles such as cabs, limos, ambulances, and trucks. BCR’s also allow you to get an in-depth understanding on how well different coverage options will be. For instance, Auto Liability, General Liability, Work Comp, Occupational Injury, and Collision Insurance.

Based on BCR, American Business Insurance Services is a great option when looking for commercial vehicle coverage. They are a small insurance carrier that has been around since 1984 and know how to cater to their partner’s needs. They are one of the largest commercial transportation insurance providers in the country with thousands of customers and over 40,000 vehicles insured. Now that you have a much better understanding of what goes into a BCR your options for choosing a potential insurance carrier should be much more clear. Happy insurance!

How to Insure Transportation Network Companies: A Detailed Guide to Getting your TNC off the Ground

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How to Insure Transportation Network Companies: A Detailed Guide to Getting your TNC off the Ground

Written by Laura Loftus on Monday, May 6th, 2019

Whether you are looking to start your own Transportation Network Company, On-Demand Delivery App or other Shared Economy business, one of the most important factors to consider is insurance! Sounds boring, I know. But as the world around us changes, insurance markets for transportation network companies are creating new structures and products. As an independent agency, American Business Insurance has direct relationships with all insurance companies currently writing specialized policies for transportation network companies.

Finding insurance for transportation network companies or other app-based businesses is no easy feat. As you may have already come to realize, most of your local brokers who specialize in personal lines don’t have relationships with insurance companies in this space. Many local brokers don’t understand what information to collect from business owners to present your transportation network company in the most insurable light.

Finding An Insurance Broker To Write Policies For Your Transportation Network Company

Most of the common insurance companies you may have already heard of are not writing policies because of the high-risk nature for transportation network companies. Insurance companies who are writing policies for transportation network companies are Surplus Lines carriers whose focus is in this specialized, technology driven market place.

Some people think that it is easy to join the long list of people who are trying to start transportation network companies to compete with those already dominating the world – Uber and Lyft. But in reality, the people who have created these transportation network companies worked for many years prior to actually launching.

To some, that might seem like a really long time but when an experienced insurance broker who is familiar with writing policies for transportation network companies asks you to assemble a list of items, it’s best to know exactly what you are getting yourself into. Don’t be fooled, there is a lot of prep, time and money that is required to build transportation network companies like Uber or Lyft.

transportation network companies

Minimum Premiums For Transportation Network Companies

As you might have anticipated, buying an insurance policy for transportation network companies is not cheap since most insurers in this space have minimum premiums of $75,000-100,000. We know, that is a lot of dough! The good news is, most of the carriers will accept a portion of that up-front and some even offer premium eroding endorsements. This means if your business doesn’t generate premium up to that amount within the year, they will carry over the credit to the following year.

Obtaining a quote requires you to find a broker who specializes in writing insurance for transportation network companies. Working with the right broker will not only save you time and money, but prevent you from buying coverages you don’t need and making sure that you have the ones you do. An experienced broker who is familiar with writing insurance for transportation network companies will know exactly what information to collect from you. They will also know how to present it best to the insurance markets who are writing policies for transportation network companies.

American Business Insurance Services, Inc.

Lucky for you, you found us! As an agency, we have been around long before ordering a ride from your smart-phone was an option. We specialize in public auto which means we understand more than anyone how transportation network companies operate.

transportation network companies

Items Transportation Network Companies Should Have Ready Before Calling Your Broker For A Quote:

Build the App:

  • One of the first questions I ask customers looking for insurance for transportation network companies is if the app is complete. Insurance company underwriters will want to download your app and make sure it’s working. Also, some companies have technology-based policies, meaning they integrate with your app to capture data on the drivers. Some even offer lower insurance rates based on favorable data collected (less speeding, hard stops, etcetera). Most policies for transportation network companies are usage based, so they have to be able to download your app and make sure it’s compatible with their insurance structure. Insurance companies often want to be able to pull reports from your app which include and are not limited to:

1. Knowing When A Trip Starts and Stops

2. How Many Miles For Each Trip

3. How Many Minutes/Hours For Each Trip

Business Plan & Projections:

  • There is a checklist of items the insurance company will want to see attached to the submission your broker sends. Your broker should be narrating to the insurance company all the hard work and thought you’ve put into creating these transportation network companies. Insurers will want to see a “pitch deck” which is something you might already have created to obtain investors. This document will present and explain your business model, why it is different from what is alreadyout there and how it will work long term. Some of the questions this document should answer are:

transportation network companies1. What are the company’s growth plans?

2. How will you monitor safety/loss control?

3. How is pricing structured so that the company is profitable?

 Safety and Training:

  • Safety and training is a big deal for insurers who are writing policies for transportation network companies. They will want to know what restrictions, checks and balances and training you will provide to drivers. They want to know how often you will check driving records and how often people have to pass background checks. The younger in age the drivers are that you allow to join your transportation network companies, the more expensive you can expect your insurance prices to be. Insurance companies want to know how you are going to prevent accidents from happening so that you build a positive reputation within the industry along side other transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft.

Bios on Key Officers/Investors:

  • Insurance companies want to know about the people behind the transportation network companies! If you want to join the group of dominating transportation network companies, they are going to want to know what experience you have, not only in transportation but also in being an entrepreneur. Take the time to write detailed bios for yourself and all other key members, officers and investors behind your transportation network company. Make sure to detail the knowledge and life experience you are bringing to the table in starting transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft. A well written, detailed bio will separate your company from all the rest and will give you a better advantage to better pricing on insurance for transportation network companies.

 Terms of Service & Privacy Conditions:

  • Although this may seem like a small piece of the puzzle to getting insurance for transportation network companies, most insurers want to see the liability of the app in regards to what they are promising to both their drivers and users. If you are a peer to peer platform, they want to see how the transaction will take place. Some of the questions that should be answered here are:

1. What Security Measures Are In Place To Protect The User?

2. How Should Complaints Be Filed?

3. What Terms and Conditions Does Your Company Adhere To? 

transportation network companies

Financial Balance Sheet:

  • Basically, a lot of what it takes to insure transportation network companies is having money, and a lot of it. Due to the hefty size of the minimum premiums for transportation network companies, generally ranging from $75,00-100,000, insurers want to make sure you not only have money to pay for the policy, but to also keep your business afloat and operating before you start turning a profit. It’s no secret that most transportation network companies do not profit until after the first year. Insurers want to see that you have raised money, not just for the cost of insurance but also for operating expenses, advertising and promotions.
  • When I review the balance sheet for transportation network companies, I know that most insurers want to see that you’ve raised at minimum $250,000-$1,000,000 in capital. Sometimes more. The reason for them wanting transportation network companies to raise this much money is because they know what it takes to gain traction in this unique space. They want to make sure the work they are putting in to quote and bind your policy will create a lasting relationship with you.

Guidance From American Business Insurance Services, INC

Starting any business takes time, research and money. We get phone calls from people daily thinking they are going to be the next Uber and Lyft. And believe me, we want you to make it big and compete against the monopoly that currently exists for transportation network companies. But in reality, we know that few of the phone calls we receive have actually taken the above steps which are required to make transportation network companies insurable.

If you have questions or need guidance, please give us a call and we will be happy to discuss over the phone! While some of the larger, corporate run agencies have the same relationships as us, few will offer the personal touch and value we have with every client.

Exclusive Contracts

Additionally, we have exclusive contracts with some companies that allow us to write at a lower minimum premium than others. We are an independent, family-run business with 75+ years of combined experience in the business insurance industry. We have invested in other transportation network companies, peer to peer and shared economy types of businesses. Most of us utilize transportation network companies and peer-to-peer apps regularly.

We literally have boots on the ground in this space and if you want the best pricing with the smoothest transaction – we are here for you!

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How to Save the MOST Money on Your Commercial Fleet Insurance Rates

ABI Transportation Experts Speak: How to Save the MOST Money on Your Commercial Fleet Insurance Rates

Written by Laura Loftus on Thursday, February 28th, 2019

 

When speaking with clients about their commercial fleet insurance, the most common concern is how to get the lowest insurance rates. About 100% of the customers I speak to daily all have the same goal – they want the lowest insurance rates available and will do whatever it takes to get it. Whether you own a Taxi, Limo, Paratransit or Shared Economy company (peer to peer platform app), it’s a given that you want your commercial fleet insurance coverage at the lowest insurance rates available. What many companies don’t realize, especially start-ups, is that commercial fleet insurance underwriters do quite a bit of digging on your company through a variety of platforms to “check you out” prior to releasing a quote. They read Yelp reviews, they look at your website, they do Better Business Bureau checks – all of it.

There are common mistakes that transportation service companies are repeatedly making that will create doubt in a commercial fleet insurance company. These mistakes actually prevent your broker from being able to find the lowest insurance rates for your company. Most of these companies think they are making business decisions that will guide them toward the lowest insurance rates, and are unaware that their current website or driver pool is actually hurting their chances of achieving the lowest possible commercial fleet insurance rate.

Five common flubs transportation service companies are making that prevent your commercial fleet insurance broker from obtaining the lowest insurance rates possible:

1) Company Website

The first and most common mistake we see from commercial auto risks who are in the “wheels” business as us underwriters call it – is that you over the amount of experience or size of your transportation service company.  It is common for commercial fleet insurance underwriters to google your company to pick apart your website. Here are some items you may think are helping your chances at obtaining the lowest insurance rates but are actually red flags to commercial fleet insurance companies:

  •  Words like “Fast Pick-up” or ‘Delivery in Minutes” – no commercial fleet insurance underwriter wants to see that you are promising rushed services. Rushing = equals unsafe driving behavior.

commercial fleet insurance

  • Advertising vehicles that are not actually part of your fleet. For example, just yesterday I was helping a 35-car fleet in Portland with obtaining commercial fleet insurance quotes. The list of vehicles they provided were all private passenger type vehicles (meaning seating capacity of 8 or less) – good! But when I searched the company online, they advertised a large shuttle bus and a higher seating capacity van. When I asked the client about this, they those vehicles had been sold and they had no plans to replace them. Keeping your website up to date and only advertising only what you can actually deliver will keep unwanted questions from creeping into the commercial fleet insurance underwriters’ mind. Creating uncertainty is the last thing you want to do with a commercial fleet insurance underwriter when trying to obtain the lowest insurance rates.
  •  Age of vehicles is important to commercial fleet insurance companies. Publishing a picture of a 30-year-old vehicle is no bueno. Keep your fleet serviced regularly (we recommend every three to four thousand miles and cycle out old units. Newer, cleaner & well-maintained vehicles are not only more desired by clientele (when trying to compete with Uber/Lyft) but also preferred by commercial fleet insurance companies trying to avoid claims due to mechanical defect.
  • If you boast 20 years of experience but your LLC was filed three years ago, it creates uncertainty with insurance companies. It’s better to accurately reflect your business as it is now, and not what you want it to be five years from now. Just as there are items to avoid putting on your website, there are points that you should include on your website. It is always a good idea to brag about highly trained drivers and safety training you provide (more on this later). Be sure to note the maintenance you keep up with for your fleet, the background checks the city you operate in mandates and the highest level of driving records required for your drivers. Commercial fleet insurance underwriters like stable fleets with safe drivers. Bottom line, safer risks translates to commercial fleet insurance underwriters offering the lowest insurance rates.

2) Creating a Business Name

This may seem simple enough but for transportation business owners looking to for the lowest insurance rates, people often think that commercial fleet insurance companies give the lowest insurance rates to Limo’s and Non-Emergency Medical risks over a taxi or airport shuttle. While this might be true, cornering yourself into a specific type of transportation in your business name narrows the list of commercial fleet insurance carriers you are eligible for. Many markets write only taxis or only limos. So, if you file your business name with the Secretary of State as Laura’s Taxi & Limo Service, LLC. – it could possibly make you ineligible for a limo commercial fleet insurance program because they don’t insure taxis and vice versa – even if your unit type meets their requirements. When talking with clients, I always say it’s best to be general about the transportation type within the name of their business, especially as market conditions change. You may be heavy in taxi trips one year but then obtain a paratransit contract and do more of that the following year. The more years of favorable loss history (loss runs) you can provide, the better chance you have at obtaining the lowest insurance rates. Choosing a business name that is general such as Laura’s Transportation Service, LLC. allows you flexibility to transform and evolve your business as the industry demands change.

3) Loss Control is Everything

Underwriters give commercial fleet insurance at the lowest insurance rates to companies with low levels of paid claims. Even in a hard insurance market, with rates rising for the good guys too, you can expect to pay more for commercial fleet insurance if you’re prior insurance companies have paid a lot in claims. Here are some suggestions in tightening loss control for your transportation service company:

  •  Hire a full-time loss control or driver manager who will enforce a safety culture. Doing this, will lower the frequency and severity of claim payouts and put your transportation service company in a better position to obtain the lowest insurance rates. This person should be in charge of overseeing the overall safety of your company. Managing and coaching your drivers is the key to a successful transportation service company. You are only as good as your worst driver.
  • commercial fleet insurance Invest in cameras that capture not only accidents but also driver analytics. This type of camera system will allow you to review driver behavior and correct bad habits before they cause an accident. We like to say this method is similar to that of a professional athlete. How do they improve? They watch their game film and correct bad habits. Driving professionally is the same. The more you do it, the more comfortable you get and having drivers watch themselves reduces risky behavior dramatically. Additionally, it’s a known fact that many commercial fleet insurance claims are paid because of he said/she said situations. Having accidents on camera is the best way to know who exactly was at fault and exonerate innocent drivers.
  •  Hold weekly safety huddles and or monthly meetings. Review the data and claims that have occurred recently and talk to your drivers about how they could have been prevented.
  •  Commit to investing in annual defensive driving training for your drivers. This annual reminder to drivers will ensure that bad habits are addressed and give each driver a time to reflect on their own performance.
  • Implement a reward program for safe drivers. Giving an incentive, even if it’s small monetary gift cards – keeps your drivers focused and motivated on safe driving habits.

4) The Driver Pool

The Driver Pool is so important when trying to achieve the lowest insurance rates from commercial fleet insurance providers for your transportation company. How you chose to manage drivers and who you hire is crucial. Create formal guidelines that clearly outline what is acceptable for employment. We recommend only hiring drivers with zero accidents within the past three years and minimal moving violations. Clean MVRs are best but we know that professional drivers with experience usually do not have clean MVRs and this is ok. Professional drivers are on the road up to 3x more than someone commuting to/from work so it’s a given that they will most likely have more violations on their records. Repeat offenders can impact the cost of your commercial fleet insurance and should be let go. No one is perfect, but you should train your drivers with the goal to be as safe as possible. Excessive violations on a driving record can cause surcharges and prevent you from obtaining the lower insurance rates. Additionally, younger drivers sometimes generate higher premiums for commercial fleet insurance as well as newly licensed individuals.

5) Contact an Experienced, Transportation Insurance Broker

commercial fleet insurance

Working with a transportation specialist versus a local agency makes a huge difference as commercial fleet insurance brokers have access to many more transportation focused insurance companies. Also, an experienced broker will review your company data prior to submitting to commercial fleet insurance companies. If they see something a commercial fleet insurance company won’t like, they can address it with you and provide you with an opportunity to make changes before submitting to each carrier. The more information you can provide to a commercial fleet insurance underwriter, the better chances you have at achieving the lowest insurance rates. Because the for-hire, livery insurance market is so thin, carriers often get multiple submissions from duplicate brokers. Try to work with one broker at a time. You may think contacting multiple agencies well help you, but if they are all going to the same markets for commercial fleet insurance – it’s duplicating not only your own work, but the insurance companies as well. The livery market is a tough class of business and finding an experienced broker will absolutely give you a leg up on finding the lowest insurance rates over a generalist broker.

American Business Insurance Services, Inc. has been working with transportation companies across the nation for 35+ years. We have direct relationships with the most competitive commercial fleet insurance companies. We know what it takes to submit a complete application and present your company in the best light possible – which will no doubt translate to finding commercial fleet insurance at the lowest insurance rate.

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HyreCar CEO Thanks Us

HyreCar CEO Thanks American Business Insurance

In an interview with Nasdaq, HyreCar CEO, Joe Furnari, shared how American Business Insurance helped the company grow and succeed. It is our pleasure to work with this amazing company. Read below about the HyreCar company origins, the ways Uber and Lyft drivers can succeed despite obstacles, and the role of transportation network insurance.

The Origins of HyreCar

Three years ago, Joe Furnari was not the CEO of HyreCar. In fact, he was their first customer. At the time, he had a car in his garage that he barely drove. He was actually getting ready to sell his car when he came across the HyreCar start-up. So, he decided to give it a shot by listing his car for rent. When HyreCar had matched him to a driver, the three original founders were so excited they drove to Furnari’s house to meet their first client and be there when the driver came to pick up his car. The driver could then drive for Uber or Lyft. It didn’t take long for Furnari to see a profit by renting his car out, and he became so enamored with the business model that he eventually left his job at the time to become the CEO of HyreCar.

As insurance brokers, we get calls all the time from people who are looking to start a new commercial transportation business. Whether it be someone aspiring to start the next Uber and Lyft or someone who wants to start a small shuttle business, it is our priority to weed out those who are serious and have spent time in their business model, compared to those who woke up one day thinking it would be easy to hit the ground running.

HyreCar lyft uber insurance

 

Where We Came into the Picture

In 2015, our agency President Dave Haley and insurance industry veteran (as recently dubbed by BusinessWire) received a call from the two original founders of HyreCar. Marciano Kim and Abhi Arorahe, the HyreCar founders, found our auto insurance company via google. “I spent 3 minutes on the phone with the founders and immediately, I loved the idea HyreCar was going for. I knew there were a lot of people who wanted work (for Transportation Network Companies like Uber and Lyft) but couldn’t because they didn’t have a vehicle that qualified for it,” Haley said.

At the time, HyreCar and similar companies represented an untapped insurance market as well. Haley was tasked with what felt like an impossibility – to find an insurance company to charge per day, per mile, and per minute. After shopping the marketplace and many declinations, he finally found a carrier that was as interested in the business model as he was. And within a rapid 60 days, HyreCar was insured and able to really launch their platform.

Uber and Lyft Drivers Can Rejoice

There is a big problem for many people who want to drive for Uber or Lyft. The obstacle is obtaining a vehicle that meets Uber or Lyft company requirements. Many drivers have to rent cars and then have to procure insurance on that vehicle. Personal auto specifically excludes any use of your vehicle that generates revenue.

Many Transportation Network Company (TNC) drivers use their personal auto regardless, but technically this is risky. In the case of an accident while driving for Uber or Lyft, their personal auto carrier would deny the claim. Additionally, the driver would face  the possibility of cancellation and non-renewal. With HyreCar’s model, drivers are able to rent a car at an affordable price. Plus, they would obtain an insurance ID card through HyreCar that allows them to qualify for Uber and Lyft. The great news is it does not put them at risk for being cancelled for unauthorized use of the vehicle.

HyreCar CEO Speaks to the Importance of Good Insurance

Uber driver Lyft Driver insurance hyrecar

 

Since launching three years ago, HyreCar has expanded into all 50 states. They have provided solutions for a disrupted transportation, car dealership and insurance industry. HyreCar recently went public and CEO Joe Furnari was interviewed by Nasdaq. In the Nasdaq interview, Furnari attributes part of HyreCar’s ability to grow and succeed to partnering with the right people on the insurance side. Furnari spoke specifically of American Business Insurance. The video clips and press releases included in this article effectively articulate from Furnari on how HyreCar has helped drivers, car dealers, and the insurance industry step forward into this ever-changing transportation marketplace.

Written by Laura Loftus on October 16th, 2018.

 

For more information about insuring your shared economy or transportation network company like HyreCar, click here: https://abiweb.com/services/tnc-provider/

WATCH THE INTERVIEW BETWEEN NASDAQ AND FURNARI BELOW

WATCH ANOTHER INTERVIEW WITH FURNARI HERE: https://www.facebook.com/Nasdaq/videos/2638290029729362/UzpfSTI2ODE1MjMzOTg2NjU2NzoyMjg5Mjc2ODE3NzU0MDk5/

Autonomous Vehicle Insurance: Self-Driving Cars

I know it is hard to believe that autonomous vehicle insurance is actually a thing now, but it is and it’s only going to become more relevant as time goes on. So, when your business decides to join the self-driving car movement it will be pertinent for your vehicles to be properly covered. This is where ABI Insurance Services Inc. comes in!

ABI Insurance Services Inc.
ABI has been around since 1985, making them a veteran when it comes to insurance services. Currently, they are one of the largest providers for commercial transportation insurance in the nation with over 40,000 vehicles being covered. Although they are seasoned when it comes to insurance policies they are also well aware of the rapid growth and change within the vehicle industry. This not only makes ABI highly experienced in business vehicle insurance, but also makes them one of the most innovative and up-to-date when it comes to the latest advancements in cars.

Autonomous Vehicle Insurance
With autonomous vehicle insurance being a newer concept, it is paramount for your small or large fleet insurance to be up to par with policies. At ABI, exclusive relationships with various insurance carriers allows for policies to meet all the specific criteria for your business. This means that the agonizing insurance process of underwriting, quoting, and binding of policies can all be done in house which in turn means faster, more specific services for your insurance needs. It is ABI’s business to understand their client’s business and this is exactly why ABI has been around for over 30 years and created such strong partnerships.

Why Autonomous Cars
Studies have shown that a computer is more of an ideal motorist than humans, this is further supported with the statistic that over 81% of car crashes are a direct result of human error. This only makes more sense when you put into consideration that there are no opportunities for a computer to be distracted by its surrounding environment. For human driven cars, most accidents are outcomes of the distractions correlated with simultaneously driving and texting or eating food. With autonomous cars, you can focus more on those things that would otherwise distract you from the road which in turn would save you time in your busy lifestyle. Not if, but when self-driving cars start to take over the roads it will improve traffic conditions exponentially because large numbers of self-driving cars mean less human errors which would result in less overall congestion.

Recap and other Pro’s for Self-Driving Vehicles:

  • Less car crashes
  • More free time
  • Less congestion
  • Higher speed limits
  • Less drunk drivers
  • Less parking concerns
  • Disabled support

ABI’s portfolio of coverages include Auto Liability, General Liability, Work Comp, Occupational Injury and Collision insurance for virtually any commercial vehicle including Truckers, Movers, and more. With their focus falling within the commercial vehicle realm they are the ideal service to contact when you make that innovative transfer from a fleet of human-driven cars to self-driven cars. You can contact ABI for a quote today by clicking on button below. Safe autonomous driving!

A.M. Best Rating Service: The Credibility of Insurance Companies

Best’s Credit Rating (BCR)
When it comes to knowing whether or not an insurance company is going to be a reliable fit for your needs the first thing to verify is the company’s Best’s Credit Rating (BCR). This is an objective judgement regarding the insurer’s creditworthiness. The BCR is essentially a grade given based on quantitative and qualitative evaluations of the insurer’s balance sheet, operating performance, and business profile. There are various credit and independent rating options, to include:

  • Best’s Financial Strength Ratings (FSR) – This rating is an opinion provided on a specific insurer’s financial strengths and their ability to meet current insurance policy and contract obligations.
  • Best’s Issuer Credit Rating (ICR) – This rating is an opinion of an entity’s ability to meet ongoing financial obligations that can be issued on a long or short-term basis.
  • Best’s Issue Credit Rating (IR) – This rating is an opinion on the credit quality assigned to issues that determines how likely they are to meet the terms of obligation and can be issued on a long or short-term basis.
  • Best’s National Scale Rating (NSR) – This rating is based on a measurement of creditworthiness in a specific jurisdiction that is issued on a long-term basis.
  • Preliminary Credit Assessment (PCA) – This is an independent opinion based on the general credit strengths/weaknesses of an issuer, security, obligor, business plans, and term sheets.
  • Rating Assessment Service (RAS) – This is a rating solicited by non-rated entities that provides an opinion of a company’s rating prospects based on their financial statements and other financial information.
  • Rating Evaluation Service (RES) – This is a rating solicited by rated entities that provides an opinion on the impact of hypothetical scenarios based on financial projections and other financial information.
  • Financial Size Category (FSC) – This a grading scale designed to provide an indicator on the size of a company in terms of its statutory surplus and related accounts.

Choosing the Right Partner
For example, if you are searching for an insurance carrier to cover your commercial vehicles then it is crucial to look at their BCR. By looking at the ratings above it will give you a much better understanding of a company’s legitimacy when it comes to covering vehicles such as cabs, limos, ambulances, and trucks. BCR’s also allow you to get an in-depth understanding on how well different coverage options will be. For instance, Auto Liability, General Liability, Work Comp, Occupational Injury, and Collision Insurance.

Based on BCR, American Business Insurance Services is a great option when looking for commercial vehicle coverage. They are a small insurance carrier that has been around since 1984 and know how to cater to their partner’s needs. They are one of the largest commercial transportation insurance providers in the country with thousands of customers and over 40,000 vehicles insured. Now that you have a much better understanding of what goes into a BCR your options for choosing a potential insurance carrier should be much more clear. Happy insurance!

How to Insure Transportation Network Companies: A Detailed Guide to Getting your TNC off the Ground

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How to Insure Transportation Network Companies: A Detailed Guide to Getting your TNC off the Ground

Written by Laura Loftus on Monday, May 6th, 2019

Whether you are looking to start your own Transportation Network Company, On-Demand Delivery App or other Shared Economy business, one of the most important factors to consider is insurance! Sounds boring, I know. But as the world around us changes, insurance markets for transportation network companies are creating new structures and products. As an independent agency, American Business Insurance has direct relationships with all insurance companies currently writing specialized policies for transportation network companies.

Finding insurance for transportation network companies or other app-based businesses is no easy feat. As you may have already come to realize, most of your local brokers who specialize in personal lines don’t have relationships with insurance companies in this space. Many local brokers don’t understand what information to collect from business owners to present your transportation network company in the most insurable light.

Finding An Insurance Broker To Write Policies For Your Transportation Network Company

Most of the common insurance companies you may have already heard of are not writing policies because of the high-risk nature for transportation network companies. Insurance companies who are writing policies for transportation network companies are Surplus Lines carriers whose focus is in this specialized, technology driven market place.

Some people think that it is easy to join the long list of people who are trying to start transportation network companies to compete with those already dominating the world – Uber and Lyft. But in reality, the people who have created these transportation network companies worked for many years prior to actually launching.

To some, that might seem like a really long time but when an experienced insurance broker who is familiar with writing policies for transportation network companies asks you to assemble a list of items, it’s best to know exactly what you are getting yourself into. Don’t be fooled, there is a lot of prep, time and money that is required to build transportation network companies like Uber or Lyft.

transportation network companies

Minimum Premiums For Transportation Network Companies

As you might have anticipated, buying an insurance policy for transportation network companies is not cheap since most insurers in this space have minimum premiums of $75,000-100,000. We know, that is a lot of dough! The good news is, most of the carriers will accept a portion of that up-front and some even offer premium eroding endorsements. This means if your business doesn’t generate premium up to that amount within the year, they will carry over the credit to the following year.

Obtaining a quote requires you to find a broker who specializes in writing insurance for transportation network companies. Working with the right broker will not only save you time and money, but prevent you from buying coverages you don’t need and making sure that you have the ones you do. An experienced broker who is familiar with writing insurance for transportation network companies will know exactly what information to collect from you. They will also know how to present it best to the insurance markets who are writing policies for transportation network companies.

American Business Insurance Services, Inc.

Lucky for you, you found us! As an agency, we have been around long before ordering a ride from your smart-phone was an option. We specialize in public auto which means we understand more than anyone how transportation network companies operate.

transportation network companies

Items Transportation Network Companies Should Have Ready Before Calling Your Broker For A Quote:

Build the App:

  • One of the first questions I ask customers looking for insurance for transportation network companies is if the app is complete. Insurance company underwriters will want to download your app and make sure it’s working. Also, some companies have technology-based policies, meaning they integrate with your app to capture data on the drivers. Some even offer lower insurance rates based on favorable data collected (less speeding, hard stops, etcetera). Most policies for transportation network companies are usage based, so they have to be able to download your app and make sure it’s compatible with their insurance structure. Insurance companies often want to be able to pull reports from your app which include and are not limited to:

1. Knowing When A Trip Starts and Stops

2. How Many Miles For Each Trip

3. How Many Minutes/Hours For Each Trip

Business Plan & Projections:

  • There is a checklist of items the insurance company will want to see attached to the submission your broker sends. Your broker should be narrating to the insurance company all the hard work and thought you’ve put into creating these transportation network companies. Insurers will want to see a “pitch deck” which is something you might already have created to obtain investors. This document will present and explain your business model, why it is different from what is alreadyout there and how it will work long term. Some of the questions this document should answer are:

transportation network companies1. What are the company’s growth plans?

2. How will you monitor safety/loss control?

3. How is pricing structured so that the company is profitable?

 Safety and Training:

  • Safety and training is a big deal for insurers who are writing policies for transportation network companies. They will want to know what restrictions, checks and balances and training you will provide to drivers. They want to know how often you will check driving records and how often people have to pass background checks. The younger in age the drivers are that you allow to join your transportation network companies, the more expensive you can expect your insurance prices to be. Insurance companies want to know how you are going to prevent accidents from happening so that you build a positive reputation within the industry along side other transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft.

Bios on Key Officers/Investors:

  • Insurance companies want to know about the people behind the transportation network companies! If you want to join the group of dominating transportation network companies, they are going to want to know what experience you have, not only in transportation but also in being an entrepreneur. Take the time to write detailed bios for yourself and all other key members, officers and investors behind your transportation network company. Make sure to detail the knowledge and life experience you are bringing to the table in starting transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft. A well written, detailed bio will separate your company from all the rest and will give you a better advantage to better pricing on insurance for transportation network companies.

 Terms of Service & Privacy Conditions:

  • Although this may seem like a small piece of the puzzle to getting insurance for transportation network companies, most insurers want to see the liability of the app in regards to what they are promising to both their drivers and users. If you are a peer to peer platform, they want to see how the transaction will take place. Some of the questions that should be answered here are:

1. What Security Measures Are In Place To Protect The User?

2. How Should Complaints Be Filed?

3. What Terms and Conditions Does Your Company Adhere To? 

transportation network companies

Financial Balance Sheet:

  • Basically, a lot of what it takes to insure transportation network companies is having money, and a lot of it. Due to the hefty size of the minimum premiums for transportation network companies, generally ranging from $75,00-100,000, insurers want to make sure you not only have money to pay for the policy, but to also keep your business afloat and operating before you start turning a profit. It’s no secret that most transportation network companies do not profit until after the first year. Insurers want to see that you have raised money, not just for the cost of insurance but also for operating expenses, advertising and promotions.
  • When I review the balance sheet for transportation network companies, I know that most insurers want to see that you’ve raised at minimum $250,000-$1,000,000 in capital. Sometimes more. The reason for them wanting transportation network companies to raise this much money is because they know what it takes to gain traction in this unique space. They want to make sure the work they are putting in to quote and bind your policy will create a lasting relationship with you.

Guidance From American Business Insurance Services, INC

Starting any business takes time, research and money. We get phone calls from people daily thinking they are going to be the next Uber and Lyft. And believe me, we want you to make it big and compete against the monopoly that currently exists for transportation network companies. But in reality, we know that few of the phone calls we receive have actually taken the above steps which are required to make transportation network companies insurable.

If you have questions or need guidance, please give us a call and we will be happy to discuss over the phone! While some of the larger, corporate run agencies have the same relationships as us, few will offer the personal touch and value we have with every client.

Exclusive Contracts

Additionally, we have exclusive contracts with some companies that allow us to write at a lower minimum premium than others. We are an independent, family-run business with 75+ years of combined experience in the business insurance industry. We have invested in other transportation network companies, peer to peer and shared economy types of businesses. Most of us utilize transportation network companies and peer-to-peer apps regularly.

We literally have boots on the ground in this space and if you want the best pricing with the smoothest transaction – we are here for you!

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How to Save the MOST Money on Your Commercial Fleet Insurance Rates

ABI Transportation Experts Speak: How to Save the MOST Money on Your Commercial Fleet Insurance Rates

Written by Laura Loftus on Thursday, February 28th, 2019

 

When speaking with clients about their commercial fleet insurance, the most common concern is how to get the lowest insurance rates. About 100% of the customers I speak to daily all have the same goal – they want the lowest insurance rates available and will do whatever it takes to get it. Whether you own a Taxi, Limo, Paratransit or Shared Economy company (peer to peer platform app), it’s a given that you want your commercial fleet insurance coverage at the lowest insurance rates available. What many companies don’t realize, especially start-ups, is that commercial fleet insurance underwriters do quite a bit of digging on your company through a variety of platforms to “check you out” prior to releasing a quote. They read Yelp reviews, they look at your website, they do Better Business Bureau checks – all of it.

There are common mistakes that transportation service companies are repeatedly making that will create doubt in a commercial fleet insurance company. These mistakes actually prevent your broker from being able to find the lowest insurance rates for your company. Most of these companies think they are making business decisions that will guide them toward the lowest insurance rates, and are unaware that their current website or driver pool is actually hurting their chances of achieving the lowest possible commercial fleet insurance rate.

Five common flubs transportation service companies are making that prevent your commercial fleet insurance broker from obtaining the lowest insurance rates possible:

1) Company Website

The first and most common mistake we see from commercial auto risks who are in the “wheels” business as us underwriters call it – is that you over the amount of experience or size of your transportation service company.  It is common for commercial fleet insurance underwriters to google your company to pick apart your website. Here are some items you may think are helping your chances at obtaining the lowest insurance rates but are actually red flags to commercial fleet insurance companies:

  •  Words like “Fast Pick-up” or ‘Delivery in Minutes” – no commercial fleet insurance underwriter wants to see that you are promising rushed services. Rushing = equals unsafe driving behavior.

commercial fleet insurance

  • Advertising vehicles that are not actually part of your fleet. For example, just yesterday I was helping a 35-car fleet in Portland with obtaining commercial fleet insurance quotes. The list of vehicles they provided were all private passenger type vehicles (meaning seating capacity of 8 or less) – good! But when I searched the company online, they advertised a large shuttle bus and a higher seating capacity van. When I asked the client about this, they those vehicles had been sold and they had no plans to replace them. Keeping your website up to date and only advertising only what you can actually deliver will keep unwanted questions from creeping into the commercial fleet insurance underwriters’ mind. Creating uncertainty is the last thing you want to do with a commercial fleet insurance underwriter when trying to obtain the lowest insurance rates.
  •  Age of vehicles is important to commercial fleet insurance companies. Publishing a picture of a 30-year-old vehicle is no bueno. Keep your fleet serviced regularly (we recommend every three to four thousand miles and cycle out old units. Newer, cleaner & well-maintained vehicles are not only more desired by clientele (when trying to compete with Uber/Lyft) but also preferred by commercial fleet insurance companies trying to avoid claims due to mechanical defect.
  • If you boast 20 years of experience but your LLC was filed three years ago, it creates uncertainty with insurance companies. It’s better to accurately reflect your business as it is now, and not what you want it to be five years from now. Just as there are items to avoid putting on your website, there are points that you should include on your website. It is always a good idea to brag about highly trained drivers and safety training you provide (more on this later). Be sure to note the maintenance you keep up with for your fleet, the background checks the city you operate in mandates and the highest level of driving records required for your drivers. Commercial fleet insurance underwriters like stable fleets with safe drivers. Bottom line, safer risks translates to commercial fleet insurance underwriters offering the lowest insurance rates.

2) Creating a Business Name

This may seem simple enough but for transportation business owners looking to for the lowest insurance rates, people often think that commercial fleet insurance companies give the lowest insurance rates to Limo’s and Non-Emergency Medical risks over a taxi or airport shuttle. While this might be true, cornering yourself into a specific type of transportation in your business name narrows the list of commercial fleet insurance carriers you are eligible for. Many markets write only taxis or only limos. So, if you file your business name with the Secretary of State as Laura’s Taxi & Limo Service, LLC. – it could possibly make you ineligible for a limo commercial fleet insurance program because they don’t insure taxis and vice versa – even if your unit type meets their requirements. When talking with clients, I always say it’s best to be general about the transportation type within the name of their business, especially as market conditions change. You may be heavy in taxi trips one year but then obtain a paratransit contract and do more of that the following year. The more years of favorable loss history (loss runs) you can provide, the better chance you have at obtaining the lowest insurance rates. Choosing a business name that is general such as Laura’s Transportation Service, LLC. allows you flexibility to transform and evolve your business as the industry demands change.

3) Loss Control is Everything

Underwriters give commercial fleet insurance at the lowest insurance rates to companies with low levels of paid claims. Even in a hard insurance market, with rates rising for the good guys too, you can expect to pay more for commercial fleet insurance if you’re prior insurance companies have paid a lot in claims. Here are some suggestions in tightening loss control for your transportation service company:

  •  Hire a full-time loss control or driver manager who will enforce a safety culture. Doing this, will lower the frequency and severity of claim payouts and put your transportation service company in a better position to obtain the lowest insurance rates. This person should be in charge of overseeing the overall safety of your company. Managing and coaching your drivers is the key to a successful transportation service company. You are only as good as your worst driver.
  • commercial fleet insurance Invest in cameras that capture not only accidents but also driver analytics. This type of camera system will allow you to review driver behavior and correct bad habits before they cause an accident. We like to say this method is similar to that of a professional athlete. How do they improve? They watch their game film and correct bad habits. Driving professionally is the same. The more you do it, the more comfortable you get and having drivers watch themselves reduces risky behavior dramatically. Additionally, it’s a known fact that many commercial fleet insurance claims are paid because of he said/she said situations. Having accidents on camera is the best way to know who exactly was at fault and exonerate innocent drivers.
  •  Hold weekly safety huddles and or monthly meetings. Review the data and claims that have occurred recently and talk to your drivers about how they could have been prevented.
  •  Commit to investing in annual defensive driving training for your drivers. This annual reminder to drivers will ensure that bad habits are addressed and give each driver a time to reflect on their own performance.
  • Implement a reward program for safe drivers. Giving an incentive, even if it’s small monetary gift cards – keeps your drivers focused and motivated on safe driving habits.

4) The Driver Pool

The Driver Pool is so important when trying to achieve the lowest insurance rates from commercial fleet insurance providers for your transportation company. How you chose to manage drivers and who you hire is crucial. Create formal guidelines that clearly outline what is acceptable for employment. We recommend only hiring drivers with zero accidents within the past three years and minimal moving violations. Clean MVRs are best but we know that professional drivers with experience usually do not have clean MVRs and this is ok. Professional drivers are on the road up to 3x more than someone commuting to/from work so it’s a given that they will most likely have more violations on their records. Repeat offenders can impact the cost of your commercial fleet insurance and should be let go. No one is perfect, but you should train your drivers with the goal to be as safe as possible. Excessive violations on a driving record can cause surcharges and prevent you from obtaining the lower insurance rates. Additionally, younger drivers sometimes generate higher premiums for commercial fleet insurance as well as newly licensed individuals.

5) Contact an Experienced, Transportation Insurance Broker

commercial fleet insurance

Working with a transportation specialist versus a local agency makes a huge difference as commercial fleet insurance brokers have access to many more transportation focused insurance companies. Also, an experienced broker will review your company data prior to submitting to commercial fleet insurance companies. If they see something a commercial fleet insurance company won’t like, they can address it with you and provide you with an opportunity to make changes before submitting to each carrier. The more information you can provide to a commercial fleet insurance underwriter, the better chances you have at achieving the lowest insurance rates. Because the for-hire, livery insurance market is so thin, carriers often get multiple submissions from duplicate brokers. Try to work with one broker at a time. You may think contacting multiple agencies well help you, but if they are all going to the same markets for commercial fleet insurance – it’s duplicating not only your own work, but the insurance companies as well. The livery market is a tough class of business and finding an experienced broker will absolutely give you a leg up on finding the lowest insurance rates over a generalist broker.

American Business Insurance Services, Inc. has been working with transportation companies across the nation for 35+ years. We have direct relationships with the most competitive commercial fleet insurance companies. We know what it takes to submit a complete application and present your company in the best light possible – which will no doubt translate to finding commercial fleet insurance at the lowest insurance rate.

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HyreCar CEO Thanks Us

HyreCar CEO Thanks American Business Insurance

In an interview with Nasdaq, HyreCar CEO, Joe Furnari, shared how American Business Insurance helped the company grow and succeed. It is our pleasure to work with this amazing company. Read below about the HyreCar company origins, the ways Uber and Lyft drivers can succeed despite obstacles, and the role of transportation network insurance.

The Origins of HyreCar

Three years ago, Joe Furnari was not the CEO of HyreCar. In fact, he was their first customer. At the time, he had a car in his garage that he barely drove. He was actually getting ready to sell his car when he came across the HyreCar start-up. So, he decided to give it a shot by listing his car for rent. When HyreCar had matched him to a driver, the three original founders were so excited they drove to Furnari’s house to meet their first client and be there when the driver came to pick up his car. The driver could then drive for Uber or Lyft. It didn’t take long for Furnari to see a profit by renting his car out, and he became so enamored with the business model that he eventually left his job at the time to become the CEO of HyreCar.

As insurance brokers, we get calls all the time from people who are looking to start a new commercial transportation business. Whether it be someone aspiring to start the next Uber and Lyft or someone who wants to start a small shuttle business, it is our priority to weed out those who are serious and have spent time in their business model, compared to those who woke up one day thinking it would be easy to hit the ground running.

HyreCar lyft uber insurance

 

Where We Came into the Picture

In 2015, our agency President Dave Haley and insurance industry veteran (as recently dubbed by BusinessWire) received a call from the two original founders of HyreCar. Marciano Kim and Abhi Arorahe, the HyreCar founders, found our auto insurance company via google. “I spent 3 minutes on the phone with the founders and immediately, I loved the idea HyreCar was going for. I knew there were a lot of people who wanted work (for Transportation Network Companies like Uber and Lyft) but couldn’t because they didn’t have a vehicle that qualified for it,” Haley said.

At the time, HyreCar and similar companies represented an untapped insurance market as well. Haley was tasked with what felt like an impossibility – to find an insurance company to charge per day, per mile, and per minute. After shopping the marketplace and many declinations, he finally found a carrier that was as interested in the business model as he was. And within a rapid 60 days, HyreCar was insured and able to really launch their platform.

Uber and Lyft Drivers Can Rejoice

There is a big problem for many people who want to drive for Uber or Lyft. The obstacle is obtaining a vehicle that meets Uber or Lyft company requirements. Many drivers have to rent cars and then have to procure insurance on that vehicle. Personal auto specifically excludes any use of your vehicle that generates revenue.

Many Transportation Network Company (TNC) drivers use their personal auto regardless, but technically this is risky. In the case of an accident while driving for Uber or Lyft, their personal auto carrier would deny the claim. Additionally, the driver would face  the possibility of cancellation and non-renewal. With HyreCar’s model, drivers are able to rent a car at an affordable price. Plus, they would obtain an insurance ID card through HyreCar that allows them to qualify for Uber and Lyft. The great news is it does not put them at risk for being cancelled for unauthorized use of the vehicle.

HyreCar CEO Speaks to the Importance of Good Insurance

Uber driver Lyft Driver insurance hyrecar

 

Since launching three years ago, HyreCar has expanded into all 50 states. They have provided solutions for a disrupted transportation, car dealership and insurance industry. HyreCar recently went public and CEO Joe Furnari was interviewed by Nasdaq. In the Nasdaq interview, Furnari attributes part of HyreCar’s ability to grow and succeed to partnering with the right people on the insurance side. Furnari spoke specifically of American Business Insurance. The video clips and press releases included in this article effectively articulate from Furnari on how HyreCar has helped drivers, car dealers, and the insurance industry step forward into this ever-changing transportation marketplace.

Written by Laura Loftus on October 16th, 2018.

 

For more information about insuring your shared economy or transportation network company like HyreCar, click here: https://abiweb.com/services/tnc-provider/

WATCH THE INTERVIEW BETWEEN NASDAQ AND FURNARI BELOW

WATCH ANOTHER INTERVIEW WITH FURNARI HERE: https://www.facebook.com/Nasdaq/videos/2638290029729362/UzpfSTI2ODE1MjMzOTg2NjU2NzoyMjg5Mjc2ODE3NzU0MDk5/

Autonomous Vehicle Insurance: Self-Driving Cars

I know it is hard to believe that autonomous vehicle insurance is actually a thing now, but it is and it’s only going to become more relevant as time goes on. So, when your business decides to join the self-driving car movement it will be pertinent for your vehicles to be properly covered. This is where ABI Insurance Services Inc. comes in!

ABI Insurance Services Inc.
ABI has been around since 1985, making them a veteran when it comes to insurance services. Currently, they are one of the largest providers for commercial transportation insurance in the nation with over 40,000 vehicles being covered. Although they are seasoned when it comes to insurance policies they are also well aware of the rapid growth and change within the vehicle industry. This not only makes ABI highly experienced in business vehicle insurance, but also makes them one of the most innovative and up-to-date when it comes to the latest advancements in cars.

Autonomous Vehicle Insurance
With autonomous vehicle insurance being a newer concept, it is paramount for your small or large fleet insurance to be up to par with policies. At ABI, exclusive relationships with various insurance carriers allows for policies to meet all the specific criteria for your business. This means that the agonizing insurance process of underwriting, quoting, and binding of policies can all be done in house which in turn means faster, more specific services for your insurance needs. It is ABI’s business to understand their client’s business and this is exactly why ABI has been around for over 30 years and created such strong partnerships.

Why Autonomous Cars
Studies have shown that a computer is more of an ideal motorist than humans, this is further supported with the statistic that over 81% of car crashes are a direct result of human error. This only makes more sense when you put into consideration that there are no opportunities for a computer to be distracted by its surrounding environment. For human driven cars, most accidents are outcomes of the distractions correlated with simultaneously driving and texting or eating food. With autonomous cars, you can focus more on those things that would otherwise distract you from the road which in turn would save you time in your busy lifestyle. Not if, but when self-driving cars start to take over the roads it will improve traffic conditions exponentially because large numbers of self-driving cars mean less human errors which would result in less overall congestion.

Recap and other Pro’s for Self-Driving Vehicles:

  • Less car crashes
  • More free time
  • Less congestion
  • Higher speed limits
  • Less drunk drivers
  • Less parking concerns
  • Disabled support

ABI’s portfolio of coverages include Auto Liability, General Liability, Work Comp, Occupational Injury and Collision insurance for virtually any commercial vehicle including Truckers, Movers, and more. With their focus falling within the commercial vehicle realm they are the ideal service to contact when you make that innovative transfer from a fleet of human-driven cars to self-driven cars. You can contact ABI for a quote today by clicking on button below. Safe autonomous driving!

A.M. Best Rating Service: The Credibility of Insurance Companies

Best’s Credit Rating (BCR)
When it comes to knowing whether or not an insurance company is going to be a reliable fit for your needs the first thing to verify is the company’s Best’s Credit Rating (BCR). This is an objective judgement regarding the insurer’s creditworthiness. The BCR is essentially a grade given based on quantitative and qualitative evaluations of the insurer’s balance sheet, operating performance, and business profile. There are various credit and independent rating options, to include:

  • Best’s Financial Strength Ratings (FSR) – This rating is an opinion provided on a specific insurer’s financial strengths and their ability to meet current insurance policy and contract obligations.
  • Best’s Issuer Credit Rating (ICR) – This rating is an opinion of an entity’s ability to meet ongoing financial obligations that can be issued on a long or short-term basis.
  • Best’s Issue Credit Rating (IR) – This rating is an opinion on the credit quality assigned to issues that determines how likely they are to meet the terms of obligation and can be issued on a long or short-term basis.
  • Best’s National Scale Rating (NSR) – This rating is based on a measurement of creditworthiness in a specific jurisdiction that is issued on a long-term basis.
  • Preliminary Credit Assessment (PCA) – This is an independent opinion based on the general credit strengths/weaknesses of an issuer, security, obligor, business plans, and term sheets.
  • Rating Assessment Service (RAS) – This is a rating solicited by non-rated entities that provides an opinion of a company’s rating prospects based on their financial statements and other financial information.
  • Rating Evaluation Service (RES) – This is a rating solicited by rated entities that provides an opinion on the impact of hypothetical scenarios based on financial projections and other financial information.
  • Financial Size Category (FSC) – This a grading scale designed to provide an indicator on the size of a company in terms of its statutory surplus and related accounts.

Choosing the Right Partner
For example, if you are searching for an insurance carrier to cover your commercial vehicles then it is crucial to look at their BCR. By looking at the ratings above it will give you a much better understanding of a company’s legitimacy when it comes to covering vehicles such as cabs, limos, ambulances, and trucks. BCR’s also allow you to get an in-depth understanding on how well different coverage options will be. For instance, Auto Liability, General Liability, Work Comp, Occupational Injury, and Collision Insurance.

Based on BCR, American Business Insurance Services is a great option when looking for commercial vehicle coverage. They are a small insurance carrier that has been around since 1984 and know how to cater to their partner’s needs. They are one of the largest commercial transportation insurance providers in the country with thousands of customers and over 40,000 vehicles insured. Now that you have a much better understanding of what goes into a BCR your options for choosing a potential insurance carrier should be much more clear. Happy insurance!

How to Insure Transportation Network Companies: A Detailed Guide to Getting your TNC off the Ground

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How to Insure Transportation Network Companies: A Detailed Guide to Getting your TNC off the Ground

Written by Laura Loftus on Monday, May 6th, 2019

Whether you are looking to start your own Transportation Network Company, On-Demand Delivery App or other Shared Economy business, one of the most important factors to consider is insurance! Sounds boring, I know. But as the world around us changes, insurance markets for transportation network companies are creating new structures and products. As an independent agency, American Business Insurance has direct relationships with all insurance companies currently writing specialized policies for transportation network companies.

Finding insurance for transportation network companies or other app-based businesses is no easy feat. As you may have already come to realize, most of your local brokers who specialize in personal lines don’t have relationships with insurance companies in this space. Many local brokers don’t understand what information to collect from business owners to present your transportation network company in the most insurable light.

Finding An Insurance Broker To Write Policies For Your Transportation Network Company

Most of the common insurance companies you may have already heard of are not writing policies because of the high-risk nature for transportation network companies. Insurance companies who are writing policies for transportation network companies are Surplus Lines carriers whose focus is in this specialized, technology driven market place.

Some people think that it is easy to join the long list of people who are trying to start transportation network companies to compete with those already dominating the world – Uber and Lyft. But in reality, the people who have created these transportation network companies worked for many years prior to actually launching.

To some, that might seem like a really long time but when an experienced insurance broker who is familiar with writing policies for transportation network companies asks you to assemble a list of items, it’s best to know exactly what you are getting yourself into. Don’t be fooled, there is a lot of prep, time and money that is required to build transportation network companies like Uber or Lyft.

transportation network companies

Minimum Premiums For Transportation Network Companies

As you might have anticipated, buying an insurance policy for transportation network companies is not cheap since most insurers in this space have minimum premiums of $75,000-100,000. We know, that is a lot of dough! The good news is, most of the carriers will accept a portion of that up-front and some even offer premium eroding endorsements. This means if your business doesn’t generate premium up to that amount within the year, they will carry over the credit to the following year.

Obtaining a quote requires you to find a broker who specializes in writing insurance for transportation network companies. Working with the right broker will not only save you time and money, but prevent you from buying coverages you don’t need and making sure that you have the ones you do. An experienced broker who is familiar with writing insurance for transportation network companies will know exactly what information to collect from you. They will also know how to present it best to the insurance markets who are writing policies for transportation network companies.

American Business Insurance Services, Inc.

Lucky for you, you found us! As an agency, we have been around long before ordering a ride from your smart-phone was an option. We specialize in public auto which means we understand more than anyone how transportation network companies operate.

transportation network companies

Items Transportation Network Companies Should Have Ready Before Calling Your Broker For A Quote:

Build the App:

  • One of the first questions I ask customers looking for insurance for transportation network companies is if the app is complete. Insurance company underwriters will want to download your app and make sure it’s working. Also, some companies have technology-based policies, meaning they integrate with your app to capture data on the drivers. Some even offer lower insurance rates based on favorable data collected (less speeding, hard stops, etcetera). Most policies for transportation network companies are usage based, so they have to be able to download your app and make sure it’s compatible with their insurance structure. Insurance companies often want to be able to pull reports from your app which include and are not limited to:

1. Knowing When A Trip Starts and Stops

2. How Many Miles For Each Trip

3. How Many Minutes/Hours For Each Trip

Business Plan & Projections:

  • There is a checklist of items the insurance company will want to see attached to the submission your broker sends. Your broker should be narrating to the insurance company all the hard work and thought you’ve put into creating these transportation network companies. Insurers will want to see a “pitch deck” which is something you might already have created to obtain investors. This document will present and explain your business model, why it is different from what is alreadyout there and how it will work long term. Some of the questions this document should answer are:

transportation network companies1. What are the company’s growth plans?

2. How will you monitor safety/loss control?

3. How is pricing structured so that the company is profitable?

 Safety and Training:

  • Safety and training is a big deal for insurers who are writing policies for transportation network companies. They will want to know what restrictions, checks and balances and training you will provide to drivers. They want to know how often you will check driving records and how often people have to pass background checks. The younger in age the drivers are that you allow to join your transportation network companies, the more expensive you can expect your insurance prices to be. Insurance companies want to know how you are going to prevent accidents from happening so that you build a positive reputation within the industry along side other transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft.

Bios on Key Officers/Investors:

  • Insurance companies want to know about the people behind the transportation network companies! If you want to join the group of dominating transportation network companies, they are going to want to know what experience you have, not only in transportation but also in being an entrepreneur. Take the time to write detailed bios for yourself and all other key members, officers and investors behind your transportation network company. Make sure to detail the knowledge and life experience you are bringing to the table in starting transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft. A well written, detailed bio will separate your company from all the rest and will give you a better advantage to better pricing on insurance for transportation network companies.

 Terms of Service & Privacy Conditions:

  • Although this may seem like a small piece of the puzzle to getting insurance for transportation network companies, most insurers want to see the liability of the app in regards to what they are promising to both their drivers and users. If you are a peer to peer platform, they want to see how the transaction will take place. Some of the questions that should be answered here are:

1. What Security Measures Are In Place To Protect The User?

2. How Should Complaints Be Filed?

3. What Terms and Conditions Does Your Company Adhere To? 

transportation network companies

Financial Balance Sheet:

  • Basically, a lot of what it takes to insure transportation network companies is having money, and a lot of it. Due to the hefty size of the minimum premiums for transportation network companies, generally ranging from $75,00-100,000, insurers want to make sure you not only have money to pay for the policy, but to also keep your business afloat and operating before you start turning a profit. It’s no secret that most transportation network companies do not profit until after the first year. Insurers want to see that you have raised money, not just for the cost of insurance but also for operating expenses, advertising and promotions.
  • When I review the balance sheet for transportation network companies, I know that most insurers want to see that you’ve raised at minimum $250,000-$1,000,000 in capital. Sometimes more. The reason for them wanting transportation network companies to raise this much money is because they know what it takes to gain traction in this unique space. They want to make sure the work they are putting in to quote and bind your policy will create a lasting relationship with you.

Guidance From American Business Insurance Services, INC

Starting any business takes time, research and money. We get phone calls from people daily thinking they are going to be the next Uber and Lyft. And believe me, we want you to make it big and compete against the monopoly that currently exists for transportation network companies. But in reality, we know that few of the phone calls we receive have actually taken the above steps which are required to make transportation network companies insurable.

If you have questions or need guidance, please give us a call and we will be happy to discuss over the phone! While some of the larger, corporate run agencies have the same relationships as us, few will offer the personal touch and value we have with every client.

Exclusive Contracts

Additionally, we have exclusive contracts with some companies that allow us to write at a lower minimum premium than others. We are an independent, family-run business with 75+ years of combined experience in the business insurance industry. We have invested in other transportation network companies, peer to peer and shared economy types of businesses. Most of us utilize transportation network companies and peer-to-peer apps regularly.

We literally have boots on the ground in this space and if you want the best pricing with the smoothest transaction – we are here for you!

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How to Save the MOST Money on Your Commercial Fleet Insurance Rates

ABI Transportation Experts Speak: How to Save the MOST Money on Your Commercial Fleet Insurance Rates

Written by Laura Loftus on Thursday, February 28th, 2019

 

When speaking with clients about their commercial fleet insurance, the most common concern is how to get the lowest insurance rates. About 100% of the customers I speak to daily all have the same goal – they want the lowest insurance rates available and will do whatever it takes to get it. Whether you own a Taxi, Limo, Paratransit or Shared Economy company (peer to peer platform app), it’s a given that you want your commercial fleet insurance coverage at the lowest insurance rates available. What many companies don’t realize, especially start-ups, is that commercial fleet insurance underwriters do quite a bit of digging on your company through a variety of platforms to “check you out” prior to releasing a quote. They read Yelp reviews, they look at your website, they do Better Business Bureau checks – all of it.

There are common mistakes that transportation service companies are repeatedly making that will create doubt in a commercial fleet insurance company. These mistakes actually prevent your broker from being able to find the lowest insurance rates for your company. Most of these companies think they are making business decisions that will guide them toward the lowest insurance rates, and are unaware that their current website or driver pool is actually hurting their chances of achieving the lowest possible commercial fleet insurance rate.

Five common flubs transportation service companies are making that prevent your commercial fleet insurance broker from obtaining the lowest insurance rates possible:

1) Company Website

The first and most common mistake we see from commercial auto risks who are in the “wheels” business as us underwriters call it – is that you over the amount of experience or size of your transportation service company.  It is common for commercial fleet insurance underwriters to google your company to pick apart your website. Here are some items you may think are helping your chances at obtaining the lowest insurance rates but are actually red flags to commercial fleet insurance companies:

  •  Words like “Fast Pick-up” or ‘Delivery in Minutes” – no commercial fleet insurance underwriter wants to see that you are promising rushed services. Rushing = equals unsafe driving behavior.

commercial fleet insurance

  • Advertising vehicles that are not actually part of your fleet. For example, just yesterday I was helping a 35-car fleet in Portland with obtaining commercial fleet insurance quotes. The list of vehicles they provided were all private passenger type vehicles (meaning seating capacity of 8 or less) – good! But when I searched the company online, they advertised a large shuttle bus and a higher seating capacity van. When I asked the client about this, they those vehicles had been sold and they had no plans to replace them. Keeping your website up to date and only advertising only what you can actually deliver will keep unwanted questions from creeping into the commercial fleet insurance underwriters’ mind. Creating uncertainty is the last thing you want to do with a commercial fleet insurance underwriter when trying to obtain the lowest insurance rates.
  •  Age of vehicles is important to commercial fleet insurance companies. Publishing a picture of a 30-year-old vehicle is no bueno. Keep your fleet serviced regularly (we recommend every three to four thousand miles and cycle out old units. Newer, cleaner & well-maintained vehicles are not only more desired by clientele (when trying to compete with Uber/Lyft) but also preferred by commercial fleet insurance companies trying to avoid claims due to mechanical defect.
  • If you boast 20 years of experience but your LLC was filed three years ago, it creates uncertainty with insurance companies. It’s better to accurately reflect your business as it is now, and not what you want it to be five years from now. Just as there are items to avoid putting on your website, there are points that you should include on your website. It is always a good idea to brag about highly trained drivers and safety training you provide (more on this later). Be sure to note the maintenance you keep up with for your fleet, the background checks the city you operate in mandates and the highest level of driving records required for your drivers. Commercial fleet insurance underwriters like stable fleets with safe drivers. Bottom line, safer risks translates to commercial fleet insurance underwriters offering the lowest insurance rates.

2) Creating a Business Name

This may seem simple enough but for transportation business owners looking to for the lowest insurance rates, people often think that commercial fleet insurance companies give the lowest insurance rates to Limo’s and Non-Emergency Medical risks over a taxi or airport shuttle. While this might be true, cornering yourself into a specific type of transportation in your business name narrows the list of commercial fleet insurance carriers you are eligible for. Many markets write only taxis or only limos. So, if you file your business name with the Secretary of State as Laura’s Taxi & Limo Service, LLC. – it could possibly make you ineligible for a limo commercial fleet insurance program because they don’t insure taxis and vice versa – even if your unit type meets their requirements. When talking with clients, I always say it’s best to be general about the transportation type within the name of their business, especially as market conditions change. You may be heavy in taxi trips one year but then obtain a paratransit contract and do more of that the following year. The more years of favorable loss history (loss runs) you can provide, the better chance you have at obtaining the lowest insurance rates. Choosing a business name that is general such as Laura’s Transportation Service, LLC. allows you flexibility to transform and evolve your business as the industry demands change.

3) Loss Control is Everything

Underwriters give commercial fleet insurance at the lowest insurance rates to companies with low levels of paid claims. Even in a hard insurance market, with rates rising for the good guys too, you can expect to pay more for commercial fleet insurance if you’re prior insurance companies have paid a lot in claims. Here are some suggestions in tightening loss control for your transportation service company:

  •  Hire a full-time loss control or driver manager who will enforce a safety culture. Doing this, will lower the frequency and severity of claim payouts and put your transportation service company in a better position to obtain the lowest insurance rates. This person should be in charge of overseeing the overall safety of your company. Managing and coaching your drivers is the key to a successful transportation service company. You are only as good as your worst driver.
  • commercial fleet insurance Invest in cameras that capture not only accidents but also driver analytics. This type of camera system will allow you to review driver behavior and correct bad habits before they cause an accident. We like to say this method is similar to that of a professional athlete. How do they improve? They watch their game film and correct bad habits. Driving professionally is the same. The more you do it, the more comfortable you get and having drivers watch themselves reduces risky behavior dramatically. Additionally, it’s a known fact that many commercial fleet insurance claims are paid because of he said/she said situations. Having accidents on camera is the best way to know who exactly was at fault and exonerate innocent drivers.
  •  Hold weekly safety huddles and or monthly meetings. Review the data and claims that have occurred recently and talk to your drivers about how they could have been prevented.
  •  Commit to investing in annual defensive driving training for your drivers. This annual reminder to drivers will ensure that bad habits are addressed and give each driver a time to reflect on their own performance.
  • Implement a reward program for safe drivers. Giving an incentive, even if it’s small monetary gift cards – keeps your drivers focused and motivated on safe driving habits.

4) The Driver Pool

The Driver Pool is so important when trying to achieve the lowest insurance rates from commercial fleet insurance providers for your transportation company. How you chose to manage drivers and who you hire is crucial. Create formal guidelines that clearly outline what is acceptable for employment. We recommend only hiring drivers with zero accidents within the past three years and minimal moving violations. Clean MVRs are best but we know that professional drivers with experience usually do not have clean MVRs and this is ok. Professional drivers are on the road up to 3x more than someone commuting to/from work so it’s a given that they will most likely have more violations on their records. Repeat offenders can impact the cost of your commercial fleet insurance and should be let go. No one is perfect, but you should train your drivers with the goal to be as safe as possible. Excessive violations on a driving record can cause surcharges and prevent you from obtaining the lower insurance rates. Additionally, younger drivers sometimes generate higher premiums for commercial fleet insurance as well as newly licensed individuals.

5) Contact an Experienced, Transportation Insurance Broker

commercial fleet insurance

Working with a transportation specialist versus a local agency makes a huge difference as commercial fleet insurance brokers have access to many more transportation focused insurance companies. Also, an experienced broker will review your company data prior to submitting to commercial fleet insurance companies. If they see something a commercial fleet insurance company won’t like, they can address it with you and provide you with an opportunity to make changes before submitting to each carrier. The more information you can provide to a commercial fleet insurance underwriter, the better chances you have at achieving the lowest insurance rates. Because the for-hire, livery insurance market is so thin, carriers often get multiple submissions from duplicate brokers. Try to work with one broker at a time. You may think contacting multiple agencies well help you, but if they are all going to the same markets for commercial fleet insurance – it’s duplicating not only your own work, but the insurance companies as well. The livery market is a tough class of business and finding an experienced broker will absolutely give you a leg up on finding the lowest insurance rates over a generalist broker.

American Business Insurance Services, Inc. has been working with transportation companies across the nation for 35+ years. We have direct relationships with the most competitive commercial fleet insurance companies. We know what it takes to submit a complete application and present your company in the best light possible – which will no doubt translate to finding commercial fleet insurance at the lowest insurance rate.

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HyreCar CEO Thanks Us

HyreCar CEO Thanks American Business Insurance

In an interview with Nasdaq, HyreCar CEO, Joe Furnari, shared how American Business Insurance helped the company grow and succeed. It is our pleasure to work with this amazing company. Read below about the HyreCar company origins, the ways Uber and Lyft drivers can succeed despite obstacles, and the role of transportation network insurance.

The Origins of HyreCar

Three years ago, Joe Furnari was not the CEO of HyreCar. In fact, he was their first customer. At the time, he had a car in his garage that he barely drove. He was actually getting ready to sell his car when he came across the HyreCar start-up. So, he decided to give it a shot by listing his car for rent. When HyreCar had matched him to a driver, the three original founders were so excited they drove to Furnari’s house to meet their first client and be there when the driver came to pick up his car. The driver could then drive for Uber or Lyft. It didn’t take long for Furnari to see a profit by renting his car out, and he became so enamored with the business model that he eventually left his job at the time to become the CEO of HyreCar.

As insurance brokers, we get calls all the time from people who are looking to start a new commercial transportation business. Whether it be someone aspiring to start the next Uber and Lyft or someone who wants to start a small shuttle business, it is our priority to weed out those who are serious and have spent time in their business model, compared to those who woke up one day thinking it would be easy to hit the ground running.

HyreCar lyft uber insurance

 

Where We Came into the Picture

In 2015, our agency President Dave Haley and insurance industry veteran (as recently dubbed by BusinessWire) received a call from the two original founders of HyreCar. Marciano Kim and Abhi Arorahe, the HyreCar founders, found our auto insurance company via google. “I spent 3 minutes on the phone with the founders and immediately, I loved the idea HyreCar was going for. I knew there were a lot of people who wanted work (for Transportation Network Companies like Uber and Lyft) but couldn’t because they didn’t have a vehicle that qualified for it,” Haley said.

At the time, HyreCar and similar companies represented an untapped insurance market as well. Haley was tasked with what felt like an impossibility – to find an insurance company to charge per day, per mile, and per minute. After shopping the marketplace and many declinations, he finally found a carrier that was as interested in the business model as he was. And within a rapid 60 days, HyreCar was insured and able to really launch their platform.

Uber and Lyft Drivers Can Rejoice

There is a big problem for many people who want to drive for Uber or Lyft. The obstacle is obtaining a vehicle that meets Uber or Lyft company requirements. Many drivers have to rent cars and then have to procure insurance on that vehicle. Personal auto specifically excludes any use of your vehicle that generates revenue.

Many Transportation Network Company (TNC) drivers use their personal auto regardless, but technically this is risky. In the case of an accident while driving for Uber or Lyft, their personal auto carrier would deny the claim. Additionally, the driver would face  the possibility of cancellation and non-renewal. With HyreCar’s model, drivers are able to rent a car at an affordable price. Plus, they would obtain an insurance ID card through HyreCar that allows them to qualify for Uber and Lyft. The great news is it does not put them at risk for being cancelled for unauthorized use of the vehicle.

HyreCar CEO Speaks to the Importance of Good Insurance

Uber driver Lyft Driver insurance hyrecar

 

Since launching three years ago, HyreCar has expanded into all 50 states. They have provided solutions for a disrupted transportation, car dealership and insurance industry. HyreCar recently went public and CEO Joe Furnari was interviewed by Nasdaq. In the Nasdaq interview, Furnari attributes part of HyreCar’s ability to grow and succeed to partnering with the right people on the insurance side. Furnari spoke specifically of American Business Insurance. The video clips and press releases included in this article effectively articulate from Furnari on how HyreCar has helped drivers, car dealers, and the insurance industry step forward into this ever-changing transportation marketplace.

Written by Laura Loftus on October 16th, 2018.

 

For more information about insuring your shared economy or transportation network company like HyreCar, click here: https://abiweb.com/services/tnc-provider/

WATCH THE INTERVIEW BETWEEN NASDAQ AND FURNARI BELOW

WATCH ANOTHER INTERVIEW WITH FURNARI HERE: https://www.facebook.com/Nasdaq/videos/2638290029729362/UzpfSTI2ODE1MjMzOTg2NjU2NzoyMjg5Mjc2ODE3NzU0MDk5/

Autonomous Vehicle Insurance: Self-Driving Cars

I know it is hard to believe that autonomous vehicle insurance is actually a thing now, but it is and it’s only going to become more relevant as time goes on. So, when your business decides to join the self-driving car movement it will be pertinent for your vehicles to be properly covered. This is where ABI Insurance Services Inc. comes in!

ABI Insurance Services Inc.
ABI has been around since 1985, making them a veteran when it comes to insurance services. Currently, they are one of the largest providers for commercial transportation insurance in the nation with over 40,000 vehicles being covered. Although they are seasoned when it comes to insurance policies they are also well aware of the rapid growth and change within the vehicle industry. This not only makes ABI highly experienced in business vehicle insurance, but also makes them one of the most innovative and up-to-date when it comes to the latest advancements in cars.

Autonomous Vehicle Insurance
With autonomous vehicle insurance being a newer concept, it is paramount for your small or large fleet insurance to be up to par with policies. At ABI, exclusive relationships with various insurance carriers allows for policies to meet all the specific criteria for your business. This means that the agonizing insurance process of underwriting, quoting, and binding of policies can all be done in house which in turn means faster, more specific services for your insurance needs. It is ABI’s business to understand their client’s business and this is exactly why ABI has been around for over 30 years and created such strong partnerships.

Why Autonomous Cars
Studies have shown that a computer is more of an ideal motorist than humans, this is further supported with the statistic that over 81% of car crashes are a direct result of human error. This only makes more sense when you put into consideration that there are no opportunities for a computer to be distracted by its surrounding environment. For human driven cars, most accidents are outcomes of the distractions correlated with simultaneously driving and texting or eating food. With autonomous cars, you can focus more on those things that would otherwise distract you from the road which in turn would save you time in your busy lifestyle. Not if, but when self-driving cars start to take over the roads it will improve traffic conditions exponentially because large numbers of self-driving cars mean less human errors which would result in less overall congestion.

Recap and other Pro’s for Self-Driving Vehicles:

  • Less car crashes
  • More free time
  • Less congestion
  • Higher speed limits
  • Less drunk drivers
  • Less parking concerns
  • Disabled support

ABI’s portfolio of coverages include Auto Liability, General Liability, Work Comp, Occupational Injury and Collision insurance for virtually any commercial vehicle including Truckers, Movers, and more. With their focus falling within the commercial vehicle realm they are the ideal service to contact when you make that innovative transfer from a fleet of human-driven cars to self-driven cars. You can contact ABI for a quote today by clicking on button below. Safe autonomous driving!

A.M. Best Rating Service: The Credibility of Insurance Companies

Best’s Credit Rating (BCR)
When it comes to knowing whether or not an insurance company is going to be a reliable fit for your needs the first thing to verify is the company’s Best’s Credit Rating (BCR). This is an objective judgement regarding the insurer’s creditworthiness. The BCR is essentially a grade given based on quantitative and qualitative evaluations of the insurer’s balance sheet, operating performance, and business profile. There are various credit and independent rating options, to include:

  • Best’s Financial Strength Ratings (FSR) – This rating is an opinion provided on a specific insurer’s financial strengths and their ability to meet current insurance policy and contract obligations.
  • Best’s Issuer Credit Rating (ICR) – This rating is an opinion of an entity’s ability to meet ongoing financial obligations that can be issued on a long or short-term basis.
  • Best’s Issue Credit Rating (IR) – This rating is an opinion on the credit quality assigned to issues that determines how likely they are to meet the terms of obligation and can be issued on a long or short-term basis.
  • Best’s National Scale Rating (NSR) – This rating is based on a measurement of creditworthiness in a specific jurisdiction that is issued on a long-term basis.
  • Preliminary Credit Assessment (PCA) – This is an independent opinion based on the general credit strengths/weaknesses of an issuer, security, obligor, business plans, and term sheets.
  • Rating Assessment Service (RAS) – This is a rating solicited by non-rated entities that provides an opinion of a company’s rating prospects based on their financial statements and other financial information.
  • Rating Evaluation Service (RES) – This is a rating solicited by rated entities that provides an opinion on the impact of hypothetical scenarios based on financial projections and other financial information.
  • Financial Size Category (FSC) – This a grading scale designed to provide an indicator on the size of a company in terms of its statutory surplus and related accounts.

Choosing the Right Partner
For example, if you are searching for an insurance carrier to cover your commercial vehicles then it is crucial to look at their BCR. By looking at the ratings above it will give you a much better understanding of a company’s legitimacy when it comes to covering vehicles such as cabs, limos, ambulances, and trucks. BCR’s also allow you to get an in-depth understanding on how well different coverage options will be. For instance, Auto Liability, General Liability, Work Comp, Occupational Injury, and Collision Insurance.

Based on BCR, American Business Insurance Services is a great option when looking for commercial vehicle coverage. They are a small insurance carrier that has been around since 1984 and know how to cater to their partner’s needs. They are one of the largest commercial transportation insurance providers in the country with thousands of customers and over 40,000 vehicles insured. Now that you have a much better understanding of what goes into a BCR your options for choosing a potential insurance carrier should be much more clear. Happy insurance!

How to Insure Transportation Network Companies: A Detailed Guide to Getting your TNC off the Ground

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How to Insure Transportation Network Companies: A Detailed Guide to Getting your TNC off the Ground

Written by Laura Loftus on Monday, May 6th, 2019

Whether you are looking to start your own Transportation Network Company, On-Demand Delivery App or other Shared Economy business, one of the most important factors to consider is insurance! Sounds boring, I know. But as the world around us changes, insurance markets for transportation network companies are creating new structures and products. As an independent agency, American Business Insurance has direct relationships with all insurance companies currently writing specialized policies for transportation network companies.

Finding insurance for transportation network companies or other app-based businesses is no easy feat. As you may have already come to realize, most of your local brokers who specialize in personal lines don’t have relationships with insurance companies in this space. Many local brokers don’t understand what information to collect from business owners to present your transportation network company in the most insurable light.

Finding An Insurance Broker To Write Policies For Your Transportation Network Company

Most of the common insurance companies you may have already heard of are not writing policies because of the high-risk nature for transportation network companies. Insurance companies who are writing policies for transportation network companies are Surplus Lines carriers whose focus is in this specialized, technology driven market place.

Some people think that it is easy to join the long list of people who are trying to start transportation network companies to compete with those already dominating the world – Uber and Lyft. But in reality, the people who have created these transportation network companies worked for many years prior to actually launching.

To some, that might seem like a really long time but when an experienced insurance broker who is familiar with writing policies for transportation network companies asks you to assemble a list of items, it’s best to know exactly what you are getting yourself into. Don’t be fooled, there is a lot of prep, time and money that is required to build transportation network companies like Uber or Lyft.

transportation network companies

Minimum Premiums For Transportation Network Companies

As you might have anticipated, buying an insurance policy for transportation network companies is not cheap since most insurers in this space have minimum premiums of $75,000-100,000. We know, that is a lot of dough! The good news is, most of the carriers will accept a portion of that up-front and some even offer premium eroding endorsements. This means if your business doesn’t generate premium up to that amount within the year, they will carry over the credit to the following year.

Obtaining a quote requires you to find a broker who specializes in writing insurance for transportation network companies. Working with the right broker will not only save you time and money, but prevent you from buying coverages you don’t need and making sure that you have the ones you do. An experienced broker who is familiar with writing insurance for transportation network companies will know exactly what information to collect from you. They will also know how to present it best to the insurance markets who are writing policies for transportation network companies.

American Business Insurance Services, Inc.

Lucky for you, you found us! As an agency, we have been around long before ordering a ride from your smart-phone was an option. We specialize in public auto which means we understand more than anyone how transportation network companies operate.

transportation network companies

Items Transportation Network Companies Should Have Ready Before Calling Your Broker For A Quote:

Build the App:

  • One of the first questions I ask customers looking for insurance for transportation network companies is if the app is complete. Insurance company underwriters will want to download your app and make sure it’s working. Also, some companies have technology-based policies, meaning they integrate with your app to capture data on the drivers. Some even offer lower insurance rates based on favorable data collected (less speeding, hard stops, etcetera). Most policies for transportation network companies are usage based, so they have to be able to download your app and make sure it’s compatible with their insurance structure. Insurance companies often want to be able to pull reports from your app which include and are not limited to:

1. Knowing When A Trip Starts and Stops

2. How Many Miles For Each Trip

3. How Many Minutes/Hours For Each Trip

Business Plan & Projections:

  • There is a checklist of items the insurance company will want to see attached to the submission your broker sends. Your broker should be narrating to the insurance company all the hard work and thought you’ve put into creating these transportation network companies. Insurers will want to see a “pitch deck” which is something you might already have created to obtain investors. This document will present and explain your business model, why it is different from what is alreadyout there and how it will work long term. Some of the questions this document should answer are:

transportation network companies1. What are the company’s growth plans?

2. How will you monitor safety/loss control?

3. How is pricing structured so that the company is profitable?

 Safety and Training:

  • Safety and training is a big deal for insurers who are writing policies for transportation network companies. They will want to know what restrictions, checks and balances and training you will provide to drivers. They want to know how often you will check driving records and how often people have to pass background checks. The younger in age the drivers are that you allow to join your transportation network companies, the more expensive you can expect your insurance prices to be. Insurance companies want to know how you are going to prevent accidents from happening so that you build a positive reputation within the industry along side other transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft.

Bios on Key Officers/Investors:

  • Insurance companies want to know about the people behind the transportation network companies! If you want to join the group of dominating transportation network companies, they are going to want to know what experience you have, not only in transportation but also in being an entrepreneur. Take the time to write detailed bios for yourself and all other key members, officers and investors behind your transportation network company. Make sure to detail the knowledge and life experience you are bringing to the table in starting transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft. A well written, detailed bio will separate your company from all the rest and will give you a better advantage to better pricing on insurance for transportation network companies.

 Terms of Service & Privacy Conditions:

  • Although this may seem like a small piece of the puzzle to getting insurance for transportation network companies, most insurers want to see the liability of the app in regards to what they are promising to both their drivers and users. If you are a peer to peer platform, they want to see how the transaction will take place. Some of the questions that should be answered here are:

1. What Security Measures Are In Place To Protect The User?

2. How Should Complaints Be Filed?

3. What Terms and Conditions Does Your Company Adhere To? 

transportation network companies

Financial Balance Sheet:

  • Basically, a lot of what it takes to insure transportation network companies is having money, and a lot of it. Due to the hefty size of the minimum premiums for transportation network companies, generally ranging from $75,00-100,000, insurers want to make sure you not only have money to pay for the policy, but to also keep your business afloat and operating before you start turning a profit. It’s no secret that most transportation network companies do not profit until after the first year. Insurers want to see that you have raised money, not just for the cost of insurance but also for operating expenses, advertising and promotions.
  • When I review the balance sheet for transportation network companies, I know that most insurers want to see that you’ve raised at minimum $250,000-$1,000,000 in capital. Sometimes more. The reason for them wanting transportation network companies to raise this much money is because they know what it takes to gain traction in this unique space. They want to make sure the work they are putting in to quote and bind your policy will create a lasting relationship with you.

Guidance From American Business Insurance Services, INC

Starting any business takes time, research and money. We get phone calls from people daily thinking they are going to be the next Uber and Lyft. And believe me, we want you to make it big and compete against the monopoly that currently exists for transportation network companies. But in reality, we know that few of the phone calls we receive have actually taken the above steps which are required to make transportation network companies insurable.

If you have questions or need guidance, please give us a call and we will be happy to discuss over the phone! While some of the larger, corporate run agencies have the same relationships as us, few will offer the personal touch and value we have with every client.

Exclusive Contracts

Additionally, we have exclusive contracts with some companies that allow us to write at a lower minimum premium than others. We are an independent, family-run business with 75+ years of combined experience in the business insurance industry. We have invested in other transportation network companies, peer to peer and shared economy types of businesses. Most of us utilize transportation network companies and peer-to-peer apps regularly.

We literally have boots on the ground in this space and if you want the best pricing with the smoothest transaction – we are here for you!

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How to Save the MOST Money on Your Commercial Fleet Insurance Rates

ABI Transportation Experts Speak: How to Save the MOST Money on Your Commercial Fleet Insurance Rates

Written by Laura Loftus on Thursday, February 28th, 2019

 

When speaking with clients about their commercial fleet insurance, the most common concern is how to get the lowest insurance rates. About 100% of the customers I speak to daily all have the same goal – they want the lowest insurance rates available and will do whatever it takes to get it. Whether you own a Taxi, Limo, Paratransit or Shared Economy company (peer to peer platform app), it’s a given that you want your commercial fleet insurance coverage at the lowest insurance rates available. What many companies don’t realize, especially start-ups, is that commercial fleet insurance underwriters do quite a bit of digging on your company through a variety of platforms to “check you out” prior to releasing a quote. They read Yelp reviews, they look at your website, they do Better Business Bureau checks – all of it.

There are common mistakes that transportation service companies are repeatedly making that will create doubt in a commercial fleet insurance company. These mistakes actually prevent your broker from being able to find the lowest insurance rates for your company. Most of these companies think they are making business decisions that will guide them toward the lowest insurance rates, and are unaware that their current website or driver pool is actually hurting their chances of achieving the lowest possible commercial fleet insurance rate.

Five common flubs transportation service companies are making that prevent your commercial fleet insurance broker from obtaining the lowest insurance rates possible:

1) Company Website

The first and most common mistake we see from commercial auto risks who are in the “wheels” business as us underwriters call it – is that you over the amount of experience or size of your transportation service company.  It is common for commercial fleet insurance underwriters to google your company to pick apart your website. Here are some items you may think are helping your chances at obtaining the lowest insurance rates but are actually red flags to commercial fleet insurance companies:

  •  Words like “Fast Pick-up” or ‘Delivery in Minutes” – no commercial fleet insurance underwriter wants to see that you are promising rushed services. Rushing = equals unsafe driving behavior.

commercial fleet insurance

  • Advertising vehicles that are not actually part of your fleet. For example, just yesterday I was helping a 35-car fleet in Portland with obtaining commercial fleet insurance quotes. The list of vehicles they provided were all private passenger type vehicles (meaning seating capacity of 8 or less) – good! But when I searched the company online, they advertised a large shuttle bus and a higher seating capacity van. When I asked the client about this, they those vehicles had been sold and they had no plans to replace them. Keeping your website up to date and only advertising only what you can actually deliver will keep unwanted questions from creeping into the commercial fleet insurance underwriters’ mind. Creating uncertainty is the last thing you want to do with a commercial fleet insurance underwriter when trying to obtain the lowest insurance rates.
  •  Age of vehicles is important to commercial fleet insurance companies. Publishing a picture of a 30-year-old vehicle is no bueno. Keep your fleet serviced regularly (we recommend every three to four thousand miles and cycle out old units. Newer, cleaner & well-maintained vehicles are not only more desired by clientele (when trying to compete with Uber/Lyft) but also preferred by commercial fleet insurance companies trying to avoid claims due to mechanical defect.
  • If you boast 20 years of experience but your LLC was filed three years ago, it creates uncertainty with insurance companies. It’s better to accurately reflect your business as it is now, and not what you want it to be five years from now. Just as there are items to avoid putting on your website, there are points that you should include on your website. It is always a good idea to brag about highly trained drivers and safety training you provide (more on this later). Be sure to note the maintenance you keep up with for your fleet, the background checks the city you operate in mandates and the highest level of driving records required for your drivers. Commercial fleet insurance underwriters like stable fleets with safe drivers. Bottom line, safer risks translates to commercial fleet insurance underwriters offering the lowest insurance rates.

2) Creating a Business Name

This may seem simple enough but for transportation business owners looking to for the lowest insurance rates, people often think that commercial fleet insurance companies give the lowest insurance rates to Limo’s and Non-Emergency Medical risks over a taxi or airport shuttle. While this might be true, cornering yourself into a specific type of transportation in your business name narrows the list of commercial fleet insurance carriers you are eligible for. Many markets write only taxis or only limos. So, if you file your business name with the Secretary of State as Laura’s Taxi & Limo Service, LLC. – it could possibly make you ineligible for a limo commercial fleet insurance program because they don’t insure taxis and vice versa – even if your unit type meets their requirements. When talking with clients, I always say it’s best to be general about the transportation type within the name of their business, especially as market conditions change. You may be heavy in taxi trips one year but then obtain a paratransit contract and do more of that the following year. The more years of favorable loss history (loss runs) you can provide, the better chance you have at obtaining the lowest insurance rates. Choosing a business name that is general such as Laura’s Transportation Service, LLC. allows you flexibility to transform and evolve your business as the industry demands change.

3) Loss Control is Everything

Underwriters give commercial fleet insurance at the lowest insurance rates to companies with low levels of paid claims. Even in a hard insurance market, with rates rising for the good guys too, you can expect to pay more for commercial fleet insurance if you’re prior insurance companies have paid a lot in claims. Here are some suggestions in tightening loss control for your transportation service company:

  •  Hire a full-time loss control or driver manager who will enforce a safety culture. Doing this, will lower the frequency and severity of claim payouts and put your transportation service company in a better position to obtain the lowest insurance rates. This person should be in charge of overseeing the overall safety of your company. Managing and coaching your drivers is the key to a successful transportation service company. You are only as good as your worst driver.
  • commercial fleet insurance Invest in cameras that capture not only accidents but also driver analytics. This type of camera system will allow you to review driver behavior and correct bad habits before they cause an accident. We like to say this method is similar to that of a professional athlete. How do they improve? They watch their game film and correct bad habits. Driving professionally is the same. The more you do it, the more comfortable you get and having drivers watch themselves reduces risky behavior dramatically. Additionally, it’s a known fact that many commercial fleet insurance claims are paid because of he said/she said situations. Having accidents on camera is the best way to know who exactly was at fault and exonerate innocent drivers.
  •  Hold weekly safety huddles and or monthly meetings. Review the data and claims that have occurred recently and talk to your drivers about how they could have been prevented.
  •  Commit to investing in annual defensive driving training for your drivers. This annual reminder to drivers will ensure that bad habits are addressed and give each driver a time to reflect on their own performance.
  • Implement a reward program for safe drivers. Giving an incentive, even if it’s small monetary gift cards – keeps your drivers focused and motivated on safe driving habits.

4) The Driver Pool

The Driver Pool is so important when trying to achieve the lowest insurance rates from commercial fleet insurance providers for your transportation company. How you chose to manage drivers and who you hire is crucial. Create formal guidelines that clearly outline what is acceptable for employment. We recommend only hiring drivers with zero accidents within the past three years and minimal moving violations. Clean MVRs are best but we know that professional drivers with experience usually do not have clean MVRs and this is ok. Professional drivers are on the road up to 3x more than someone commuting to/from work so it’s a given that they will most likely have more violations on their records. Repeat offenders can impact the cost of your commercial fleet insurance and should be let go. No one is perfect, but you should train your drivers with the goal to be as safe as possible. Excessive violations on a driving record can cause surcharges and prevent you from obtaining the lower insurance rates. Additionally, younger drivers sometimes generate higher premiums for commercial fleet insurance as well as newly licensed individuals.

5) Contact an Experienced, Transportation Insurance Broker

commercial fleet insurance

Working with a transportation specialist versus a local agency makes a huge difference as commercial fleet insurance brokers have access to many more transportation focused insurance companies. Also, an experienced broker will review your company data prior to submitting to commercial fleet insurance companies. If they see something a commercial fleet insurance company won’t like, they can address it with you and provide you with an opportunity to make changes before submitting to each carrier. The more information you can provide to a commercial fleet insurance underwriter, the better chances you have at achieving the lowest insurance rates. Because the for-hire, livery insurance market is so thin, carriers often get multiple submissions from duplicate brokers. Try to work with one broker at a time. You may think contacting multiple agencies well help you, but if they are all going to the same markets for commercial fleet insurance – it’s duplicating not only your own work, but the insurance companies as well. The livery market is a tough class of business and finding an experienced broker will absolutely give you a leg up on finding the lowest insurance rates over a generalist broker.

American Business Insurance Services, Inc. has been working with transportation companies across the nation for 35+ years. We have direct relationships with the most competitive commercial fleet insurance companies. We know what it takes to submit a complete application and present your company in the best light possible – which will no doubt translate to finding commercial fleet insurance at the lowest insurance rate.

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HyreCar CEO Thanks Us

HyreCar CEO Thanks American Business Insurance

In an interview with Nasdaq, HyreCar CEO, Joe Furnari, shared how American Business Insurance helped the company grow and succeed. It is our pleasure to work with this amazing company. Read below about the HyreCar company origins, the ways Uber and Lyft drivers can succeed despite obstacles, and the role of transportation network insurance.

The Origins of HyreCar

Three years ago, Joe Furnari was not the CEO of HyreCar. In fact, he was their first customer. At the time, he had a car in his garage that he barely drove. He was actually getting ready to sell his car when he came across the HyreCar start-up. So, he decided to give it a shot by listing his car for rent. When HyreCar had matched him to a driver, the three original founders were so excited they drove to Furnari’s house to meet their first client and be there when the driver came to pick up his car. The driver could then drive for Uber or Lyft. It didn’t take long for Furnari to see a profit by renting his car out, and he became so enamored with the business model that he eventually left his job at the time to become the CEO of HyreCar.

As insurance brokers, we get calls all the time from people who are looking to start a new commercial transportation business. Whether it be someone aspiring to start the next Uber and Lyft or someone who wants to start a small shuttle business, it is our priority to weed out those who are serious and have spent time in their business model, compared to those who woke up one day thinking it would be easy to hit the ground running.

HyreCar lyft uber insurance

 

Where We Came into the Picture

In 2015, our agency President Dave Haley and insurance industry veteran (as recently dubbed by BusinessWire) received a call from the two original founders of HyreCar. Marciano Kim and Abhi Arorahe, the HyreCar founders, found our auto insurance company via google. “I spent 3 minutes on the phone with the founders and immediately, I loved the idea HyreCar was going for. I knew there were a lot of people who wanted work (for Transportation Network Companies like Uber and Lyft) but couldn’t because they didn’t have a vehicle that qualified for it,” Haley said.

At the time, HyreCar and similar companies represented an untapped insurance market as well. Haley was tasked with what felt like an impossibility – to find an insurance company to charge per day, per mile, and per minute. After shopping the marketplace and many declinations, he finally found a carrier that was as interested in the business model as he was. And within a rapid 60 days, HyreCar was insured and able to really launch their platform.

Uber and Lyft Drivers Can Rejoice

There is a big problem for many people who want to drive for Uber or Lyft. The obstacle is obtaining a vehicle that meets Uber or Lyft company requirements. Many drivers have to rent cars and then have to procure insurance on that vehicle. Personal auto specifically excludes any use of your vehicle that generates revenue.

Many Transportation Network Company (TNC) drivers use their personal auto regardless, but technically this is risky. In the case of an accident while driving for Uber or Lyft, their personal auto carrier would deny the claim. Additionally, the driver would face  the possibility of cancellation and non-renewal. With HyreCar’s model, drivers are able to rent a car at an affordable price. Plus, they would obtain an insurance ID card through HyreCar that allows them to qualify for Uber and Lyft. The great news is it does not put them at risk for being cancelled for unauthorized use of the vehicle.

HyreCar CEO Speaks to the Importance of Good Insurance

Uber driver Lyft Driver insurance hyrecar

 

Since launching three years ago, HyreCar has expanded into all 50 states. They have provided solutions for a disrupted transportation, car dealership and insurance industry. HyreCar recently went public and CEO Joe Furnari was interviewed by Nasdaq. In the Nasdaq interview, Furnari attributes part of HyreCar’s ability to grow and succeed to partnering with the right people on the insurance side. Furnari spoke specifically of American Business Insurance. The video clips and press releases included in this article effectively articulate from Furnari on how HyreCar has helped drivers, car dealers, and the insurance industry step forward into this ever-changing transportation marketplace.

Written by Laura Loftus on October 16th, 2018.

 

For more information about insuring your shared economy or transportation network company like HyreCar, click here: https://abiweb.com/services/tnc-provider/

WATCH THE INTERVIEW BETWEEN NASDAQ AND FURNARI BELOW

WATCH ANOTHER INTERVIEW WITH FURNARI HERE: https://www.facebook.com/Nasdaq/videos/2638290029729362/UzpfSTI2ODE1MjMzOTg2NjU2NzoyMjg5Mjc2ODE3NzU0MDk5/

Autonomous Vehicle Insurance: Self-Driving Cars

I know it is hard to believe that autonomous vehicle insurance is actually a thing now, but it is and it’s only going to become more relevant as time goes on. So, when your business decides to join the self-driving car movement it will be pertinent for your vehicles to be properly covered. This is where ABI Insurance Services Inc. comes in!

ABI Insurance Services Inc.
ABI has been around since 1985, making them a veteran when it comes to insurance services. Currently, they are one of the largest providers for commercial transportation insurance in the nation with over 40,000 vehicles being covered. Although they are seasoned when it comes to insurance policies they are also well aware of the rapid growth and change within the vehicle industry. This not only makes ABI highly experienced in business vehicle insurance, but also makes them one of the most innovative and up-to-date when it comes to the latest advancements in cars.

Autonomous Vehicle Insurance
With autonomous vehicle insurance being a newer concept, it is paramount for your small or large fleet insurance to be up to par with policies. At ABI, exclusive relationships with various insurance carriers allows for policies to meet all the specific criteria for your business. This means that the agonizing insurance process of underwriting, quoting, and binding of policies can all be done in house which in turn means faster, more specific services for your insurance needs. It is ABI’s business to understand their client’s business and this is exactly why ABI has been around for over 30 years and created such strong partnerships.

Why Autonomous Cars
Studies have shown that a computer is more of an ideal motorist than humans, this is further supported with the statistic that over 81% of car crashes are a direct result of human error. This only makes more sense when you put into consideration that there are no opportunities for a computer to be distracted by its surrounding environment. For human driven cars, most accidents are outcomes of the distractions correlated with simultaneously driving and texting or eating food. With autonomous cars, you can focus more on those things that would otherwise distract you from the road which in turn would save you time in your busy lifestyle. Not if, but when self-driving cars start to take over the roads it will improve traffic conditions exponentially because large numbers of self-driving cars mean less human errors which would result in less overall congestion.

Recap and other Pro’s for Self-Driving Vehicles:

  • Less car crashes
  • More free time
  • Less congestion
  • Higher speed limits
  • Less drunk drivers
  • Less parking concerns
  • Disabled support

ABI’s portfolio of coverages include Auto Liability, General Liability, Work Comp, Occupational Injury and Collision insurance for virtually any commercial vehicle including Truckers, Movers, and more. With their focus falling within the commercial vehicle realm they are the ideal service to contact when you make that innovative transfer from a fleet of human-driven cars to self-driven cars. You can contact ABI for a quote today by clicking on button below. Safe autonomous driving!

A.M. Best Rating Service: The Credibility of Insurance Companies

Best’s Credit Rating (BCR)
When it comes to knowing whether or not an insurance company is going to be a reliable fit for your needs the first thing to verify is the company’s Best’s Credit Rating (BCR). This is an objective judgement regarding the insurer’s creditworthiness. The BCR is essentially a grade given based on quantitative and qualitative evaluations of the insurer’s balance sheet, operating performance, and business profile. There are various credit and independent rating options, to include:

  • Best’s Financial Strength Ratings (FSR) – This rating is an opinion provided on a specific insurer’s financial strengths and their ability to meet current insurance policy and contract obligations.
  • Best’s Issuer Credit Rating (ICR) – This rating is an opinion of an entity’s ability to meet ongoing financial obligations that can be issued on a long or short-term basis.
  • Best’s Issue Credit Rating (IR) – This rating is an opinion on the credit quality assigned to issues that determines how likely they are to meet the terms of obligation and can be issued on a long or short-term basis.
  • Best’s National Scale Rating (NSR) – This rating is based on a measurement of creditworthiness in a specific jurisdiction that is issued on a long-term basis.
  • Preliminary Credit Assessment (PCA) – This is an independent opinion based on the general credit strengths/weaknesses of an issuer, security, obligor, business plans, and term sheets.
  • Rating Assessment Service (RAS) – This is a rating solicited by non-rated entities that provides an opinion of a company’s rating prospects based on their financial statements and other financial information.
  • Rating Evaluation Service (RES) – This is a rating solicited by rated entities that provides an opinion on the impact of hypothetical scenarios based on financial projections and other financial information.
  • Financial Size Category (FSC) – This a grading scale designed to provide an indicator on the size of a company in terms of its statutory surplus and related accounts.

Choosing the Right Partner
For example, if you are searching for an insurance carrier to cover your commercial vehicles then it is crucial to look at their BCR. By looking at the ratings above it will give you a much better understanding of a company’s legitimacy when it comes to covering vehicles such as cabs, limos, ambulances, and trucks. BCR’s also allow you to get an in-depth understanding on how well different coverage options will be. For instance, Auto Liability, General Liability, Work Comp, Occupational Injury, and Collision Insurance.

Based on BCR, American Business Insurance Services is a great option when looking for commercial vehicle coverage. They are a small insurance carrier that has been around since 1984 and know how to cater to their partner’s needs. They are one of the largest commercial transportation insurance providers in the country with thousands of customers and over 40,000 vehicles insured. Now that you have a much better understanding of what goes into a BCR your options for choosing a potential insurance carrier should be much more clear. Happy insurance!

How to Insure Transportation Network Companies: A Detailed Guide to Getting your TNC off the Ground

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How to Insure Transportation Network Companies: A Detailed Guide to Getting your TNC off the Ground

Written by Laura Loftus on Monday, May 6th, 2019

Whether you are looking to start your own Transportation Network Company, On-Demand Delivery App or other Shared Economy business, one of the most important factors to consider is insurance! Sounds boring, I know. But as the world around us changes, insurance markets for transportation network companies are creating new structures and products. As an independent agency, American Business Insurance has direct relationships with all insurance companies currently writing specialized policies for transportation network companies.

Finding insurance for transportation network companies or other app-based businesses is no easy feat. As you may have already come to realize, most of your local brokers who specialize in personal lines don’t have relationships with insurance companies in this space. Many local brokers don’t understand what information to collect from business owners to present your transportation network company in the most insurable light.

Finding An Insurance Broker To Write Policies For Your Transportation Network Company

Most of the common insurance companies you may have already heard of are not writing policies because of the high-risk nature for transportation network companies. Insurance companies who are writing policies for transportation network companies are Surplus Lines carriers whose focus is in this specialized, technology driven market place.

Some people think that it is easy to join the long list of people who are trying to start transportation network companies to compete with those already dominating the world – Uber and Lyft. But in reality, the people who have created these transportation network companies worked for many years prior to actually launching.

To some, that might seem like a really long time but when an experienced insurance broker who is familiar with writing policies for transportation network companies asks you to assemble a list of items, it’s best to know exactly what you are getting yourself into. Don’t be fooled, there is a lot of prep, time and money that is required to build transportation network companies like Uber or Lyft.

transportation network companies

Minimum Premiums For Transportation Network Companies

As you might have anticipated, buying an insurance policy for transportation network companies is not cheap since most insurers in this space have minimum premiums of $75,000-100,000. We know, that is a lot of dough! The good news is, most of the carriers will accept a portion of that up-front and some even offer premium eroding endorsements. This means if your business doesn’t generate premium up to that amount within the year, they will carry over the credit to the following year.

Obtaining a quote requires you to find a broker who specializes in writing insurance for transportation network companies. Working with the right broker will not only save you time and money, but prevent you from buying coverages you don’t need and making sure that you have the ones you do. An experienced broker who is familiar with writing insurance for transportation network companies will know exactly what information to collect from you. They will also know how to present it best to the insurance markets who are writing policies for transportation network companies.

American Business Insurance Services, Inc.

Lucky for you, you found us! As an agency, we have been around long before ordering a ride from your smart-phone was an option. We specialize in public auto which means we understand more than anyone how transportation network companies operate.

transportation network companies

Items Transportation Network Companies Should Have Ready Before Calling Your Broker For A Quote:

Build the App:

  • One of the first questions I ask customers looking for insurance for transportation network companies is if the app is complete. Insurance company underwriters will want to download your app and make sure it’s working. Also, some companies have technology-based policies, meaning they integrate with your app to capture data on the drivers. Some even offer lower insurance rates based on favorable data collected (less speeding, hard stops, etcetera). Most policies for transportation network companies are usage based, so they have to be able to download your app and make sure it’s compatible with their insurance structure. Insurance companies often want to be able to pull reports from your app which include and are not limited to:

1. Knowing When A Trip Starts and Stops

2. How Many Miles For Each Trip

3. How Many Minutes/Hours For Each Trip

Business Plan & Projections:

  • There is a checklist of items the insurance company will want to see attached to the submission your broker sends. Your broker should be narrating to the insurance company all the hard work and thought you’ve put into creating these transportation network companies. Insurers will want to see a “pitch deck” which is something you might already have created to obtain investors. This document will present and explain your business model, why it is different from what is alreadyout there and how it will work long term. Some of the questions this document should answer are:

transportation network companies1. What are the company’s growth plans?

2. How will you monitor safety/loss control?

3. How is pricing structured so that the company is profitable?

 Safety and Training:

  • Safety and training is a big deal for insurers who are writing policies for transportation network companies. They will want to know what restrictions, checks and balances and training you will provide to drivers. They want to know how often you will check driving records and how often people have to pass background checks. The younger in age the drivers are that you allow to join your transportation network companies, the more expensive you can expect your insurance prices to be. Insurance companies want to know how you are going to prevent accidents from happening so that you build a positive reputation within the industry along side other transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft.

Bios on Key Officers/Investors:

  • Insurance companies want to know about the people behind the transportation network companies! If you want to join the group of dominating transportation network companies, they are going to want to know what experience you have, not only in transportation but also in being an entrepreneur. Take the time to write detailed bios for yourself and all other key members, officers and investors behind your transportation network company. Make sure to detail the knowledge and life experience you are bringing to the table in starting transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft. A well written, detailed bio will separate your company from all the rest and will give you a better advantage to better pricing on insurance for transportation network companies.

 Terms of Service & Privacy Conditions:

  • Although this may seem like a small piece of the puzzle to getting insurance for transportation network companies, most insurers want to see the liability of the app in regards to what they are promising to both their drivers and users. If you are a peer to peer platform, they want to see how the transaction will take place. Some of the questions that should be answered here are:

1. What Security Measures Are In Place To Protect The User?

2. How Should Complaints Be Filed?

3. What Terms and Conditions Does Your Company Adhere To? 

transportation network companies

Financial Balance Sheet:

  • Basically, a lot of what it takes to insure transportation network companies is having money, and a lot of it. Due to the hefty size of the minimum premiums for transportation network companies, generally ranging from $75,00-100,000, insurers want to make sure you not only have money to pay for the policy, but to also keep your business afloat and operating before you start turning a profit. It’s no secret that most transportation network companies do not profit until after the first year. Insurers want to see that you have raised money, not just for the cost of insurance but also for operating expenses, advertising and promotions.
  • When I review the balance sheet for transportation network companies, I know that most insurers want to see that you’ve raised at minimum $250,000-$1,000,000 in capital. Sometimes more. The reason for them wanting transportation network companies to raise this much money is because they know what it takes to gain traction in this unique space. They want to make sure the work they are putting in to quote and bind your policy will create a lasting relationship with you.

Guidance From American Business Insurance Services, INC

Starting any business takes time, research and money. We get phone calls from people daily thinking they are going to be the next Uber and Lyft. And believe me, we want you to make it big and compete against the monopoly that currently exists for transportation network companies. But in reality, we know that few of the phone calls we receive have actually taken the above steps which are required to make transportation network companies insurable.

If you have questions or need guidance, please give us a call and we will be happy to discuss over the phone! While some of the larger, corporate run agencies have the same relationships as us, few will offer the personal touch and value we have with every client.

Exclusive Contracts

Additionally, we have exclusive contracts with some companies that allow us to write at a lower minimum premium than others. We are an independent, family-run business with 75+ years of combined experience in the business insurance industry. We have invested in other transportation network companies, peer to peer and shared economy types of businesses. Most of us utilize transportation network companies and peer-to-peer apps regularly.

We literally have boots on the ground in this space and if you want the best pricing with the smoothest transaction – we are here for you!

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How to Save the MOST Money on Your Commercial Fleet Insurance Rates

ABI Transportation Experts Speak: How to Save the MOST Money on Your Commercial Fleet Insurance Rates

Written by Laura Loftus on Thursday, February 28th, 2019

 

When speaking with clients about their commercial fleet insurance, the most common concern is how to get the lowest insurance rates. About 100% of the customers I speak to daily all have the same goal – they want the lowest insurance rates available and will do whatever it takes to get it. Whether you own a Taxi, Limo, Paratransit or Shared Economy company (peer to peer platform app), it’s a given that you want your commercial fleet insurance coverage at the lowest insurance rates available. What many companies don’t realize, especially start-ups, is that commercial fleet insurance underwriters do quite a bit of digging on your company through a variety of platforms to “check you out” prior to releasing a quote. They read Yelp reviews, they look at your website, they do Better Business Bureau checks – all of it.

There are common mistakes that transportation service companies are repeatedly making that will create doubt in a commercial fleet insurance company. These mistakes actually prevent your broker from being able to find the lowest insurance rates for your company. Most of these companies think they are making business decisions that will guide them toward the lowest insurance rates, and are unaware that their current website or driver pool is actually hurting their chances of achieving the lowest possible commercial fleet insurance rate.

Five common flubs transportation service companies are making that prevent your commercial fleet insurance broker from obtaining the lowest insurance rates possible:

1) Company Website

The first and most common mistake we see from commercial auto risks who are in the “wheels” business as us underwriters call it – is that you over the amount of experience or size of your transportation service company.  It is common for commercial fleet insurance underwriters to google your company to pick apart your website. Here are some items you may think are helping your chances at obtaining the lowest insurance rates but are actually red flags to commercial fleet insurance companies:

  •  Words like “Fast Pick-up” or ‘Delivery in Minutes” – no commercial fleet insurance underwriter wants to see that you are promising rushed services. Rushing = equals unsafe driving behavior.

commercial fleet insurance

  • Advertising vehicles that are not actually part of your fleet. For example, just yesterday I was helping a 35-car fleet in Portland with obtaining commercial fleet insurance quotes. The list of vehicles they provided were all private passenger type vehicles (meaning seating capacity of 8 or less) – good! But when I searched the company online, they advertised a large shuttle bus and a higher seating capacity van. When I asked the client about this, they those vehicles had been sold and they had no plans to replace them. Keeping your website up to date and only advertising only what you can actually deliver will keep unwanted questions from creeping into the commercial fleet insurance underwriters’ mind. Creating uncertainty is the last thing you want to do with a commercial fleet insurance underwriter when trying to obtain the lowest insurance rates.
  •  Age of vehicles is important to commercial fleet insurance companies. Publishing a picture of a 30-year-old vehicle is no bueno. Keep your fleet serviced regularly (we recommend every three to four thousand miles and cycle out old units. Newer, cleaner & well-maintained vehicles are not only more desired by clientele (when trying to compete with Uber/Lyft) but also preferred by commercial fleet insurance companies trying to avoid claims due to mechanical defect.
  • If you boast 20 years of experience but your LLC was filed three years ago, it creates uncertainty with insurance companies. It’s better to accurately reflect your business as it is now, and not what you want it to be five years from now. Just as there are items to avoid putting on your website, there are points that you should include on your website. It is always a good idea to brag about highly trained drivers and safety training you provide (more on this later). Be sure to note the maintenance you keep up with for your fleet, the background checks the city you operate in mandates and the highest level of driving records required for your drivers. Commercial fleet insurance underwriters like stable fleets with safe drivers. Bottom line, safer risks translates to commercial fleet insurance underwriters offering the lowest insurance rates.

2) Creating a Business Name

This may seem simple enough but for transportation business owners looking to for the lowest insurance rates, people often think that commercial fleet insurance companies give the lowest insurance rates to Limo’s and Non-Emergency Medical risks over a taxi or airport shuttle. While this might be true, cornering yourself into a specific type of transportation in your business name narrows the list of commercial fleet insurance carriers you are eligible for. Many markets write only taxis or only limos. So, if you file your business name with the Secretary of State as Laura’s Taxi & Limo Service, LLC. – it could possibly make you ineligible for a limo commercial fleet insurance program because they don’t insure taxis and vice versa – even if your unit type meets their requirements. When talking with clients, I always say it’s best to be general about the transportation type within the name of their business, especially as market conditions change. You may be heavy in taxi trips one year but then obtain a paratransit contract and do more of that the following year. The more years of favorable loss history (loss runs) you can provide, the better chance you have at obtaining the lowest insurance rates. Choosing a business name that is general such as Laura’s Transportation Service, LLC. allows you flexibility to transform and evolve your business as the industry demands change.

3) Loss Control is Everything

Underwriters give commercial fleet insurance at the lowest insurance rates to companies with low levels of paid claims. Even in a hard insurance market, with rates rising for the good guys too, you can expect to pay more for commercial fleet insurance if you’re prior insurance companies have paid a lot in claims. Here are some suggestions in tightening loss control for your transportation service company:

  •  Hire a full-time loss control or driver manager who will enforce a safety culture. Doing this, will lower the frequency and severity of claim payouts and put your transportation service company in a better position to obtain the lowest insurance rates. This person should be in charge of overseeing the overall safety of your company. Managing and coaching your drivers is the key to a successful transportation service company. You are only as good as your worst driver.
  • commercial fleet insurance Invest in cameras that capture not only accidents but also driver analytics. This type of camera system will allow you to review driver behavior and correct bad habits before they cause an accident. We like to say this method is similar to that of a professional athlete. How do they improve? They watch their game film and correct bad habits. Driving professionally is the same. The more you do it, the more comfortable you get and having drivers watch themselves reduces risky behavior dramatically. Additionally, it’s a known fact that many commercial fleet insurance claims are paid because of he said/she said situations. Having accidents on camera is the best way to know who exactly was at fault and exonerate innocent drivers.
  •  Hold weekly safety huddles and or monthly meetings. Review the data and claims that have occurred recently and talk to your drivers about how they could have been prevented.
  •  Commit to investing in annual defensive driving training for your drivers. This annual reminder to drivers will ensure that bad habits are addressed and give each driver a time to reflect on their own performance.
  • Implement a reward program for safe drivers. Giving an incentive, even if it’s small monetary gift cards – keeps your drivers focused and motivated on safe driving habits.

4) The Driver Pool

The Driver Pool is so important when trying to achieve the lowest insurance rates from commercial fleet insurance providers for your transportation company. How you chose to manage drivers and who you hire is crucial. Create formal guidelines that clearly outline what is acceptable for employment. We recommend only hiring drivers with zero accidents within the past three years and minimal moving violations. Clean MVRs are best but we know that professional drivers with experience usually do not have clean MVRs and this is ok. Professional drivers are on the road up to 3x more than someone commuting to/from work so it’s a given that they will most likely have more violations on their records. Repeat offenders can impact the cost of your commercial fleet insurance and should be let go. No one is perfect, but you should train your drivers with the goal to be as safe as possible. Excessive violations on a driving record can cause surcharges and prevent you from obtaining the lower insurance rates. Additionally, younger drivers sometimes generate higher premiums for commercial fleet insurance as well as newly licensed individuals.

5) Contact an Experienced, Transportation Insurance Broker

commercial fleet insurance

Working with a transportation specialist versus a local agency makes a huge difference as commercial fleet insurance brokers have access to many more transportation focused insurance companies. Also, an experienced broker will review your company data prior to submitting to commercial fleet insurance companies. If they see something a commercial fleet insurance company won’t like, they can address it with you and provide you with an opportunity to make changes before submitting to each carrier. The more information you can provide to a commercial fleet insurance underwriter, the better chances you have at achieving the lowest insurance rates. Because the for-hire, livery insurance market is so thin, carriers often get multiple submissions from duplicate brokers. Try to work with one broker at a time. You may think contacting multiple agencies well help you, but if they are all going to the same markets for commercial fleet insurance – it’s duplicating not only your own work, but the insurance companies as well. The livery market is a tough class of business and finding an experienced broker will absolutely give you a leg up on finding the lowest insurance rates over a generalist broker.

American Business Insurance Services, Inc. has been working with transportation companies across the nation for 35+ years. We have direct relationships with the most competitive commercial fleet insurance companies. We know what it takes to submit a complete application and present your company in the best light possible – which will no doubt translate to finding commercial fleet insurance at the lowest insurance rate.

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HyreCar CEO Thanks Us

HyreCar CEO Thanks American Business Insurance

In an interview with Nasdaq, HyreCar CEO, Joe Furnari, shared how American Business Insurance helped the company grow and succeed. It is our pleasure to work with this amazing company. Read below about the HyreCar company origins, the ways Uber and Lyft drivers can succeed despite obstacles, and the role of transportation network insurance.

The Origins of HyreCar

Three years ago, Joe Furnari was not the CEO of HyreCar. In fact, he was their first customer. At the time, he had a car in his garage that he barely drove. He was actually getting ready to sell his car when he came across the HyreCar start-up. So, he decided to give it a shot by listing his car for rent. When HyreCar had matched him to a driver, the three original founders were so excited they drove to Furnari’s house to meet their first client and be there when the driver came to pick up his car. The driver could then drive for Uber or Lyft. It didn’t take long for Furnari to see a profit by renting his car out, and he became so enamored with the business model that he eventually left his job at the time to become the CEO of HyreCar.

As insurance brokers, we get calls all the time from people who are looking to start a new commercial transportation business. Whether it be someone aspiring to start the next Uber and Lyft or someone who wants to start a small shuttle business, it is our priority to weed out those who are serious and have spent time in their business model, compared to those who woke up one day thinking it would be easy to hit the ground running.

HyreCar lyft uber insurance

 

Where We Came into the Picture

In 2015, our agency President Dave Haley and insurance industry veteran (as recently dubbed by BusinessWire) received a call from the two original founders of HyreCar. Marciano Kim and Abhi Arorahe, the HyreCar founders, found our auto insurance company via google. “I spent 3 minutes on the phone with the founders and immediately, I loved the idea HyreCar was going for. I knew there were a lot of people who wanted work (for Transportation Network Companies like Uber and Lyft) but couldn’t because they didn’t have a vehicle that qualified for it,” Haley said.

At the time, HyreCar and similar companies represented an untapped insurance market as well. Haley was tasked with what felt like an impossibility – to find an insurance company to charge per day, per mile, and per minute. After shopping the marketplace and many declinations, he finally found a carrier that was as interested in the business model as he was. And within a rapid 60 days, HyreCar was insured and able to really launch their platform.

Uber and Lyft Drivers Can Rejoice

There is a big problem for many people who want to drive for Uber or Lyft. The obstacle is obtaining a vehicle that meets Uber or Lyft company requirements. Many drivers have to rent cars and then have to procure insurance on that vehicle. Personal auto specifically excludes any use of your vehicle that generates revenue.

Many Transportation Network Company (TNC) drivers use their personal auto regardless, but technically this is risky. In the case of an accident while driving for Uber or Lyft, their personal auto carrier would deny the claim. Additionally, the driver would face  the possibility of cancellation and non-renewal. With HyreCar’s model, drivers are able to rent a car at an affordable price. Plus, they would obtain an insurance ID card through HyreCar that allows them to qualify for Uber and Lyft. The great news is it does not put them at risk for being cancelled for unauthorized use of the vehicle.

HyreCar CEO Speaks to the Importance of Good Insurance

Uber driver Lyft Driver insurance hyrecar

 

Since launching three years ago, HyreCar has expanded into all 50 states. They have provided solutions for a disrupted transportation, car dealership and insurance industry. HyreCar recently went public and CEO Joe Furnari was interviewed by Nasdaq. In the Nasdaq interview, Furnari attributes part of HyreCar’s ability to grow and succeed to partnering with the right people on the insurance side. Furnari spoke specifically of American Business Insurance. The video clips and press releases included in this article effectively articulate from Furnari on how HyreCar has helped drivers, car dealers, and the insurance industry step forward into this ever-changing transportation marketplace.

Written by Laura Loftus on October 16th, 2018.

 

For more information about insuring your shared economy or transportation network company like HyreCar, click here: https://abiweb.com/services/tnc-provider/

WATCH THE INTERVIEW BETWEEN NASDAQ AND FURNARI BELOW

WATCH ANOTHER INTERVIEW WITH FURNARI HERE: https://www.facebook.com/Nasdaq/videos/2638290029729362/UzpfSTI2ODE1MjMzOTg2NjU2NzoyMjg5Mjc2ODE3NzU0MDk5/

Autonomous Vehicle Insurance: Self-Driving Cars

I know it is hard to believe that autonomous vehicle insurance is actually a thing now, but it is and it’s only going to become more relevant as time goes on. So, when your business decides to join the self-driving car movement it will be pertinent for your vehicles to be properly covered. This is where ABI Insurance Services Inc. comes in!

ABI Insurance Services Inc.
ABI has been around since 1985, making them a veteran when it comes to insurance services. Currently, they are one of the largest providers for commercial transportation insurance in the nation with over 40,000 vehicles being covered. Although they are seasoned when it comes to insurance policies they are also well aware of the rapid growth and change within the vehicle industry. This not only makes ABI highly experienced in business vehicle insurance, but also makes them one of the most innovative and up-to-date when it comes to the latest advancements in cars.

Autonomous Vehicle Insurance
With autonomous vehicle insurance being a newer concept, it is paramount for your small or large fleet insurance to be up to par with policies. At ABI, exclusive relationships with various insurance carriers allows for policies to meet all the specific criteria for your business. This means that the agonizing insurance process of underwriting, quoting, and binding of policies can all be done in house which in turn means faster, more specific services for your insurance needs. It is ABI’s business to understand their client’s business and this is exactly why ABI has been around for over 30 years and created such strong partnerships.

Why Autonomous Cars
Studies have shown that a computer is more of an ideal motorist than humans, this is further supported with the statistic that over 81% of car crashes are a direct result of human error. This only makes more sense when you put into consideration that there are no opportunities for a computer to be distracted by its surrounding environment. For human driven cars, most accidents are outcomes of the distractions correlated with simultaneously driving and texting or eating food. With autonomous cars, you can focus more on those things that would otherwise distract you from the road which in turn would save you time in your busy lifestyle. Not if, but when self-driving cars start to take over the roads it will improve traffic conditions exponentially because large numbers of self-driving cars mean less human errors which would result in less overall congestion.

Recap and other Pro’s for Self-Driving Vehicles:

  • Less car crashes
  • More free time
  • Less congestion
  • Higher speed limits
  • Less drunk drivers
  • Less parking concerns
  • Disabled support

ABI’s portfolio of coverages include Auto Liability, General Liability, Work Comp, Occupational Injury and Collision insurance for virtually any commercial vehicle including Truckers, Movers, and more. With their focus falling within the commercial vehicle realm they are the ideal service to contact when you make that innovative transfer from a fleet of human-driven cars to self-driven cars. You can contact ABI for a quote today by clicking on button below. Safe autonomous driving!

A.M. Best Rating Service: The Credibility of Insurance Companies

Best’s Credit Rating (BCR)
When it comes to knowing whether or not an insurance company is going to be a reliable fit for your needs the first thing to verify is the company’s Best’s Credit Rating (BCR). This is an objective judgement regarding the insurer’s creditworthiness. The BCR is essentially a grade given based on quantitative and qualitative evaluations of the insurer’s balance sheet, operating performance, and business profile. There are various credit and independent rating options, to include:

  • Best’s Financial Strength Ratings (FSR) – This rating is an opinion provided on a specific insurer’s financial strengths and their ability to meet current insurance policy and contract obligations.
  • Best’s Issuer Credit Rating (ICR) – This rating is an opinion of an entity’s ability to meet ongoing financial obligations that can be issued on a long or short-term basis.
  • Best’s Issue Credit Rating (IR) – This rating is an opinion on the credit quality assigned to issues that determines how likely they are to meet the terms of obligation and can be issued on a long or short-term basis.
  • Best’s National Scale Rating (NSR) – This rating is based on a measurement of creditworthiness in a specific jurisdiction that is issued on a long-term basis.
  • Preliminary Credit Assessment (PCA) – This is an independent opinion based on the general credit strengths/weaknesses of an issuer, security, obligor, business plans, and term sheets.
  • Rating Assessment Service (RAS) – This is a rating solicited by non-rated entities that provides an opinion of a company’s rating prospects based on their financial statements and other financial information.
  • Rating Evaluation Service (RES) – This is a rating solicited by rated entities that provides an opinion on the impact of hypothetical scenarios based on financial projections and other financial information.
  • Financial Size Category (FSC) – This a grading scale designed to provide an indicator on the size of a company in terms of its statutory surplus and related accounts.

Choosing the Right Partner
For example, if you are searching for an insurance carrier to cover your commercial vehicles then it is crucial to look at their BCR. By looking at the ratings above it will give you a much better understanding of a company’s legitimacy when it comes to covering vehicles such as cabs, limos, ambulances, and trucks. BCR’s also allow you to get an in-depth understanding on how well different coverage options will be. For instance, Auto Liability, General Liability, Work Comp, Occupational Injury, and Collision Insurance.

Based on BCR, American Business Insurance Services is a great option when looking for commercial vehicle coverage. They are a small insurance carrier that has been around since 1984 and know how to cater to their partner’s needs. They are one of the largest commercial transportation insurance providers in the country with thousands of customers and over 40,000 vehicles insured. Now that you have a much better understanding of what goes into a BCR your options for choosing a potential insurance carrier should be much more clear. Happy insurance!

How to Insure Transportation Network Companies: A Detailed Guide to Getting your TNC off the Ground

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How to Insure Transportation Network Companies: A Detailed Guide to Getting your TNC off the Ground

Written by Laura Loftus on Monday, May 6th, 2019

Whether you are looking to start your own Transportation Network Company, On-Demand Delivery App or other Shared Economy business, one of the most important factors to consider is insurance! Sounds boring, I know. But as the world around us changes, insurance markets for transportation network companies are creating new structures and products. As an independent agency, American Business Insurance has direct relationships with all insurance companies currently writing specialized policies for transportation network companies.

Finding insurance for transportation network companies or other app-based businesses is no easy feat. As you may have already come to realize, most of your local brokers who specialize in personal lines don’t have relationships with insurance companies in this space. Many local brokers don’t understand what information to collect from business owners to present your transportation network company in the most insurable light.

Finding An Insurance Broker To Write Policies For Your Transportation Network Company

Most of the common insurance companies you may have already heard of are not writing policies because of the high-risk nature for transportation network companies. Insurance companies who are writing policies for transportation network companies are Surplus Lines carriers whose focus is in this specialized, technology driven market place.

Some people think that it is easy to join the long list of people who are trying to start transportation network companies to compete with those already dominating the world – Uber and Lyft. But in reality, the people who have created these transportation network companies worked for many years prior to actually launching.

To some, that might seem like a really long time but when an experienced insurance broker who is familiar with writing policies for transportation network companies asks you to assemble a list of items, it’s best to know exactly what you are getting yourself into. Don’t be fooled, there is a lot of prep, time and money that is required to build transportation network companies like Uber or Lyft.

transportation network companies

Minimum Premiums For Transportation Network Companies

As you might have anticipated, buying an insurance policy for transportation network companies is not cheap since most insurers in this space have minimum premiums of $75,000-100,000. We know, that is a lot of dough! The good news is, most of the carriers will accept a portion of that up-front and some even offer premium eroding endorsements. This means if your business doesn’t generate premium up to that amount within the year, they will carry over the credit to the following year.

Obtaining a quote requires you to find a broker who specializes in writing insurance for transportation network companies. Working with the right broker will not only save you time and money, but prevent you from buying coverages you don’t need and making sure that you have the ones you do. An experienced broker who is familiar with writing insurance for transportation network companies will know exactly what information to collect from you. They will also know how to present it best to the insurance markets who are writing policies for transportation network companies.

American Business Insurance Services, Inc.

Lucky for you, you found us! As an agency, we have been around long before ordering a ride from your smart-phone was an option. We specialize in public auto which means we understand more than anyone how transportation network companies operate.

transportation network companies

Items Transportation Network Companies Should Have Ready Before Calling Your Broker For A Quote:

Build the App:

  • One of the first questions I ask customers looking for insurance for transportation network companies is if the app is complete. Insurance company underwriters will want to download your app and make sure it’s working. Also, some companies have technology-based policies, meaning they integrate with your app to capture data on the drivers. Some even offer lower insurance rates based on favorable data collected (less speeding, hard stops, etcetera). Most policies for transportation network companies are usage based, so they have to be able to download your app and make sure it’s compatible with their insurance structure. Insurance companies often want to be able to pull reports from your app which include and are not limited to:

1. Knowing When A Trip Starts and Stops

2. How Many Miles For Each Trip

3. How Many Minutes/Hours For Each Trip

Business Plan & Projections:

  • There is a checklist of items the insurance company will want to see attached to the submission your broker sends. Your broker should be narrating to the insurance company all the hard work and thought you’ve put into creating these transportation network companies. Insurers will want to see a “pitch deck” which is something you might already have created to obtain investors. This document will present and explain your business model, why it is different from what is alreadyout there and how it will work long term. Some of the questions this document should answer are:

transportation network companies1. What are the company’s growth plans?

2. How will you monitor safety/loss control?

3. How is pricing structured so that the company is profitable?

 Safety and Training:

  • Safety and training is a big deal for insurers who are writing policies for transportation network companies. They will want to know what restrictions, checks and balances and training you will provide to drivers. They want to know how often you will check driving records and how often people have to pass background checks. The younger in age the drivers are that you allow to join your transportation network companies, the more expensive you can expect your insurance prices to be. Insurance companies want to know how you are going to prevent accidents from happening so that you build a positive reputation within the industry along side other transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft.

Bios on Key Officers/Investors:

  • Insurance companies want to know about the people behind the transportation network companies! If you want to join the group of dominating transportation network companies, they are going to want to know what experience you have, not only in transportation but also in being an entrepreneur. Take the time to write detailed bios for yourself and all other key members, officers and investors behind your transportation network company. Make sure to detail the knowledge and life experience you are bringing to the table in starting transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft. A well written, detailed bio will separate your company from all the rest and will give you a better advantage to better pricing on insurance for transportation network companies.

 Terms of Service & Privacy Conditions:

  • Although this may seem like a small piece of the puzzle to getting insurance for transportation network companies, most insurers want to see the liability of the app in regards to what they are promising to both their drivers and users. If you are a peer to peer platform, they want to see how the transaction will take place. Some of the questions that should be answered here are:

1. What Security Measures Are In Place To Protect The User?

2. How Should Complaints Be Filed?

3. What Terms and Conditions Does Your Company Adhere To? 

transportation network companies

Financial Balance Sheet:

  • Basically, a lot of what it takes to insure transportation network companies is having money, and a lot of it. Due to the hefty size of the minimum premiums for transportation network companies, generally ranging from $75,00-100,000, insurers want to make sure you not only have money to pay for the policy, but to also keep your business afloat and operating before you start turning a profit. It’s no secret that most transportation network companies do not profit until after the first year. Insurers want to see that you have raised money, not just for the cost of insurance but also for operating expenses, advertising and promotions.
  • When I review the balance sheet for transportation network companies, I know that most insurers want to see that you’ve raised at minimum $250,000-$1,000,000 in capital. Sometimes more. The reason for them wanting transportation network companies to raise this much money is because they know what it takes to gain traction in this unique space. They want to make sure the work they are putting in to quote and bind your policy will create a lasting relationship with you.

Guidance From American Business Insurance Services, INC

Starting any business takes time, research and money. We get phone calls from people daily thinking they are going to be the next Uber and Lyft. And believe me, we want you to make it big and compete against the monopoly that currently exists for transportation network companies. But in reality, we know that few of the phone calls we receive have actually taken the above steps which are required to make transportation network companies insurable.

If you have questions or need guidance, please give us a call and we will be happy to discuss over the phone! While some of the larger, corporate run agencies have the same relationships as us, few will offer the personal touch and value we have with every client.

Exclusive Contracts

Additionally, we have exclusive contracts with some companies that allow us to write at a lower minimum premium than others. We are an independent, family-run business with 75+ years of combined experience in the business insurance industry. We have invested in other transportation network companies, peer to peer and shared economy types of businesses. Most of us utilize transportation network companies and peer-to-peer apps regularly.

We literally have boots on the ground in this space and if you want the best pricing with the smoothest transaction – we are here for you!

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How to Save the MOST Money on Your Commercial Fleet Insurance Rates

ABI Transportation Experts Speak: How to Save the MOST Money on Your Commercial Fleet Insurance Rates

Written by Laura Loftus on Thursday, February 28th, 2019

 

When speaking with clients about their commercial fleet insurance, the most common concern is how to get the lowest insurance rates. About 100% of the customers I speak to daily all have the same goal – they want the lowest insurance rates available and will do whatever it takes to get it. Whether you own a Taxi, Limo, Paratransit or Shared Economy company (peer to peer platform app), it’s a given that you want your commercial fleet insurance coverage at the lowest insurance rates available. What many companies don’t realize, especially start-ups, is that commercial fleet insurance underwriters do quite a bit of digging on your company through a variety of platforms to “check you out” prior to releasing a quote. They read Yelp reviews, they look at your website, they do Better Business Bureau checks – all of it.

There are common mistakes that transportation service companies are repeatedly making that will create doubt in a commercial fleet insurance company. These mistakes actually prevent your broker from being able to find the lowest insurance rates for your company. Most of these companies think they are making business decisions that will guide them toward the lowest insurance rates, and are unaware that their current website or driver pool is actually hurting their chances of achieving the lowest possible commercial fleet insurance rate.

Five common flubs transportation service companies are making that prevent your commercial fleet insurance broker from obtaining the lowest insurance rates possible:

1) Company Website

The first and most common mistake we see from commercial auto risks who are in the “wheels” business as us underwriters call it – is that you over the amount of experience or size of your transportation service company.  It is common for commercial fleet insurance underwriters to google your company to pick apart your website. Here are some items you may think are helping your chances at obtaining the lowest insurance rates but are actually red flags to commercial fleet insurance companies:

  •  Words like “Fast Pick-up” or ‘Delivery in Minutes” – no commercial fleet insurance underwriter wants to see that you are promising rushed services. Rushing = equals unsafe driving behavior.

commercial fleet insurance

  • Advertising vehicles that are not actually part of your fleet. For example, just yesterday I was helping a 35-car fleet in Portland with obtaining commercial fleet insurance quotes. The list of vehicles they provided were all private passenger type vehicles (meaning seating capacity of 8 or less) – good! But when I searched the company online, they advertised a large shuttle bus and a higher seating capacity van. When I asked the client about this, they those vehicles had been sold and they had no plans to replace them. Keeping your website up to date and only advertising only what you can actually deliver will keep unwanted questions from creeping into the commercial fleet insurance underwriters’ mind. Creating uncertainty is the last thing you want to do with a commercial fleet insurance underwriter when trying to obtain the lowest insurance rates.
  •  Age of vehicles is important to commercial fleet insurance companies. Publishing a picture of a 30-year-old vehicle is no bueno. Keep your fleet serviced regularly (we recommend every three to four thousand miles and cycle out old units. Newer, cleaner & well-maintained vehicles are not only more desired by clientele (when trying to compete with Uber/Lyft) but also preferred by commercial fleet insurance companies trying to avoid claims due to mechanical defect.
  • If you boast 20 years of experience but your LLC was filed three years ago, it creates uncertainty with insurance companies. It’s better to accurately reflect your business as it is now, and not what you want it to be five years from now. Just as there are items to avoid putting on your website, there are points that you should include on your website. It is always a good idea to brag about highly trained drivers and safety training you provide (more on this later). Be sure to note the maintenance you keep up with for your fleet, the background checks the city you operate in mandates and the highest level of driving records required for your drivers. Commercial fleet insurance underwriters like stable fleets with safe drivers. Bottom line, safer risks translates to commercial fleet insurance underwriters offering the lowest insurance rates.

2) Creating a Business Name

This may seem simple enough but for transportation business owners looking to for the lowest insurance rates, people often think that commercial fleet insurance companies give the lowest insurance rates to Limo’s and Non-Emergency Medical risks over a taxi or airport shuttle. While this might be true, cornering yourself into a specific type of transportation in your business name narrows the list of commercial fleet insurance carriers you are eligible for. Many markets write only taxis or only limos. So, if you file your business name with the Secretary of State as Laura’s Taxi & Limo Service, LLC. – it could possibly make you ineligible for a limo commercial fleet insurance program because they don’t insure taxis and vice versa – even if your unit type meets their requirements. When talking with clients, I always say it’s best to be general about the transportation type within the name of their business, especially as market conditions change. You may be heavy in taxi trips one year but then obtain a paratransit contract and do more of that the following year. The more years of favorable loss history (loss runs) you can provide, the better chance you have at obtaining the lowest insurance rates. Choosing a business name that is general such as Laura’s Transportation Service, LLC. allows you flexibility to transform and evolve your business as the industry demands change.

3) Loss Control is Everything

Underwriters give commercial fleet insurance at the lowest insurance rates to companies with low levels of paid claims. Even in a hard insurance market, with rates rising for the good guys too, you can expect to pay more for commercial fleet insurance if you’re prior insurance companies have paid a lot in claims. Here are some suggestions in tightening loss control for your transportation service company:

  •  Hire a full-time loss control or driver manager who will enforce a safety culture. Doing this, will lower the frequency and severity of claim payouts and put your transportation service company in a better position to obtain the lowest insurance rates. This person should be in charge of overseeing the overall safety of your company. Managing and coaching your drivers is the key to a successful transportation service company. You are only as good as your worst driver.
  • commercial fleet insurance Invest in cameras that capture not only accidents but also driver analytics. This type of camera system will allow you to review driver behavior and correct bad habits before they cause an accident. We like to say this method is similar to that of a professional athlete. How do they improve? They watch their game film and correct bad habits. Driving professionally is the same. The more you do it, the more comfortable you get and having drivers watch themselves reduces risky behavior dramatically. Additionally, it’s a known fact that many commercial fleet insurance claims are paid because of he said/she said situations. Having accidents on camera is the best way to know who exactly was at fault and exonerate innocent drivers.
  •  Hold weekly safety huddles and or monthly meetings. Review the data and claims that have occurred recently and talk to your drivers about how they could have been prevented.
  •  Commit to investing in annual defensive driving training for your drivers. This annual reminder to drivers will ensure that bad habits are addressed and give each driver a time to reflect on their own performance.
  • Implement a reward program for safe drivers. Giving an incentive, even if it’s small monetary gift cards – keeps your drivers focused and motivated on safe driving habits.

4) The Driver Pool

The Driver Pool is so important when trying to achieve the lowest insurance rates from commercial fleet insurance providers for your transportation company. How you chose to manage drivers and who you hire is crucial. Create formal guidelines that clearly outline what is acceptable for employment. We recommend only hiring drivers with zero accidents within the past three years and minimal moving violations. Clean MVRs are best but we know that professional drivers with experience usually do not have clean MVRs and this is ok. Professional drivers are on the road up to 3x more than someone commuting to/from work so it’s a given that they will most likely have more violations on their records. Repeat offenders can impact the cost of your commercial fleet insurance and should be let go. No one is perfect, but you should train your drivers with the goal to be as safe as possible. Excessive violations on a driving record can cause surcharges and prevent you from obtaining the lower insurance rates. Additionally, younger drivers sometimes generate higher premiums for commercial fleet insurance as well as newly licensed individuals.

5) Contact an Experienced, Transportation Insurance Broker

commercial fleet insurance

Working with a transportation specialist versus a local agency makes a huge difference as commercial fleet insurance brokers have access to many more transportation focused insurance companies. Also, an experienced broker will review your company data prior to submitting to commercial fleet insurance companies. If they see something a commercial fleet insurance company won’t like, they can address it with you and provide you with an opportunity to make changes before submitting to each carrier. The more information you can provide to a commercial fleet insurance underwriter, the better chances you have at achieving the lowest insurance rates. Because the for-hire, livery insurance market is so thin, carriers often get multiple submissions from duplicate brokers. Try to work with one broker at a time. You may think contacting multiple agencies well help you, but if they are all going to the same markets for commercial fleet insurance – it’s duplicating not only your own work, but the insurance companies as well. The livery market is a tough class of business and finding an experienced broker will absolutely give you a leg up on finding the lowest insurance rates over a generalist broker.

American Business Insurance Services, Inc. has been working with transportation companies across the nation for 35+ years. We have direct relationships with the most competitive commercial fleet insurance companies. We know what it takes to submit a complete application and present your company in the best light possible – which will no doubt translate to finding commercial fleet insurance at the lowest insurance rate.

Looking for a quote? Click here

HyreCar CEO Thanks Us

HyreCar CEO Thanks American Business Insurance

In an interview with Nasdaq, HyreCar CEO, Joe Furnari, shared how American Business Insurance helped the company grow and succeed. It is our pleasure to work with this amazing company. Read below about the HyreCar company origins, the ways Uber and Lyft drivers can succeed despite obstacles, and the role of transportation network insurance.

The Origins of HyreCar

Three years ago, Joe Furnari was not the CEO of HyreCar. In fact, he was their first customer. At the time, he had a car in his garage that he barely drove. He was actually getting ready to sell his car when he came across the HyreCar start-up. So, he decided to give it a shot by listing his car for rent. When HyreCar had matched him to a driver, the three original founders were so excited they drove to Furnari’s house to meet their first client and be there when the driver came to pick up his car. The driver could then drive for Uber or Lyft. It didn’t take long for Furnari to see a profit by renting his car out, and he became so enamored with the business model that he eventually left his job at the time to become the CEO of HyreCar.

As insurance brokers, we get calls all the time from people who are looking to start a new commercial transportation business. Whether it be someone aspiring to start the next Uber and Lyft or someone who wants to start a small shuttle business, it is our priority to weed out those who are serious and have spent time in their business model, compared to those who woke up one day thinking it would be easy to hit the ground running.

HyreCar lyft uber insurance

 

Where We Came into the Picture

In 2015, our agency President Dave Haley and insurance industry veteran (as recently dubbed by BusinessWire) received a call from the two original founders of HyreCar. Marciano Kim and Abhi Arorahe, the HyreCar founders, found our auto insurance company via google. “I spent 3 minutes on the phone with the founders and immediately, I loved the idea HyreCar was going for. I knew there were a lot of people who wanted work (for Transportation Network Companies like Uber and Lyft) but couldn’t because they didn’t have a vehicle that qualified for it,” Haley said.

At the time, HyreCar and similar companies represented an untapped insurance market as well. Haley was tasked with what felt like an impossibility – to find an insurance company to charge per day, per mile, and per minute. After shopping the marketplace and many declinations, he finally found a carrier that was as interested in the business model as he was. And within a rapid 60 days, HyreCar was insured and able to really launch their platform.

Uber and Lyft Drivers Can Rejoice

There is a big problem for many people who want to drive for Uber or Lyft. The obstacle is obtaining a vehicle that meets Uber or Lyft company requirements. Many drivers have to rent cars and then have to procure insurance on that vehicle. Personal auto specifically excludes any use of your vehicle that generates revenue.

Many Transportation Network Company (TNC) drivers use their personal auto regardless, but technically this is risky. In the case of an accident while driving for Uber or Lyft, their personal auto carrier would deny the claim. Additionally, the driver would face  the possibility of cancellation and non-renewal. With HyreCar’s model, drivers are able to rent a car at an affordable price. Plus, they would obtain an insurance ID card through HyreCar that allows them to qualify for Uber and Lyft. The great news is it does not put them at risk for being cancelled for unauthorized use of the vehicle.

HyreCar CEO Speaks to the Importance of Good Insurance

Uber driver Lyft Driver insurance hyrecar

 

Since launching three years ago, HyreCar has expanded into all 50 states. They have provided solutions for a disrupted transportation, car dealership and insurance industry. HyreCar recently went public and CEO Joe Furnari was interviewed by Nasdaq. In the Nasdaq interview, Furnari attributes part of HyreCar’s ability to grow and succeed to partnering with the right people on the insurance side. Furnari spoke specifically of American Business Insurance. The video clips and press releases included in this article effectively articulate from Furnari on how HyreCar has helped drivers, car dealers, and the insurance industry step forward into this ever-changing transportation marketplace.

Written by Laura Loftus on October 16th, 2018.

 

For more information about insuring your shared economy or transportation network company like HyreCar, click here: https://abiweb.com/services/tnc-provider/

WATCH THE INTERVIEW BETWEEN NASDAQ AND FURNARI BELOW

WATCH ANOTHER INTERVIEW WITH FURNARI HERE: https://www.facebook.com/Nasdaq/videos/2638290029729362/UzpfSTI2ODE1MjMzOTg2NjU2NzoyMjg5Mjc2ODE3NzU0MDk5/

Autonomous Vehicle Insurance: Self-Driving Cars

I know it is hard to believe that autonomous vehicle insurance is actually a thing now, but it is and it’s only going to become more relevant as time goes on. So, when your business decides to join the self-driving car movement it will be pertinent for your vehicles to be properly covered. This is where ABI Insurance Services Inc. comes in!

ABI Insurance Services Inc.
ABI has been around since 1985, making them a veteran when it comes to insurance services. Currently, they are one of the largest providers for commercial transportation insurance in the nation with over 40,000 vehicles being covered. Although they are seasoned when it comes to insurance policies they are also well aware of the rapid growth and change within the vehicle industry. This not only makes ABI highly experienced in business vehicle insurance, but also makes them one of the most innovative and up-to-date when it comes to the latest advancements in cars.

Autonomous Vehicle Insurance
With autonomous vehicle insurance being a newer concept, it is paramount for your small or large fleet insurance to be up to par with policies. At ABI, exclusive relationships with various insurance carriers allows for policies to meet all the specific criteria for your business. This means that the agonizing insurance process of underwriting, quoting, and binding of policies can all be done in house which in turn means faster, more specific services for your insurance needs. It is ABI’s business to understand their client’s business and this is exactly why ABI has been around for over 30 years and created such strong partnerships.

Why Autonomous Cars
Studies have shown that a computer is more of an ideal motorist than humans, this is further supported with the statistic that over 81% of car crashes are a direct result of human error. This only makes more sense when you put into consideration that there are no opportunities for a computer to be distracted by its surrounding environment. For human driven cars, most accidents are outcomes of the distractions correlated with simultaneously driving and texting or eating food. With autonomous cars, you can focus more on those things that would otherwise distract you from the road which in turn would save you time in your busy lifestyle. Not if, but when self-driving cars start to take over the roads it will improve traffic conditions exponentially because large numbers of self-driving cars mean less human errors which would result in less overall congestion.

Recap and other Pro’s for Self-Driving Vehicles:

  • Less car crashes
  • More free time
  • Less congestion
  • Higher speed limits
  • Less drunk drivers
  • Less parking concerns
  • Disabled support

ABI’s portfolio of coverages include Auto Liability, General Liability, Work Comp, Occupational Injury and Collision insurance for virtually any commercial vehicle including Truckers, Movers, and more. With their focus falling within the commercial vehicle realm they are the ideal service to contact when you make that innovative transfer from a fleet of human-driven cars to self-driven cars. You can contact ABI for a quote today by clicking on button below. Safe autonomous driving!

A.M. Best Rating Service: The Credibility of Insurance Companies

Best’s Credit Rating (BCR)
When it comes to knowing whether or not an insurance company is going to be a reliable fit for your needs the first thing to verify is the company’s Best’s Credit Rating (BCR). This is an objective judgement regarding the insurer’s creditworthiness. The BCR is essentially a grade given based on quantitative and qualitative evaluations of the insurer’s balance sheet, operating performance, and business profile. There are various credit and independent rating options, to include:

  • Best’s Financial Strength Ratings (FSR) – This rating is an opinion provided on a specific insurer’s financial strengths and their ability to meet current insurance policy and contract obligations.
  • Best’s Issuer Credit Rating (ICR) – This rating is an opinion of an entity’s ability to meet ongoing financial obligations that can be issued on a long or short-term basis.
  • Best’s Issue Credit Rating (IR) – This rating is an opinion on the credit quality assigned to issues that determines how likely they are to meet the terms of obligation and can be issued on a long or short-term basis.
  • Best’s National Scale Rating (NSR) – This rating is based on a measurement of creditworthiness in a specific jurisdiction that is issued on a long-term basis.
  • Preliminary Credit Assessment (PCA) – This is an independent opinion based on the general credit strengths/weaknesses of an issuer, security, obligor, business plans, and term sheets.
  • Rating Assessment Service (RAS) – This is a rating solicited by non-rated entities that provides an opinion of a company’s rating prospects based on their financial statements and other financial information.
  • Rating Evaluation Service (RES) – This is a rating solicited by rated entities that provides an opinion on the impact of hypothetical scenarios based on financial projections and other financial information.
  • Financial Size Category (FSC) – This a grading scale designed to provide an indicator on the size of a company in terms of its statutory surplus and related accounts.

Choosing the Right Partner
For example, if you are searching for an insurance carrier to cover your commercial vehicles then it is crucial to look at their BCR. By looking at the ratings above it will give you a much better understanding of a company’s legitimacy when it comes to covering vehicles such as cabs, limos, ambulances, and trucks. BCR’s also allow you to get an in-depth understanding on how well different coverage options will be. For instance, Auto Liability, General Liability, Work Comp, Occupational Injury, and Collision Insurance.

Based on BCR, American Business Insurance Services is a great option when looking for commercial vehicle coverage. They are a small insurance carrier that has been around since 1984 and know how to cater to their partner’s needs. They are one of the largest commercial transportation insurance providers in the country with thousands of customers and over 40,000 vehicles insured. Now that you have a much better understanding of what goes into a BCR your options for choosing a potential insurance carrier should be much more clear. Happy insurance!

How to Insure Transportation Network Companies: A Detailed Guide to Getting your TNC off the Ground

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How to Insure Transportation Network Companies: A Detailed Guide to Getting your TNC off the Ground

Written by Laura Loftus on Monday, May 6th, 2019

Whether you are looking to start your own Transportation Network Company, On-Demand Delivery App or other Shared Economy business, one of the most important factors to consider is insurance! Sounds boring, I know. But as the world around us changes, insurance markets for transportation network companies are creating new structures and products. As an independent agency, American Business Insurance has direct relationships with all insurance companies currently writing specialized policies for transportation network companies.

Finding insurance for transportation network companies or other app-based businesses is no easy feat. As you may have already come to realize, most of your local brokers who specialize in personal lines don’t have relationships with insurance companies in this space. Many local brokers don’t understand what information to collect from business owners to present your transportation network company in the most insurable light.

Finding An Insurance Broker To Write Policies For Your Transportation Network Company

Most of the common insurance companies you may have already heard of are not writing policies because of the high-risk nature for transportation network companies. Insurance companies who are writing policies for transportation network companies are Surplus Lines carriers whose focus is in this specialized, technology driven market place.

Some people think that it is easy to join the long list of people who are trying to start transportation network companies to compete with those already dominating the world – Uber and Lyft. But in reality, the people who have created these transportation network companies worked for many years prior to actually launching.

To some, that might seem like a really long time but when an experienced insurance broker who is familiar with writing policies for transportation network companies asks you to assemble a list of items, it’s best to know exactly what you are getting yourself into. Don’t be fooled, there is a lot of prep, time and money that is required to build transportation network companies like Uber or Lyft.

transportation network companies

Minimum Premiums For Transportation Network Companies

As you might have anticipated, buying an insurance policy for transportation network companies is not cheap since most insurers in this space have minimum premiums of $75,000-100,000. We know, that is a lot of dough! The good news is, most of the carriers will accept a portion of that up-front and some even offer premium eroding endorsements. This means if your business doesn’t generate premium up to that amount within the year, they will carry over the credit to the following year.

Obtaining a quote requires you to find a broker who specializes in writing insurance for transportation network companies. Working with the right broker will not only save you time and money, but prevent you from buying coverages you don’t need and making sure that you have the ones you do. An experienced broker who is familiar with writing insurance for transportation network companies will know exactly what information to collect from you. They will also know how to present it best to the insurance markets who are writing policies for transportation network companies.

American Business Insurance Services, Inc.

Lucky for you, you found us! As an agency, we have been around long before ordering a ride from your smart-phone was an option. We specialize in public auto which means we understand more than anyone how transportation network companies operate.

transportation network companies

Items Transportation Network Companies Should Have Ready Before Calling Your Broker For A Quote:

Build the App:

  • One of the first questions I ask customers looking for insurance for transportation network companies is if the app is complete. Insurance company underwriters will want to download your app and make sure it’s working. Also, some companies have technology-based policies, meaning they integrate with your app to capture data on the drivers. Some even offer lower insurance rates based on favorable data collected (less speeding, hard stops, etcetera). Most policies for transportation network companies are usage based, so they have to be able to download your app and make sure it’s compatible with their insurance structure. Insurance companies often want to be able to pull reports from your app which include and are not limited to:

1. Knowing When A Trip Starts and Stops

2. How Many Miles For Each Trip

3. How Many Minutes/Hours For Each Trip

Business Plan & Projections:

  • There is a checklist of items the insurance company will want to see attached to the submission your broker sends. Your broker should be narrating to the insurance company all the hard work and thought you’ve put into creating these transportation network companies. Insurers will want to see a “pitch deck” which is something you might already have created to obtain investors. This document will present and explain your business model, why it is different from what is alreadyout there and how it will work long term. Some of the questions this document should answer are:

transportation network companies1. What are the company’s growth plans?

2. How will you monitor safety/loss control?

3. How is pricing structured so that the company is profitable?

 Safety and Training:

  • Safety and training is a big deal for insurers who are writing policies for transportation network companies. They will want to know what restrictions, checks and balances and training you will provide to drivers. They want to know how often you will check driving records and how often people have to pass background checks. The younger in age the drivers are that you allow to join your transportation network companies, the more expensive you can expect your insurance prices to be. Insurance companies want to know how you are going to prevent accidents from happening so that you build a positive reputation within the industry along side other transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft.

Bios on Key Officers/Investors:

  • Insurance companies want to know about the people behind the transportation network companies! If you want to join the group of dominating transportation network companies, they are going to want to know what experience you have, not only in transportation but also in being an entrepreneur. Take the time to write detailed bios for yourself and all other key members, officers and investors behind your transportation network company. Make sure to detail the knowledge and life experience you are bringing to the table in starting transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft. A well written, detailed bio will separate your company from all the rest and will give you a better advantage to better pricing on insurance for transportation network companies.

 Terms of Service & Privacy Conditions:

  • Although this may seem like a small piece of the puzzle to getting insurance for transportation network companies, most insurers want to see the liability of the app in regards to what they are promising to both their drivers and users. If you are a peer to peer platform, they want to see how the transaction will take place. Some of the questions that should be answered here are:

1. What Security Measures Are In Place To Protect The User?

2. How Should Complaints Be Filed?

3. What Terms and Conditions Does Your Company Adhere To? 

transportation network companies

Financial Balance Sheet:

  • Basically, a lot of what it takes to insure transportation network companies is having money, and a lot of it. Due to the hefty size of the minimum premiums for transportation network companies, generally ranging from $75,00-100,000, insurers want to make sure you not only have money to pay for the policy, but to also keep your business afloat and operating before you start turning a profit. It’s no secret that most transportation network companies do not profit until after the first year. Insurers want to see that you have raised money, not just for the cost of insurance but also for operating expenses, advertising and promotions.
  • When I review the balance sheet for transportation network companies, I know that most insurers want to see that you’ve raised at minimum $250,000-$1,000,000 in capital. Sometimes more. The reason for them wanting transportation network companies to raise this much money is because they know what it takes to gain traction in this unique space. They want to make sure the work they are putting in to quote and bind your policy will create a lasting relationship with you.

Guidance From American Business Insurance Services, INC

Starting any business takes time, research and money. We get phone calls from people daily thinking they are going to be the next Uber and Lyft. And believe me, we want you to make it big and compete against the monopoly that currently exists for transportation network companies. But in reality, we know that few of the phone calls we receive have actually taken the above steps which are required to make transportation network companies insurable.

If you have questions or need guidance, please give us a call and we will be happy to discuss over the phone! While some of the larger, corporate run agencies have the same relationships as us, few will offer the personal touch and value we have with every client.

Exclusive Contracts

Additionally, we have exclusive contracts with some companies that allow us to write at a lower minimum premium than others. We are an independent, family-run business with 75+ years of combined experience in the business insurance industry. We have invested in other transportation network companies, peer to peer and shared economy types of businesses. Most of us utilize transportation network companies and peer-to-peer apps regularly.

We literally have boots on the ground in this space and if you want the best pricing with the smoothest transaction – we are here for you!

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How to Save the MOST Money on Your Commercial Fleet Insurance Rates

ABI Transportation Experts Speak: How to Save the MOST Money on Your Commercial Fleet Insurance Rates

Written by Laura Loftus on Thursday, February 28th, 2019

 

When speaking with clients about their commercial fleet insurance, the most common concern is how to get the lowest insurance rates. About 100% of the customers I speak to daily all have the same goal – they want the lowest insurance rates available and will do whatever it takes to get it. Whether you own a Taxi, Limo, Paratransit or Shared Economy company (peer to peer platform app), it’s a given that you want your commercial fleet insurance coverage at the lowest insurance rates available. What many companies don’t realize, especially start-ups, is that commercial fleet insurance underwriters do quite a bit of digging on your company through a variety of platforms to “check you out” prior to releasing a quote. They read Yelp reviews, they look at your website, they do Better Business Bureau checks – all of it.

There are common mistakes that transportation service companies are repeatedly making that will create doubt in a commercial fleet insurance company. These mistakes actually prevent your broker from being able to find the lowest insurance rates for your company. Most of these companies think they are making business decisions that will guide them toward the lowest insurance rates, and are unaware that their current website or driver pool is actually hurting their chances of achieving the lowest possible commercial fleet insurance rate.

Five common flubs transportation service companies are making that prevent your commercial fleet insurance broker from obtaining the lowest insurance rates possible:

1) Company Website

The first and most common mistake we see from commercial auto risks who are in the “wheels” business as us underwriters call it – is that you over the amount of experience or size of your transportation service company.  It is common for commercial fleet insurance underwriters to google your company to pick apart your website. Here are some items you may think are helping your chances at obtaining the lowest insurance rates but are actually red flags to commercial fleet insurance companies:

  •  Words like “Fast Pick-up” or ‘Delivery in Minutes” – no commercial fleet insurance underwriter wants to see that you are promising rushed services. Rushing = equals unsafe driving behavior.

commercial fleet insurance

  • Advertising vehicles that are not actually part of your fleet. For example, just yesterday I was helping a 35-car fleet in Portland with obtaining commercial fleet insurance quotes. The list of vehicles they provided were all private passenger type vehicles (meaning seating capacity of 8 or less) – good! But when I searched the company online, they advertised a large shuttle bus and a higher seating capacity van. When I asked the client about this, they those vehicles had been sold and they had no plans to replace them. Keeping your website up to date and only advertising only what you can actually deliver will keep unwanted questions from creeping into the commercial fleet insurance underwriters’ mind. Creating uncertainty is the last thing you want to do with a commercial fleet insurance underwriter when trying to obtain the lowest insurance rates.
  •  Age of vehicles is important to commercial fleet insurance companies. Publishing a picture of a 30-year-old vehicle is no bueno. Keep your fleet serviced regularly (we recommend every three to four thousand miles and cycle out old units. Newer, cleaner & well-maintained vehicles are not only more desired by clientele (when trying to compete with Uber/Lyft) but also preferred by commercial fleet insurance companies trying to avoid claims due to mechanical defect.
  • If you boast 20 years of experience but your LLC was filed three years ago, it creates uncertainty with insurance companies. It’s better to accurately reflect your business as it is now, and not what you want it to be five years from now. Just as there are items to avoid putting on your website, there are points that you should include on your website. It is always a good idea to brag about highly trained drivers and safety training you provide (more on this later). Be sure to note the maintenance you keep up with for your fleet, the background checks the city you operate in mandates and the highest level of driving records required for your drivers. Commercial fleet insurance underwriters like stable fleets with safe drivers. Bottom line, safer risks translates to commercial fleet insurance underwriters offering the lowest insurance rates.

2) Creating a Business Name

This may seem simple enough but for transportation business owners looking to for the lowest insurance rates, people often think that commercial fleet insurance companies give the lowest insurance rates to Limo’s and Non-Emergency Medical risks over a taxi or airport shuttle. While this might be true, cornering yourself into a specific type of transportation in your business name narrows the list of commercial fleet insurance carriers you are eligible for. Many markets write only taxis or only limos. So, if you file your business name with the Secretary of State as Laura’s Taxi & Limo Service, LLC. – it could possibly make you ineligible for a limo commercial fleet insurance program because they don’t insure taxis and vice versa – even if your unit type meets their requirements. When talking with clients, I always say it’s best to be general about the transportation type within the name of their business, especially as market conditions change. You may be heavy in taxi trips one year but then obtain a paratransit contract and do more of that the following year. The more years of favorable loss history (loss runs) you can provide, the better chance you have at obtaining the lowest insurance rates. Choosing a business name that is general such as Laura’s Transportation Service, LLC. allows you flexibility to transform and evolve your business as the industry demands change.

3) Loss Control is Everything

Underwriters give commercial fleet insurance at the lowest insurance rates to companies with low levels of paid claims. Even in a hard insurance market, with rates rising for the good guys too, you can expect to pay more for commercial fleet insurance if you’re prior insurance companies have paid a lot in claims. Here are some suggestions in tightening loss control for your transportation service company:

  •  Hire a full-time loss control or driver manager who will enforce a safety culture. Doing this, will lower the frequency and severity of claim payouts and put your transportation service company in a better position to obtain the lowest insurance rates. This person should be in charge of overseeing the overall safety of your company. Managing and coaching your drivers is the key to a successful transportation service company. You are only as good as your worst driver.
  • commercial fleet insurance Invest in cameras that capture not only accidents but also driver analytics. This type of camera system will allow you to review driver behavior and correct bad habits before they cause an accident. We like to say this method is similar to that of a professional athlete. How do they improve? They watch their game film and correct bad habits. Driving professionally is the same. The more you do it, the more comfortable you get and having drivers watch themselves reduces risky behavior dramatically. Additionally, it’s a known fact that many commercial fleet insurance claims are paid because of he said/she said situations. Having accidents on camera is the best way to know who exactly was at fault and exonerate innocent drivers.
  •  Hold weekly safety huddles and or monthly meetings. Review the data and claims that have occurred recently and talk to your drivers about how they could have been prevented.
  •  Commit to investing in annual defensive driving training for your drivers. This annual reminder to drivers will ensure that bad habits are addressed and give each driver a time to reflect on their own performance.
  • Implement a reward program for safe drivers. Giving an incentive, even if it’s small monetary gift cards – keeps your drivers focused and motivated on safe driving habits.

4) The Driver Pool

The Driver Pool is so important when trying to achieve the lowest insurance rates from commercial fleet insurance providers for your transportation company. How you chose to manage drivers and who you hire is crucial. Create formal guidelines that clearly outline what is acceptable for employment. We recommend only hiring drivers with zero accidents within the past three years and minimal moving violations. Clean MVRs are best but we know that professional drivers with experience usually do not have clean MVRs and this is ok. Professional drivers are on the road up to 3x more than someone commuting to/from work so it’s a given that they will most likely have more violations on their records. Repeat offenders can impact the cost of your commercial fleet insurance and should be let go. No one is perfect, but you should train your drivers with the goal to be as safe as possible. Excessive violations on a driving record can cause surcharges and prevent you from obtaining the lower insurance rates. Additionally, younger drivers sometimes generate higher premiums for commercial fleet insurance as well as newly licensed individuals.

5) Contact an Experienced, Transportation Insurance Broker

commercial fleet insurance

Working with a transportation specialist versus a local agency makes a huge difference as commercial fleet insurance brokers have access to many more transportation focused insurance companies. Also, an experienced broker will review your company data prior to submitting to commercial fleet insurance companies. If they see something a commercial fleet insurance company won’t like, they can address it with you and provide you with an opportunity to make changes before submitting to each carrier. The more information you can provide to a commercial fleet insurance underwriter, the better chances you have at achieving the lowest insurance rates. Because the for-hire, livery insurance market is so thin, carriers often get multiple submissions from duplicate brokers. Try to work with one broker at a time. You may think contacting multiple agencies well help you, but if they are all going to the same markets for commercial fleet insurance – it’s duplicating not only your own work, but the insurance companies as well. The livery market is a tough class of business and finding an experienced broker will absolutely give you a leg up on finding the lowest insurance rates over a generalist broker.

American Business Insurance Services, Inc. has been working with transportation companies across the nation for 35+ years. We have direct relationships with the most competitive commercial fleet insurance companies. We know what it takes to submit a complete application and present your company in the best light possible – which will no doubt translate to finding commercial fleet insurance at the lowest insurance rate.

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HyreCar CEO Thanks Us

HyreCar CEO Thanks American Business Insurance

In an interview with Nasdaq, HyreCar CEO, Joe Furnari, shared how American Business Insurance helped the company grow and succeed. It is our pleasure to work with this amazing company. Read below about the HyreCar company origins, the ways Uber and Lyft drivers can succeed despite obstacles, and the role of transportation network insurance.

The Origins of HyreCar

Three years ago, Joe Furnari was not the CEO of HyreCar. In fact, he was their first customer. At the time, he had a car in his garage that he barely drove. He was actually getting ready to sell his car when he came across the HyreCar start-up. So, he decided to give it a shot by listing his car for rent. When HyreCar had matched him to a driver, the three original founders were so excited they drove to Furnari’s house to meet their first client and be there when the driver came to pick up his car. The driver could then drive for Uber or Lyft. It didn’t take long for Furnari to see a profit by renting his car out, and he became so enamored with the business model that he eventually left his job at the time to become the CEO of HyreCar.

As insurance brokers, we get calls all the time from people who are looking to start a new commercial transportation business. Whether it be someone aspiring to start the next Uber and Lyft or someone who wants to start a small shuttle business, it is our priority to weed out those who are serious and have spent time in their business model, compared to those who woke up one day thinking it would be easy to hit the ground running.

HyreCar lyft uber insurance

 

Where We Came into the Picture

In 2015, our agency President Dave Haley and insurance industry veteran (as recently dubbed by BusinessWire) received a call from the two original founders of HyreCar. Marciano Kim and Abhi Arorahe, the HyreCar founders, found our auto insurance company via google. “I spent 3 minutes on the phone with the founders and immediately, I loved the idea HyreCar was going for. I knew there were a lot of people who wanted work (for Transportation Network Companies like Uber and Lyft) but couldn’t because they didn’t have a vehicle that qualified for it,” Haley said.

At the time, HyreCar and similar companies represented an untapped insurance market as well. Haley was tasked with what felt like an impossibility – to find an insurance company to charge per day, per mile, and per minute. After shopping the marketplace and many declinations, he finally found a carrier that was as interested in the business model as he was. And within a rapid 60 days, HyreCar was insured and able to really launch their platform.

Uber and Lyft Drivers Can Rejoice

There is a big problem for many people who want to drive for Uber or Lyft. The obstacle is obtaining a vehicle that meets Uber or Lyft company requirements. Many drivers have to rent cars and then have to procure insurance on that vehicle. Personal auto specifically excludes any use of your vehicle that generates revenue.

Many Transportation Network Company (TNC) drivers use their personal auto regardless, but technically this is risky. In the case of an accident while driving for Uber or Lyft, their personal auto carrier would deny the claim. Additionally, the driver would face  the possibility of cancellation and non-renewal. With HyreCar’s model, drivers are able to rent a car at an affordable price. Plus, they would obtain an insurance ID card through HyreCar that allows them to qualify for Uber and Lyft. The great news is it does not put them at risk for being cancelled for unauthorized use of the vehicle.

HyreCar CEO Speaks to the Importance of Good Insurance

Uber driver Lyft Driver insurance hyrecar

 

Since launching three years ago, HyreCar has expanded into all 50 states. They have provided solutions for a disrupted transportation, car dealership and insurance industry. HyreCar recently went public and CEO Joe Furnari was interviewed by Nasdaq. In the Nasdaq interview, Furnari attributes part of HyreCar’s ability to grow and succeed to partnering with the right people on the insurance side. Furnari spoke specifically of American Business Insurance. The video clips and press releases included in this article effectively articulate from Furnari on how HyreCar has helped drivers, car dealers, and the insurance industry step forward into this ever-changing transportation marketplace.

Written by Laura Loftus on October 16th, 2018.

 

For more information about insuring your shared economy or transportation network company like HyreCar, click here: https://abiweb.com/services/tnc-provider/

WATCH THE INTERVIEW BETWEEN NASDAQ AND FURNARI BELOW

WATCH ANOTHER INTERVIEW WITH FURNARI HERE: https://www.facebook.com/Nasdaq/videos/2638290029729362/UzpfSTI2ODE1MjMzOTg2NjU2NzoyMjg5Mjc2ODE3NzU0MDk5/

Autonomous Vehicle Insurance: Self-Driving Cars

I know it is hard to believe that autonomous vehicle insurance is actually a thing now, but it is and it’s only going to become more relevant as time goes on. So, when your business decides to join the self-driving car movement it will be pertinent for your vehicles to be properly covered. This is where ABI Insurance Services Inc. comes in!

ABI Insurance Services Inc.
ABI has been around since 1985, making them a veteran when it comes to insurance services. Currently, they are one of the largest providers for commercial transportation insurance in the nation with over 40,000 vehicles being covered. Although they are seasoned when it comes to insurance policies they are also well aware of the rapid growth and change within the vehicle industry. This not only makes ABI highly experienced in business vehicle insurance, but also makes them one of the most innovative and up-to-date when it comes to the latest advancements in cars.

Autonomous Vehicle Insurance
With autonomous vehicle insurance being a newer concept, it is paramount for your small or large fleet insurance to be up to par with policies. At ABI, exclusive relationships with various insurance carriers allows for policies to meet all the specific criteria for your business. This means that the agonizing insurance process of underwriting, quoting, and binding of policies can all be done in house which in turn means faster, more specific services for your insurance needs. It is ABI’s business to understand their client’s business and this is exactly why ABI has been around for over 30 years and created such strong partnerships.

Why Autonomous Cars
Studies have shown that a computer is more of an ideal motorist than humans, this is further supported with the statistic that over 81% of car crashes are a direct result of human error. This only makes more sense when you put into consideration that there are no opportunities for a computer to be distracted by its surrounding environment. For human driven cars, most accidents are outcomes of the distractions correlated with simultaneously driving and texting or eating food. With autonomous cars, you can focus more on those things that would otherwise distract you from the road which in turn would save you time in your busy lifestyle. Not if, but when self-driving cars start to take over the roads it will improve traffic conditions exponentially because large numbers of self-driving cars mean less human errors which would result in less overall congestion.

Recap and other Pro’s for Self-Driving Vehicles:

  • Less car crashes
  • More free time
  • Less congestion
  • Higher speed limits
  • Less drunk drivers
  • Less parking concerns
  • Disabled support

ABI’s portfolio of coverages include Auto Liability, General Liability, Work Comp, Occupational Injury and Collision insurance for virtually any commercial vehicle including Truckers, Movers, and more. With their focus falling within the commercial vehicle realm they are the ideal service to contact when you make that innovative transfer from a fleet of human-driven cars to self-driven cars. You can contact ABI for a quote today by clicking on button below. Safe autonomous driving!

A.M. Best Rating Service: The Credibility of Insurance Companies

Best’s Credit Rating (BCR)
When it comes to knowing whether or not an insurance company is going to be a reliable fit for your needs the first thing to verify is the company’s Best’s Credit Rating (BCR). This is an objective judgement regarding the insurer’s creditworthiness. The BCR is essentially a grade given based on quantitative and qualitative evaluations of the insurer’s balance sheet, operating performance, and business profile. There are various credit and independent rating options, to include:

  • Best’s Financial Strength Ratings (FSR) – This rating is an opinion provided on a specific insurer’s financial strengths and their ability to meet current insurance policy and contract obligations.
  • Best’s Issuer Credit Rating (ICR) – This rating is an opinion of an entity’s ability to meet ongoing financial obligations that can be issued on a long or short-term basis.
  • Best’s Issue Credit Rating (IR) – This rating is an opinion on the credit quality assigned to issues that determines how likely they are to meet the terms of obligation and can be issued on a long or short-term basis.
  • Best’s National Scale Rating (NSR) – This rating is based on a measurement of creditworthiness in a specific jurisdiction that is issued on a long-term basis.
  • Preliminary Credit Assessment (PCA) – This is an independent opinion based on the general credit strengths/weaknesses of an issuer, security, obligor, business plans, and term sheets.
  • Rating Assessment Service (RAS) – This is a rating solicited by non-rated entities that provides an opinion of a company’s rating prospects based on their financial statements and other financial information.
  • Rating Evaluation Service (RES) – This is a rating solicited by rated entities that provides an opinion on the impact of hypothetical scenarios based on financial projections and other financial information.
  • Financial Size Category (FSC) – This a grading scale designed to provide an indicator on the size of a company in terms of its statutory surplus and related accounts.

Choosing the Right Partner
For example, if you are searching for an insurance carrier to cover your commercial vehicles then it is crucial to look at their BCR. By looking at the ratings above it will give you a much better understanding of a company’s legitimacy when it comes to covering vehicles such as cabs, limos, ambulances, and trucks. BCR’s also allow you to get an in-depth understanding on how well different coverage options will be. For instance, Auto Liability, General Liability, Work Comp, Occupational Injury, and Collision Insurance.

Based on BCR, American Business Insurance Services is a great option when looking for commercial vehicle coverage. They are a small insurance carrier that has been around since 1984 and know how to cater to their partner’s needs. They are one of the largest commercial transportation insurance providers in the country with thousands of customers and over 40,000 vehicles insured. Now that you have a much better understanding of what goes into a BCR your options for choosing a potential insurance carrier should be much more clear. Happy insurance!

How to Insure Transportation Network Companies: A Detailed Guide to Getting your TNC off the Ground

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How to Insure Transportation Network Companies: A Detailed Guide to Getting your TNC off the Ground

Written by Laura Loftus on Monday, May 6th, 2019

Whether you are looking to start your own Transportation Network Company, On-Demand Delivery App or other Shared Economy business, one of the most important factors to consider is insurance! Sounds boring, I know. But as the world around us changes, insurance markets for transportation network companies are creating new structures and products. As an independent agency, American Business Insurance has direct relationships with all insurance companies currently writing specialized policies for transportation network companies.

Finding insurance for transportation network companies or other app-based businesses is no easy feat. As you may have already come to realize, most of your local brokers who specialize in personal lines don’t have relationships with insurance companies in this space. Many local brokers don’t understand what information to collect from business owners to present your transportation network company in the most insurable light.

Finding An Insurance Broker To Write Policies For Your Transportation Network Company

Most of the common insurance companies you may have already heard of are not writing policies because of the high-risk nature for transportation network companies. Insurance companies who are writing policies for transportation network companies are Surplus Lines carriers whose focus is in this specialized, technology driven market place.

Some people think that it is easy to join the long list of people who are trying to start transportation network companies to compete with those already dominating the world – Uber and Lyft. But in reality, the people who have created these transportation network companies worked for many years prior to actually launching.

To some, that might seem like a really long time but when an experienced insurance broker who is familiar with writing policies for transportation network companies asks you to assemble a list of items, it’s best to know exactly what you are getting yourself into. Don’t be fooled, there is a lot of prep, time and money that is required to build transportation network companies like Uber or Lyft.

transportation network companies

Minimum Premiums For Transportation Network Companies

As you might have anticipated, buying an insurance policy for transportation network companies is not cheap since most insurers in this space have minimum premiums of $75,000-100,000. We know, that is a lot of dough! The good news is, most of the carriers will accept a portion of that up-front and some even offer premium eroding endorsements. This means if your business doesn’t generate premium up to that amount within the year, they will carry over the credit to the following year.

Obtaining a quote requires you to find a broker who specializes in writing insurance for transportation network companies. Working with the right broker will not only save you time and money, but prevent you from buying coverages you don’t need and making sure that you have the ones you do. An experienced broker who is familiar with writing insurance for transportation network companies will know exactly what information to collect from you. They will also know how to present it best to the insurance markets who are writing policies for transportation network companies.

American Business Insurance Services, Inc.

Lucky for you, you found us! As an agency, we have been around long before ordering a ride from your smart-phone was an option. We specialize in public auto which means we understand more than anyone how transportation network companies operate.

transportation network companies

Items Transportation Network Companies Should Have Ready Before Calling Your Broker For A Quote:

Build the App:

  • One of the first questions I ask customers looking for insurance for transportation network companies is if the app is complete. Insurance company underwriters will want to download your app and make sure it’s working. Also, some companies have technology-based policies, meaning they integrate with your app to capture data on the drivers. Some even offer lower insurance rates based on favorable data collected (less speeding, hard stops, etcetera). Most policies for transportation network companies are usage based, so they have to be able to download your app and make sure it’s compatible with their insurance structure. Insurance companies often want to be able to pull reports from your app which include and are not limited to:

1. Knowing When A Trip Starts and Stops

2. How Many Miles For Each Trip

3. How Many Minutes/Hours For Each Trip

Business Plan & Projections:

  • There is a checklist of items the insurance company will want to see attached to the submission your broker sends. Your broker should be narrating to the insurance company all the hard work and thought you’ve put into creating these transportation network companies. Insurers will want to see a “pitch deck” which is something you might already have created to obtain investors. This document will present and explain your business model, why it is different from what is alreadyout there and how it will work long term. Some of the questions this document should answer are:

transportation network companies1. What are the company’s growth plans?

2. How will you monitor safety/loss control?

3. How is pricing structured so that the company is profitable?

 Safety and Training:

  • Safety and training is a big deal for insurers who are writing policies for transportation network companies. They will want to know what restrictions, checks and balances and training you will provide to drivers. They want to know how often you will check driving records and how often people have to pass background checks. The younger in age the drivers are that you allow to join your transportation network companies, the more expensive you can expect your insurance prices to be. Insurance companies want to know how you are going to prevent accidents from happening so that you build a positive reputation within the industry along side other transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft.

Bios on Key Officers/Investors:

  • Insurance companies want to know about the people behind the transportation network companies! If you want to join the group of dominating transportation network companies, they are going to want to know what experience you have, not only in transportation but also in being an entrepreneur. Take the time to write detailed bios for yourself and all other key members, officers and investors behind your transportation network company. Make sure to detail the knowledge and life experience you are bringing to the table in starting transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft. A well written, detailed bio will separate your company from all the rest and will give you a better advantage to better pricing on insurance for transportation network companies.

 Terms of Service & Privacy Conditions:

  • Although this may seem like a small piece of the puzzle to getting insurance for transportation network companies, most insurers want to see the liability of the app in regards to what they are promising to both their drivers and users. If you are a peer to peer platform, they want to see how the transaction will take place. Some of the questions that should be answered here are:

1. What Security Measures Are In Place To Protect The User?

2. How Should Complaints Be Filed?

3. What Terms and Conditions Does Your Company Adhere To? 

transportation network companies

Financial Balance Sheet:

  • Basically, a lot of what it takes to insure transportation network companies is having money, and a lot of it. Due to the hefty size of the minimum premiums for transportation network companies, generally ranging from $75,00-100,000, insurers want to make sure you not only have money to pay for the policy, but to also keep your business afloat and operating before you start turning a profit. It’s no secret that most transportation network companies do not profit until after the first year. Insurers want to see that you have raised money, not just for the cost of insurance but also for operating expenses, advertising and promotions.
  • When I review the balance sheet for transportation network companies, I know that most insurers want to see that you’ve raised at minimum $250,000-$1,000,000 in capital. Sometimes more. The reason for them wanting transportation network companies to raise this much money is because they know what it takes to gain traction in this unique space. They want to make sure the work they are putting in to quote and bind your policy will create a lasting relationship with you.

Guidance From American Business Insurance Services, INC

Starting any business takes time, research and money. We get phone calls from people daily thinking they are going to be the next Uber and Lyft. And believe me, we want you to make it big and compete against the monopoly that currently exists for transportation network companies. But in reality, we know that few of the phone calls we receive have actually taken the above steps which are required to make transportation network companies insurable.

If you have questions or need guidance, please give us a call and we will be happy to discuss over the phone! While some of the larger, corporate run agencies have the same relationships as us, few will offer the personal touch and value we have with every client.

Exclusive Contracts

Additionally, we have exclusive contracts with some companies that allow us to write at a lower minimum premium than others. We are an independent, family-run business with 75+ years of combined experience in the business insurance industry. We have invested in other transportation network companies, peer to peer and shared economy types of businesses. Most of us utilize transportation network companies and peer-to-peer apps regularly.

We literally have boots on the ground in this space and if you want the best pricing with the smoothest transaction – we are here for you!

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How to Save the MOST Money on Your Commercial Fleet Insurance Rates

ABI Transportation Experts Speak: How to Save the MOST Money on Your Commercial Fleet Insurance Rates

Written by Laura Loftus on Thursday, February 28th, 2019

 

When speaking with clients about their commercial fleet insurance, the most common concern is how to get the lowest insurance rates. About 100% of the customers I speak to daily all have the same goal – they want the lowest insurance rates available and will do whatever it takes to get it. Whether you own a Taxi, Limo, Paratransit or Shared Economy company (peer to peer platform app), it’s a given that you want your commercial fleet insurance coverage at the lowest insurance rates available. What many companies don’t realize, especially start-ups, is that commercial fleet insurance underwriters do quite a bit of digging on your company through a variety of platforms to “check you out” prior to releasing a quote. They read Yelp reviews, they look at your website, they do Better Business Bureau checks – all of it.

There are common mistakes that transportation service companies are repeatedly making that will create doubt in a commercial fleet insurance company. These mistakes actually prevent your broker from being able to find the lowest insurance rates for your company. Most of these companies think they are making business decisions that will guide them toward the lowest insurance rates, and are unaware that their current website or driver pool is actually hurting their chances of achieving the lowest possible commercial fleet insurance rate.

Five common flubs transportation service companies are making that prevent your commercial fleet insurance broker from obtaining the lowest insurance rates possible:

1) Company Website

The first and most common mistake we see from commercial auto risks who are in the “wheels” business as us underwriters call it – is that you over the amount of experience or size of your transportation service company.  It is common for commercial fleet insurance underwriters to google your company to pick apart your website. Here are some items you may think are helping your chances at obtaining the lowest insurance rates but are actually red flags to commercial fleet insurance companies:

  •  Words like “Fast Pick-up” or ‘Delivery in Minutes” – no commercial fleet insurance underwriter wants to see that you are promising rushed services. Rushing = equals unsafe driving behavior.

commercial fleet insurance

  • Advertising vehicles that are not actually part of your fleet. For example, just yesterday I was helping a 35-car fleet in Portland with obtaining commercial fleet insurance quotes. The list of vehicles they provided were all private passenger type vehicles (meaning seating capacity of 8 or less) – good! But when I searched the company online, they advertised a large shuttle bus and a higher seating capacity van. When I asked the client about this, they those vehicles had been sold and they had no plans to replace them. Keeping your website up to date and only advertising only what you can actually deliver will keep unwanted questions from creeping into the commercial fleet insurance underwriters’ mind. Creating uncertainty is the last thing you want to do with a commercial fleet insurance underwriter when trying to obtain the lowest insurance rates.
  •  Age of vehicles is important to commercial fleet insurance companies. Publishing a picture of a 30-year-old vehicle is no bueno. Keep your fleet serviced regularly (we recommend every three to four thousand miles and cycle out old units. Newer, cleaner & well-maintained vehicles are not only more desired by clientele (when trying to compete with Uber/Lyft) but also preferred by commercial fleet insurance companies trying to avoid claims due to mechanical defect.
  • If you boast 20 years of experience but your LLC was filed three years ago, it creates uncertainty with insurance companies. It’s better to accurately reflect your business as it is now, and not what you want it to be five years from now. Just as there are items to avoid putting on your website, there are points that you should include on your website. It is always a good idea to brag about highly trained drivers and safety training you provide (more on this later). Be sure to note the maintenance you keep up with for your fleet, the background checks the city you operate in mandates and the highest level of driving records required for your drivers. Commercial fleet insurance underwriters like stable fleets with safe drivers. Bottom line, safer risks translates to commercial fleet insurance underwriters offering the lowest insurance rates.

2) Creating a Business Name

This may seem simple enough but for transportation business owners looking to for the lowest insurance rates, people often think that commercial fleet insurance companies give the lowest insurance rates to Limo’s and Non-Emergency Medical risks over a taxi or airport shuttle. While this might be true, cornering yourself into a specific type of transportation in your business name narrows the list of commercial fleet insurance carriers you are eligible for. Many markets write only taxis or only limos. So, if you file your business name with the Secretary of State as Laura’s Taxi & Limo Service, LLC. – it could possibly make you ineligible for a limo commercial fleet insurance program because they don’t insure taxis and vice versa – even if your unit type meets their requirements. When talking with clients, I always say it’s best to be general about the transportation type within the name of their business, especially as market conditions change. You may be heavy in taxi trips one year but then obtain a paratransit contract and do more of that the following year. The more years of favorable loss history (loss runs) you can provide, the better chance you have at obtaining the lowest insurance rates. Choosing a business name that is general such as Laura’s Transportation Service, LLC. allows you flexibility to transform and evolve your business as the industry demands change.

3) Loss Control is Everything

Underwriters give commercial fleet insurance at the lowest insurance rates to companies with low levels of paid claims. Even in a hard insurance market, with rates rising for the good guys too, you can expect to pay more for commercial fleet insurance if you’re prior insurance companies have paid a lot in claims. Here are some suggestions in tightening loss control for your transportation service company:

  •  Hire a full-time loss control or driver manager who will enforce a safety culture. Doing this, will lower the frequency and severity of claim payouts and put your transportation service company in a better position to obtain the lowest insurance rates. This person should be in charge of overseeing the overall safety of your company. Managing and coaching your drivers is the key to a successful transportation service company. You are only as good as your worst driver.
  • commercial fleet insurance Invest in cameras that capture not only accidents but also driver analytics. This type of camera system will allow you to review driver behavior and correct bad habits before they cause an accident. We like to say this method is similar to that of a professional athlete. How do they improve? They watch their game film and correct bad habits. Driving professionally is the same. The more you do it, the more comfortable you get and having drivers watch themselves reduces risky behavior dramatically. Additionally, it’s a known fact that many commercial fleet insurance claims are paid because of he said/she said situations. Having accidents on camera is the best way to know who exactly was at fault and exonerate innocent drivers.
  •  Hold weekly safety huddles and or monthly meetings. Review the data and claims that have occurred recently and talk to your drivers about how they could have been prevented.
  •  Commit to investing in annual defensive driving training for your drivers. This annual reminder to drivers will ensure that bad habits are addressed and give each driver a time to reflect on their own performance.
  • Implement a reward program for safe drivers. Giving an incentive, even if it’s small monetary gift cards – keeps your drivers focused and motivated on safe driving habits.

4) The Driver Pool

The Driver Pool is so important when trying to achieve the lowest insurance rates from commercial fleet insurance providers for your transportation company. How you chose to manage drivers and who you hire is crucial. Create formal guidelines that clearly outline what is acceptable for employment. We recommend only hiring drivers with zero accidents within the past three years and minimal moving violations. Clean MVRs are best but we know that professional drivers with experience usually do not have clean MVRs and this is ok. Professional drivers are on the road up to 3x more than someone commuting to/from work so it’s a given that they will most likely have more violations on their records. Repeat offenders can impact the cost of your commercial fleet insurance and should be let go. No one is perfect, but you should train your drivers with the goal to be as safe as possible. Excessive violations on a driving record can cause surcharges and prevent you from obtaining the lower insurance rates. Additionally, younger drivers sometimes generate higher premiums for commercial fleet insurance as well as newly licensed individuals.

5) Contact an Experienced, Transportation Insurance Broker

commercial fleet insurance

Working with a transportation specialist versus a local agency makes a huge difference as commercial fleet insurance brokers have access to many more transportation focused insurance companies. Also, an experienced broker will review your company data prior to submitting to commercial fleet insurance companies. If they see something a commercial fleet insurance company won’t like, they can address it with you and provide you with an opportunity to make changes before submitting to each carrier. The more information you can provide to a commercial fleet insurance underwriter, the better chances you have at achieving the lowest insurance rates. Because the for-hire, livery insurance market is so thin, carriers often get multiple submissions from duplicate brokers. Try to work with one broker at a time. You may think contacting multiple agencies well help you, but if they are all going to the same markets for commercial fleet insurance – it’s duplicating not only your own work, but the insurance companies as well. The livery market is a tough class of business and finding an experienced broker will absolutely give you a leg up on finding the lowest insurance rates over a generalist broker.

American Business Insurance Services, Inc. has been working with transportation companies across the nation for 35+ years. We have direct relationships with the most competitive commercial fleet insurance companies. We know what it takes to submit a complete application and present your company in the best light possible – which will no doubt translate to finding commercial fleet insurance at the lowest insurance rate.

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HyreCar CEO Thanks Us

HyreCar CEO Thanks American Business Insurance

In an interview with Nasdaq, HyreCar CEO, Joe Furnari, shared how American Business Insurance helped the company grow and succeed. It is our pleasure to work with this amazing company. Read below about the HyreCar company origins, the ways Uber and Lyft drivers can succeed despite obstacles, and the role of transportation network insurance.

The Origins of HyreCar

Three years ago, Joe Furnari was not the CEO of HyreCar. In fact, he was their first customer. At the time, he had a car in his garage that he barely drove. He was actually getting ready to sell his car when he came across the HyreCar start-up. So, he decided to give it a shot by listing his car for rent. When HyreCar had matched him to a driver, the three original founders were so excited they drove to Furnari’s house to meet their first client and be there when the driver came to pick up his car. The driver could then drive for Uber or Lyft. It didn’t take long for Furnari to see a profit by renting his car out, and he became so enamored with the business model that he eventually left his job at the time to become the CEO of HyreCar.

As insurance brokers, we get calls all the time from people who are looking to start a new commercial transportation business. Whether it be someone aspiring to start the next Uber and Lyft or someone who wants to start a small shuttle business, it is our priority to weed out those who are serious and have spent time in their business model, compared to those who woke up one day thinking it would be easy to hit the ground running.

HyreCar lyft uber insurance

 

Where We Came into the Picture

In 2015, our agency President Dave Haley and insurance industry veteran (as recently dubbed by BusinessWire) received a call from the two original founders of HyreCar. Marciano Kim and Abhi Arorahe, the HyreCar founders, found our auto insurance company via google. “I spent 3 minutes on the phone with the founders and immediately, I loved the idea HyreCar was going for. I knew there were a lot of people who wanted work (for Transportation Network Companies like Uber and Lyft) but couldn’t because they didn’t have a vehicle that qualified for it,” Haley said.

At the time, HyreCar and similar companies represented an untapped insurance market as well. Haley was tasked with what felt like an impossibility – to find an insurance company to charge per day, per mile, and per minute. After shopping the marketplace and many declinations, he finally found a carrier that was as interested in the business model as he was. And within a rapid 60 days, HyreCar was insured and able to really launch their platform.

Uber and Lyft Drivers Can Rejoice

There is a big problem for many people who want to drive for Uber or Lyft. The obstacle is obtaining a vehicle that meets Uber or Lyft company requirements. Many drivers have to rent cars and then have to procure insurance on that vehicle. Personal auto specifically excludes any use of your vehicle that generates revenue.

Many Transportation Network Company (TNC) drivers use their personal auto regardless, but technically this is risky. In the case of an accident while driving for Uber or Lyft, their personal auto carrier would deny the claim. Additionally, the driver would face  the possibility of cancellation and non-renewal. With HyreCar’s model, drivers are able to rent a car at an affordable price. Plus, they would obtain an insurance ID card through HyreCar that allows them to qualify for Uber and Lyft. The great news is it does not put them at risk for being cancelled for unauthorized use of the vehicle.

HyreCar CEO Speaks to the Importance of Good Insurance

Uber driver Lyft Driver insurance hyrecar

 

Since launching three years ago, HyreCar has expanded into all 50 states. They have provided solutions for a disrupted transportation, car dealership and insurance industry. HyreCar recently went public and CEO Joe Furnari was interviewed by Nasdaq. In the Nasdaq interview, Furnari attributes part of HyreCar’s ability to grow and succeed to partnering with the right people on the insurance side. Furnari spoke specifically of American Business Insurance. The video clips and press releases included in this article effectively articulate from Furnari on how HyreCar has helped drivers, car dealers, and the insurance industry step forward into this ever-changing transportation marketplace.

Written by Laura Loftus on October 16th, 2018.

 

For more information about insuring your shared economy or transportation network company like HyreCar, click here: https://abiweb.com/services/tnc-provider/

WATCH THE INTERVIEW BETWEEN NASDAQ AND FURNARI BELOW

WATCH ANOTHER INTERVIEW WITH FURNARI HERE: https://www.facebook.com/Nasdaq/videos/2638290029729362/UzpfSTI2ODE1MjMzOTg2NjU2NzoyMjg5Mjc2ODE3NzU0MDk5/

Autonomous Vehicle Insurance: Self-Driving Cars

I know it is hard to believe that autonomous vehicle insurance is actually a thing now, but it is and it’s only going to become more relevant as time goes on. So, when your business decides to join the self-driving car movement it will be pertinent for your vehicles to be properly covered. This is where ABI Insurance Services Inc. comes in!

ABI Insurance Services Inc.
ABI has been around since 1985, making them a veteran when it comes to insurance services. Currently, they are one of the largest providers for commercial transportation insurance in the nation with over 40,000 vehicles being covered. Although they are seasoned when it comes to insurance policies they are also well aware of the rapid growth and change within the vehicle industry. This not only makes ABI highly experienced in business vehicle insurance, but also makes them one of the most innovative and up-to-date when it comes to the latest advancements in cars.

Autonomous Vehicle Insurance
With autonomous vehicle insurance being a newer concept, it is paramount for your small or large fleet insurance to be up to par with policies. At ABI, exclusive relationships with various insurance carriers allows for policies to meet all the specific criteria for your business. This means that the agonizing insurance process of underwriting, quoting, and binding of policies can all be done in house which in turn means faster, more specific services for your insurance needs. It is ABI’s business to understand their client’s business and this is exactly why ABI has been around for over 30 years and created such strong partnerships.

Why Autonomous Cars
Studies have shown that a computer is more of an ideal motorist than humans, this is further supported with the statistic that over 81% of car crashes are a direct result of human error. This only makes more sense when you put into consideration that there are no opportunities for a computer to be distracted by its surrounding environment. For human driven cars, most accidents are outcomes of the distractions correlated with simultaneously driving and texting or eating food. With autonomous cars, you can focus more on those things that would otherwise distract you from the road which in turn would save you time in your busy lifestyle. Not if, but when self-driving cars start to take over the roads it will improve traffic conditions exponentially because large numbers of self-driving cars mean less human errors which would result in less overall congestion.

Recap and other Pro’s for Self-Driving Vehicles:

  • Less car crashes
  • More free time
  • Less congestion
  • Higher speed limits
  • Less drunk drivers
  • Less parking concerns
  • Disabled support

ABI’s portfolio of coverages include Auto Liability, General Liability, Work Comp, Occupational Injury and Collision insurance for virtually any commercial vehicle including Truckers, Movers, and more. With their focus falling within the commercial vehicle realm they are the ideal service to contact when you make that innovative transfer from a fleet of human-driven cars to self-driven cars. You can contact ABI for a quote today by clicking on button below. Safe autonomous driving!

A.M. Best Rating Service: The Credibility of Insurance Companies

Best’s Credit Rating (BCR)
When it comes to knowing whether or not an insurance company is going to be a reliable fit for your needs the first thing to verify is the company’s Best’s Credit Rating (BCR). This is an objective judgement regarding the insurer’s creditworthiness. The BCR is essentially a grade given based on quantitative and qualitative evaluations of the insurer’s balance sheet, operating performance, and business profile. There are various credit and independent rating options, to include:

  • Best’s Financial Strength Ratings (FSR) – This rating is an opinion provided on a specific insurer’s financial strengths and their ability to meet current insurance policy and contract obligations.
  • Best’s Issuer Credit Rating (ICR) – This rating is an opinion of an entity’s ability to meet ongoing financial obligations that can be issued on a long or short-term basis.
  • Best’s Issue Credit Rating (IR) – This rating is an opinion on the credit quality assigned to issues that determines how likely they are to meet the terms of obligation and can be issued on a long or short-term basis.
  • Best’s National Scale Rating (NSR) – This rating is based on a measurement of creditworthiness in a specific jurisdiction that is issued on a long-term basis.
  • Preliminary Credit Assessment (PCA) – This is an independent opinion based on the general credit strengths/weaknesses of an issuer, security, obligor, business plans, and term sheets.
  • Rating Assessment Service (RAS) – This is a rating solicited by non-rated entities that provides an opinion of a company’s rating prospects based on their financial statements and other financial information.
  • Rating Evaluation Service (RES) – This is a rating solicited by rated entities that provides an opinion on the impact of hypothetical scenarios based on financial projections and other financial information.
  • Financial Size Category (FSC) – This a grading scale designed to provide an indicator on the size of a company in terms of its statutory surplus and related accounts.

Choosing the Right Partner
For example, if you are searching for an insurance carrier to cover your commercial vehicles then it is crucial to look at their BCR. By looking at the ratings above it will give you a much better understanding of a company’s legitimacy when it comes to covering vehicles such as cabs, limos, ambulances, and trucks. BCR’s also allow you to get an in-depth understanding on how well different coverage options will be. For instance, Auto Liability, General Liability, Work Comp, Occupational Injury, and Collision Insurance.

Based on BCR, American Business Insurance Services is a great option when looking for commercial vehicle coverage. They are a small insurance carrier that has been around since 1984 and know how to cater to their partner’s needs. They are one of the largest commercial transportation insurance providers in the country with thousands of customers and over 40,000 vehicles insured. Now that you have a much better understanding of what goes into a BCR your options for choosing a potential insurance carrier should be much more clear. Happy insurance!

How to Insure Transportation Network Companies: A Detailed Guide to Getting your TNC off the Ground

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How to Insure Transportation Network Companies: A Detailed Guide to Getting your TNC off the Ground

Written by Laura Loftus on Monday, May 6th, 2019

Whether you are looking to start your own Transportation Network Company, On-Demand Delivery App or other Shared Economy business, one of the most important factors to consider is insurance! Sounds boring, I know. But as the world around us changes, insurance markets for transportation network companies are creating new structures and products. As an independent agency, American Business Insurance has direct relationships with all insurance companies currently writing specialized policies for transportation network companies.

Finding insurance for transportation network companies or other app-based businesses is no easy feat. As you may have already come to realize, most of your local brokers who specialize in personal lines don’t have relationships with insurance companies in this space. Many local brokers don’t understand what information to collect from business owners to present your transportation network company in the most insurable light.

Finding An Insurance Broker To Write Policies For Your Transportation Network Company

Most of the common insurance companies you may have already heard of are not writing policies because of the high-risk nature for transportation network companies. Insurance companies who are writing policies for transportation network companies are Surplus Lines carriers whose focus is in this specialized, technology driven market place.

Some people think that it is easy to join the long list of people who are trying to start transportation network companies to compete with those already dominating the world – Uber and Lyft. But in reality, the people who have created these transportation network companies worked for many years prior to actually launching.

To some, that might seem like a really long time but when an experienced insurance broker who is familiar with writing policies for transportation network companies asks you to assemble a list of items, it’s best to know exactly what you are getting yourself into. Don’t be fooled, there is a lot of prep, time and money that is required to build transportation network companies like Uber or Lyft.

transportation network companies

Minimum Premiums For Transportation Network Companies

As you might have anticipated, buying an insurance policy for transportation network companies is not cheap since most insurers in this space have minimum premiums of $75,000-100,000. We know, that is a lot of dough! The good news is, most of the carriers will accept a portion of that up-front and some even offer premium eroding endorsements. This means if your business doesn’t generate premium up to that amount within the year, they will carry over the credit to the following year.

Obtaining a quote requires you to find a broker who specializes in writing insurance for transportation network companies. Working with the right broker will not only save you time and money, but prevent you from buying coverages you don’t need and making sure that you have the ones you do. An experienced broker who is familiar with writing insurance for transportation network companies will know exactly what information to collect from you. They will also know how to present it best to the insurance markets who are writing policies for transportation network companies.

American Business Insurance Services, Inc.

Lucky for you, you found us! As an agency, we have been around long before ordering a ride from your smart-phone was an option. We specialize in public auto which means we understand more than anyone how transportation network companies operate.

transportation network companies

Items Transportation Network Companies Should Have Ready Before Calling Your Broker For A Quote:

Build the App:

  • One of the first questions I ask customers looking for insurance for transportation network companies is if the app is complete. Insurance company underwriters will want to download your app and make sure it’s working. Also, some companies have technology-based policies, meaning they integrate with your app to capture data on the drivers. Some even offer lower insurance rates based on favorable data collected (less speeding, hard stops, etcetera). Most policies for transportation network companies are usage based, so they have to be able to download your app and make sure it’s compatible with their insurance structure. Insurance companies often want to be able to pull reports from your app which include and are not limited to:

1. Knowing When A Trip Starts and Stops

2. How Many Miles For Each Trip

3. How Many Minutes/Hours For Each Trip

Business Plan & Projections:

  • There is a checklist of items the insurance company will want to see attached to the submission your broker sends. Your broker should be narrating to the insurance company all the hard work and thought you’ve put into creating these transportation network companies. Insurers will want to see a “pitch deck” which is something you might already have created to obtain investors. This document will present and explain your business model, why it is different from what is alreadyout there and how it will work long term. Some of the questions this document should answer are:

transportation network companies1. What are the company’s growth plans?

2. How will you monitor safety/loss control?

3. How is pricing structured so that the company is profitable?

 Safety and Training:

  • Safety and training is a big deal for insurers who are writing policies for transportation network companies. They will want to know what restrictions, checks and balances and training you will provide to drivers. They want to know how often you will check driving records and how often people have to pass background checks. The younger in age the drivers are that you allow to join your transportation network companies, the more expensive you can expect your insurance prices to be. Insurance companies want to know how you are going to prevent accidents from happening so that you build a positive reputation within the industry along side other transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft.

Bios on Key Officers/Investors:

  • Insurance companies want to know about the people behind the transportation network companies! If you want to join the group of dominating transportation network companies, they are going to want to know what experience you have, not only in transportation but also in being an entrepreneur. Take the time to write detailed bios for yourself and all other key members, officers and investors behind your transportation network company. Make sure to detail the knowledge and life experience you are bringing to the table in starting transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft. A well written, detailed bio will separate your company from all the rest and will give you a better advantage to better pricing on insurance for transportation network companies.

 Terms of Service & Privacy Conditions:

  • Although this may seem like a small piece of the puzzle to getting insurance for transportation network companies, most insurers want to see the liability of the app in regards to what they are promising to both their drivers and users. If you are a peer to peer platform, they want to see how the transaction will take place. Some of the questions that should be answered here are:

1. What Security Measures Are In Place To Protect The User?

2. How Should Complaints Be Filed?

3. What Terms and Conditions Does Your Company Adhere To? 

transportation network companies

Financial Balance Sheet:

  • Basically, a lot of what it takes to insure transportation network companies is having money, and a lot of it. Due to the hefty size of the minimum premiums for transportation network companies, generally ranging from $75,00-100,000, insurers want to make sure you not only have money to pay for the policy, but to also keep your business afloat and operating before you start turning a profit. It’s no secret that most transportation network companies do not profit until after the first year. Insurers want to see that you have raised money, not just for the cost of insurance but also for operating expenses, advertising and promotions.
  • When I review the balance sheet for transportation network companies, I know that most insurers want to see that you’ve raised at minimum $250,000-$1,000,000 in capital. Sometimes more. The reason for them wanting transportation network companies to raise this much money is because they know what it takes to gain traction in this unique space. They want to make sure the work they are putting in to quote and bind your policy will create a lasting relationship with you.

Guidance From American Business Insurance Services, INC

Starting any business takes time, research and money. We get phone calls from people daily thinking they are going to be the next Uber and Lyft. And believe me, we want you to make it big and compete against the monopoly that currently exists for transportation network companies. But in reality, we know that few of the phone calls we receive have actually taken the above steps which are required to make transportation network companies insurable.

If you have questions or need guidance, please give us a call and we will be happy to discuss over the phone! While some of the larger, corporate run agencies have the same relationships as us, few will offer the personal touch and value we have with every client.

Exclusive Contracts

Additionally, we have exclusive contracts with some companies that allow us to write at a lower minimum premium than others. We are an independent, family-run business with 75+ years of combined experience in the business insurance industry. We have invested in other transportation network companies, peer to peer and shared economy types of businesses. Most of us utilize transportation network companies and peer-to-peer apps regularly.

We literally have boots on the ground in this space and if you want the best pricing with the smoothest transaction – we are here for you!

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How to Save the MOST Money on Your Commercial Fleet Insurance Rates

ABI Transportation Experts Speak: How to Save the MOST Money on Your Commercial Fleet Insurance Rates

Written by Laura Loftus on Thursday, February 28th, 2019

 

When speaking with clients about their commercial fleet insurance, the most common concern is how to get the lowest insurance rates. About 100% of the customers I speak to daily all have the same goal – they want the lowest insurance rates available and will do whatever it takes to get it. Whether you own a Taxi, Limo, Paratransit or Shared Economy company (peer to peer platform app), it’s a given that you want your commercial fleet insurance coverage at the lowest insurance rates available. What many companies don’t realize, especially start-ups, is that commercial fleet insurance underwriters do quite a bit of digging on your company through a variety of platforms to “check you out” prior to releasing a quote. They read Yelp reviews, they look at your website, they do Better Business Bureau checks – all of it.

There are common mistakes that transportation service companies are repeatedly making that will create doubt in a commercial fleet insurance company. These mistakes actually prevent your broker from being able to find the lowest insurance rates for your company. Most of these companies think they are making business decisions that will guide them toward the lowest insurance rates, and are unaware that their current website or driver pool is actually hurting their chances of achieving the lowest possible commercial fleet insurance rate.

Five common flubs transportation service companies are making that prevent your commercial fleet insurance broker from obtaining the lowest insurance rates possible:

1) Company Website

The first and most common mistake we see from commercial auto risks who are in the “wheels” business as us underwriters call it – is that you over the amount of experience or size of your transportation service company.  It is common for commercial fleet insurance underwriters to google your company to pick apart your website. Here are some items you may think are helping your chances at obtaining the lowest insurance rates but are actually red flags to commercial fleet insurance companies:

  •  Words like “Fast Pick-up” or ‘Delivery in Minutes” – no commercial fleet insurance underwriter wants to see that you are promising rushed services. Rushing = equals unsafe driving behavior.

commercial fleet insurance

  • Advertising vehicles that are not actually part of your fleet. For example, just yesterday I was helping a 35-car fleet in Portland with obtaining commercial fleet insurance quotes. The list of vehicles they provided were all private passenger type vehicles (meaning seating capacity of 8 or less) – good! But when I searched the company online, they advertised a large shuttle bus and a higher seating capacity van. When I asked the client about this, they those vehicles had been sold and they had no plans to replace them. Keeping your website up to date and only advertising only what you can actually deliver will keep unwanted questions from creeping into the commercial fleet insurance underwriters’ mind. Creating uncertainty is the last thing you want to do with a commercial fleet insurance underwriter when trying to obtain the lowest insurance rates.
  •  Age of vehicles is important to commercial fleet insurance companies. Publishing a picture of a 30-year-old vehicle is no bueno. Keep your fleet serviced regularly (we recommend every three to four thousand miles and cycle out old units. Newer, cleaner & well-maintained vehicles are not only more desired by clientele (when trying to compete with Uber/Lyft) but also preferred by commercial fleet insurance companies trying to avoid claims due to mechanical defect.
  • If you boast 20 years of experience but your LLC was filed three years ago, it creates uncertainty with insurance companies. It’s better to accurately reflect your business as it is now, and not what you want it to be five years from now. Just as there are items to avoid putting on your website, there are points that you should include on your website. It is always a good idea to brag about highly trained drivers and safety training you provide (more on this later). Be sure to note the maintenance you keep up with for your fleet, the background checks the city you operate in mandates and the highest level of driving records required for your drivers. Commercial fleet insurance underwriters like stable fleets with safe drivers. Bottom line, safer risks translates to commercial fleet insurance underwriters offering the lowest insurance rates.

2) Creating a Business Name

This may seem simple enough but for transportation business owners looking to for the lowest insurance rates, people often think that commercial fleet insurance companies give the lowest insurance rates to Limo’s and Non-Emergency Medical risks over a taxi or airport shuttle. While this might be true, cornering yourself into a specific type of transportation in your business name narrows the list of commercial fleet insurance carriers you are eligible for. Many markets write only taxis or only limos. So, if you file your business name with the Secretary of State as Laura’s Taxi & Limo Service, LLC. – it could possibly make you ineligible for a limo commercial fleet insurance program because they don’t insure taxis and vice versa – even if your unit type meets their requirements. When talking with clients, I always say it’s best to be general about the transportation type within the name of their business, especially as market conditions change. You may be heavy in taxi trips one year but then obtain a paratransit contract and do more of that the following year. The more years of favorable loss history (loss runs) you can provide, the better chance you have at obtaining the lowest insurance rates. Choosing a business name that is general such as Laura’s Transportation Service, LLC. allows you flexibility to transform and evolve your business as the industry demands change.

3) Loss Control is Everything

Underwriters give commercial fleet insurance at the lowest insurance rates to companies with low levels of paid claims. Even in a hard insurance market, with rates rising for the good guys too, you can expect to pay more for commercial fleet insurance if you’re prior insurance companies have paid a lot in claims. Here are some suggestions in tightening loss control for your transportation service company:

  •  Hire a full-time loss control or driver manager who will enforce a safety culture. Doing this, will lower the frequency and severity of claim payouts and put your transportation service company in a better position to obtain the lowest insurance rates. This person should be in charge of overseeing the overall safety of your company. Managing and coaching your drivers is the key to a successful transportation service company. You are only as good as your worst driver.
  • commercial fleet insurance Invest in cameras that capture not only accidents but also driver analytics. This type of camera system will allow you to review driver behavior and correct bad habits before they cause an accident. We like to say this method is similar to that of a professional athlete. How do they improve? They watch their game film and correct bad habits. Driving professionally is the same. The more you do it, the more comfortable you get and having drivers watch themselves reduces risky behavior dramatically. Additionally, it’s a known fact that many commercial fleet insurance claims are paid because of he said/she said situations. Having accidents on camera is the best way to know who exactly was at fault and exonerate innocent drivers.
  •  Hold weekly safety huddles and or monthly meetings. Review the data and claims that have occurred recently and talk to your drivers about how they could have been prevented.
  •  Commit to investing in annual defensive driving training for your drivers. This annual reminder to drivers will ensure that bad habits are addressed and give each driver a time to reflect on their own performance.
  • Implement a reward program for safe drivers. Giving an incentive, even if it’s small monetary gift cards – keeps your drivers focused and motivated on safe driving habits.

4) The Driver Pool

The Driver Pool is so important when trying to achieve the lowest insurance rates from commercial fleet insurance providers for your transportation company. How you chose to manage drivers and who you hire is crucial. Create formal guidelines that clearly outline what is acceptable for employment. We recommend only hiring drivers with zero accidents within the past three years and minimal moving violations. Clean MVRs are best but we know that professional drivers with experience usually do not have clean MVRs and this is ok. Professional drivers are on the road up to 3x more than someone commuting to/from work so it’s a given that they will most likely have more violations on their records. Repeat offenders can impact the cost of your commercial fleet insurance and should be let go. No one is perfect, but you should train your drivers with the goal to be as safe as possible. Excessive violations on a driving record can cause surcharges and prevent you from obtaining the lower insurance rates. Additionally, younger drivers sometimes generate higher premiums for commercial fleet insurance as well as newly licensed individuals.

5) Contact an Experienced, Transportation Insurance Broker

commercial fleet insurance

Working with a transportation specialist versus a local agency makes a huge difference as commercial fleet insurance brokers have access to many more transportation focused insurance companies. Also, an experienced broker will review your company data prior to submitting to commercial fleet insurance companies. If they see something a commercial fleet insurance company won’t like, they can address it with you and provide you with an opportunity to make changes before submitting to each carrier. The more information you can provide to a commercial fleet insurance underwriter, the better chances you have at achieving the lowest insurance rates. Because the for-hire, livery insurance market is so thin, carriers often get multiple submissions from duplicate brokers. Try to work with one broker at a time. You may think contacting multiple agencies well help you, but if they are all going to the same markets for commercial fleet insurance – it’s duplicating not only your own work, but the insurance companies as well. The livery market is a tough class of business and finding an experienced broker will absolutely give you a leg up on finding the lowest insurance rates over a generalist broker.

American Business Insurance Services, Inc. has been working with transportation companies across the nation for 35+ years. We have direct relationships with the most competitive commercial fleet insurance companies. We know what it takes to submit a complete application and present your company in the best light possible – which will no doubt translate to finding commercial fleet insurance at the lowest insurance rate.

Looking for a quote? Click here

HyreCar CEO Thanks Us

HyreCar CEO Thanks American Business Insurance

In an interview with Nasdaq, HyreCar CEO, Joe Furnari, shared how American Business Insurance helped the company grow and succeed. It is our pleasure to work with this amazing company. Read below about the HyreCar company origins, the ways Uber and Lyft drivers can succeed despite obstacles, and the role of transportation network insurance.

The Origins of HyreCar

Three years ago, Joe Furnari was not the CEO of HyreCar. In fact, he was their first customer. At the time, he had a car in his garage that he barely drove. He was actually getting ready to sell his car when he came across the HyreCar start-up. So, he decided to give it a shot by listing his car for rent. When HyreCar had matched him to a driver, the three original founders were so excited they drove to Furnari’s house to meet their first client and be there when the driver came to pick up his car. The driver could then drive for Uber or Lyft. It didn’t take long for Furnari to see a profit by renting his car out, and he became so enamored with the business model that he eventually left his job at the time to become the CEO of HyreCar.

As insurance brokers, we get calls all the time from people who are looking to start a new commercial transportation business. Whether it be someone aspiring to start the next Uber and Lyft or someone who wants to start a small shuttle business, it is our priority to weed out those who are serious and have spent time in their business model, compared to those who woke up one day thinking it would be easy to hit the ground running.

HyreCar lyft uber insurance

 

Where We Came into the Picture

In 2015, our agency President Dave Haley and insurance industry veteran (as recently dubbed by BusinessWire) received a call from the two original founders of HyreCar. Marciano Kim and Abhi Arorahe, the HyreCar founders, found our auto insurance company via google. “I spent 3 minutes on the phone with the founders and immediately, I loved the idea HyreCar was going for. I knew there were a lot of people who wanted work (for Transportation Network Companies like Uber and Lyft) but couldn’t because they didn’t have a vehicle that qualified for it,” Haley said.

At the time, HyreCar and similar companies represented an untapped insurance market as well. Haley was tasked with what felt like an impossibility – to find an insurance company to charge per day, per mile, and per minute. After shopping the marketplace and many declinations, he finally found a carrier that was as interested in the business model as he was. And within a rapid 60 days, HyreCar was insured and able to really launch their platform.

Uber and Lyft Drivers Can Rejoice

There is a big problem for many people who want to drive for Uber or Lyft. The obstacle is obtaining a vehicle that meets Uber or Lyft company requirements. Many drivers have to rent cars and then have to procure insurance on that vehicle. Personal auto specifically excludes any use of your vehicle that generates revenue.

Many Transportation Network Company (TNC) drivers use their personal auto regardless, but technically this is risky. In the case of an accident while driving for Uber or Lyft, their personal auto carrier would deny the claim. Additionally, the driver would face  the possibility of cancellation and non-renewal. With HyreCar’s model, drivers are able to rent a car at an affordable price. Plus, they would obtain an insurance ID card through HyreCar that allows them to qualify for Uber and Lyft. The great news is it does not put them at risk for being cancelled for unauthorized use of the vehicle.

HyreCar CEO Speaks to the Importance of Good Insurance

Uber driver Lyft Driver insurance hyrecar

 

Since launching three years ago, HyreCar has expanded into all 50 states. They have provided solutions for a disrupted transportation, car dealership and insurance industry. HyreCar recently went public and CEO Joe Furnari was interviewed by Nasdaq. In the Nasdaq interview, Furnari attributes part of HyreCar’s ability to grow and succeed to partnering with the right people on the insurance side. Furnari spoke specifically of American Business Insurance. The video clips and press releases included in this article effectively articulate from Furnari on how HyreCar has helped drivers, car dealers, and the insurance industry step forward into this ever-changing transportation marketplace.

Written by Laura Loftus on October 16th, 2018.

 

For more information about insuring your shared economy or transportation network company like HyreCar, click here: https://abiweb.com/services/tnc-provider/

WATCH THE INTERVIEW BETWEEN NASDAQ AND FURNARI BELOW

WATCH ANOTHER INTERVIEW WITH FURNARI HERE: https://www.facebook.com/Nasdaq/videos/2638290029729362/UzpfSTI2ODE1MjMzOTg2NjU2NzoyMjg5Mjc2ODE3NzU0MDk5/

Autonomous Vehicle Insurance: Self-Driving Cars

I know it is hard to believe that autonomous vehicle insurance is actually a thing now, but it is and it’s only going to become more relevant as time goes on. So, when your business decides to join the self-driving car movement it will be pertinent for your vehicles to be properly covered. This is where ABI Insurance Services Inc. comes in!

ABI Insurance Services Inc.
ABI has been around since 1985, making them a veteran when it comes to insurance services. Currently, they are one of the largest providers for commercial transportation insurance in the nation with over 40,000 vehicles being covered. Although they are seasoned when it comes to insurance policies they are also well aware of the rapid growth and change within the vehicle industry. This not only makes ABI highly experienced in business vehicle insurance, but also makes them one of the most innovative and up-to-date when it comes to the latest advancements in cars.

Autonomous Vehicle Insurance
With autonomous vehicle insurance being a newer concept, it is paramount for your small or large fleet insurance to be up to par with policies. At ABI, exclusive relationships with various insurance carriers allows for policies to meet all the specific criteria for your business. This means that the agonizing insurance process of underwriting, quoting, and binding of policies can all be done in house which in turn means faster, more specific services for your insurance needs. It is ABI’s business to understand their client’s business and this is exactly why ABI has been around for over 30 years and created such strong partnerships.

Why Autonomous Cars
Studies have shown that a computer is more of an ideal motorist than humans, this is further supported with the statistic that over 81% of car crashes are a direct result of human error. This only makes more sense when you put into consideration that there are no opportunities for a computer to be distracted by its surrounding environment. For human driven cars, most accidents are outcomes of the distractions correlated with simultaneously driving and texting or eating food. With autonomous cars, you can focus more on those things that would otherwise distract you from the road which in turn would save you time in your busy lifestyle. Not if, but when self-driving cars start to take over the roads it will improve traffic conditions exponentially because large numbers of self-driving cars mean less human errors which would result in less overall congestion.

Recap and other Pro’s for Self-Driving Vehicles:

  • Less car crashes
  • More free time
  • Less congestion
  • Higher speed limits
  • Less drunk drivers
  • Less parking concerns
  • Disabled support

ABI’s portfolio of coverages include Auto Liability, General Liability, Work Comp, Occupational Injury and Collision insurance for virtually any commercial vehicle including Truckers, Movers, and more. With their focus falling within the commercial vehicle realm they are the ideal service to contact when you make that innovative transfer from a fleet of human-driven cars to self-driven cars. You can contact ABI for a quote today by clicking on button below. Safe autonomous driving!

A.M. Best Rating Service: The Credibility of Insurance Companies

Best’s Credit Rating (BCR)
When it comes to knowing whether or not an insurance company is going to be a reliable fit for your needs the first thing to verify is the company’s Best’s Credit Rating (BCR). This is an objective judgement regarding the insurer’s creditworthiness. The BCR is essentially a grade given based on quantitative and qualitative evaluations of the insurer’s balance sheet, operating performance, and business profile. There are various credit and independent rating options, to include:

  • Best’s Financial Strength Ratings (FSR) – This rating is an opinion provided on a specific insurer’s financial strengths and their ability to meet current insurance policy and contract obligations.
  • Best’s Issuer Credit Rating (ICR) – This rating is an opinion of an entity’s ability to meet ongoing financial obligations that can be issued on a long or short-term basis.
  • Best’s Issue Credit Rating (IR) – This rating is an opinion on the credit quality assigned to issues that determines how likely they are to meet the terms of obligation and can be issued on a long or short-term basis.
  • Best’s National Scale Rating (NSR) – This rating is based on a measurement of creditworthiness in a specific jurisdiction that is issued on a long-term basis.
  • Preliminary Credit Assessment (PCA) – This is an independent opinion based on the general credit strengths/weaknesses of an issuer, security, obligor, business plans, and term sheets.
  • Rating Assessment Service (RAS) – This is a rating solicited by non-rated entities that provides an opinion of a company’s rating prospects based on their financial statements and other financial information.
  • Rating Evaluation Service (RES) – This is a rating solicited by rated entities that provides an opinion on the impact of hypothetical scenarios based on financial projections and other financial information.
  • Financial Size Category (FSC) – This a grading scale designed to provide an indicator on the size of a company in terms of its statutory surplus and related accounts.

Choosing the Right Partner
For example, if you are searching for an insurance carrier to cover your commercial vehicles then it is crucial to look at their BCR. By looking at the ratings above it will give you a much better understanding of a company’s legitimacy when it comes to covering vehicles such as cabs, limos, ambulances, and trucks. BCR’s also allow you to get an in-depth understanding on how well different coverage options will be. For instance, Auto Liability, General Liability, Work Comp, Occupational Injury, and Collision Insurance.

Based on BCR, American Business Insurance Services is a great option when looking for commercial vehicle coverage. They are a small insurance carrier that has been around since 1984 and know how to cater to their partner’s needs. They are one of the largest commercial transportation insurance providers in the country with thousands of customers and over 40,000 vehicles insured. Now that you have a much better understanding of what goes into a BCR your options for choosing a potential insurance carrier should be much more clear. Happy insurance!

How to Insure Transportation Network Companies: A Detailed Guide to Getting your TNC off the Ground

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How to Insure Transportation Network Companies: A Detailed Guide to Getting your TNC off the Ground

Written by Laura Loftus on Monday, May 6th, 2019

Whether you are looking to start your own Transportation Network Company, On-Demand Delivery App or other Shared Economy business, one of the most important factors to consider is insurance! Sounds boring, I know. But as the world around us changes, insurance markets for transportation network companies are creating new structures and products. As an independent agency, American Business Insurance has direct relationships with all insurance companies currently writing specialized policies for transportation network companies.

Finding insurance for transportation network companies or other app-based businesses is no easy feat. As you may have already come to realize, most of your local brokers who specialize in personal lines don’t have relationships with insurance companies in this space. Many local brokers don’t understand what information to collect from business owners to present your transportation network company in the most insurable light.

Finding An Insurance Broker To Write Policies For Your Transportation Network Company

Most of the common insurance companies you may have already heard of are not writing policies because of the high-risk nature for transportation network companies. Insurance companies who are writing policies for transportation network companies are Surplus Lines carriers whose focus is in this specialized, technology driven market place.

Some people think that it is easy to join the long list of people who are trying to start transportation network companies to compete with those already dominating the world – Uber and Lyft. But in reality, the people who have created these transportation network companies worked for many years prior to actually launching.

To some, that might seem like a really long time but when an experienced insurance broker who is familiar with writing policies for transportation network companies asks you to assemble a list of items, it’s best to know exactly what you are getting yourself into. Don’t be fooled, there is a lot of prep, time and money that is required to build transportation network companies like Uber or Lyft.

transportation network companies

Minimum Premiums For Transportation Network Companies

As you might have anticipated, buying an insurance policy for transportation network companies is not cheap since most insurers in this space have minimum premiums of $75,000-100,000. We know, that is a lot of dough! The good news is, most of the carriers will accept a portion of that up-front and some even offer premium eroding endorsements. This means if your business doesn’t generate premium up to that amount within the year, they will carry over the credit to the following year.

Obtaining a quote requires you to find a broker who specializes in writing insurance for transportation network companies. Working with the right broker will not only save you time and money, but prevent you from buying coverages you don’t need and making sure that you have the ones you do. An experienced broker who is familiar with writing insurance for transportation network companies will know exactly what information to collect from you. They will also know how to present it best to the insurance markets who are writing policies for transportation network companies.

American Business Insurance Services, Inc.

Lucky for you, you found us! As an agency, we have been around long before ordering a ride from your smart-phone was an option. We specialize in public auto which means we understand more than anyone how transportation network companies operate.

transportation network companies

Items Transportation Network Companies Should Have Ready Before Calling Your Broker For A Quote:

Build the App:

  • One of the first questions I ask customers looking for insurance for transportation network companies is if the app is complete. Insurance company underwriters will want to download your app and make sure it’s working. Also, some companies have technology-based policies, meaning they integrate with your app to capture data on the drivers. Some even offer lower insurance rates based on favorable data collected (less speeding, hard stops, etcetera). Most policies for transportation network companies are usage based, so they have to be able to download your app and make sure it’s compatible with their insurance structure. Insurance companies often want to be able to pull reports from your app which include and are not limited to:

1. Knowing When A Trip Starts and Stops

2. How Many Miles For Each Trip

3. How Many Minutes/Hours For Each Trip

Business Plan & Projections:

  • There is a checklist of items the insurance company will want to see attached to the submission your broker sends. Your broker should be narrating to the insurance company all the hard work and thought you’ve put into creating these transportation network companies. Insurers will want to see a “pitch deck” which is something you might already have created to obtain investors. This document will present and explain your business model, why it is different from what is alreadyout there and how it will work long term. Some of the questions this document should answer are:

transportation network companies1. What are the company’s growth plans?

2. How will you monitor safety/loss control?

3. How is pricing structured so that the company is profitable?

 Safety and Training:

  • Safety and training is a big deal for insurers who are writing policies for transportation network companies. They will want to know what restrictions, checks and balances and training you will provide to drivers. They want to know how often you will check driving records and how often people have to pass background checks. The younger in age the drivers are that you allow to join your transportation network companies, the more expensive you can expect your insurance prices to be. Insurance companies want to know how you are going to prevent accidents from happening so that you build a positive reputation within the industry along side other transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft.

Bios on Key Officers/Investors:

  • Insurance companies want to know about the people behind the transportation network companies! If you want to join the group of dominating transportation network companies, they are going to want to know what experience you have, not only in transportation but also in being an entrepreneur. Take the time to write detailed bios for yourself and all other key members, officers and investors behind your transportation network company. Make sure to detail the knowledge and life experience you are bringing to the table in starting transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft. A well written, detailed bio will separate your company from all the rest and will give you a better advantage to better pricing on insurance for transportation network companies.

 Terms of Service & Privacy Conditions:

  • Although this may seem like a small piece of the puzzle to getting insurance for transportation network companies, most insurers want to see the liability of the app in regards to what they are promising to both their drivers and users. If you are a peer to peer platform, they want to see how the transaction will take place. Some of the questions that should be answered here are:

1. What Security Measures Are In Place To Protect The User?

2. How Should Complaints Be Filed?

3. What Terms and Conditions Does Your Company Adhere To? 

transportation network companies

Financial Balance Sheet:

  • Basically, a lot of what it takes to insure transportation network companies is having money, and a lot of it. Due to the hefty size of the minimum premiums for transportation network companies, generally ranging from $75,00-100,000, insurers want to make sure you not only have money to pay for the policy, but to also keep your business afloat and operating before you start turning a profit. It’s no secret that most transportation network companies do not profit until after the first year. Insurers want to see that you have raised money, not just for the cost of insurance but also for operating expenses, advertising and promotions.
  • When I review the balance sheet for transportation network companies, I know that most insurers want to see that you’ve raised at minimum $250,000-$1,000,000 in capital. Sometimes more. The reason for them wanting transportation network companies to raise this much money is because they know what it takes to gain traction in this unique space. They want to make sure the work they are putting in to quote and bind your policy will create a lasting relationship with you.

Guidance From American Business Insurance Services, INC

Starting any business takes time, research and money. We get phone calls from people daily thinking they are going to be the next Uber and Lyft. And believe me, we want you to make it big and compete against the monopoly that currently exists for transportation network companies. But in reality, we know that few of the phone calls we receive have actually taken the above steps which are required to make transportation network companies insurable.

If you have questions or need guidance, please give us a call and we will be happy to discuss over the phone! While some of the larger, corporate run agencies have the same relationships as us, few will offer the personal touch and value we have with every client.

Exclusive Contracts

Additionally, we have exclusive contracts with some companies that allow us to write at a lower minimum premium than others. We are an independent, family-run business with 75+ years of combined experience in the business insurance industry. We have invested in other transportation network companies, peer to peer and shared economy types of businesses. Most of us utilize transportation network companies and peer-to-peer apps regularly.

We literally have boots on the ground in this space and if you want the best pricing with the smoothest transaction – we are here for you!

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How to Save the MOST Money on Your Commercial Fleet Insurance Rates

ABI Transportation Experts Speak: How to Save the MOST Money on Your Commercial Fleet Insurance Rates

Written by Laura Loftus on Thursday, February 28th, 2019

 

When speaking with clients about their commercial fleet insurance, the most common concern is how to get the lowest insurance rates. About 100% of the customers I speak to daily all have the same goal – they want the lowest insurance rates available and will do whatever it takes to get it. Whether you own a Taxi, Limo, Paratransit or Shared Economy company (peer to peer platform app), it’s a given that you want your commercial fleet insurance coverage at the lowest insurance rates available. What many companies don’t realize, especially start-ups, is that commercial fleet insurance underwriters do quite a bit of digging on your company through a variety of platforms to “check you out” prior to releasing a quote. They read Yelp reviews, they look at your website, they do Better Business Bureau checks – all of it.

There are common mistakes that transportation service companies are repeatedly making that will create doubt in a commercial fleet insurance company. These mistakes actually prevent your broker from being able to find the lowest insurance rates for your company. Most of these companies think they are making business decisions that will guide them toward the lowest insurance rates, and are unaware that their current website or driver pool is actually hurting their chances of achieving the lowest possible commercial fleet insurance rate.

Five common flubs transportation service companies are making that prevent your commercial fleet insurance broker from obtaining the lowest insurance rates possible:

1) Company Website

The first and most common mistake we see from commercial auto risks who are in the “wheels” business as us underwriters call it – is that you over the amount of experience or size of your transportation service company.  It is common for commercial fleet insurance underwriters to google your company to pick apart your website. Here are some items you may think are helping your chances at obtaining the lowest insurance rates but are actually red flags to commercial fleet insurance companies:

  •  Words like “Fast Pick-up” or ‘Delivery in Minutes” – no commercial fleet insurance underwriter wants to see that you are promising rushed services. Rushing = equals unsafe driving behavior.

commercial fleet insurance

  • Advertising vehicles that are not actually part of your fleet. For example, just yesterday I was helping a 35-car fleet in Portland with obtaining commercial fleet insurance quotes. The list of vehicles they provided were all private passenger type vehicles (meaning seating capacity of 8 or less) – good! But when I searched the company online, they advertised a large shuttle bus and a higher seating capacity van. When I asked the client about this, they those vehicles had been sold and they had no plans to replace them. Keeping your website up to date and only advertising only what you can actually deliver will keep unwanted questions from creeping into the commercial fleet insurance underwriters’ mind. Creating uncertainty is the last thing you want to do with a commercial fleet insurance underwriter when trying to obtain the lowest insurance rates.
  •  Age of vehicles is important to commercial fleet insurance companies. Publishing a picture of a 30-year-old vehicle is no bueno. Keep your fleet serviced regularly (we recommend every three to four thousand miles and cycle out old units. Newer, cleaner & well-maintained vehicles are not only more desired by clientele (when trying to compete with Uber/Lyft) but also preferred by commercial fleet insurance companies trying to avoid claims due to mechanical defect.
  • If you boast 20 years of experience but your LLC was filed three years ago, it creates uncertainty with insurance companies. It’s better to accurately reflect your business as it is now, and not what you want it to be five years from now. Just as there are items to avoid putting on your website, there are points that you should include on your website. It is always a good idea to brag about highly trained drivers and safety training you provide (more on this later). Be sure to note the maintenance you keep up with for your fleet, the background checks the city you operate in mandates and the highest level of driving records required for your drivers. Commercial fleet insurance underwriters like stable fleets with safe drivers. Bottom line, safer risks translates to commercial fleet insurance underwriters offering the lowest insurance rates.

2) Creating a Business Name

This may seem simple enough but for transportation business owners looking to for the lowest insurance rates, people often think that commercial fleet insurance companies give the lowest insurance rates to Limo’s and Non-Emergency Medical risks over a taxi or airport shuttle. While this might be true, cornering yourself into a specific type of transportation in your business name narrows the list of commercial fleet insurance carriers you are eligible for. Many markets write only taxis or only limos. So, if you file your business name with the Secretary of State as Laura’s Taxi & Limo Service, LLC. – it could possibly make you ineligible for a limo commercial fleet insurance program because they don’t insure taxis and vice versa – even if your unit type meets their requirements. When talking with clients, I always say it’s best to be general about the transportation type within the name of their business, especially as market conditions change. You may be heavy in taxi trips one year but then obtain a paratransit contract and do more of that the following year. The more years of favorable loss history (loss runs) you can provide, the better chance you have at obtaining the lowest insurance rates. Choosing a business name that is general such as Laura’s Transportation Service, LLC. allows you flexibility to transform and evolve your business as the industry demands change.

3) Loss Control is Everything

Underwriters give commercial fleet insurance at the lowest insurance rates to companies with low levels of paid claims. Even in a hard insurance market, with rates rising for the good guys too, you can expect to pay more for commercial fleet insurance if you’re prior insurance companies have paid a lot in claims. Here are some suggestions in tightening loss control for your transportation service company:

  •  Hire a full-time loss control or driver manager who will enforce a safety culture. Doing this, will lower the frequency and severity of claim payouts and put your transportation service company in a better position to obtain the lowest insurance rates. This person should be in charge of overseeing the overall safety of your company. Managing and coaching your drivers is the key to a successful transportation service company. You are only as good as your worst driver.
  • commercial fleet insurance Invest in cameras that capture not only accidents but also driver analytics. This type of camera system will allow you to review driver behavior and correct bad habits before they cause an accident. We like to say this method is similar to that of a professional athlete. How do they improve? They watch their game film and correct bad habits. Driving professionally is the same. The more you do it, the more comfortable you get and having drivers watch themselves reduces risky behavior dramatically. Additionally, it’s a known fact that many commercial fleet insurance claims are paid because of he said/she said situations. Having accidents on camera is the best way to know who exactly was at fault and exonerate innocent drivers.
  •  Hold weekly safety huddles and or monthly meetings. Review the data and claims that have occurred recently and talk to your drivers about how they could have been prevented.
  •  Commit to investing in annual defensive driving training for your drivers. This annual reminder to drivers will ensure that bad habits are addressed and give each driver a time to reflect on their own performance.
  • Implement a reward program for safe drivers. Giving an incentive, even if it’s small monetary gift cards – keeps your drivers focused and motivated on safe driving habits.

4) The Driver Pool

The Driver Pool is so important when trying to achieve the lowest insurance rates from commercial fleet insurance providers for your transportation company. How you chose to manage drivers and who you hire is crucial. Create formal guidelines that clearly outline what is acceptable for employment. We recommend only hiring drivers with zero accidents within the past three years and minimal moving violations. Clean MVRs are best but we know that professional drivers with experience usually do not have clean MVRs and this is ok. Professional drivers are on the road up to 3x more than someone commuting to/from work so it’s a given that they will most likely have more violations on their records. Repeat offenders can impact the cost of your commercial fleet insurance and should be let go. No one is perfect, but you should train your drivers with the goal to be as safe as possible. Excessive violations on a driving record can cause surcharges and prevent you from obtaining the lower insurance rates. Additionally, younger drivers sometimes generate higher premiums for commercial fleet insurance as well as newly licensed individuals.

5) Contact an Experienced, Transportation Insurance Broker

commercial fleet insurance

Working with a transportation specialist versus a local agency makes a huge difference as commercial fleet insurance brokers have access to many more transportation focused insurance companies. Also, an experienced broker will review your company data prior to submitting to commercial fleet insurance companies. If they see something a commercial fleet insurance company won’t like, they can address it with you and provide you with an opportunity to make changes before submitting to each carrier. The more information you can provide to a commercial fleet insurance underwriter, the better chances you have at achieving the lowest insurance rates. Because the for-hire, livery insurance market is so thin, carriers often get multiple submissions from duplicate brokers. Try to work with one broker at a time. You may think contacting multiple agencies well help you, but if they are all going to the same markets for commercial fleet insurance – it’s duplicating not only your own work, but the insurance companies as well. The livery market is a tough class of business and finding an experienced broker will absolutely give you a leg up on finding the lowest insurance rates over a generalist broker.

American Business Insurance Services, Inc. has been working with transportation companies across the nation for 35+ years. We have direct relationships with the most competitive commercial fleet insurance companies. We know what it takes to submit a complete application and present your company in the best light possible – which will no doubt translate to finding commercial fleet insurance at the lowest insurance rate.

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HyreCar CEO Thanks Us

HyreCar CEO Thanks American Business Insurance

In an interview with Nasdaq, HyreCar CEO, Joe Furnari, shared how American Business Insurance helped the company grow and succeed. It is our pleasure to work with this amazing company. Read below about the HyreCar company origins, the ways Uber and Lyft drivers can succeed despite obstacles, and the role of transportation network insurance.

The Origins of HyreCar

Three years ago, Joe Furnari was not the CEO of HyreCar. In fact, he was their first customer. At the time, he had a car in his garage that he barely drove. He was actually getting ready to sell his car when he came across the HyreCar start-up. So, he decided to give it a shot by listing his car for rent. When HyreCar had matched him to a driver, the three original founders were so excited they drove to Furnari’s house to meet their first client and be there when the driver came to pick up his car. The driver could then drive for Uber or Lyft. It didn’t take long for Furnari to see a profit by renting his car out, and he became so enamored with the business model that he eventually left his job at the time to become the CEO of HyreCar.

As insurance brokers, we get calls all the time from people who are looking to start a new commercial transportation business. Whether it be someone aspiring to start the next Uber and Lyft or someone who wants to start a small shuttle business, it is our priority to weed out those who are serious and have spent time in their business model, compared to those who woke up one day thinking it would be easy to hit the ground running.

HyreCar lyft uber insurance

 

Where We Came into the Picture

In 2015, our agency President Dave Haley and insurance industry veteran (as recently dubbed by BusinessWire) received a call from the two original founders of HyreCar. Marciano Kim and Abhi Arorahe, the HyreCar founders, found our auto insurance company via google. “I spent 3 minutes on the phone with the founders and immediately, I loved the idea HyreCar was going for. I knew there were a lot of people who wanted work (for Transportation Network Companies like Uber and Lyft) but couldn’t because they didn’t have a vehicle that qualified for it,” Haley said.

At the time, HyreCar and similar companies represented an untapped insurance market as well. Haley was tasked with what felt like an impossibility – to find an insurance company to charge per day, per mile, and per minute. After shopping the marketplace and many declinations, he finally found a carrier that was as interested in the business model as he was. And within a rapid 60 days, HyreCar was insured and able to really launch their platform.

Uber and Lyft Drivers Can Rejoice

There is a big problem for many people who want to drive for Uber or Lyft. The obstacle is obtaining a vehicle that meets Uber or Lyft company requirements. Many drivers have to rent cars and then have to procure insurance on that vehicle. Personal auto specifically excludes any use of your vehicle that generates revenue.

Many Transportation Network Company (TNC) drivers use their personal auto regardless, but technically this is risky. In the case of an accident while driving for Uber or Lyft, their personal auto carrier would deny the claim. Additionally, the driver would face  the possibility of cancellation and non-renewal. With HyreCar’s model, drivers are able to rent a car at an affordable price. Plus, they would obtain an insurance ID card through HyreCar that allows them to qualify for Uber and Lyft. The great news is it does not put them at risk for being cancelled for unauthorized use of the vehicle.

HyreCar CEO Speaks to the Importance of Good Insurance

Uber driver Lyft Driver insurance hyrecar

 

Since launching three years ago, HyreCar has expanded into all 50 states. They have provided solutions for a disrupted transportation, car dealership and insurance industry. HyreCar recently went public and CEO Joe Furnari was interviewed by Nasdaq. In the Nasdaq interview, Furnari attributes part of HyreCar’s ability to grow and succeed to partnering with the right people on the insurance side. Furnari spoke specifically of American Business Insurance. The video clips and press releases included in this article effectively articulate from Furnari on how HyreCar has helped drivers, car dealers, and the insurance industry step forward into this ever-changing transportation marketplace.

Written by Laura Loftus on October 16th, 2018.

 

For more information about insuring your shared economy or transportation network company like HyreCar, click here: https://abiweb.com/services/tnc-provider/

WATCH THE INTERVIEW BETWEEN NASDAQ AND FURNARI BELOW

WATCH ANOTHER INTERVIEW WITH FURNARI HERE: https://www.facebook.com/Nasdaq/videos/2638290029729362/UzpfSTI2ODE1MjMzOTg2NjU2NzoyMjg5Mjc2ODE3NzU0MDk5/

Autonomous Vehicle Insurance: Self-Driving Cars

I know it is hard to believe that autonomous vehicle insurance is actually a thing now, but it is and it’s only going to become more relevant as time goes on. So, when your business decides to join the self-driving car movement it will be pertinent for your vehicles to be properly covered. This is where ABI Insurance Services Inc. comes in!

ABI Insurance Services Inc.
ABI has been around since 1985, making them a veteran when it comes to insurance services. Currently, they are one of the largest providers for commercial transportation insurance in the nation with over 40,000 vehicles being covered. Although they are seasoned when it comes to insurance policies they are also well aware of the rapid growth and change within the vehicle industry. This not only makes ABI highly experienced in business vehicle insurance, but also makes them one of the most innovative and up-to-date when it comes to the latest advancements in cars.

Autonomous Vehicle Insurance
With autonomous vehicle insurance being a newer concept, it is paramount for your small or large fleet insurance to be up to par with policies. At ABI, exclusive relationships with various insurance carriers allows for policies to meet all the specific criteria for your business. This means that the agonizing insurance process of underwriting, quoting, and binding of policies can all be done in house which in turn means faster, more specific services for your insurance needs. It is ABI’s business to understand their client’s business and this is exactly why ABI has been around for over 30 years and created such strong partnerships.

Why Autonomous Cars
Studies have shown that a computer is more of an ideal motorist than humans, this is further supported with the statistic that over 81% of car crashes are a direct result of human error. This only makes more sense when you put into consideration that there are no opportunities for a computer to be distracted by its surrounding environment. For human driven cars, most accidents are outcomes of the distractions correlated with simultaneously driving and texting or eating food. With autonomous cars, you can focus more on those things that would otherwise distract you from the road which in turn would save you time in your busy lifestyle. Not if, but when self-driving cars start to take over the roads it will improve traffic conditions exponentially because large numbers of self-driving cars mean less human errors which would result in less overall congestion.

Recap and other Pro’s for Self-Driving Vehicles:

  • Less car crashes
  • More free time
  • Less congestion
  • Higher speed limits
  • Less drunk drivers
  • Less parking concerns
  • Disabled support

ABI’s portfolio of coverages include Auto Liability, General Liability, Work Comp, Occupational Injury and Collision insurance for virtually any commercial vehicle including Truckers, Movers, and more. With their focus falling within the commercial vehicle realm they are the ideal service to contact when you make that innovative transfer from a fleet of human-driven cars to self-driven cars. You can contact ABI for a quote today by clicking on button below. Safe autonomous driving!

A.M. Best Rating Service: The Credibility of Insurance Companies

Best’s Credit Rating (BCR)
When it comes to knowing whether or not an insurance company is going to be a reliable fit for your needs the first thing to verify is the company’s Best’s Credit Rating (BCR). This is an objective judgement regarding the insurer’s creditworthiness. The BCR is essentially a grade given based on quantitative and qualitative evaluations of the insurer’s balance sheet, operating performance, and business profile. There are various credit and independent rating options, to include:

  • Best’s Financial Strength Ratings (FSR) – This rating is an opinion provided on a specific insurer’s financial strengths and their ability to meet current insurance policy and contract obligations.
  • Best’s Issuer Credit Rating (ICR) – This rating is an opinion of an entity’s ability to meet ongoing financial obligations that can be issued on a long or short-term basis.
  • Best’s Issue Credit Rating (IR) – This rating is an opinion on the credit quality assigned to issues that determines how likely they are to meet the terms of obligation and can be issued on a long or short-term basis.
  • Best’s National Scale Rating (NSR) – This rating is based on a measurement of creditworthiness in a specific jurisdiction that is issued on a long-term basis.
  • Preliminary Credit Assessment (PCA) – This is an independent opinion based on the general credit strengths/weaknesses of an issuer, security, obligor, business plans, and term sheets.
  • Rating Assessment Service (RAS) – This is a rating solicited by non-rated entities that provides an opinion of a company’s rating prospects based on their financial statements and other financial information.
  • Rating Evaluation Service (RES) – This is a rating solicited by rated entities that provides an opinion on the impact of hypothetical scenarios based on financial projections and other financial information.
  • Financial Size Category (FSC) – This a grading scale designed to provide an indicator on the size of a company in terms of its statutory surplus and related accounts.

Choosing the Right Partner
For example, if you are searching for an insurance carrier to cover your commercial vehicles then it is crucial to look at their BCR. By looking at the ratings above it will give you a much better understanding of a company’s legitimacy when it comes to covering vehicles such as cabs, limos, ambulances, and trucks. BCR’s also allow you to get an in-depth understanding on how well different coverage options will be. For instance, Auto Liability, General Liability, Work Comp, Occupational Injury, and Collision Insurance.

Based on BCR, American Business Insurance Services is a great option when looking for commercial vehicle coverage. They are a small insurance carrier that has been around since 1984 and know how to cater to their partner’s needs. They are one of the largest commercial transportation insurance providers in the country with thousands of customers and over 40,000 vehicles insured. Now that you have a much better understanding of what goes into a BCR your options for choosing a potential insurance carrier should be much more clear. Happy insurance!

How to Insure Transportation Network Companies: A Detailed Guide to Getting your TNC off the Ground

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How to Insure Transportation Network Companies: A Detailed Guide to Getting your TNC off the Ground

Written by Laura Loftus on Monday, May 6th, 2019

Whether you are looking to start your own Transportation Network Company, On-Demand Delivery App or other Shared Economy business, one of the most important factors to consider is insurance! Sounds boring, I know. But as the world around us changes, insurance markets for transportation network companies are creating new structures and products. As an independent agency, American Business Insurance has direct relationships with all insurance companies currently writing specialized policies for transportation network companies.

Finding insurance for transportation network companies or other app-based businesses is no easy feat. As you may have already come to realize, most of your local brokers who specialize in personal lines don’t have relationships with insurance companies in this space. Many local brokers don’t understand what information to collect from business owners to present your transportation network company in the most insurable light.

Finding An Insurance Broker To Write Policies For Your Transportation Network Company

Most of the common insurance companies you may have already heard of are not writing policies because of the high-risk nature for transportation network companies. Insurance companies who are writing policies for transportation network companies are Surplus Lines carriers whose focus is in this specialized, technology driven market place.

Some people think that it is easy to join the long list of people who are trying to start transportation network companies to compete with those already dominating the world – Uber and Lyft. But in reality, the people who have created these transportation network companies worked for many years prior to actually launching.

To some, that might seem like a really long time but when an experienced insurance broker who is familiar with writing policies for transportation network companies asks you to assemble a list of items, it’s best to know exactly what you are getting yourself into. Don’t be fooled, there is a lot of prep, time and money that is required to build transportation network companies like Uber or Lyft.

transportation network companies

Minimum Premiums For Transportation Network Companies

As you might have anticipated, buying an insurance policy for transportation network companies is not cheap since most insurers in this space have minimum premiums of $75,000-100,000. We know, that is a lot of dough! The good news is, most of the carriers will accept a portion of that up-front and some even offer premium eroding endorsements. This means if your business doesn’t generate premium up to that amount within the year, they will carry over the credit to the following year.

Obtaining a quote requires you to find a broker who specializes in writing insurance for transportation network companies. Working with the right broker will not only save you time and money, but prevent you from buying coverages you don’t need and making sure that you have the ones you do. An experienced broker who is familiar with writing insurance for transportation network companies will know exactly what information to collect from you. They will also know how to present it best to the insurance markets who are writing policies for transportation network companies.

American Business Insurance Services, Inc.

Lucky for you, you found us! As an agency, we have been around long before ordering a ride from your smart-phone was an option. We specialize in public auto which means we understand more than anyone how transportation network companies operate.

transportation network companies

Items Transportation Network Companies Should Have Ready Before Calling Your Broker For A Quote:

Build the App:

  • One of the first questions I ask customers looking for insurance for transportation network companies is if the app is complete. Insurance company underwriters will want to download your app and make sure it’s working. Also, some companies have technology-based policies, meaning they integrate with your app to capture data on the drivers. Some even offer lower insurance rates based on favorable data collected (less speeding, hard stops, etcetera). Most policies for transportation network companies are usage based, so they have to be able to download your app and make sure it’s compatible with their insurance structure. Insurance companies often want to be able to pull reports from your app which include and are not limited to:

1. Knowing When A Trip Starts and Stops

2. How Many Miles For Each Trip

3. How Many Minutes/Hours For Each Trip

Business Plan & Projections:

  • There is a checklist of items the insurance company will want to see attached to the submission your broker sends. Your broker should be narrating to the insurance company all the hard work and thought you’ve put into creating these transportation network companies. Insurers will want to see a “pitch deck” which is something you might already have created to obtain investors. This document will present and explain your business model, why it is different from what is alreadyout there and how it will work long term. Some of the questions this document should answer are:

transportation network companies1. What are the company’s growth plans?

2. How will you monitor safety/loss control?

3. How is pricing structured so that the company is profitable?

 Safety and Training:

  • Safety and training is a big deal for insurers who are writing policies for transportation network companies. They will want to know what restrictions, checks and balances and training you will provide to drivers. They want to know how often you will check driving records and how often people have to pass background checks. The younger in age the drivers are that you allow to join your transportation network companies, the more expensive you can expect your insurance prices to be. Insurance companies want to know how you are going to prevent accidents from happening so that you build a positive reputation within the industry along side other transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft.

Bios on Key Officers/Investors:

  • Insurance companies want to know about the people behind the transportation network companies! If you want to join the group of dominating transportation network companies, they are going to want to know what experience you have, not only in transportation but also in being an entrepreneur. Take the time to write detailed bios for yourself and all other key members, officers and investors behind your transportation network company. Make sure to detail the knowledge and life experience you are bringing to the table in starting transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft. A well written, detailed bio will separate your company from all the rest and will give you a better advantage to better pricing on insurance for transportation network companies.

 Terms of Service & Privacy Conditions:

  • Although this may seem like a small piece of the puzzle to getting insurance for transportation network companies, most insurers want to see the liability of the app in regards to what they are promising to both their drivers and users. If you are a peer to peer platform, they want to see how the transaction will take place. Some of the questions that should be answered here are:

1. What Security Measures Are In Place To Protect The User?

2. How Should Complaints Be Filed?

3. What Terms and Conditions Does Your Company Adhere To? 

transportation network companies

Financial Balance Sheet:

  • Basically, a lot of what it takes to insure transportation network companies is having money, and a lot of it. Due to the hefty size of the minimum premiums for transportation network companies, generally ranging from $75,00-100,000, insurers want to make sure you not only have money to pay for the policy, but to also keep your business afloat and operating before you start turning a profit. It’s no secret that most transportation network companies do not profit until after the first year. Insurers want to see that you have raised money, not just for the cost of insurance but also for operating expenses, advertising and promotions.
  • When I review the balance sheet for transportation network companies, I know that most insurers want to see that you’ve raised at minimum $250,000-$1,000,000 in capital. Sometimes more. The reason for them wanting transportation network companies to raise this much money is because they know what it takes to gain traction in this unique space. They want to make sure the work they are putting in to quote and bind your policy will create a lasting relationship with you.

Guidance From American Business Insurance Services, INC

Starting any business takes time, research and money. We get phone calls from people daily thinking they are going to be the next Uber and Lyft. And believe me, we want you to make it big and compete against the monopoly that currently exists for transportation network companies. But in reality, we know that few of the phone calls we receive have actually taken the above steps which are required to make transportation network companies insurable.

If you have questions or need guidance, please give us a call and we will be happy to discuss over the phone! While some of the larger, corporate run agencies have the same relationships as us, few will offer the personal touch and value we have with every client.

Exclusive Contracts

Additionally, we have exclusive contracts with some companies that allow us to write at a lower minimum premium than others. We are an independent, family-run business with 75+ years of combined experience in the business insurance industry. We have invested in other transportation network companies, peer to peer and shared economy types of businesses. Most of us utilize transportation network companies and peer-to-peer apps regularly.

We literally have boots on the ground in this space and if you want the best pricing with the smoothest transaction – we are here for you!

GET A QUOTE

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How to Save the MOST Money on Your Commercial Fleet Insurance Rates

ABI Transportation Experts Speak: How to Save the MOST Money on Your Commercial Fleet Insurance Rates

Written by Laura Loftus on Thursday, February 28th, 2019

 

When speaking with clients about their commercial fleet insurance, the most common concern is how to get the lowest insurance rates. About 100% of the customers I speak to daily all have the same goal – they want the lowest insurance rates available and will do whatever it takes to get it. Whether you own a Taxi, Limo, Paratransit or Shared Economy company (peer to peer platform app), it’s a given that you want your commercial fleet insurance coverage at the lowest insurance rates available. What many companies don’t realize, especially start-ups, is that commercial fleet insurance underwriters do quite a bit of digging on your company through a variety of platforms to “check you out” prior to releasing a quote. They read Yelp reviews, they look at your website, they do Better Business Bureau checks – all of it.

There are common mistakes that transportation service companies are repeatedly making that will create doubt in a commercial fleet insurance company. These mistakes actually prevent your broker from being able to find the lowest insurance rates for your company. Most of these companies think they are making business decisions that will guide them toward the lowest insurance rates, and are unaware that their current website or driver pool is actually hurting their chances of achieving the lowest possible commercial fleet insurance rate.

Five common flubs transportation service companies are making that prevent your commercial fleet insurance broker from obtaining the lowest insurance rates possible:

1) Company Website

The first and most common mistake we see from commercial auto risks who are in the “wheels” business as us underwriters call it – is that you over the amount of experience or size of your transportation service company.  It is common for commercial fleet insurance underwriters to google your company to pick apart your website. Here are some items you may think are helping your chances at obtaining the lowest insurance rates but are actually red flags to commercial fleet insurance companies:

  •  Words like “Fast Pick-up” or ‘Delivery in Minutes” – no commercial fleet insurance underwriter wants to see that you are promising rushed services. Rushing = equals unsafe driving behavior.

commercial fleet insurance

  • Advertising vehicles that are not actually part of your fleet. For example, just yesterday I was helping a 35-car fleet in Portland with obtaining commercial fleet insurance quotes. The list of vehicles they provided were all private passenger type vehicles (meaning seating capacity of 8 or less) – good! But when I searched the company online, they advertised a large shuttle bus and a higher seating capacity van. When I asked the client about this, they those vehicles had been sold and they had no plans to replace them. Keeping your website up to date and only advertising only what you can actually deliver will keep unwanted questions from creeping into the commercial fleet insurance underwriters’ mind. Creating uncertainty is the last thing you want to do with a commercial fleet insurance underwriter when trying to obtain the lowest insurance rates.
  •  Age of vehicles is important to commercial fleet insurance companies. Publishing a picture of a 30-year-old vehicle is no bueno. Keep your fleet serviced regularly (we recommend every three to four thousand miles and cycle out old units. Newer, cleaner & well-maintained vehicles are not only more desired by clientele (when trying to compete with Uber/Lyft) but also preferred by commercial fleet insurance companies trying to avoid claims due to mechanical defect.
  • If you boast 20 years of experience but your LLC was filed three years ago, it creates uncertainty with insurance companies. It’s better to accurately reflect your business as it is now, and not what you want it to be five years from now. Just as there are items to avoid putting on your website, there are points that you should include on your website. It is always a good idea to brag about highly trained drivers and safety training you provide (more on this later). Be sure to note the maintenance you keep up with for your fleet, the background checks the city you operate in mandates and the highest level of driving records required for your drivers. Commercial fleet insurance underwriters like stable fleets with safe drivers. Bottom line, safer risks translates to commercial fleet insurance underwriters offering the lowest insurance rates.

2) Creating a Business Name

This may seem simple enough but for transportation business owners looking to for the lowest insurance rates, people often think that commercial fleet insurance companies give the lowest insurance rates to Limo’s and Non-Emergency Medical risks over a taxi or airport shuttle. While this might be true, cornering yourself into a specific type of transportation in your business name narrows the list of commercial fleet insurance carriers you are eligible for. Many markets write only taxis or only limos. So, if you file your business name with the Secretary of State as Laura’s Taxi & Limo Service, LLC. – it could possibly make you ineligible for a limo commercial fleet insurance program because they don’t insure taxis and vice versa – even if your unit type meets their requirements. When talking with clients, I always say it’s best to be general about the transportation type within the name of their business, especially as market conditions change. You may be heavy in taxi trips one year but then obtain a paratransit contract and do more of that the following year. The more years of favorable loss history (loss runs) you can provide, the better chance you have at obtaining the lowest insurance rates. Choosing a business name that is general such as Laura’s Transportation Service, LLC. allows you flexibility to transform and evolve your business as the industry demands change.

3) Loss Control is Everything

Underwriters give commercial fleet insurance at the lowest insurance rates to companies with low levels of paid claims. Even in a hard insurance market, with rates rising for the good guys too, you can expect to pay more for commercial fleet insurance if you’re prior insurance companies have paid a lot in claims. Here are some suggestions in tightening loss control for your transportation service company:

  •  Hire a full-time loss control or driver manager who will enforce a safety culture. Doing this, will lower the frequency and severity of claim payouts and put your transportation service company in a better position to obtain the lowest insurance rates. This person should be in charge of overseeing the overall safety of your company. Managing and coaching your drivers is the key to a successful transportation service company. You are only as good as your worst driver.
  • commercial fleet insurance Invest in cameras that capture not only accidents but also driver analytics. This type of camera system will allow you to review driver behavior and correct bad habits before they cause an accident. We like to say this method is similar to that of a professional athlete. How do they improve? They watch their game film and correct bad habits. Driving professionally is the same. The more you do it, the more comfortable you get and having drivers watch themselves reduces risky behavior dramatically. Additionally, it’s a known fact that many commercial fleet insurance claims are paid because of he said/she said situations. Having accidents on camera is the best way to know who exactly was at fault and exonerate innocent drivers.
  •  Hold weekly safety huddles and or monthly meetings. Review the data and claims that have occurred recently and talk to your drivers about how they could have been prevented.
  •  Commit to investing in annual defensive driving training for your drivers. This annual reminder to drivers will ensure that bad habits are addressed and give each driver a time to reflect on their own performance.
  • Implement a reward program for safe drivers. Giving an incentive, even if it’s small monetary gift cards – keeps your drivers focused and motivated on safe driving habits.

4) The Driver Pool

The Driver Pool is so important when trying to achieve the lowest insurance rates from commercial fleet insurance providers for your transportation company. How you chose to manage drivers and who you hire is crucial. Create formal guidelines that clearly outline what is acceptable for employment. We recommend only hiring drivers with zero accidents within the past three years and minimal moving violations. Clean MVRs are best but we know that professional drivers with experience usually do not have clean MVRs and this is ok. Professional drivers are on the road up to 3x more than someone commuting to/from work so it’s a given that they will most likely have more violations on their records. Repeat offenders can impact the cost of your commercial fleet insurance and should be let go. No one is perfect, but you should train your drivers with the goal to be as safe as possible. Excessive violations on a driving record can cause surcharges and prevent you from obtaining the lower insurance rates. Additionally, younger drivers sometimes generate higher premiums for commercial fleet insurance as well as newly licensed individuals.

5) Contact an Experienced, Transportation Insurance Broker

commercial fleet insurance

Working with a transportation specialist versus a local agency makes a huge difference as commercial fleet insurance brokers have access to many more transportation focused insurance companies. Also, an experienced broker will review your company data prior to submitting to commercial fleet insurance companies. If they see something a commercial fleet insurance company won’t like, they can address it with you and provide you with an opportunity to make changes before submitting to each carrier. The more information you can provide to a commercial fleet insurance underwriter, the better chances you have at achieving the lowest insurance rates. Because the for-hire, livery insurance market is so thin, carriers often get multiple submissions from duplicate brokers. Try to work with one broker at a time. You may think contacting multiple agencies well help you, but if they are all going to the same markets for commercial fleet insurance – it’s duplicating not only your own work, but the insurance companies as well. The livery market is a tough class of business and finding an experienced broker will absolutely give you a leg up on finding the lowest insurance rates over a generalist broker.

American Business Insurance Services, Inc. has been working with transportation companies across the nation for 35+ years. We have direct relationships with the most competitive commercial fleet insurance companies. We know what it takes to submit a complete application and present your company in the best light possible – which will no doubt translate to finding commercial fleet insurance at the lowest insurance rate.

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HyreCar CEO Thanks Us

HyreCar CEO Thanks American Business Insurance

In an interview with Nasdaq, HyreCar CEO, Joe Furnari, shared how American Business Insurance helped the company grow and succeed. It is our pleasure to work with this amazing company. Read below about the HyreCar company origins, the ways Uber and Lyft drivers can succeed despite obstacles, and the role of transportation network insurance.

The Origins of HyreCar

Three years ago, Joe Furnari was not the CEO of HyreCar. In fact, he was their first customer. At the time, he had a car in his garage that he barely drove. He was actually getting ready to sell his car when he came across the HyreCar start-up. So, he decided to give it a shot by listing his car for rent. When HyreCar had matched him to a driver, the three original founders were so excited they drove to Furnari’s house to meet their first client and be there when the driver came to pick up his car. The driver could then drive for Uber or Lyft. It didn’t take long for Furnari to see a profit by renting his car out, and he became so enamored with the business model that he eventually left his job at the time to become the CEO of HyreCar.

As insurance brokers, we get calls all the time from people who are looking to start a new commercial transportation business. Whether it be someone aspiring to start the next Uber and Lyft or someone who wants to start a small shuttle business, it is our priority to weed out those who are serious and have spent time in their business model, compared to those who woke up one day thinking it would be easy to hit the ground running.

HyreCar lyft uber insurance

 

Where We Came into the Picture

In 2015, our agency President Dave Haley and insurance industry veteran (as recently dubbed by BusinessWire) received a call from the two original founders of HyreCar. Marciano Kim and Abhi Arorahe, the HyreCar founders, found our auto insurance company via google. “I spent 3 minutes on the phone with the founders and immediately, I loved the idea HyreCar was going for. I knew there were a lot of people who wanted work (for Transportation Network Companies like Uber and Lyft) but couldn’t because they didn’t have a vehicle that qualified for it,” Haley said.

At the time, HyreCar and similar companies represented an untapped insurance market as well. Haley was tasked with what felt like an impossibility – to find an insurance company to charge per day, per mile, and per minute. After shopping the marketplace and many declinations, he finally found a carrier that was as interested in the business model as he was. And within a rapid 60 days, HyreCar was insured and able to really launch their platform.

Uber and Lyft Drivers Can Rejoice

There is a big problem for many people who want to drive for Uber or Lyft. The obstacle is obtaining a vehicle that meets Uber or Lyft company requirements. Many drivers have to rent cars and then have to procure insurance on that vehicle. Personal auto specifically excludes any use of your vehicle that generates revenue.

Many Transportation Network Company (TNC) drivers use their personal auto regardless, but technically this is risky. In the case of an accident while driving for Uber or Lyft, their personal auto carrier would deny the claim. Additionally, the driver would face  the possibility of cancellation and non-renewal. With HyreCar’s model, drivers are able to rent a car at an affordable price. Plus, they would obtain an insurance ID card through HyreCar that allows them to qualify for Uber and Lyft. The great news is it does not put them at risk for being cancelled for unauthorized use of the vehicle.

HyreCar CEO Speaks to the Importance of Good Insurance

Uber driver Lyft Driver insurance hyrecar

 

Since launching three years ago, HyreCar has expanded into all 50 states. They have provided solutions for a disrupted transportation, car dealership and insurance industry. HyreCar recently went public and CEO Joe Furnari was interviewed by Nasdaq. In the Nasdaq interview, Furnari attributes part of HyreCar’s ability to grow and succeed to partnering with the right people on the insurance side. Furnari spoke specifically of American Business Insurance. The video clips and press releases included in this article effectively articulate from Furnari on how HyreCar has helped drivers, car dealers, and the insurance industry step forward into this ever-changing transportation marketplace.

Written by Laura Loftus on October 16th, 2018.

 

For more information about insuring your shared economy or transportation network company like HyreCar, click here: https://abiweb.com/services/tnc-provider/

WATCH THE INTERVIEW BETWEEN NASDAQ AND FURNARI BELOW

WATCH ANOTHER INTERVIEW WITH FURNARI HERE: https://www.facebook.com/Nasdaq/videos/2638290029729362/UzpfSTI2ODE1MjMzOTg2NjU2NzoyMjg5Mjc2ODE3NzU0MDk5/