TNC Insurance: Insure your Transportation Network Company in California

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What is a Transportation Network Company?

Transportation network companies, TNC for short, are companies that fall under the umbrella of ridesharing. Uber, Lyft and DoorDash are the obvious examples of extremely successful TNCs. Any company that hires people as individual contractors and employs a shared-economy type business model can be considered a Transportation Network Company. A Transportation Network Company is required to have TNC insurance.

Since the early 2010s, the TNC industry has taken off at a rapid pace especially in California’s large urban cities. The impact of Transportation Network Companies in cities has resulted in a decline in public transportation in recent years. San Francisco has become ground zero for a lot of the giants that dominate the ridesharing industry such as Uber and Lyft. The next big Transportation Network Company in California could be your business, but first insurance!

TNC insurance

If you’re reading this, you’re probably looking for the necessary information to grow or get your TNC off the ground. One of the most important steps required for your business venture is to make sure your drivers and passengers are protected with TNC insurance. Keep reading to find out how to make sure your Transportation Network Company is properly insured and protected.

Where to start with TNC insurance

Being in the TNC industry, it may be difficult to find the proper broker that is able to provide TNC insurance. Most everyday insurance companies are most likely not willing to insure a rideshare company due to the high-risk nature of the industry. Insurance companies that write specific policies for TNC insurance are generally specialized brokers who focus on this unique marketplace.

TNC insurance

Luckily for you, here at American Business Insurance Services, we have a direct line to brokers that provide TNC insurance. With 35 years of experience insuring a wide variety of corporate auto fleets, we know exactly what these insurers are looking for in order to get you the best policy.

Questions you may have while looking for TNC insurance:

  • Why you need TNC insurance
  • Types of TNC insurance
  • How to prepare for a quote

Why you need TNC insurance

While researching insurance options for your Transportation Network Company you will quickly realize personal auto insurance doesn’t cover commercial use. However, commercial insurance doesn’t cover independent TNC drivers, even while driving for the company. Therefore, you need TNC insurance for your company to ensure your passengers and drivers are covered incase of an incident.

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners, NAIC, have identified three specific periods TNC drivers are not covered by their personal auto insurance.

  • First period: when drivers have signed into the application but have not yet been matched with a customer.
  • Second period: when drivers are on their way to pick up the customer.
  • Third period: when the driver has picked up the customer and is taking them to their destination.

Types of TNC insurance

In addition, there are two different types of TNC insurance coverage. The first being auto liability insurance for your Transportation Network Company. Auto liability insurance is required by law and protects you as well as your business when you’re at fault in an automobile accident.

Depending upon the coverage, most auto liability insurance covers your company from financial losses surrounding vehicle damage and medical bills of the passengers involved. In other words, auto liability insurance will pay for the damage to other people and their property for which you’re responsible. Furthermore, auto liability insurance usually covers the second and third periods of TNC driving listed in the bullets above.

As for the other type of TNC insurance, there is physical damage insurance. The purpose of physical damage insurance is to protect shared company vehicles from damages. Whether the driver was at fault or not.

To elaborate, physical damage insurance can cover damage caused to your vehicle that is out of your control. For example, vandalism, theft, fire, accidents involving animals, acts of nature, etc. Physical damage insurance also covers at-fault damage caused to the vehicle. However at-fault damage is usually only covered when said damage is caused by the scheduled driver.

TNC insurance

If you want to read more extensively about TNC insurance coverage provided by American Business Insurance Services, Inc. click here

How to prepare for a TNC Insurance quote

If you’re looking to establish your TNC as the next Uber or Lyft, there is a lot of preparations to be made before doing so. Insurers need to do an in-depth analysis of your company before being able to provide you with a quote for TNC insurance. Therefore, in the interest of time, it’s best to have made these preparations before contacting the insurer.

TNC insurance

1. Build the app

One of the first things you want to do is make sure your app is properly constructed and optimized for collecting favorable data points. For example, average speed. If you can prove that, on average, your drivers drive below the speed limit, you’re more likely to get a lower quote than if they tended to speed.

Furthermore, insurance companies want to be able to know things such as: when a trip starts and stops, number of miles per trip and duration of each trip. Therefore, it’s beneficial to both you and your insurer if you have built and optimized the app before contacting for a TNC insurance quote.

2. Business plan and projections

For the most part, this is all relatively simple information you may or may not have already put together when looking for investors. This should include things such as your plans for company growth. How you plan on monitoring and enforcing safety/loss control. And Finally, a set plan on how your company plans on making a ROI.

3. Safety and Training

Due to the nature of their business, insurers are going to care a great deal about safety. They are going to want to see that you have the proper rules, regulations and restrictions in place in order for your company to operate as safely as possible. They’re also going to want to know how often you plan on/provide training to your drivers for a variety of different things.

Insurers are going to want to know a lot about your hiring practices. How old are the youngest drivers you’d be willing to hire? How often do you have them background checked? These are all important questions that will need to be answered in order to get the best TNC insurance quote.

4. Financial balance sheet

Insurers are interested in this information because they want to see two things. First they want to see that you will be able to pay for, and continue paying for, the policy they provide you with. Second they want to see that your company will have the ability to stay afloat until you start turning a profit. The latter is mostly due to the fact that many TNCs don’t start turning a profit in their first year of operation.

5. Other information

Finally, insurers want to see information that will lend further credibility to your name. One thing that will help you accomplish this is information on your investors. Not only do insurers want to get to know your TNC, but they also want to get to know the source of the money behind the TNC. Writing bios on company executives and investors is a good way to allow an insurer to get to know your TNC more thoroughly.

Another thing that helps in regard to the lending of credibility to your name is a summary of your terms of service and privacy conditions. This is where you want to show the insurer that you have policies in place to protect your customer.

Guidance for finding TNC Insurance from American Business Insurance Services

While this may seem like a lot of information to gather for an insurance quote. Insurers need to see this information in order to make sure they are able to match you with the best TNC insurance provider and get you the best policy. Furthermore, insurers are looking for long term, mutually beneficial relationships. Supplying them with this information is an excellent way to build a positive and long standing relationship with your TNC Insurance provider.

Here at American Business Insurance Services, we understand the process of launching a TNC. We understand that it takes a lot of time and effort. And we understand the industry. We can be there for you every step of the way to help make sure that you understand too.

If you have questions or are seeking further guidance, please don’t hesitate to contact us via phone or email. We would love to help you get your TNC off the ground and paired with an insurer that’s right for you.

Insurance Coverage For Your Rental Car Fleet in California

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Rental Car Fleet Insurance Coverage in California

Do you own or operate a rental car service? Are you looking to partner with a transportation network company in California? Nowadays there are multiple ways to get into this ever-growing transportation industry. The rise of ridesharing apps and on-demand delivery apps utilizing rental car fleets in recent years, has more and more entrepreneurs looking to start their own transportation companies. The proper fleet insurance is essential in getting your business off the ground.

With the ever-changing market comes the requirement of insurance policies that can accommodate the unique needs of each business. There is no one insurance policy that fits all that’s why American Business Insurance Services, Inc. is able to find you the right insurance policy for your rental car fleet based off your individual needs. Skip the hassle of comparing multiple insurance quotes based off daunting numbers and endless calls with salespersons and representatives. As an independent agency, American Business Insurance Services, Inc. has direct relationships with all insurance companies currently writing specialized policies for transportation companies such as rental car fleets.

Different Types of Rental Car Fleets

As mentioned earlier, the barriers to enter the rental car industry is getting lower in recent years due to the growth of ridesharing apps and on-demand delivery services. More and more people are choosing to travel in vehicles not their own, as well as relying on on-demand drivers to deliver special goods. Especially in places like Los Angeles and San Francisco where traffic is really bad. The new trend of people relying on services of rental car fleets or other on-demand transportation services continues to rise. On top of that, California is by far the biggest automotive market in the United States.

In California people are more dependent on cars than public transit making California a great location to start a rental car fleet company. Whether you own a car rental company servicing travelers and businessmen, or a car dealership providing rental cars to customers, or you are simply an entrepreneur renting your own cars to other people, you will need fleet insurance to cover your company. Luckily at American Business Insurance Services, Inc. we have the connections and expertise to help you find the best insurance coverage for your rental car fleet.

Fleet Insurance – What does It Cover?

Whether your rental car fleet is working with a Transportation Network Company or on its own, the most important coverages to have for your rental car fleet are liability and physical damage. The transportation industry is a high-risk industry and it is important to have coverage for liability and physical damage. Living in California, you’ve probably seen a fair share of accidents on a daily basis on the highways. Accidents do happen, and the cold truth is the more miles your rental car fleet operates, the higher the chance that one of your drivers is involved in an incident.

In case of an incident, proper coverage for liability and collision will give you peace of mind as a business owner by knowing that your rental car fleet is protected on the road. Liability coverage is a must for rental car businesses, because it protects your fleet from potential negligence and mechanical failures.

There are coverage options that will cover all of the cars in your rental fleet, and also coverages that apply to drivers. There are policies for short-term car rentals or ones that operate on a pay-by-mile basis. That all depends on what kind of business you own and operate!

As your business grows, so does your need for more coverage. American Business Insurance Services, Inc. will help you adjust your limits accordingly to make sure you have proper coverage. Our friendly representatives will work with you and your company to fully understand your needs.

Additional Coverages For Rental Car Fleet Insurance

The number of fleet trucks, vans and SUVs on the roads in the U.S. is over 11.7 million. In Los Angeles alone, there are over 6 million vehicles in urbanized areas. The transportation sector is an ever-growing industry. As your company fleet grows, you may want to consider additional coverages such as inland marine coverage to protect any cargo or goods you are transporting.  You may also want to consider raising your liability coverage limits when you have more drivers, because the truth is the bigger your business is the more you have to lose!

Most insurance policies will cover the State’s mandated minimum insurance coverage that include liability and collision coverage. Additional coverages to consider would be roadside assistance, uninsured motorist coverage, and other coverages such as theft and vandalism. Consider the scope of your business, where you operate out of, and any special needs that you require.

Fleet Insurance – How Much Will It Cost

While there is no one single answer to this question, there are some indicators that will help you determine the costs of your fleet insurance plan. Typically, the more drivers and vehicles you have on your fleet, the more expensive the policy is. For example, consider the value of your vehicles – do you own a fleet of luxury European import cars? That is going to cost relatively more to maintain and fix, than say a fleet of economy cars. However, if the cars in your fleet are more likely to break down you run the risk of an increased premium. Another thing to consider is the intended use of your rental car vehicles. Are you using the fleet to transport people? That is going to cost more than  if you own a fleet of service vehicles (plumbers, electricians, etc) that are intended for special uses.

There is no single answer to how much it’s going to cost to insure your rental car fleet, but American Business Insurance Services, Inc will be able to cater to your needs and provide you with a quote in a short amount of time. Get Quote Now

How To Save Money on Rental Car Fleet Insurance

Typically to save money in a competitive insurance marketplace, you’d need to compare the different price offerings from different companies. American Business Insurance Services, Inc. differs from its competitors by its ability to work with different insurance companies writing specialized policies to provide you with a comprehensive coverage package. Located in the Los Angeles metropolitan area, American Business Insurance Services, Inc. has connections not only in California but with insurance providers nationwide. Tell us about your business, and we will do the research and get back to you with a policy that best fits your rental car fleet company.

Other ways to save on your premium is to reduce your coverage, but sometimes this wouldn’t be viable because of your business needs. While this certainly is an option for personal auto coverages, we wouldn’t recommend this for businesses like a rental car fleet. Another way to save on insurance premium is to raise your deductible amount. While this can seem like a cost-saving option in the short term, be sure that your business can pay the deductible when an incident arises.

Look into the regulations and mandated minimums in the State of California. Have an idea of what the minimum cost is going to be and know what your business is looking for. The easiest and best ways to save on an insurance policy is to combine multiple policies under the same provider and maintain a good driving record!

Get an Insurance Quote for Your Rental Car Fleet

In conclusion, you should look into fleet insurance policies if you have multiple vehicles in your transportation network company. Fleet Insurance makes managing your business and expenses easier, because no matter how many cars are in your fleet, one policy covers all! Whether you own a rental car company in California, or you’re just starting a business and looking to purchase a fleet of your own, you should purchase comprehensive insurance coverage. Tell us about your fleet company and we will help you find the best customizable insurance policy!

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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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  Top 5 Issues When Choosing Lyft or Uber vs Taxi

Top 5 Issues When Choosing Lyft or Uber vs Taxi

Written by Laura Loftus on Wednesday, December 5th, 2018

lyft or uber vs taxi ridesharing cost and safety

With travel increasing as we approach the holidays, many of us default to using a Lyft or Uber vs Taxi because we are under the impression that it’s faster, cheaper and all around more convenient than taking a taxi. However, I have a different perspective. As a west-coast based insurance broker who has clients all over the country, I tend travel about once every two months or so.

Most recently, I’ve visited San Francisco, New York City, Denver and Las Vegas for work meetings. I have to tell you, there were times where hopping into a cab was not only easier but also less money than their TNC counterparts.

Nowadays, people seem to think taxis are antiquated. But in reality, taxis are the same thing as an Uber or Lyft app, and I honestly feel safer in a cab. Here’s why.

1) Safety

Safety is my top concern when entering into a Lyft or Uber vs Taxi. For one, Uber and Lyft do not limit how long someone must have been licensed to drive for them. Someone could’ve moved to the US a few weeks ago, obtain a Driver’s License and as long as they have access to a qualifying car and pass a MINIMAL background check – they are approved. Nobody trains them, monitors them, or ensures that they are familiar with the area in which they drive.

The city highly regulates taxi drivers. They require taxi drivers to go through numerous EXTENSIVE background checks. Only then does the city in which they operate in allow them to start transporting people. Many cities require taxi and limo drivers to obtain a Hack License or Chauffeurs license. That means they have endured many hours of classroom-style and behind-the-wheel training.

Besides safety concerns regarding the driver, there are concerns around the vehicle. All taxi companies start their days by inspecting vehicles. They are required to get a vehicle inspection yearly to keep their operating permit. Lyft or Uber vs Taxi vehicles are not regulated at all. Once the driver is approved, there isn’t much regulation unless the ride share vehicle is in an accident.

With ride sharing, you are taking a risk as to who you are getting into a vehicle with. You could end up getting into a vehicle of someone with a criminal background who is dangerous. Even more concerning, I have heard of people leasing or renting out their Uber or Lyft accounts. So, for someone who doesn’t qualify themselves, they will find someone who does qualify. They’ll have to go through the approval process and use someone else’s account to work. That freaks me out, a lot.  When comparing Lyft or Uber vs Taxi, this type of situation would not happen. That’s because fleet owners know exactly who they are leasing the cab out too.

2) Insurance

Insurance issues are a huge concern when riding in a Lyft or Uber vs Taxi vehicle (and I’ll admit, I do use ride sharing apps regularly). Despite being an insurance broker who specializes in Public Auto

lyft or uber vs taxi ridesharing cost and safety

Transportation risks (specifically for-hire, livery businesses such as Taxi’s, Limo’s, Non-Emergency Medical Transportation, shuttles, etc), I often hop into a Lyft or Uber vs Taxi because, let’s face it, it’s super easy.  Hop on an app, order a car, and it will arrive in 4-5 minutes. This is especially the case when you’re in a residential or suburban area where cabs aren’t just lined in the street waiting for their next fare. I often think about what would happen if the car I am in was involved in an accident.

I am extremely knowledgeable on the coverages that Uber and Lyft’s insurance policy include and it’s spotty at best. For one, the driver and passenger are only covered if the app is on and the driver is logged in. What if there is a technical issue and the driver is logged out? If their phone dies, what now? What if they’re in an area with poor reception and the driver is disconnected from the app? A passenger could be held responsible for injuries incurred. Additionally, the majority of ride share drivers do not have commercial insurance. Plus, Uber and Lyft require drivers to turn the claim into their personal auto carrier before they’ll accept liability.

Commercial auto insurance is expensive, about 2 – 5 times higher than personal auto and most ride share drivers do not buy it because their profit margin on operating is thin. They pay for the vehicle itself, maintenance of the vehicle, gas and almost every TNC driver who calls for a quote on commercial auto insurance so that they can be properly insured does not buy it because no one is making them. This means the only coverage they have for their vehicle and the passengers is through Uber or Lyft, which all hinges on the driver being logged into the app.

3) Accessibility

lyft or uber vs taxi ridesharing cost and safetyAccessibility and ease of getting a ride from an airport, in my opinion is far greater for a taxi than a ride sharing unit. When deciding on an Lyft or Uber vs Taxi, typically, I exit a plane and walk straight to a taxi to my destination. I don’t have to rely on my signal being strong enough for the app to work. I don’t have to wait for the car to come through traffic or walk to somewhere off the premises to get a ride. In some airports, they don’t allow ride share units to pick up. If they do, you often have to go up a level to the departure area or walk to a far end of the airport. When I get off a plane, I personally prefer to get straight into a car and quickly be on my way.

On my last trip to San Francisco, I saw a sign that said Ride Share pick up and I could see a side walk with several waiting areas. According to my app, Ride Share would be about 75% of the cost of a cab. I looked at the taxi line and it was empty and there was car waiting. For experimental purposes, I sacrificed my usual cab ride for a Lyft ride to see if it was actually faster and cheaper. I logged into my Lyft app and requested a vehicle. Because the airport was busy, it took 5 minutes for a driver to accept my ride plus 15 minutes for them to actually pull up to the curb. The whole time I kept my eye on the taxi line. I watched person after person get into a cab and drive away.

I wanted to cancel my ride as I had a meeting to get to, but I wanted to complete the experiment. When my driver arrived, the car was new and clean. No complaints. But by the time we sat in traffic and crossed the Bay Bridge from Oakland into San Francisco, the price was literally the same as a taxi. And it delayed my arrival by 30 minutes.

4) Pricing

lyft or uber vs taxi ridesharing cost and safety

Pricing for a ride share trip isn’t consistent. Taxi’s are transparent on how much they charge and most have the pricing displayed on the vehicle. During my last trip to Las Vegas, I spoke with a conference attendee. She complained the surge pricing was triple that of a taxi when she wanted dinner on the strip. And the taxi was ready to go right there. I also found this to be true during my last trip to Denver.

I’ve gone two years in a row for three days of Phish. The band is best known for their musical improvisation, extended jams largely influenced by Grateful Dead, Led Zeppelin, and their dedicated fanbase. The first year we went, we tried to order a Lyft. The price was about $150 to literally go 11 miles!

At 7 am in Times Square, I left my hotel.  My return flight home awaited. It was 30 degrees outside with some expected snow. Out of habit, I opened by Lyft app to find a driver 4 minutes away. As I exited the warm hotel lobby to the frigid air of the NYC streets, I saw a cab waiting right there. I waited a few minutes staring at my phone as the Lyft driver slowly creeped through traffic up the block. I asked the driver if he was available to take me to the airport, and he was. So, I cancelled that Lyft ride and walked straight into a fully insured, inspected vehicle with a professional trained driver. It was a flat fee of $55 which was the same price my Lyft app was quoting had I waited for it.

5) Supporting a local business

lyft or uber vs taxi ridesharing cost and safety

Supporting a local business rather than the corporate monopoly is another reason to consider when deciding between a Lyft or Uber vs Taxi. In a world where Google and Amazon dominate, it’s gratifying to support the local population directly. Most cab companies are the result of families passing down their businesses from generation to generation. In today’s world, it feels as if many businesses are struggling because of the monopoly of corporations that are taking over in so many industries.

It’s hard for me to be ok with living in a world where everything is giant corporation. What does that mean for the rest of us? As the world changes and modes of transportation evolve, many feel taxi cabs will one day be extinct. But many taxi companies are revitalizing and evolving their business models to withstand the test of time. They are upping their standards when it comes to the quality of vehicles they buy. Moreover, they are investing in technology to create booking apps so that they can appeal to the smart-phone dependent generation.

 

Although Uber and Lyft may seem like the cheaper and more convenient option, I strongly urge you to think about all of the above issues around big box ride sharing companies. Is it really worth risking your time, your wallet and most importantly your life – all because it feels easier?

 

More about us: American Business Insurance for taxi companies: https://abiweb.com/services/taxicab-insurance/

How ABI is Protecting HyreCar

How ABI is Protecting Hyrecar

Ride-sharing services are taking the world of transportation by storm. Uber and Lyft are constantly relied on both by riders who need to get places efficiently, and by those who are employed by either company. However, many people are not aware that vehicles must meet certain standards in order to provide rides by Uber and Lyft. Due to these specific requirements for cars, many who desire to drive for the ride-sharing service aren’t allowed the opportunity. There was nothing they could do- until Hyrecar.

The Solution

HyreCar has arrived as the first car-matching service that works hand in hand with Uber and Lyft. The concept is simple: for those who desire to drive but don’t have a car that meets the requirements, HyreCar allows you to rent one and get right to work. Most issues that are preventing certain cars from qualifying for Uber and Lyft are simply problems that are typical of older vehicles. Its a lot to ask of someone to make them purchase an entirely new vehicle just to pass the restrictions test. In turn, less people would drive for Uber and Lyft, which hurts both the would-be drivers and the companies themselves.

The Process

HyreCar realized the very simple solution to this problem, and the founders were shocked when they found that no one had discovered this niche market yet. HyreCar’s platform is easy to use, while still being thorough. It allows car owners to post their vehicles that are up for rental, and when drivers find one they want, they create a profile. This profile includes information such as driver’s license and social security numbers, and drivers can pay just by entering their credit card information into the platform. HyreCar’s founders believe that their screening process for drivers is even stricter than those of Uber and Lyft, checking things like criminal records, DMV records, and sex-offender databases.

Everybody Wins

Thanks to HyreCar, everybody involved benefits in some way. Cars that would otherwise be sitting in a garage or not in use somewhere are making their owners money. Those who wish to be drivers are given an easy way to fulfill that desire without buying a whole new car. Uber and Lyft have more drivers for their companies and therefore generate more business. HyreCar benefits by charging drivers that rent from them a 10% fee and car owners a 15% fee.

How ABI is Covering HyreCar

American Business Insurance is providing HyreCar with a unique insurance policy to ensure the highest level of safety for both the drivers and riders. When a driver is not driving for a ride-sharing platform but is still in possession of the rented car, they are covered by ABI’s policy that covers both the riders and drivers. When they are driving for a ride-sharing platform with the rented car, the insurance defaults to the state-mandated policy provided by the respective ride-sharing company.

As far as HyreCar is aware, they are the only car-matching service that utilizes a unique insurance policy such as the one provided by American Business Insurance. Thanks to ABI, HyreCar now has a competitive advantage that will likely continue to garner success for the company.

TNC Insurance: Insure your Transportation Network Company in California

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What is a Transportation Network Company?

Transportation network companies, TNC for short, are companies that fall under the umbrella of ridesharing. Uber, Lyft and DoorDash are the obvious examples of extremely successful TNCs. Any company that hires people as individual contractors and employs a shared-economy type business model can be considered a Transportation Network Company. A Transportation Network Company is required to have TNC insurance.

Since the early 2010s, the TNC industry has taken off at a rapid pace especially in California’s large urban cities. The impact of Transportation Network Companies in cities has resulted in a decline in public transportation in recent years. San Francisco has become ground zero for a lot of the giants that dominate the ridesharing industry such as Uber and Lyft. The next big Transportation Network Company in California could be your business, but first insurance!

TNC insurance

If you’re reading this, you’re probably looking for the necessary information to grow or get your TNC off the ground. One of the most important steps required for your business venture is to make sure your drivers and passengers are protected with TNC insurance. Keep reading to find out how to make sure your Transportation Network Company is properly insured and protected.

Where to start with TNC insurance

Being in the TNC industry, it may be difficult to find the proper broker that is able to provide TNC insurance. Most everyday insurance companies are most likely not willing to insure a rideshare company due to the high-risk nature of the industry. Insurance companies that write specific policies for TNC insurance are generally specialized brokers who focus on this unique marketplace.

TNC insurance

Luckily for you, here at American Business Insurance Services, we have a direct line to brokers that provide TNC insurance. With 35 years of experience insuring a wide variety of corporate auto fleets, we know exactly what these insurers are looking for in order to get you the best policy.

Questions you may have while looking for TNC insurance:

  • Why you need TNC insurance
  • Types of TNC insurance
  • How to prepare for a quote

Why you need TNC insurance

While researching insurance options for your Transportation Network Company you will quickly realize personal auto insurance doesn’t cover commercial use. However, commercial insurance doesn’t cover independent TNC drivers, even while driving for the company. Therefore, you need TNC insurance for your company to ensure your passengers and drivers are covered incase of an incident.

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners, NAIC, have identified three specific periods TNC drivers are not covered by their personal auto insurance.

  • First period: when drivers have signed into the application but have not yet been matched with a customer.
  • Second period: when drivers are on their way to pick up the customer.
  • Third period: when the driver has picked up the customer and is taking them to their destination.

Types of TNC insurance

In addition, there are two different types of TNC insurance coverage. The first being auto liability insurance for your Transportation Network Company. Auto liability insurance is required by law and protects you as well as your business when you’re at fault in an automobile accident.

Depending upon the coverage, most auto liability insurance covers your company from financial losses surrounding vehicle damage and medical bills of the passengers involved. In other words, auto liability insurance will pay for the damage to other people and their property for which you’re responsible. Furthermore, auto liability insurance usually covers the second and third periods of TNC driving listed in the bullets above.

As for the other type of TNC insurance, there is physical damage insurance. The purpose of physical damage insurance is to protect shared company vehicles from damages. Whether the driver was at fault or not.

To elaborate, physical damage insurance can cover damage caused to your vehicle that is out of your control. For example, vandalism, theft, fire, accidents involving animals, acts of nature, etc. Physical damage insurance also covers at-fault damage caused to the vehicle. However at-fault damage is usually only covered when said damage is caused by the scheduled driver.

TNC insurance

If you want to read more extensively about TNC insurance coverage provided by American Business Insurance Services, Inc. click here

How to prepare for a TNC Insurance quote

If you’re looking to establish your TNC as the next Uber or Lyft, there is a lot of preparations to be made before doing so. Insurers need to do an in-depth analysis of your company before being able to provide you with a quote for TNC insurance. Therefore, in the interest of time, it’s best to have made these preparations before contacting the insurer.

TNC insurance

1. Build the app

One of the first things you want to do is make sure your app is properly constructed and optimized for collecting favorable data points. For example, average speed. If you can prove that, on average, your drivers drive below the speed limit, you’re more likely to get a lower quote than if they tended to speed.

Furthermore, insurance companies want to be able to know things such as: when a trip starts and stops, number of miles per trip and duration of each trip. Therefore, it’s beneficial to both you and your insurer if you have built and optimized the app before contacting for a TNC insurance quote.

2. Business plan and projections

For the most part, this is all relatively simple information you may or may not have already put together when looking for investors. This should include things such as your plans for company growth. How you plan on monitoring and enforcing safety/loss control. And Finally, a set plan on how your company plans on making a ROI.

3. Safety and Training

Due to the nature of their business, insurers are going to care a great deal about safety. They are going to want to see that you have the proper rules, regulations and restrictions in place in order for your company to operate as safely as possible. They’re also going to want to know how often you plan on/provide training to your drivers for a variety of different things.

Insurers are going to want to know a lot about your hiring practices. How old are the youngest drivers you’d be willing to hire? How often do you have them background checked? These are all important questions that will need to be answered in order to get the best TNC insurance quote.

4. Financial balance sheet

Insurers are interested in this information because they want to see two things. First they want to see that you will be able to pay for, and continue paying for, the policy they provide you with. Second they want to see that your company will have the ability to stay afloat until you start turning a profit. The latter is mostly due to the fact that many TNCs don’t start turning a profit in their first year of operation.

5. Other information

Finally, insurers want to see information that will lend further credibility to your name. One thing that will help you accomplish this is information on your investors. Not only do insurers want to get to know your TNC, but they also want to get to know the source of the money behind the TNC. Writing bios on company executives and investors is a good way to allow an insurer to get to know your TNC more thoroughly.

Another thing that helps in regard to the lending of credibility to your name is a summary of your terms of service and privacy conditions. This is where you want to show the insurer that you have policies in place to protect your customer.

Guidance for finding TNC Insurance from American Business Insurance Services

While this may seem like a lot of information to gather for an insurance quote. Insurers need to see this information in order to make sure they are able to match you with the best TNC insurance provider and get you the best policy. Furthermore, insurers are looking for long term, mutually beneficial relationships. Supplying them with this information is an excellent way to build a positive and long standing relationship with your TNC Insurance provider.

Here at American Business Insurance Services, we understand the process of launching a TNC. We understand that it takes a lot of time and effort. And we understand the industry. We can be there for you every step of the way to help make sure that you understand too.

If you have questions or are seeking further guidance, please don’t hesitate to contact us via phone or email. We would love to help you get your TNC off the ground and paired with an insurer that’s right for you.

Insurance Coverage For Your Rental Car Fleet in California

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Rental Car Fleet Insurance Coverage in California

Do you own or operate a rental car service? Are you looking to partner with a transportation network company in California? Nowadays there are multiple ways to get into this ever-growing transportation industry. The rise of ridesharing apps and on-demand delivery apps utilizing rental car fleets in recent years, has more and more entrepreneurs looking to start their own transportation companies. The proper fleet insurance is essential in getting your business off the ground.

With the ever-changing market comes the requirement of insurance policies that can accommodate the unique needs of each business. There is no one insurance policy that fits all that’s why American Business Insurance Services, Inc. is able to find you the right insurance policy for your rental car fleet based off your individual needs. Skip the hassle of comparing multiple insurance quotes based off daunting numbers and endless calls with salespersons and representatives. As an independent agency, American Business Insurance Services, Inc. has direct relationships with all insurance companies currently writing specialized policies for transportation companies such as rental car fleets.

Different Types of Rental Car Fleets

As mentioned earlier, the barriers to enter the rental car industry is getting lower in recent years due to the growth of ridesharing apps and on-demand delivery services. More and more people are choosing to travel in vehicles not their own, as well as relying on on-demand drivers to deliver special goods. Especially in places like Los Angeles and San Francisco where traffic is really bad. The new trend of people relying on services of rental car fleets or other on-demand transportation services continues to rise. On top of that, California is by far the biggest automotive market in the United States.

In California people are more dependent on cars than public transit making California a great location to start a rental car fleet company. Whether you own a car rental company servicing travelers and businessmen, or a car dealership providing rental cars to customers, or you are simply an entrepreneur renting your own cars to other people, you will need fleet insurance to cover your company. Luckily at American Business Insurance Services, Inc. we have the connections and expertise to help you find the best insurance coverage for your rental car fleet.

Fleet Insurance – What does It Cover?

Whether your rental car fleet is working with a Transportation Network Company or on its own, the most important coverages to have for your rental car fleet are liability and physical damage. The transportation industry is a high-risk industry and it is important to have coverage for liability and physical damage. Living in California, you’ve probably seen a fair share of accidents on a daily basis on the highways. Accidents do happen, and the cold truth is the more miles your rental car fleet operates, the higher the chance that one of your drivers is involved in an incident.

In case of an incident, proper coverage for liability and collision will give you peace of mind as a business owner by knowing that your rental car fleet is protected on the road. Liability coverage is a must for rental car businesses, because it protects your fleet from potential negligence and mechanical failures.

There are coverage options that will cover all of the cars in your rental fleet, and also coverages that apply to drivers. There are policies for short-term car rentals or ones that operate on a pay-by-mile basis. That all depends on what kind of business you own and operate!

As your business grows, so does your need for more coverage. American Business Insurance Services, Inc. will help you adjust your limits accordingly to make sure you have proper coverage. Our friendly representatives will work with you and your company to fully understand your needs.

Additional Coverages For Rental Car Fleet Insurance

The number of fleet trucks, vans and SUVs on the roads in the U.S. is over 11.7 million. In Los Angeles alone, there are over 6 million vehicles in urbanized areas. The transportation sector is an ever-growing industry. As your company fleet grows, you may want to consider additional coverages such as inland marine coverage to protect any cargo or goods you are transporting.  You may also want to consider raising your liability coverage limits when you have more drivers, because the truth is the bigger your business is the more you have to lose!

Most insurance policies will cover the State’s mandated minimum insurance coverage that include liability and collision coverage. Additional coverages to consider would be roadside assistance, uninsured motorist coverage, and other coverages such as theft and vandalism. Consider the scope of your business, where you operate out of, and any special needs that you require.

Fleet Insurance – How Much Will It Cost

While there is no one single answer to this question, there are some indicators that will help you determine the costs of your fleet insurance plan. Typically, the more drivers and vehicles you have on your fleet, the more expensive the policy is. For example, consider the value of your vehicles – do you own a fleet of luxury European import cars? That is going to cost relatively more to maintain and fix, than say a fleet of economy cars. However, if the cars in your fleet are more likely to break down you run the risk of an increased premium. Another thing to consider is the intended use of your rental car vehicles. Are you using the fleet to transport people? That is going to cost more than  if you own a fleet of service vehicles (plumbers, electricians, etc) that are intended for special uses.

There is no single answer to how much it’s going to cost to insure your rental car fleet, but American Business Insurance Services, Inc will be able to cater to your needs and provide you with a quote in a short amount of time. Get Quote Now

How To Save Money on Rental Car Fleet Insurance

Typically to save money in a competitive insurance marketplace, you’d need to compare the different price offerings from different companies. American Business Insurance Services, Inc. differs from its competitors by its ability to work with different insurance companies writing specialized policies to provide you with a comprehensive coverage package. Located in the Los Angeles metropolitan area, American Business Insurance Services, Inc. has connections not only in California but with insurance providers nationwide. Tell us about your business, and we will do the research and get back to you with a policy that best fits your rental car fleet company.

Other ways to save on your premium is to reduce your coverage, but sometimes this wouldn’t be viable because of your business needs. While this certainly is an option for personal auto coverages, we wouldn’t recommend this for businesses like a rental car fleet. Another way to save on insurance premium is to raise your deductible amount. While this can seem like a cost-saving option in the short term, be sure that your business can pay the deductible when an incident arises.

Look into the regulations and mandated minimums in the State of California. Have an idea of what the minimum cost is going to be and know what your business is looking for. The easiest and best ways to save on an insurance policy is to combine multiple policies under the same provider and maintain a good driving record!

Get an Insurance Quote for Your Rental Car Fleet

In conclusion, you should look into fleet insurance policies if you have multiple vehicles in your transportation network company. Fleet Insurance makes managing your business and expenses easier, because no matter how many cars are in your fleet, one policy covers all! Whether you own a rental car company in California, or you’re just starting a business and looking to purchase a fleet of your own, you should purchase comprehensive insurance coverage. Tell us about your fleet company and we will help you find the best customizable insurance policy!

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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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  Top 5 Issues When Choosing Lyft or Uber vs Taxi

Top 5 Issues When Choosing Lyft or Uber vs Taxi

Written by Laura Loftus on Wednesday, December 5th, 2018

lyft or uber vs taxi ridesharing cost and safety

With travel increasing as we approach the holidays, many of us default to using a Lyft or Uber vs Taxi because we are under the impression that it’s faster, cheaper and all around more convenient than taking a taxi. However, I have a different perspective. As a west-coast based insurance broker who has clients all over the country, I tend travel about once every two months or so.

Most recently, I’ve visited San Francisco, New York City, Denver and Las Vegas for work meetings. I have to tell you, there were times where hopping into a cab was not only easier but also less money than their TNC counterparts.

Nowadays, people seem to think taxis are antiquated. But in reality, taxis are the same thing as an Uber or Lyft app, and I honestly feel safer in a cab. Here’s why.

1) Safety

Safety is my top concern when entering into a Lyft or Uber vs Taxi. For one, Uber and Lyft do not limit how long someone must have been licensed to drive for them. Someone could’ve moved to the US a few weeks ago, obtain a Driver’s License and as long as they have access to a qualifying car and pass a MINIMAL background check – they are approved. Nobody trains them, monitors them, or ensures that they are familiar with the area in which they drive.

The city highly regulates taxi drivers. They require taxi drivers to go through numerous EXTENSIVE background checks. Only then does the city in which they operate in allow them to start transporting people. Many cities require taxi and limo drivers to obtain a Hack License or Chauffeurs license. That means they have endured many hours of classroom-style and behind-the-wheel training.

Besides safety concerns regarding the driver, there are concerns around the vehicle. All taxi companies start their days by inspecting vehicles. They are required to get a vehicle inspection yearly to keep their operating permit. Lyft or Uber vs Taxi vehicles are not regulated at all. Once the driver is approved, there isn’t much regulation unless the ride share vehicle is in an accident.

With ride sharing, you are taking a risk as to who you are getting into a vehicle with. You could end up getting into a vehicle of someone with a criminal background who is dangerous. Even more concerning, I have heard of people leasing or renting out their Uber or Lyft accounts. So, for someone who doesn’t qualify themselves, they will find someone who does qualify. They’ll have to go through the approval process and use someone else’s account to work. That freaks me out, a lot.  When comparing Lyft or Uber vs Taxi, this type of situation would not happen. That’s because fleet owners know exactly who they are leasing the cab out too.

2) Insurance

Insurance issues are a huge concern when riding in a Lyft or Uber vs Taxi vehicle (and I’ll admit, I do use ride sharing apps regularly). Despite being an insurance broker who specializes in Public Auto

lyft or uber vs taxi ridesharing cost and safety

Transportation risks (specifically for-hire, livery businesses such as Taxi’s, Limo’s, Non-Emergency Medical Transportation, shuttles, etc), I often hop into a Lyft or Uber vs Taxi because, let’s face it, it’s super easy.  Hop on an app, order a car, and it will arrive in 4-5 minutes. This is especially the case when you’re in a residential or suburban area where cabs aren’t just lined in the street waiting for their next fare. I often think about what would happen if the car I am in was involved in an accident.

I am extremely knowledgeable on the coverages that Uber and Lyft’s insurance policy include and it’s spotty at best. For one, the driver and passenger are only covered if the app is on and the driver is logged in. What if there is a technical issue and the driver is logged out? If their phone dies, what now? What if they’re in an area with poor reception and the driver is disconnected from the app? A passenger could be held responsible for injuries incurred. Additionally, the majority of ride share drivers do not have commercial insurance. Plus, Uber and Lyft require drivers to turn the claim into their personal auto carrier before they’ll accept liability.

Commercial auto insurance is expensive, about 2 – 5 times higher than personal auto and most ride share drivers do not buy it because their profit margin on operating is thin. They pay for the vehicle itself, maintenance of the vehicle, gas and almost every TNC driver who calls for a quote on commercial auto insurance so that they can be properly insured does not buy it because no one is making them. This means the only coverage they have for their vehicle and the passengers is through Uber or Lyft, which all hinges on the driver being logged into the app.

3) Accessibility

lyft or uber vs taxi ridesharing cost and safetyAccessibility and ease of getting a ride from an airport, in my opinion is far greater for a taxi than a ride sharing unit. When deciding on an Lyft or Uber vs Taxi, typically, I exit a plane and walk straight to a taxi to my destination. I don’t have to rely on my signal being strong enough for the app to work. I don’t have to wait for the car to come through traffic or walk to somewhere off the premises to get a ride. In some airports, they don’t allow ride share units to pick up. If they do, you often have to go up a level to the departure area or walk to a far end of the airport. When I get off a plane, I personally prefer to get straight into a car and quickly be on my way.

On my last trip to San Francisco, I saw a sign that said Ride Share pick up and I could see a side walk with several waiting areas. According to my app, Ride Share would be about 75% of the cost of a cab. I looked at the taxi line and it was empty and there was car waiting. For experimental purposes, I sacrificed my usual cab ride for a Lyft ride to see if it was actually faster and cheaper. I logged into my Lyft app and requested a vehicle. Because the airport was busy, it took 5 minutes for a driver to accept my ride plus 15 minutes for them to actually pull up to the curb. The whole time I kept my eye on the taxi line. I watched person after person get into a cab and drive away.

I wanted to cancel my ride as I had a meeting to get to, but I wanted to complete the experiment. When my driver arrived, the car was new and clean. No complaints. But by the time we sat in traffic and crossed the Bay Bridge from Oakland into San Francisco, the price was literally the same as a taxi. And it delayed my arrival by 30 minutes.

4) Pricing

lyft or uber vs taxi ridesharing cost and safety

Pricing for a ride share trip isn’t consistent. Taxi’s are transparent on how much they charge and most have the pricing displayed on the vehicle. During my last trip to Las Vegas, I spoke with a conference attendee. She complained the surge pricing was triple that of a taxi when she wanted dinner on the strip. And the taxi was ready to go right there. I also found this to be true during my last trip to Denver.

I’ve gone two years in a row for three days of Phish. The band is best known for their musical improvisation, extended jams largely influenced by Grateful Dead, Led Zeppelin, and their dedicated fanbase. The first year we went, we tried to order a Lyft. The price was about $150 to literally go 11 miles!

At 7 am in Times Square, I left my hotel.  My return flight home awaited. It was 30 degrees outside with some expected snow. Out of habit, I opened by Lyft app to find a driver 4 minutes away. As I exited the warm hotel lobby to the frigid air of the NYC streets, I saw a cab waiting right there. I waited a few minutes staring at my phone as the Lyft driver slowly creeped through traffic up the block. I asked the driver if he was available to take me to the airport, and he was. So, I cancelled that Lyft ride and walked straight into a fully insured, inspected vehicle with a professional trained driver. It was a flat fee of $55 which was the same price my Lyft app was quoting had I waited for it.

5) Supporting a local business

lyft or uber vs taxi ridesharing cost and safety

Supporting a local business rather than the corporate monopoly is another reason to consider when deciding between a Lyft or Uber vs Taxi. In a world where Google and Amazon dominate, it’s gratifying to support the local population directly. Most cab companies are the result of families passing down their businesses from generation to generation. In today’s world, it feels as if many businesses are struggling because of the monopoly of corporations that are taking over in so many industries.

It’s hard for me to be ok with living in a world where everything is giant corporation. What does that mean for the rest of us? As the world changes and modes of transportation evolve, many feel taxi cabs will one day be extinct. But many taxi companies are revitalizing and evolving their business models to withstand the test of time. They are upping their standards when it comes to the quality of vehicles they buy. Moreover, they are investing in technology to create booking apps so that they can appeal to the smart-phone dependent generation.

 

Although Uber and Lyft may seem like the cheaper and more convenient option, I strongly urge you to think about all of the above issues around big box ride sharing companies. Is it really worth risking your time, your wallet and most importantly your life – all because it feels easier?

 

More about us: American Business Insurance for taxi companies: https://abiweb.com/services/taxicab-insurance/

How ABI is Protecting HyreCar

How ABI is Protecting Hyrecar

Ride-sharing services are taking the world of transportation by storm. Uber and Lyft are constantly relied on both by riders who need to get places efficiently, and by those who are employed by either company. However, many people are not aware that vehicles must meet certain standards in order to provide rides by Uber and Lyft. Due to these specific requirements for cars, many who desire to drive for the ride-sharing service aren’t allowed the opportunity. There was nothing they could do- until Hyrecar.

The Solution

HyreCar has arrived as the first car-matching service that works hand in hand with Uber and Lyft. The concept is simple: for those who desire to drive but don’t have a car that meets the requirements, HyreCar allows you to rent one and get right to work. Most issues that are preventing certain cars from qualifying for Uber and Lyft are simply problems that are typical of older vehicles. Its a lot to ask of someone to make them purchase an entirely new vehicle just to pass the restrictions test. In turn, less people would drive for Uber and Lyft, which hurts both the would-be drivers and the companies themselves.

The Process

HyreCar realized the very simple solution to this problem, and the founders were shocked when they found that no one had discovered this niche market yet. HyreCar’s platform is easy to use, while still being thorough. It allows car owners to post their vehicles that are up for rental, and when drivers find one they want, they create a profile. This profile includes information such as driver’s license and social security numbers, and drivers can pay just by entering their credit card information into the platform. HyreCar’s founders believe that their screening process for drivers is even stricter than those of Uber and Lyft, checking things like criminal records, DMV records, and sex-offender databases.

Everybody Wins

Thanks to HyreCar, everybody involved benefits in some way. Cars that would otherwise be sitting in a garage or not in use somewhere are making their owners money. Those who wish to be drivers are given an easy way to fulfill that desire without buying a whole new car. Uber and Lyft have more drivers for their companies and therefore generate more business. HyreCar benefits by charging drivers that rent from them a 10% fee and car owners a 15% fee.

How ABI is Covering HyreCar

American Business Insurance is providing HyreCar with a unique insurance policy to ensure the highest level of safety for both the drivers and riders. When a driver is not driving for a ride-sharing platform but is still in possession of the rented car, they are covered by ABI’s policy that covers both the riders and drivers. When they are driving for a ride-sharing platform with the rented car, the insurance defaults to the state-mandated policy provided by the respective ride-sharing company.

As far as HyreCar is aware, they are the only car-matching service that utilizes a unique insurance policy such as the one provided by American Business Insurance. Thanks to ABI, HyreCar now has a competitive advantage that will likely continue to garner success for the company.

TNC Insurance: Insure your Transportation Network Company in California

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What is a Transportation Network Company?

Transportation network companies, TNC for short, are companies that fall under the umbrella of ridesharing. Uber, Lyft and DoorDash are the obvious examples of extremely successful TNCs. Any company that hires people as individual contractors and employs a shared-economy type business model can be considered a Transportation Network Company. A Transportation Network Company is required to have TNC insurance.

Since the early 2010s, the TNC industry has taken off at a rapid pace especially in California’s large urban cities. The impact of Transportation Network Companies in cities has resulted in a decline in public transportation in recent years. San Francisco has become ground zero for a lot of the giants that dominate the ridesharing industry such as Uber and Lyft. The next big Transportation Network Company in California could be your business, but first insurance!

TNC insurance

If you’re reading this, you’re probably looking for the necessary information to grow or get your TNC off the ground. One of the most important steps required for your business venture is to make sure your drivers and passengers are protected with TNC insurance. Keep reading to find out how to make sure your Transportation Network Company is properly insured and protected.

Where to start with TNC insurance

Being in the TNC industry, it may be difficult to find the proper broker that is able to provide TNC insurance. Most everyday insurance companies are most likely not willing to insure a rideshare company due to the high-risk nature of the industry. Insurance companies that write specific policies for TNC insurance are generally specialized brokers who focus on this unique marketplace.

TNC insurance

Luckily for you, here at American Business Insurance Services, we have a direct line to brokers that provide TNC insurance. With 35 years of experience insuring a wide variety of corporate auto fleets, we know exactly what these insurers are looking for in order to get you the best policy.

Questions you may have while looking for TNC insurance:

  • Why you need TNC insurance
  • Types of TNC insurance
  • How to prepare for a quote

Why you need TNC insurance

While researching insurance options for your Transportation Network Company you will quickly realize personal auto insurance doesn’t cover commercial use. However, commercial insurance doesn’t cover independent TNC drivers, even while driving for the company. Therefore, you need TNC insurance for your company to ensure your passengers and drivers are covered incase of an incident.

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners, NAIC, have identified three specific periods TNC drivers are not covered by their personal auto insurance.

  • First period: when drivers have signed into the application but have not yet been matched with a customer.
  • Second period: when drivers are on their way to pick up the customer.
  • Third period: when the driver has picked up the customer and is taking them to their destination.

Types of TNC insurance

In addition, there are two different types of TNC insurance coverage. The first being auto liability insurance for your Transportation Network Company. Auto liability insurance is required by law and protects you as well as your business when you’re at fault in an automobile accident.

Depending upon the coverage, most auto liability insurance covers your company from financial losses surrounding vehicle damage and medical bills of the passengers involved. In other words, auto liability insurance will pay for the damage to other people and their property for which you’re responsible. Furthermore, auto liability insurance usually covers the second and third periods of TNC driving listed in the bullets above.

As for the other type of TNC insurance, there is physical damage insurance. The purpose of physical damage insurance is to protect shared company vehicles from damages. Whether the driver was at fault or not.

To elaborate, physical damage insurance can cover damage caused to your vehicle that is out of your control. For example, vandalism, theft, fire, accidents involving animals, acts of nature, etc. Physical damage insurance also covers at-fault damage caused to the vehicle. However at-fault damage is usually only covered when said damage is caused by the scheduled driver.

TNC insurance

If you want to read more extensively about TNC insurance coverage provided by American Business Insurance Services, Inc. click here

How to prepare for a TNC Insurance quote

If you’re looking to establish your TNC as the next Uber or Lyft, there is a lot of preparations to be made before doing so. Insurers need to do an in-depth analysis of your company before being able to provide you with a quote for TNC insurance. Therefore, in the interest of time, it’s best to have made these preparations before contacting the insurer.

TNC insurance

1. Build the app

One of the first things you want to do is make sure your app is properly constructed and optimized for collecting favorable data points. For example, average speed. If you can prove that, on average, your drivers drive below the speed limit, you’re more likely to get a lower quote than if they tended to speed.

Furthermore, insurance companies want to be able to know things such as: when a trip starts and stops, number of miles per trip and duration of each trip. Therefore, it’s beneficial to both you and your insurer if you have built and optimized the app before contacting for a TNC insurance quote.

2. Business plan and projections

For the most part, this is all relatively simple information you may or may not have already put together when looking for investors. This should include things such as your plans for company growth. How you plan on monitoring and enforcing safety/loss control. And Finally, a set plan on how your company plans on making a ROI.

3. Safety and Training

Due to the nature of their business, insurers are going to care a great deal about safety. They are going to want to see that you have the proper rules, regulations and restrictions in place in order for your company to operate as safely as possible. They’re also going to want to know how often you plan on/provide training to your drivers for a variety of different things.

Insurers are going to want to know a lot about your hiring practices. How old are the youngest drivers you’d be willing to hire? How often do you have them background checked? These are all important questions that will need to be answered in order to get the best TNC insurance quote.

4. Financial balance sheet

Insurers are interested in this information because they want to see two things. First they want to see that you will be able to pay for, and continue paying for, the policy they provide you with. Second they want to see that your company will have the ability to stay afloat until you start turning a profit. The latter is mostly due to the fact that many TNCs don’t start turning a profit in their first year of operation.

5. Other information

Finally, insurers want to see information that will lend further credibility to your name. One thing that will help you accomplish this is information on your investors. Not only do insurers want to get to know your TNC, but they also want to get to know the source of the money behind the TNC. Writing bios on company executives and investors is a good way to allow an insurer to get to know your TNC more thoroughly.

Another thing that helps in regard to the lending of credibility to your name is a summary of your terms of service and privacy conditions. This is where you want to show the insurer that you have policies in place to protect your customer.

Guidance for finding TNC Insurance from American Business Insurance Services

While this may seem like a lot of information to gather for an insurance quote. Insurers need to see this information in order to make sure they are able to match you with the best TNC insurance provider and get you the best policy. Furthermore, insurers are looking for long term, mutually beneficial relationships. Supplying them with this information is an excellent way to build a positive and long standing relationship with your TNC Insurance provider.

Here at American Business Insurance Services, we understand the process of launching a TNC. We understand that it takes a lot of time and effort. And we understand the industry. We can be there for you every step of the way to help make sure that you understand too.

If you have questions or are seeking further guidance, please don’t hesitate to contact us via phone or email. We would love to help you get your TNC off the ground and paired with an insurer that’s right for you.

Insurance Coverage For Your Rental Car Fleet in California

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Rental Car Fleet Insurance Coverage in California

Do you own or operate a rental car service? Are you looking to partner with a transportation network company in California? Nowadays there are multiple ways to get into this ever-growing transportation industry. The rise of ridesharing apps and on-demand delivery apps utilizing rental car fleets in recent years, has more and more entrepreneurs looking to start their own transportation companies. The proper fleet insurance is essential in getting your business off the ground.

With the ever-changing market comes the requirement of insurance policies that can accommodate the unique needs of each business. There is no one insurance policy that fits all that’s why American Business Insurance Services, Inc. is able to find you the right insurance policy for your rental car fleet based off your individual needs. Skip the hassle of comparing multiple insurance quotes based off daunting numbers and endless calls with salespersons and representatives. As an independent agency, American Business Insurance Services, Inc. has direct relationships with all insurance companies currently writing specialized policies for transportation companies such as rental car fleets.

Different Types of Rental Car Fleets

As mentioned earlier, the barriers to enter the rental car industry is getting lower in recent years due to the growth of ridesharing apps and on-demand delivery services. More and more people are choosing to travel in vehicles not their own, as well as relying on on-demand drivers to deliver special goods. Especially in places like Los Angeles and San Francisco where traffic is really bad. The new trend of people relying on services of rental car fleets or other on-demand transportation services continues to rise. On top of that, California is by far the biggest automotive market in the United States.

In California people are more dependent on cars than public transit making California a great location to start a rental car fleet company. Whether you own a car rental company servicing travelers and businessmen, or a car dealership providing rental cars to customers, or you are simply an entrepreneur renting your own cars to other people, you will need fleet insurance to cover your company. Luckily at American Business Insurance Services, Inc. we have the connections and expertise to help you find the best insurance coverage for your rental car fleet.

Fleet Insurance – What does It Cover?

Whether your rental car fleet is working with a Transportation Network Company or on its own, the most important coverages to have for your rental car fleet are liability and physical damage. The transportation industry is a high-risk industry and it is important to have coverage for liability and physical damage. Living in California, you’ve probably seen a fair share of accidents on a daily basis on the highways. Accidents do happen, and the cold truth is the more miles your rental car fleet operates, the higher the chance that one of your drivers is involved in an incident.

In case of an incident, proper coverage for liability and collision will give you peace of mind as a business owner by knowing that your rental car fleet is protected on the road. Liability coverage is a must for rental car businesses, because it protects your fleet from potential negligence and mechanical failures.

There are coverage options that will cover all of the cars in your rental fleet, and also coverages that apply to drivers. There are policies for short-term car rentals or ones that operate on a pay-by-mile basis. That all depends on what kind of business you own and operate!

As your business grows, so does your need for more coverage. American Business Insurance Services, Inc. will help you adjust your limits accordingly to make sure you have proper coverage. Our friendly representatives will work with you and your company to fully understand your needs.

Additional Coverages For Rental Car Fleet Insurance

The number of fleet trucks, vans and SUVs on the roads in the U.S. is over 11.7 million. In Los Angeles alone, there are over 6 million vehicles in urbanized areas. The transportation sector is an ever-growing industry. As your company fleet grows, you may want to consider additional coverages such as inland marine coverage to protect any cargo or goods you are transporting.  You may also want to consider raising your liability coverage limits when you have more drivers, because the truth is the bigger your business is the more you have to lose!

Most insurance policies will cover the State’s mandated minimum insurance coverage that include liability and collision coverage. Additional coverages to consider would be roadside assistance, uninsured motorist coverage, and other coverages such as theft and vandalism. Consider the scope of your business, where you operate out of, and any special needs that you require.

Fleet Insurance – How Much Will It Cost

While there is no one single answer to this question, there are some indicators that will help you determine the costs of your fleet insurance plan. Typically, the more drivers and vehicles you have on your fleet, the more expensive the policy is. For example, consider the value of your vehicles – do you own a fleet of luxury European import cars? That is going to cost relatively more to maintain and fix, than say a fleet of economy cars. However, if the cars in your fleet are more likely to break down you run the risk of an increased premium. Another thing to consider is the intended use of your rental car vehicles. Are you using the fleet to transport people? That is going to cost more than  if you own a fleet of service vehicles (plumbers, electricians, etc) that are intended for special uses.

There is no single answer to how much it’s going to cost to insure your rental car fleet, but American Business Insurance Services, Inc will be able to cater to your needs and provide you with a quote in a short amount of time. Get Quote Now

How To Save Money on Rental Car Fleet Insurance

Typically to save money in a competitive insurance marketplace, you’d need to compare the different price offerings from different companies. American Business Insurance Services, Inc. differs from its competitors by its ability to work with different insurance companies writing specialized policies to provide you with a comprehensive coverage package. Located in the Los Angeles metropolitan area, American Business Insurance Services, Inc. has connections not only in California but with insurance providers nationwide. Tell us about your business, and we will do the research and get back to you with a policy that best fits your rental car fleet company.

Other ways to save on your premium is to reduce your coverage, but sometimes this wouldn’t be viable because of your business needs. While this certainly is an option for personal auto coverages, we wouldn’t recommend this for businesses like a rental car fleet. Another way to save on insurance premium is to raise your deductible amount. While this can seem like a cost-saving option in the short term, be sure that your business can pay the deductible when an incident arises.

Look into the regulations and mandated minimums in the State of California. Have an idea of what the minimum cost is going to be and know what your business is looking for. The easiest and best ways to save on an insurance policy is to combine multiple policies under the same provider and maintain a good driving record!

Get an Insurance Quote for Your Rental Car Fleet

In conclusion, you should look into fleet insurance policies if you have multiple vehicles in your transportation network company. Fleet Insurance makes managing your business and expenses easier, because no matter how many cars are in your fleet, one policy covers all! Whether you own a rental car company in California, or you’re just starting a business and looking to purchase a fleet of your own, you should purchase comprehensive insurance coverage. Tell us about your fleet company and we will help you find the best customizable insurance policy!

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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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  Top 5 Issues When Choosing Lyft or Uber vs Taxi

Top 5 Issues When Choosing Lyft or Uber vs Taxi

Written by Laura Loftus on Wednesday, December 5th, 2018

lyft or uber vs taxi ridesharing cost and safety

With travel increasing as we approach the holidays, many of us default to using a Lyft or Uber vs Taxi because we are under the impression that it’s faster, cheaper and all around more convenient than taking a taxi. However, I have a different perspective. As a west-coast based insurance broker who has clients all over the country, I tend travel about once every two months or so.

Most recently, I’ve visited San Francisco, New York City, Denver and Las Vegas for work meetings. I have to tell you, there were times where hopping into a cab was not only easier but also less money than their TNC counterparts.

Nowadays, people seem to think taxis are antiquated. But in reality, taxis are the same thing as an Uber or Lyft app, and I honestly feel safer in a cab. Here’s why.

1) Safety

Safety is my top concern when entering into a Lyft or Uber vs Taxi. For one, Uber and Lyft do not limit how long someone must have been licensed to drive for them. Someone could’ve moved to the US a few weeks ago, obtain a Driver’s License and as long as they have access to a qualifying car and pass a MINIMAL background check – they are approved. Nobody trains them, monitors them, or ensures that they are familiar with the area in which they drive.

The city highly regulates taxi drivers. They require taxi drivers to go through numerous EXTENSIVE background checks. Only then does the city in which they operate in allow them to start transporting people. Many cities require taxi and limo drivers to obtain a Hack License or Chauffeurs license. That means they have endured many hours of classroom-style and behind-the-wheel training.

Besides safety concerns regarding the driver, there are concerns around the vehicle. All taxi companies start their days by inspecting vehicles. They are required to get a vehicle inspection yearly to keep their operating permit. Lyft or Uber vs Taxi vehicles are not regulated at all. Once the driver is approved, there isn’t much regulation unless the ride share vehicle is in an accident.

With ride sharing, you are taking a risk as to who you are getting into a vehicle with. You could end up getting into a vehicle of someone with a criminal background who is dangerous. Even more concerning, I have heard of people leasing or renting out their Uber or Lyft accounts. So, for someone who doesn’t qualify themselves, they will find someone who does qualify. They’ll have to go through the approval process and use someone else’s account to work. That freaks me out, a lot.  When comparing Lyft or Uber vs Taxi, this type of situation would not happen. That’s because fleet owners know exactly who they are leasing the cab out too.

2) Insurance

Insurance issues are a huge concern when riding in a Lyft or Uber vs Taxi vehicle (and I’ll admit, I do use ride sharing apps regularly). Despite being an insurance broker who specializes in Public Auto

lyft or uber vs taxi ridesharing cost and safety

Transportation risks (specifically for-hire, livery businesses such as Taxi’s, Limo’s, Non-Emergency Medical Transportation, shuttles, etc), I often hop into a Lyft or Uber vs Taxi because, let’s face it, it’s super easy.  Hop on an app, order a car, and it will arrive in 4-5 minutes. This is especially the case when you’re in a residential or suburban area where cabs aren’t just lined in the street waiting for their next fare. I often think about what would happen if the car I am in was involved in an accident.

I am extremely knowledgeable on the coverages that Uber and Lyft’s insurance policy include and it’s spotty at best. For one, the driver and passenger are only covered if the app is on and the driver is logged in. What if there is a technical issue and the driver is logged out? If their phone dies, what now? What if they’re in an area with poor reception and the driver is disconnected from the app? A passenger could be held responsible for injuries incurred. Additionally, the majority of ride share drivers do not have commercial insurance. Plus, Uber and Lyft require drivers to turn the claim into their personal auto carrier before they’ll accept liability.

Commercial auto insurance is expensive, about 2 – 5 times higher than personal auto and most ride share drivers do not buy it because their profit margin on operating is thin. They pay for the vehicle itself, maintenance of the vehicle, gas and almost every TNC driver who calls for a quote on commercial auto insurance so that they can be properly insured does not buy it because no one is making them. This means the only coverage they have for their vehicle and the passengers is through Uber or Lyft, which all hinges on the driver being logged into the app.

3) Accessibility

lyft or uber vs taxi ridesharing cost and safetyAccessibility and ease of getting a ride from an airport, in my opinion is far greater for a taxi than a ride sharing unit. When deciding on an Lyft or Uber vs Taxi, typically, I exit a plane and walk straight to a taxi to my destination. I don’t have to rely on my signal being strong enough for the app to work. I don’t have to wait for the car to come through traffic or walk to somewhere off the premises to get a ride. In some airports, they don’t allow ride share units to pick up. If they do, you often have to go up a level to the departure area or walk to a far end of the airport. When I get off a plane, I personally prefer to get straight into a car and quickly be on my way.

On my last trip to San Francisco, I saw a sign that said Ride Share pick up and I could see a side walk with several waiting areas. According to my app, Ride Share would be about 75% of the cost of a cab. I looked at the taxi line and it was empty and there was car waiting. For experimental purposes, I sacrificed my usual cab ride for a Lyft ride to see if it was actually faster and cheaper. I logged into my Lyft app and requested a vehicle. Because the airport was busy, it took 5 minutes for a driver to accept my ride plus 15 minutes for them to actually pull up to the curb. The whole time I kept my eye on the taxi line. I watched person after person get into a cab and drive away.

I wanted to cancel my ride as I had a meeting to get to, but I wanted to complete the experiment. When my driver arrived, the car was new and clean. No complaints. But by the time we sat in traffic and crossed the Bay Bridge from Oakland into San Francisco, the price was literally the same as a taxi. And it delayed my arrival by 30 minutes.

4) Pricing

lyft or uber vs taxi ridesharing cost and safety

Pricing for a ride share trip isn’t consistent. Taxi’s are transparent on how much they charge and most have the pricing displayed on the vehicle. During my last trip to Las Vegas, I spoke with a conference attendee. She complained the surge pricing was triple that of a taxi when she wanted dinner on the strip. And the taxi was ready to go right there. I also found this to be true during my last trip to Denver.

I’ve gone two years in a row for three days of Phish. The band is best known for their musical improvisation, extended jams largely influenced by Grateful Dead, Led Zeppelin, and their dedicated fanbase. The first year we went, we tried to order a Lyft. The price was about $150 to literally go 11 miles!

At 7 am in Times Square, I left my hotel.  My return flight home awaited. It was 30 degrees outside with some expected snow. Out of habit, I opened by Lyft app to find a driver 4 minutes away. As I exited the warm hotel lobby to the frigid air of the NYC streets, I saw a cab waiting right there. I waited a few minutes staring at my phone as the Lyft driver slowly creeped through traffic up the block. I asked the driver if he was available to take me to the airport, and he was. So, I cancelled that Lyft ride and walked straight into a fully insured, inspected vehicle with a professional trained driver. It was a flat fee of $55 which was the same price my Lyft app was quoting had I waited for it.

5) Supporting a local business

lyft or uber vs taxi ridesharing cost and safety

Supporting a local business rather than the corporate monopoly is another reason to consider when deciding between a Lyft or Uber vs Taxi. In a world where Google and Amazon dominate, it’s gratifying to support the local population directly. Most cab companies are the result of families passing down their businesses from generation to generation. In today’s world, it feels as if many businesses are struggling because of the monopoly of corporations that are taking over in so many industries.

It’s hard for me to be ok with living in a world where everything is giant corporation. What does that mean for the rest of us? As the world changes and modes of transportation evolve, many feel taxi cabs will one day be extinct. But many taxi companies are revitalizing and evolving their business models to withstand the test of time. They are upping their standards when it comes to the quality of vehicles they buy. Moreover, they are investing in technology to create booking apps so that they can appeal to the smart-phone dependent generation.

 

Although Uber and Lyft may seem like the cheaper and more convenient option, I strongly urge you to think about all of the above issues around big box ride sharing companies. Is it really worth risking your time, your wallet and most importantly your life – all because it feels easier?

 

More about us: American Business Insurance for taxi companies: https://abiweb.com/services/taxicab-insurance/

How ABI is Protecting HyreCar

How ABI is Protecting Hyrecar

Ride-sharing services are taking the world of transportation by storm. Uber and Lyft are constantly relied on both by riders who need to get places efficiently, and by those who are employed by either company. However, many people are not aware that vehicles must meet certain standards in order to provide rides by Uber and Lyft. Due to these specific requirements for cars, many who desire to drive for the ride-sharing service aren’t allowed the opportunity. There was nothing they could do- until Hyrecar.

The Solution

HyreCar has arrived as the first car-matching service that works hand in hand with Uber and Lyft. The concept is simple: for those who desire to drive but don’t have a car that meets the requirements, HyreCar allows you to rent one and get right to work. Most issues that are preventing certain cars from qualifying for Uber and Lyft are simply problems that are typical of older vehicles. Its a lot to ask of someone to make them purchase an entirely new vehicle just to pass the restrictions test. In turn, less people would drive for Uber and Lyft, which hurts both the would-be drivers and the companies themselves.

The Process

HyreCar realized the very simple solution to this problem, and the founders were shocked when they found that no one had discovered this niche market yet. HyreCar’s platform is easy to use, while still being thorough. It allows car owners to post their vehicles that are up for rental, and when drivers find one they want, they create a profile. This profile includes information such as driver’s license and social security numbers, and drivers can pay just by entering their credit card information into the platform. HyreCar’s founders believe that their screening process for drivers is even stricter than those of Uber and Lyft, checking things like criminal records, DMV records, and sex-offender databases.

Everybody Wins

Thanks to HyreCar, everybody involved benefits in some way. Cars that would otherwise be sitting in a garage or not in use somewhere are making their owners money. Those who wish to be drivers are given an easy way to fulfill that desire without buying a whole new car. Uber and Lyft have more drivers for their companies and therefore generate more business. HyreCar benefits by charging drivers that rent from them a 10% fee and car owners a 15% fee.

How ABI is Covering HyreCar

American Business Insurance is providing HyreCar with a unique insurance policy to ensure the highest level of safety for both the drivers and riders. When a driver is not driving for a ride-sharing platform but is still in possession of the rented car, they are covered by ABI’s policy that covers both the riders and drivers. When they are driving for a ride-sharing platform with the rented car, the insurance defaults to the state-mandated policy provided by the respective ride-sharing company.

As far as HyreCar is aware, they are the only car-matching service that utilizes a unique insurance policy such as the one provided by American Business Insurance. Thanks to ABI, HyreCar now has a competitive advantage that will likely continue to garner success for the company.

TNC Insurance: Insure your Transportation Network Company in California

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What is a Transportation Network Company?

Transportation network companies, TNC for short, are companies that fall under the umbrella of ridesharing. Uber, Lyft and DoorDash are the obvious examples of extremely successful TNCs. Any company that hires people as individual contractors and employs a shared-economy type business model can be considered a Transportation Network Company. A Transportation Network Company is required to have TNC insurance.

Since the early 2010s, the TNC industry has taken off at a rapid pace especially in California’s large urban cities. The impact of Transportation Network Companies in cities has resulted in a decline in public transportation in recent years. San Francisco has become ground zero for a lot of the giants that dominate the ridesharing industry such as Uber and Lyft. The next big Transportation Network Company in California could be your business, but first insurance!

TNC insurance

If you’re reading this, you’re probably looking for the necessary information to grow or get your TNC off the ground. One of the most important steps required for your business venture is to make sure your drivers and passengers are protected with TNC insurance. Keep reading to find out how to make sure your Transportation Network Company is properly insured and protected.

Where to start with TNC insurance

Being in the TNC industry, it may be difficult to find the proper broker that is able to provide TNC insurance. Most everyday insurance companies are most likely not willing to insure a rideshare company due to the high-risk nature of the industry. Insurance companies that write specific policies for TNC insurance are generally specialized brokers who focus on this unique marketplace.

TNC insurance

Luckily for you, here at American Business Insurance Services, we have a direct line to brokers that provide TNC insurance. With 35 years of experience insuring a wide variety of corporate auto fleets, we know exactly what these insurers are looking for in order to get you the best policy.

Questions you may have while looking for TNC insurance:

  • Why you need TNC insurance
  • Types of TNC insurance
  • How to prepare for a quote

Why you need TNC insurance

While researching insurance options for your Transportation Network Company you will quickly realize personal auto insurance doesn’t cover commercial use. However, commercial insurance doesn’t cover independent TNC drivers, even while driving for the company. Therefore, you need TNC insurance for your company to ensure your passengers and drivers are covered incase of an incident.

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners, NAIC, have identified three specific periods TNC drivers are not covered by their personal auto insurance.

  • First period: when drivers have signed into the application but have not yet been matched with a customer.
  • Second period: when drivers are on their way to pick up the customer.
  • Third period: when the driver has picked up the customer and is taking them to their destination.

Types of TNC insurance

In addition, there are two different types of TNC insurance coverage. The first being auto liability insurance for your Transportation Network Company. Auto liability insurance is required by law and protects you as well as your business when you’re at fault in an automobile accident.

Depending upon the coverage, most auto liability insurance covers your company from financial losses surrounding vehicle damage and medical bills of the passengers involved. In other words, auto liability insurance will pay for the damage to other people and their property for which you’re responsible. Furthermore, auto liability insurance usually covers the second and third periods of TNC driving listed in the bullets above.

As for the other type of TNC insurance, there is physical damage insurance. The purpose of physical damage insurance is to protect shared company vehicles from damages. Whether the driver was at fault or not.

To elaborate, physical damage insurance can cover damage caused to your vehicle that is out of your control. For example, vandalism, theft, fire, accidents involving animals, acts of nature, etc. Physical damage insurance also covers at-fault damage caused to the vehicle. However at-fault damage is usually only covered when said damage is caused by the scheduled driver.

TNC insurance

If you want to read more extensively about TNC insurance coverage provided by American Business Insurance Services, Inc. click here

How to prepare for a TNC Insurance quote

If you’re looking to establish your TNC as the next Uber or Lyft, there is a lot of preparations to be made before doing so. Insurers need to do an in-depth analysis of your company before being able to provide you with a quote for TNC insurance. Therefore, in the interest of time, it’s best to have made these preparations before contacting the insurer.

TNC insurance

1. Build the app

One of the first things you want to do is make sure your app is properly constructed and optimized for collecting favorable data points. For example, average speed. If you can prove that, on average, your drivers drive below the speed limit, you’re more likely to get a lower quote than if they tended to speed.

Furthermore, insurance companies want to be able to know things such as: when a trip starts and stops, number of miles per trip and duration of each trip. Therefore, it’s beneficial to both you and your insurer if you have built and optimized the app before contacting for a TNC insurance quote.

2. Business plan and projections

For the most part, this is all relatively simple information you may or may not have already put together when looking for investors. This should include things such as your plans for company growth. How you plan on monitoring and enforcing safety/loss control. And Finally, a set plan on how your company plans on making a ROI.

3. Safety and Training

Due to the nature of their business, insurers are going to care a great deal about safety. They are going to want to see that you have the proper rules, regulations and restrictions in place in order for your company to operate as safely as possible. They’re also going to want to know how often you plan on/provide training to your drivers for a variety of different things.

Insurers are going to want to know a lot about your hiring practices. How old are the youngest drivers you’d be willing to hire? How often do you have them background checked? These are all important questions that will need to be answered in order to get the best TNC insurance quote.

4. Financial balance sheet

Insurers are interested in this information because they want to see two things. First they want to see that you will be able to pay for, and continue paying for, the policy they provide you with. Second they want to see that your company will have the ability to stay afloat until you start turning a profit. The latter is mostly due to the fact that many TNCs don’t start turning a profit in their first year of operation.

5. Other information

Finally, insurers want to see information that will lend further credibility to your name. One thing that will help you accomplish this is information on your investors. Not only do insurers want to get to know your TNC, but they also want to get to know the source of the money behind the TNC. Writing bios on company executives and investors is a good way to allow an insurer to get to know your TNC more thoroughly.

Another thing that helps in regard to the lending of credibility to your name is a summary of your terms of service and privacy conditions. This is where you want to show the insurer that you have policies in place to protect your customer.

Guidance for finding TNC Insurance from American Business Insurance Services

While this may seem like a lot of information to gather for an insurance quote. Insurers need to see this information in order to make sure they are able to match you with the best TNC insurance provider and get you the best policy. Furthermore, insurers are looking for long term, mutually beneficial relationships. Supplying them with this information is an excellent way to build a positive and long standing relationship with your TNC Insurance provider.

Here at American Business Insurance Services, we understand the process of launching a TNC. We understand that it takes a lot of time and effort. And we understand the industry. We can be there for you every step of the way to help make sure that you understand too.

If you have questions or are seeking further guidance, please don’t hesitate to contact us via phone or email. We would love to help you get your TNC off the ground and paired with an insurer that’s right for you.

Insurance Coverage For Your Rental Car Fleet in California

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Rental Car Fleet Insurance Coverage in California

Do you own or operate a rental car service? Are you looking to partner with a transportation network company in California? Nowadays there are multiple ways to get into this ever-growing transportation industry. The rise of ridesharing apps and on-demand delivery apps utilizing rental car fleets in recent years, has more and more entrepreneurs looking to start their own transportation companies. The proper fleet insurance is essential in getting your business off the ground.

With the ever-changing market comes the requirement of insurance policies that can accommodate the unique needs of each business. There is no one insurance policy that fits all that’s why American Business Insurance Services, Inc. is able to find you the right insurance policy for your rental car fleet based off your individual needs. Skip the hassle of comparing multiple insurance quotes based off daunting numbers and endless calls with salespersons and representatives. As an independent agency, American Business Insurance Services, Inc. has direct relationships with all insurance companies currently writing specialized policies for transportation companies such as rental car fleets.

Different Types of Rental Car Fleets

As mentioned earlier, the barriers to enter the rental car industry is getting lower in recent years due to the growth of ridesharing apps and on-demand delivery services. More and more people are choosing to travel in vehicles not their own, as well as relying on on-demand drivers to deliver special goods. Especially in places like Los Angeles and San Francisco where traffic is really bad. The new trend of people relying on services of rental car fleets or other on-demand transportation services continues to rise. On top of that, California is by far the biggest automotive market in the United States.

In California people are more dependent on cars than public transit making California a great location to start a rental car fleet company. Whether you own a car rental company servicing travelers and businessmen, or a car dealership providing rental cars to customers, or you are simply an entrepreneur renting your own cars to other people, you will need fleet insurance to cover your company. Luckily at American Business Insurance Services, Inc. we have the connections and expertise to help you find the best insurance coverage for your rental car fleet.

Fleet Insurance – What does It Cover?

Whether your rental car fleet is working with a Transportation Network Company or on its own, the most important coverages to have for your rental car fleet are liability and physical damage. The transportation industry is a high-risk industry and it is important to have coverage for liability and physical damage. Living in California, you’ve probably seen a fair share of accidents on a daily basis on the highways. Accidents do happen, and the cold truth is the more miles your rental car fleet operates, the higher the chance that one of your drivers is involved in an incident.

In case of an incident, proper coverage for liability and collision will give you peace of mind as a business owner by knowing that your rental car fleet is protected on the road. Liability coverage is a must for rental car businesses, because it protects your fleet from potential negligence and mechanical failures.

There are coverage options that will cover all of the cars in your rental fleet, and also coverages that apply to drivers. There are policies for short-term car rentals or ones that operate on a pay-by-mile basis. That all depends on what kind of business you own and operate!

As your business grows, so does your need for more coverage. American Business Insurance Services, Inc. will help you adjust your limits accordingly to make sure you have proper coverage. Our friendly representatives will work with you and your company to fully understand your needs.

Additional Coverages For Rental Car Fleet Insurance

The number of fleet trucks, vans and SUVs on the roads in the U.S. is over 11.7 million. In Los Angeles alone, there are over 6 million vehicles in urbanized areas. The transportation sector is an ever-growing industry. As your company fleet grows, you may want to consider additional coverages such as inland marine coverage to protect any cargo or goods you are transporting.  You may also want to consider raising your liability coverage limits when you have more drivers, because the truth is the bigger your business is the more you have to lose!

Most insurance policies will cover the State’s mandated minimum insurance coverage that include liability and collision coverage. Additional coverages to consider would be roadside assistance, uninsured motorist coverage, and other coverages such as theft and vandalism. Consider the scope of your business, where you operate out of, and any special needs that you require.

Fleet Insurance – How Much Will It Cost

While there is no one single answer to this question, there are some indicators that will help you determine the costs of your fleet insurance plan. Typically, the more drivers and vehicles you have on your fleet, the more expensive the policy is. For example, consider the value of your vehicles – do you own a fleet of luxury European import cars? That is going to cost relatively more to maintain and fix, than say a fleet of economy cars. However, if the cars in your fleet are more likely to break down you run the risk of an increased premium. Another thing to consider is the intended use of your rental car vehicles. Are you using the fleet to transport people? That is going to cost more than  if you own a fleet of service vehicles (plumbers, electricians, etc) that are intended for special uses.

There is no single answer to how much it’s going to cost to insure your rental car fleet, but American Business Insurance Services, Inc will be able to cater to your needs and provide you with a quote in a short amount of time. Get Quote Now

How To Save Money on Rental Car Fleet Insurance

Typically to save money in a competitive insurance marketplace, you’d need to compare the different price offerings from different companies. American Business Insurance Services, Inc. differs from its competitors by its ability to work with different insurance companies writing specialized policies to provide you with a comprehensive coverage package. Located in the Los Angeles metropolitan area, American Business Insurance Services, Inc. has connections not only in California but with insurance providers nationwide. Tell us about your business, and we will do the research and get back to you with a policy that best fits your rental car fleet company.

Other ways to save on your premium is to reduce your coverage, but sometimes this wouldn’t be viable because of your business needs. While this certainly is an option for personal auto coverages, we wouldn’t recommend this for businesses like a rental car fleet. Another way to save on insurance premium is to raise your deductible amount. While this can seem like a cost-saving option in the short term, be sure that your business can pay the deductible when an incident arises.

Look into the regulations and mandated minimums in the State of California. Have an idea of what the minimum cost is going to be and know what your business is looking for. The easiest and best ways to save on an insurance policy is to combine multiple policies under the same provider and maintain a good driving record!

Get an Insurance Quote for Your Rental Car Fleet

In conclusion, you should look into fleet insurance policies if you have multiple vehicles in your transportation network company. Fleet Insurance makes managing your business and expenses easier, because no matter how many cars are in your fleet, one policy covers all! Whether you own a rental car company in California, or you’re just starting a business and looking to purchase a fleet of your own, you should purchase comprehensive insurance coverage. Tell us about your fleet company and we will help you find the best customizable insurance policy!

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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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  Top 5 Issues When Choosing Lyft or Uber vs Taxi

Top 5 Issues When Choosing Lyft or Uber vs Taxi

Written by Laura Loftus on Wednesday, December 5th, 2018

lyft or uber vs taxi ridesharing cost and safety

With travel increasing as we approach the holidays, many of us default to using a Lyft or Uber vs Taxi because we are under the impression that it’s faster, cheaper and all around more convenient than taking a taxi. However, I have a different perspective. As a west-coast based insurance broker who has clients all over the country, I tend travel about once every two months or so.

Most recently, I’ve visited San Francisco, New York City, Denver and Las Vegas for work meetings. I have to tell you, there were times where hopping into a cab was not only easier but also less money than their TNC counterparts.

Nowadays, people seem to think taxis are antiquated. But in reality, taxis are the same thing as an Uber or Lyft app, and I honestly feel safer in a cab. Here’s why.

1) Safety

Safety is my top concern when entering into a Lyft or Uber vs Taxi. For one, Uber and Lyft do not limit how long someone must have been licensed to drive for them. Someone could’ve moved to the US a few weeks ago, obtain a Driver’s License and as long as they have access to a qualifying car and pass a MINIMAL background check – they are approved. Nobody trains them, monitors them, or ensures that they are familiar with the area in which they drive.

The city highly regulates taxi drivers. They require taxi drivers to go through numerous EXTENSIVE background checks. Only then does the city in which they operate in allow them to start transporting people. Many cities require taxi and limo drivers to obtain a Hack License or Chauffeurs license. That means they have endured many hours of classroom-style and behind-the-wheel training.

Besides safety concerns regarding the driver, there are concerns around the vehicle. All taxi companies start their days by inspecting vehicles. They are required to get a vehicle inspection yearly to keep their operating permit. Lyft or Uber vs Taxi vehicles are not regulated at all. Once the driver is approved, there isn’t much regulation unless the ride share vehicle is in an accident.

With ride sharing, you are taking a risk as to who you are getting into a vehicle with. You could end up getting into a vehicle of someone with a criminal background who is dangerous. Even more concerning, I have heard of people leasing or renting out their Uber or Lyft accounts. So, for someone who doesn’t qualify themselves, they will find someone who does qualify. They’ll have to go through the approval process and use someone else’s account to work. That freaks me out, a lot.  When comparing Lyft or Uber vs Taxi, this type of situation would not happen. That’s because fleet owners know exactly who they are leasing the cab out too.

2) Insurance

Insurance issues are a huge concern when riding in a Lyft or Uber vs Taxi vehicle (and I’ll admit, I do use ride sharing apps regularly). Despite being an insurance broker who specializes in Public Auto

lyft or uber vs taxi ridesharing cost and safety

Transportation risks (specifically for-hire, livery businesses such as Taxi’s, Limo’s, Non-Emergency Medical Transportation, shuttles, etc), I often hop into a Lyft or Uber vs Taxi because, let’s face it, it’s super easy.  Hop on an app, order a car, and it will arrive in 4-5 minutes. This is especially the case when you’re in a residential or suburban area where cabs aren’t just lined in the street waiting for their next fare. I often think about what would happen if the car I am in was involved in an accident.

I am extremely knowledgeable on the coverages that Uber and Lyft’s insurance policy include and it’s spotty at best. For one, the driver and passenger are only covered if the app is on and the driver is logged in. What if there is a technical issue and the driver is logged out? If their phone dies, what now? What if they’re in an area with poor reception and the driver is disconnected from the app? A passenger could be held responsible for injuries incurred. Additionally, the majority of ride share drivers do not have commercial insurance. Plus, Uber and Lyft require drivers to turn the claim into their personal auto carrier before they’ll accept liability.

Commercial auto insurance is expensive, about 2 – 5 times higher than personal auto and most ride share drivers do not buy it because their profit margin on operating is thin. They pay for the vehicle itself, maintenance of the vehicle, gas and almost every TNC driver who calls for a quote on commercial auto insurance so that they can be properly insured does not buy it because no one is making them. This means the only coverage they have for their vehicle and the passengers is through Uber or Lyft, which all hinges on the driver being logged into the app.

3) Accessibility

lyft or uber vs taxi ridesharing cost and safetyAccessibility and ease of getting a ride from an airport, in my opinion is far greater for a taxi than a ride sharing unit. When deciding on an Lyft or Uber vs Taxi, typically, I exit a plane and walk straight to a taxi to my destination. I don’t have to rely on my signal being strong enough for the app to work. I don’t have to wait for the car to come through traffic or walk to somewhere off the premises to get a ride. In some airports, they don’t allow ride share units to pick up. If they do, you often have to go up a level to the departure area or walk to a far end of the airport. When I get off a plane, I personally prefer to get straight into a car and quickly be on my way.

On my last trip to San Francisco, I saw a sign that said Ride Share pick up and I could see a side walk with several waiting areas. According to my app, Ride Share would be about 75% of the cost of a cab. I looked at the taxi line and it was empty and there was car waiting. For experimental purposes, I sacrificed my usual cab ride for a Lyft ride to see if it was actually faster and cheaper. I logged into my Lyft app and requested a vehicle. Because the airport was busy, it took 5 minutes for a driver to accept my ride plus 15 minutes for them to actually pull up to the curb. The whole time I kept my eye on the taxi line. I watched person after person get into a cab and drive away.

I wanted to cancel my ride as I had a meeting to get to, but I wanted to complete the experiment. When my driver arrived, the car was new and clean. No complaints. But by the time we sat in traffic and crossed the Bay Bridge from Oakland into San Francisco, the price was literally the same as a taxi. And it delayed my arrival by 30 minutes.

4) Pricing

lyft or uber vs taxi ridesharing cost and safety

Pricing for a ride share trip isn’t consistent. Taxi’s are transparent on how much they charge and most have the pricing displayed on the vehicle. During my last trip to Las Vegas, I spoke with a conference attendee. She complained the surge pricing was triple that of a taxi when she wanted dinner on the strip. And the taxi was ready to go right there. I also found this to be true during my last trip to Denver.

I’ve gone two years in a row for three days of Phish. The band is best known for their musical improvisation, extended jams largely influenced by Grateful Dead, Led Zeppelin, and their dedicated fanbase. The first year we went, we tried to order a Lyft. The price was about $150 to literally go 11 miles!

At 7 am in Times Square, I left my hotel.  My return flight home awaited. It was 30 degrees outside with some expected snow. Out of habit, I opened by Lyft app to find a driver 4 minutes away. As I exited the warm hotel lobby to the frigid air of the NYC streets, I saw a cab waiting right there. I waited a few minutes staring at my phone as the Lyft driver slowly creeped through traffic up the block. I asked the driver if he was available to take me to the airport, and he was. So, I cancelled that Lyft ride and walked straight into a fully insured, inspected vehicle with a professional trained driver. It was a flat fee of $55 which was the same price my Lyft app was quoting had I waited for it.

5) Supporting a local business

lyft or uber vs taxi ridesharing cost and safety

Supporting a local business rather than the corporate monopoly is another reason to consider when deciding between a Lyft or Uber vs Taxi. In a world where Google and Amazon dominate, it’s gratifying to support the local population directly. Most cab companies are the result of families passing down their businesses from generation to generation. In today’s world, it feels as if many businesses are struggling because of the monopoly of corporations that are taking over in so many industries.

It’s hard for me to be ok with living in a world where everything is giant corporation. What does that mean for the rest of us? As the world changes and modes of transportation evolve, many feel taxi cabs will one day be extinct. But many taxi companies are revitalizing and evolving their business models to withstand the test of time. They are upping their standards when it comes to the quality of vehicles they buy. Moreover, they are investing in technology to create booking apps so that they can appeal to the smart-phone dependent generation.

 

Although Uber and Lyft may seem like the cheaper and more convenient option, I strongly urge you to think about all of the above issues around big box ride sharing companies. Is it really worth risking your time, your wallet and most importantly your life – all because it feels easier?

 

More about us: American Business Insurance for taxi companies: https://abiweb.com/services/taxicab-insurance/

How ABI is Protecting HyreCar

How ABI is Protecting Hyrecar

Ride-sharing services are taking the world of transportation by storm. Uber and Lyft are constantly relied on both by riders who need to get places efficiently, and by those who are employed by either company. However, many people are not aware that vehicles must meet certain standards in order to provide rides by Uber and Lyft. Due to these specific requirements for cars, many who desire to drive for the ride-sharing service aren’t allowed the opportunity. There was nothing they could do- until Hyrecar.

The Solution

HyreCar has arrived as the first car-matching service that works hand in hand with Uber and Lyft. The concept is simple: for those who desire to drive but don’t have a car that meets the requirements, HyreCar allows you to rent one and get right to work. Most issues that are preventing certain cars from qualifying for Uber and Lyft are simply problems that are typical of older vehicles. Its a lot to ask of someone to make them purchase an entirely new vehicle just to pass the restrictions test. In turn, less people would drive for Uber and Lyft, which hurts both the would-be drivers and the companies themselves.

The Process

HyreCar realized the very simple solution to this problem, and the founders were shocked when they found that no one had discovered this niche market yet. HyreCar’s platform is easy to use, while still being thorough. It allows car owners to post their vehicles that are up for rental, and when drivers find one they want, they create a profile. This profile includes information such as driver’s license and social security numbers, and drivers can pay just by entering their credit card information into the platform. HyreCar’s founders believe that their screening process for drivers is even stricter than those of Uber and Lyft, checking things like criminal records, DMV records, and sex-offender databases.

Everybody Wins

Thanks to HyreCar, everybody involved benefits in some way. Cars that would otherwise be sitting in a garage or not in use somewhere are making their owners money. Those who wish to be drivers are given an easy way to fulfill that desire without buying a whole new car. Uber and Lyft have more drivers for their companies and therefore generate more business. HyreCar benefits by charging drivers that rent from them a 10% fee and car owners a 15% fee.

How ABI is Covering HyreCar

American Business Insurance is providing HyreCar with a unique insurance policy to ensure the highest level of safety for both the drivers and riders. When a driver is not driving for a ride-sharing platform but is still in possession of the rented car, they are covered by ABI’s policy that covers both the riders and drivers. When they are driving for a ride-sharing platform with the rented car, the insurance defaults to the state-mandated policy provided by the respective ride-sharing company.

As far as HyreCar is aware, they are the only car-matching service that utilizes a unique insurance policy such as the one provided by American Business Insurance. Thanks to ABI, HyreCar now has a competitive advantage that will likely continue to garner success for the company.

TNC Insurance: Insure your Transportation Network Company in California

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What is a Transportation Network Company?

Transportation network companies, TNC for short, are companies that fall under the umbrella of ridesharing. Uber, Lyft and DoorDash are the obvious examples of extremely successful TNCs. Any company that hires people as individual contractors and employs a shared-economy type business model can be considered a Transportation Network Company. A Transportation Network Company is required to have TNC insurance.

Since the early 2010s, the TNC industry has taken off at a rapid pace especially in California’s large urban cities. The impact of Transportation Network Companies in cities has resulted in a decline in public transportation in recent years. San Francisco has become ground zero for a lot of the giants that dominate the ridesharing industry such as Uber and Lyft. The next big Transportation Network Company in California could be your business, but first insurance!

TNC insurance

If you’re reading this, you’re probably looking for the necessary information to grow or get your TNC off the ground. One of the most important steps required for your business venture is to make sure your drivers and passengers are protected with TNC insurance. Keep reading to find out how to make sure your Transportation Network Company is properly insured and protected.

Where to start with TNC insurance

Being in the TNC industry, it may be difficult to find the proper broker that is able to provide TNC insurance. Most everyday insurance companies are most likely not willing to insure a rideshare company due to the high-risk nature of the industry. Insurance companies that write specific policies for TNC insurance are generally specialized brokers who focus on this unique marketplace.

TNC insurance

Luckily for you, here at American Business Insurance Services, we have a direct line to brokers that provide TNC insurance. With 35 years of experience insuring a wide variety of corporate auto fleets, we know exactly what these insurers are looking for in order to get you the best policy.

Questions you may have while looking for TNC insurance:

  • Why you need TNC insurance
  • Types of TNC insurance
  • How to prepare for a quote

Why you need TNC insurance

While researching insurance options for your Transportation Network Company you will quickly realize personal auto insurance doesn’t cover commercial use. However, commercial insurance doesn’t cover independent TNC drivers, even while driving for the company. Therefore, you need TNC insurance for your company to ensure your passengers and drivers are covered incase of an incident.

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners, NAIC, have identified three specific periods TNC drivers are not covered by their personal auto insurance.

  • First period: when drivers have signed into the application but have not yet been matched with a customer.
  • Second period: when drivers are on their way to pick up the customer.
  • Third period: when the driver has picked up the customer and is taking them to their destination.

Types of TNC insurance

In addition, there are two different types of TNC insurance coverage. The first being auto liability insurance for your Transportation Network Company. Auto liability insurance is required by law and protects you as well as your business when you’re at fault in an automobile accident.

Depending upon the coverage, most auto liability insurance covers your company from financial losses surrounding vehicle damage and medical bills of the passengers involved. In other words, auto liability insurance will pay for the damage to other people and their property for which you’re responsible. Furthermore, auto liability insurance usually covers the second and third periods of TNC driving listed in the bullets above.

As for the other type of TNC insurance, there is physical damage insurance. The purpose of physical damage insurance is to protect shared company vehicles from damages. Whether the driver was at fault or not.

To elaborate, physical damage insurance can cover damage caused to your vehicle that is out of your control. For example, vandalism, theft, fire, accidents involving animals, acts of nature, etc. Physical damage insurance also covers at-fault damage caused to the vehicle. However at-fault damage is usually only covered when said damage is caused by the scheduled driver.

TNC insurance

If you want to read more extensively about TNC insurance coverage provided by American Business Insurance Services, Inc. click here

How to prepare for a TNC Insurance quote

If you’re looking to establish your TNC as the next Uber or Lyft, there is a lot of preparations to be made before doing so. Insurers need to do an in-depth analysis of your company before being able to provide you with a quote for TNC insurance. Therefore, in the interest of time, it’s best to have made these preparations before contacting the insurer.

TNC insurance

1. Build the app

One of the first things you want to do is make sure your app is properly constructed and optimized for collecting favorable data points. For example, average speed. If you can prove that, on average, your drivers drive below the speed limit, you’re more likely to get a lower quote than if they tended to speed.

Furthermore, insurance companies want to be able to know things such as: when a trip starts and stops, number of miles per trip and duration of each trip. Therefore, it’s beneficial to both you and your insurer if you have built and optimized the app before contacting for a TNC insurance quote.

2. Business plan and projections

For the most part, this is all relatively simple information you may or may not have already put together when looking for investors. This should include things such as your plans for company growth. How you plan on monitoring and enforcing safety/loss control. And Finally, a set plan on how your company plans on making a ROI.

3. Safety and Training

Due to the nature of their business, insurers are going to care a great deal about safety. They are going to want to see that you have the proper rules, regulations and restrictions in place in order for your company to operate as safely as possible. They’re also going to want to know how often you plan on/provide training to your drivers for a variety of different things.

Insurers are going to want to know a lot about your hiring practices. How old are the youngest drivers you’d be willing to hire? How often do you have them background checked? These are all important questions that will need to be answered in order to get the best TNC insurance quote.

4. Financial balance sheet

Insurers are interested in this information because they want to see two things. First they want to see that you will be able to pay for, and continue paying for, the policy they provide you with. Second they want to see that your company will have the ability to stay afloat until you start turning a profit. The latter is mostly due to the fact that many TNCs don’t start turning a profit in their first year of operation.

5. Other information

Finally, insurers want to see information that will lend further credibility to your name. One thing that will help you accomplish this is information on your investors. Not only do insurers want to get to know your TNC, but they also want to get to know the source of the money behind the TNC. Writing bios on company executives and investors is a good way to allow an insurer to get to know your TNC more thoroughly.

Another thing that helps in regard to the lending of credibility to your name is a summary of your terms of service and privacy conditions. This is where you want to show the insurer that you have policies in place to protect your customer.

Guidance for finding TNC Insurance from American Business Insurance Services

While this may seem like a lot of information to gather for an insurance quote. Insurers need to see this information in order to make sure they are able to match you with the best TNC insurance provider and get you the best policy. Furthermore, insurers are looking for long term, mutually beneficial relationships. Supplying them with this information is an excellent way to build a positive and long standing relationship with your TNC Insurance provider.

Here at American Business Insurance Services, we understand the process of launching a TNC. We understand that it takes a lot of time and effort. And we understand the industry. We can be there for you every step of the way to help make sure that you understand too.

If you have questions or are seeking further guidance, please don’t hesitate to contact us via phone or email. We would love to help you get your TNC off the ground and paired with an insurer that’s right for you.

Insurance Coverage For Your Rental Car Fleet in California

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Rental Car Fleet Insurance Coverage in California

Do you own or operate a rental car service? Are you looking to partner with a transportation network company in California? Nowadays there are multiple ways to get into this ever-growing transportation industry. The rise of ridesharing apps and on-demand delivery apps utilizing rental car fleets in recent years, has more and more entrepreneurs looking to start their own transportation companies. The proper fleet insurance is essential in getting your business off the ground.

With the ever-changing market comes the requirement of insurance policies that can accommodate the unique needs of each business. There is no one insurance policy that fits all that’s why American Business Insurance Services, Inc. is able to find you the right insurance policy for your rental car fleet based off your individual needs. Skip the hassle of comparing multiple insurance quotes based off daunting numbers and endless calls with salespersons and representatives. As an independent agency, American Business Insurance Services, Inc. has direct relationships with all insurance companies currently writing specialized policies for transportation companies such as rental car fleets.

Different Types of Rental Car Fleets

As mentioned earlier, the barriers to enter the rental car industry is getting lower in recent years due to the growth of ridesharing apps and on-demand delivery services. More and more people are choosing to travel in vehicles not their own, as well as relying on on-demand drivers to deliver special goods. Especially in places like Los Angeles and San Francisco where traffic is really bad. The new trend of people relying on services of rental car fleets or other on-demand transportation services continues to rise. On top of that, California is by far the biggest automotive market in the United States.

In California people are more dependent on cars than public transit making California a great location to start a rental car fleet company. Whether you own a car rental company servicing travelers and businessmen, or a car dealership providing rental cars to customers, or you are simply an entrepreneur renting your own cars to other people, you will need fleet insurance to cover your company. Luckily at American Business Insurance Services, Inc. we have the connections and expertise to help you find the best insurance coverage for your rental car fleet.

Fleet Insurance – What does It Cover?

Whether your rental car fleet is working with a Transportation Network Company or on its own, the most important coverages to have for your rental car fleet are liability and physical damage. The transportation industry is a high-risk industry and it is important to have coverage for liability and physical damage. Living in California, you’ve probably seen a fair share of accidents on a daily basis on the highways. Accidents do happen, and the cold truth is the more miles your rental car fleet operates, the higher the chance that one of your drivers is involved in an incident.

In case of an incident, proper coverage for liability and collision will give you peace of mind as a business owner by knowing that your rental car fleet is protected on the road. Liability coverage is a must for rental car businesses, because it protects your fleet from potential negligence and mechanical failures.

There are coverage options that will cover all of the cars in your rental fleet, and also coverages that apply to drivers. There are policies for short-term car rentals or ones that operate on a pay-by-mile basis. That all depends on what kind of business you own and operate!

As your business grows, so does your need for more coverage. American Business Insurance Services, Inc. will help you adjust your limits accordingly to make sure you have proper coverage. Our friendly representatives will work with you and your company to fully understand your needs.

Additional Coverages For Rental Car Fleet Insurance

The number of fleet trucks, vans and SUVs on the roads in the U.S. is over 11.7 million. In Los Angeles alone, there are over 6 million vehicles in urbanized areas. The transportation sector is an ever-growing industry. As your company fleet grows, you may want to consider additional coverages such as inland marine coverage to protect any cargo or goods you are transporting.  You may also want to consider raising your liability coverage limits when you have more drivers, because the truth is the bigger your business is the more you have to lose!

Most insurance policies will cover the State’s mandated minimum insurance coverage that include liability and collision coverage. Additional coverages to consider would be roadside assistance, uninsured motorist coverage, and other coverages such as theft and vandalism. Consider the scope of your business, where you operate out of, and any special needs that you require.

Fleet Insurance – How Much Will It Cost

While there is no one single answer to this question, there are some indicators that will help you determine the costs of your fleet insurance plan. Typically, the more drivers and vehicles you have on your fleet, the more expensive the policy is. For example, consider the value of your vehicles – do you own a fleet of luxury European import cars? That is going to cost relatively more to maintain and fix, than say a fleet of economy cars. However, if the cars in your fleet are more likely to break down you run the risk of an increased premium. Another thing to consider is the intended use of your rental car vehicles. Are you using the fleet to transport people? That is going to cost more than  if you own a fleet of service vehicles (plumbers, electricians, etc) that are intended for special uses.

There is no single answer to how much it’s going to cost to insure your rental car fleet, but American Business Insurance Services, Inc will be able to cater to your needs and provide you with a quote in a short amount of time. Get Quote Now

How To Save Money on Rental Car Fleet Insurance

Typically to save money in a competitive insurance marketplace, you’d need to compare the different price offerings from different companies. American Business Insurance Services, Inc. differs from its competitors by its ability to work with different insurance companies writing specialized policies to provide you with a comprehensive coverage package. Located in the Los Angeles metropolitan area, American Business Insurance Services, Inc. has connections not only in California but with insurance providers nationwide. Tell us about your business, and we will do the research and get back to you with a policy that best fits your rental car fleet company.

Other ways to save on your premium is to reduce your coverage, but sometimes this wouldn’t be viable because of your business needs. While this certainly is an option for personal auto coverages, we wouldn’t recommend this for businesses like a rental car fleet. Another way to save on insurance premium is to raise your deductible amount. While this can seem like a cost-saving option in the short term, be sure that your business can pay the deductible when an incident arises.

Look into the regulations and mandated minimums in the State of California. Have an idea of what the minimum cost is going to be and know what your business is looking for. The easiest and best ways to save on an insurance policy is to combine multiple policies under the same provider and maintain a good driving record!

Get an Insurance Quote for Your Rental Car Fleet

In conclusion, you should look into fleet insurance policies if you have multiple vehicles in your transportation network company. Fleet Insurance makes managing your business and expenses easier, because no matter how many cars are in your fleet, one policy covers all! Whether you own a rental car company in California, or you’re just starting a business and looking to purchase a fleet of your own, you should purchase comprehensive insurance coverage. Tell us about your fleet company and we will help you find the best customizable insurance policy!

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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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  Top 5 Issues When Choosing Lyft or Uber vs Taxi

Top 5 Issues When Choosing Lyft or Uber vs Taxi

Written by Laura Loftus on Wednesday, December 5th, 2018

lyft or uber vs taxi ridesharing cost and safety

With travel increasing as we approach the holidays, many of us default to using a Lyft or Uber vs Taxi because we are under the impression that it’s faster, cheaper and all around more convenient than taking a taxi. However, I have a different perspective. As a west-coast based insurance broker who has clients all over the country, I tend travel about once every two months or so.

Most recently, I’ve visited San Francisco, New York City, Denver and Las Vegas for work meetings. I have to tell you, there were times where hopping into a cab was not only easier but also less money than their TNC counterparts.

Nowadays, people seem to think taxis are antiquated. But in reality, taxis are the same thing as an Uber or Lyft app, and I honestly feel safer in a cab. Here’s why.

1) Safety

Safety is my top concern when entering into a Lyft or Uber vs Taxi. For one, Uber and Lyft do not limit how long someone must have been licensed to drive for them. Someone could’ve moved to the US a few weeks ago, obtain a Driver’s License and as long as they have access to a qualifying car and pass a MINIMAL background check – they are approved. Nobody trains them, monitors them, or ensures that they are familiar with the area in which they drive.

The city highly regulates taxi drivers. They require taxi drivers to go through numerous EXTENSIVE background checks. Only then does the city in which they operate in allow them to start transporting people. Many cities require taxi and limo drivers to obtain a Hack License or Chauffeurs license. That means they have endured many hours of classroom-style and behind-the-wheel training.

Besides safety concerns regarding the driver, there are concerns around the vehicle. All taxi companies start their days by inspecting vehicles. They are required to get a vehicle inspection yearly to keep their operating permit. Lyft or Uber vs Taxi vehicles are not regulated at all. Once the driver is approved, there isn’t much regulation unless the ride share vehicle is in an accident.

With ride sharing, you are taking a risk as to who you are getting into a vehicle with. You could end up getting into a vehicle of someone with a criminal background who is dangerous. Even more concerning, I have heard of people leasing or renting out their Uber or Lyft accounts. So, for someone who doesn’t qualify themselves, they will find someone who does qualify. They’ll have to go through the approval process and use someone else’s account to work. That freaks me out, a lot.  When comparing Lyft or Uber vs Taxi, this type of situation would not happen. That’s because fleet owners know exactly who they are leasing the cab out too.

2) Insurance

Insurance issues are a huge concern when riding in a Lyft or Uber vs Taxi vehicle (and I’ll admit, I do use ride sharing apps regularly). Despite being an insurance broker who specializes in Public Auto

lyft or uber vs taxi ridesharing cost and safety

Transportation risks (specifically for-hire, livery businesses such as Taxi’s, Limo’s, Non-Emergency Medical Transportation, shuttles, etc), I often hop into a Lyft or Uber vs Taxi because, let’s face it, it’s super easy.  Hop on an app, order a car, and it will arrive in 4-5 minutes. This is especially the case when you’re in a residential or suburban area where cabs aren’t just lined in the street waiting for their next fare. I often think about what would happen if the car I am in was involved in an accident.

I am extremely knowledgeable on the coverages that Uber and Lyft’s insurance policy include and it’s spotty at best. For one, the driver and passenger are only covered if the app is on and the driver is logged in. What if there is a technical issue and the driver is logged out? If their phone dies, what now? What if they’re in an area with poor reception and the driver is disconnected from the app? A passenger could be held responsible for injuries incurred. Additionally, the majority of ride share drivers do not have commercial insurance. Plus, Uber and Lyft require drivers to turn the claim into their personal auto carrier before they’ll accept liability.

Commercial auto insurance is expensive, about 2 – 5 times higher than personal auto and most ride share drivers do not buy it because their profit margin on operating is thin. They pay for the vehicle itself, maintenance of the vehicle, gas and almost every TNC driver who calls for a quote on commercial auto insurance so that they can be properly insured does not buy it because no one is making them. This means the only coverage they have for their vehicle and the passengers is through Uber or Lyft, which all hinges on the driver being logged into the app.

3) Accessibility

lyft or uber vs taxi ridesharing cost and safetyAccessibility and ease of getting a ride from an airport, in my opinion is far greater for a taxi than a ride sharing unit. When deciding on an Lyft or Uber vs Taxi, typically, I exit a plane and walk straight to a taxi to my destination. I don’t have to rely on my signal being strong enough for the app to work. I don’t have to wait for the car to come through traffic or walk to somewhere off the premises to get a ride. In some airports, they don’t allow ride share units to pick up. If they do, you often have to go up a level to the departure area or walk to a far end of the airport. When I get off a plane, I personally prefer to get straight into a car and quickly be on my way.

On my last trip to San Francisco, I saw a sign that said Ride Share pick up and I could see a side walk with several waiting areas. According to my app, Ride Share would be about 75% of the cost of a cab. I looked at the taxi line and it was empty and there was car waiting. For experimental purposes, I sacrificed my usual cab ride for a Lyft ride to see if it was actually faster and cheaper. I logged into my Lyft app and requested a vehicle. Because the airport was busy, it took 5 minutes for a driver to accept my ride plus 15 minutes for them to actually pull up to the curb. The whole time I kept my eye on the taxi line. I watched person after person get into a cab and drive away.

I wanted to cancel my ride as I had a meeting to get to, but I wanted to complete the experiment. When my driver arrived, the car was new and clean. No complaints. But by the time we sat in traffic and crossed the Bay Bridge from Oakland into San Francisco, the price was literally the same as a taxi. And it delayed my arrival by 30 minutes.

4) Pricing

lyft or uber vs taxi ridesharing cost and safety

Pricing for a ride share trip isn’t consistent. Taxi’s are transparent on how much they charge and most have the pricing displayed on the vehicle. During my last trip to Las Vegas, I spoke with a conference attendee. She complained the surge pricing was triple that of a taxi when she wanted dinner on the strip. And the taxi was ready to go right there. I also found this to be true during my last trip to Denver.

I’ve gone two years in a row for three days of Phish. The band is best known for their musical improvisation, extended jams largely influenced by Grateful Dead, Led Zeppelin, and their dedicated fanbase. The first year we went, we tried to order a Lyft. The price was about $150 to literally go 11 miles!

At 7 am in Times Square, I left my hotel.  My return flight home awaited. It was 30 degrees outside with some expected snow. Out of habit, I opened by Lyft app to find a driver 4 minutes away. As I exited the warm hotel lobby to the frigid air of the NYC streets, I saw a cab waiting right there. I waited a few minutes staring at my phone as the Lyft driver slowly creeped through traffic up the block. I asked the driver if he was available to take me to the airport, and he was. So, I cancelled that Lyft ride and walked straight into a fully insured, inspected vehicle with a professional trained driver. It was a flat fee of $55 which was the same price my Lyft app was quoting had I waited for it.

5) Supporting a local business

lyft or uber vs taxi ridesharing cost and safety

Supporting a local business rather than the corporate monopoly is another reason to consider when deciding between a Lyft or Uber vs Taxi. In a world where Google and Amazon dominate, it’s gratifying to support the local population directly. Most cab companies are the result of families passing down their businesses from generation to generation. In today’s world, it feels as if many businesses are struggling because of the monopoly of corporations that are taking over in so many industries.

It’s hard for me to be ok with living in a world where everything is giant corporation. What does that mean for the rest of us? As the world changes and modes of transportation evolve, many feel taxi cabs will one day be extinct. But many taxi companies are revitalizing and evolving their business models to withstand the test of time. They are upping their standards when it comes to the quality of vehicles they buy. Moreover, they are investing in technology to create booking apps so that they can appeal to the smart-phone dependent generation.

 

Although Uber and Lyft may seem like the cheaper and more convenient option, I strongly urge you to think about all of the above issues around big box ride sharing companies. Is it really worth risking your time, your wallet and most importantly your life – all because it feels easier?

 

More about us: American Business Insurance for taxi companies: https://abiweb.com/services/taxicab-insurance/

How ABI is Protecting HyreCar

How ABI is Protecting Hyrecar

Ride-sharing services are taking the world of transportation by storm. Uber and Lyft are constantly relied on both by riders who need to get places efficiently, and by those who are employed by either company. However, many people are not aware that vehicles must meet certain standards in order to provide rides by Uber and Lyft. Due to these specific requirements for cars, many who desire to drive for the ride-sharing service aren’t allowed the opportunity. There was nothing they could do- until Hyrecar.

The Solution

HyreCar has arrived as the first car-matching service that works hand in hand with Uber and Lyft. The concept is simple: for those who desire to drive but don’t have a car that meets the requirements, HyreCar allows you to rent one and get right to work. Most issues that are preventing certain cars from qualifying for Uber and Lyft are simply problems that are typical of older vehicles. Its a lot to ask of someone to make them purchase an entirely new vehicle just to pass the restrictions test. In turn, less people would drive for Uber and Lyft, which hurts both the would-be drivers and the companies themselves.

The Process

HyreCar realized the very simple solution to this problem, and the founders were shocked when they found that no one had discovered this niche market yet. HyreCar’s platform is easy to use, while still being thorough. It allows car owners to post their vehicles that are up for rental, and when drivers find one they want, they create a profile. This profile includes information such as driver’s license and social security numbers, and drivers can pay just by entering their credit card information into the platform. HyreCar’s founders believe that their screening process for drivers is even stricter than those of Uber and Lyft, checking things like criminal records, DMV records, and sex-offender databases.

Everybody Wins

Thanks to HyreCar, everybody involved benefits in some way. Cars that would otherwise be sitting in a garage or not in use somewhere are making their owners money. Those who wish to be drivers are given an easy way to fulfill that desire without buying a whole new car. Uber and Lyft have more drivers for their companies and therefore generate more business. HyreCar benefits by charging drivers that rent from them a 10% fee and car owners a 15% fee.

How ABI is Covering HyreCar

American Business Insurance is providing HyreCar with a unique insurance policy to ensure the highest level of safety for both the drivers and riders. When a driver is not driving for a ride-sharing platform but is still in possession of the rented car, they are covered by ABI’s policy that covers both the riders and drivers. When they are driving for a ride-sharing platform with the rented car, the insurance defaults to the state-mandated policy provided by the respective ride-sharing company.

As far as HyreCar is aware, they are the only car-matching service that utilizes a unique insurance policy such as the one provided by American Business Insurance. Thanks to ABI, HyreCar now has a competitive advantage that will likely continue to garner success for the company.

TNC Insurance: Insure your Transportation Network Company in California

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What is a Transportation Network Company?

Transportation network companies, TNC for short, are companies that fall under the umbrella of ridesharing. Uber, Lyft and DoorDash are the obvious examples of extremely successful TNCs. Any company that hires people as individual contractors and employs a shared-economy type business model can be considered a Transportation Network Company. A Transportation Network Company is required to have TNC insurance.

Since the early 2010s, the TNC industry has taken off at a rapid pace especially in California’s large urban cities. The impact of Transportation Network Companies in cities has resulted in a decline in public transportation in recent years. San Francisco has become ground zero for a lot of the giants that dominate the ridesharing industry such as Uber and Lyft. The next big Transportation Network Company in California could be your business, but first insurance!

TNC insurance

If you’re reading this, you’re probably looking for the necessary information to grow or get your TNC off the ground. One of the most important steps required for your business venture is to make sure your drivers and passengers are protected with TNC insurance. Keep reading to find out how to make sure your Transportation Network Company is properly insured and protected.

Where to start with TNC insurance

Being in the TNC industry, it may be difficult to find the proper broker that is able to provide TNC insurance. Most everyday insurance companies are most likely not willing to insure a rideshare company due to the high-risk nature of the industry. Insurance companies that write specific policies for TNC insurance are generally specialized brokers who focus on this unique marketplace.

TNC insurance

Luckily for you, here at American Business Insurance Services, we have a direct line to brokers that provide TNC insurance. With 35 years of experience insuring a wide variety of corporate auto fleets, we know exactly what these insurers are looking for in order to get you the best policy.

Questions you may have while looking for TNC insurance:

  • Why you need TNC insurance
  • Types of TNC insurance
  • How to prepare for a quote

Why you need TNC insurance

While researching insurance options for your Transportation Network Company you will quickly realize personal auto insurance doesn’t cover commercial use. However, commercial insurance doesn’t cover independent TNC drivers, even while driving for the company. Therefore, you need TNC insurance for your company to ensure your passengers and drivers are covered incase of an incident.

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners, NAIC, have identified three specific periods TNC drivers are not covered by their personal auto insurance.

  • First period: when drivers have signed into the application but have not yet been matched with a customer.
  • Second period: when drivers are on their way to pick up the customer.
  • Third period: when the driver has picked up the customer and is taking them to their destination.

Types of TNC insurance

In addition, there are two different types of TNC insurance coverage. The first being auto liability insurance for your Transportation Network Company. Auto liability insurance is required by law and protects you as well as your business when you’re at fault in an automobile accident.

Depending upon the coverage, most auto liability insurance covers your company from financial losses surrounding vehicle damage and medical bills of the passengers involved. In other words, auto liability insurance will pay for the damage to other people and their property for which you’re responsible. Furthermore, auto liability insurance usually covers the second and third periods of TNC driving listed in the bullets above.

As for the other type of TNC insurance, there is physical damage insurance. The purpose of physical damage insurance is to protect shared company vehicles from damages. Whether the driver was at fault or not.

To elaborate, physical damage insurance can cover damage caused to your vehicle that is out of your control. For example, vandalism, theft, fire, accidents involving animals, acts of nature, etc. Physical damage insurance also covers at-fault damage caused to the vehicle. However at-fault damage is usually only covered when said damage is caused by the scheduled driver.

TNC insurance

If you want to read more extensively about TNC insurance coverage provided by American Business Insurance Services, Inc. click here

How to prepare for a TNC Insurance quote

If you’re looking to establish your TNC as the next Uber or Lyft, there is a lot of preparations to be made before doing so. Insurers need to do an in-depth analysis of your company before being able to provide you with a quote for TNC insurance. Therefore, in the interest of time, it’s best to have made these preparations before contacting the insurer.

TNC insurance

1. Build the app

One of the first things you want to do is make sure your app is properly constructed and optimized for collecting favorable data points. For example, average speed. If you can prove that, on average, your drivers drive below the speed limit, you’re more likely to get a lower quote than if they tended to speed.

Furthermore, insurance companies want to be able to know things such as: when a trip starts and stops, number of miles per trip and duration of each trip. Therefore, it’s beneficial to both you and your insurer if you have built and optimized the app before contacting for a TNC insurance quote.

2. Business plan and projections

For the most part, this is all relatively simple information you may or may not have already put together when looking for investors. This should include things such as your plans for company growth. How you plan on monitoring and enforcing safety/loss control. And Finally, a set plan on how your company plans on making a ROI.

3. Safety and Training

Due to the nature of their business, insurers are going to care a great deal about safety. They are going to want to see that you have the proper rules, regulations and restrictions in place in order for your company to operate as safely as possible. They’re also going to want to know how often you plan on/provide training to your drivers for a variety of different things.

Insurers are going to want to know a lot about your hiring practices. How old are the youngest drivers you’d be willing to hire? How often do you have them background checked? These are all important questions that will need to be answered in order to get the best TNC insurance quote.

4. Financial balance sheet

Insurers are interested in this information because they want to see two things. First they want to see that you will be able to pay for, and continue paying for, the policy they provide you with. Second they want to see that your company will have the ability to stay afloat until you start turning a profit. The latter is mostly due to the fact that many TNCs don’t start turning a profit in their first year of operation.

5. Other information

Finally, insurers want to see information that will lend further credibility to your name. One thing that will help you accomplish this is information on your investors. Not only do insurers want to get to know your TNC, but they also want to get to know the source of the money behind the TNC. Writing bios on company executives and investors is a good way to allow an insurer to get to know your TNC more thoroughly.

Another thing that helps in regard to the lending of credibility to your name is a summary of your terms of service and privacy conditions. This is where you want to show the insurer that you have policies in place to protect your customer.

Guidance for finding TNC Insurance from American Business Insurance Services

While this may seem like a lot of information to gather for an insurance quote. Insurers need to see this information in order to make sure they are able to match you with the best TNC insurance provider and get you the best policy. Furthermore, insurers are looking for long term, mutually beneficial relationships. Supplying them with this information is an excellent way to build a positive and long standing relationship with your TNC Insurance provider.

Here at American Business Insurance Services, we understand the process of launching a TNC. We understand that it takes a lot of time and effort. And we understand the industry. We can be there for you every step of the way to help make sure that you understand too.

If you have questions or are seeking further guidance, please don’t hesitate to contact us via phone or email. We would love to help you get your TNC off the ground and paired with an insurer that’s right for you.

Insurance Coverage For Your Rental Car Fleet in California

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Rental Car Fleet Insurance Coverage in California

Do you own or operate a rental car service? Are you looking to partner with a transportation network company in California? Nowadays there are multiple ways to get into this ever-growing transportation industry. The rise of ridesharing apps and on-demand delivery apps utilizing rental car fleets in recent years, has more and more entrepreneurs looking to start their own transportation companies. The proper fleet insurance is essential in getting your business off the ground.

With the ever-changing market comes the requirement of insurance policies that can accommodate the unique needs of each business. There is no one insurance policy that fits all that’s why American Business Insurance Services, Inc. is able to find you the right insurance policy for your rental car fleet based off your individual needs. Skip the hassle of comparing multiple insurance quotes based off daunting numbers and endless calls with salespersons and representatives. As an independent agency, American Business Insurance Services, Inc. has direct relationships with all insurance companies currently writing specialized policies for transportation companies such as rental car fleets.

Different Types of Rental Car Fleets

As mentioned earlier, the barriers to enter the rental car industry is getting lower in recent years due to the growth of ridesharing apps and on-demand delivery services. More and more people are choosing to travel in vehicles not their own, as well as relying on on-demand drivers to deliver special goods. Especially in places like Los Angeles and San Francisco where traffic is really bad. The new trend of people relying on services of rental car fleets or other on-demand transportation services continues to rise. On top of that, California is by far the biggest automotive market in the United States.

In California people are more dependent on cars than public transit making California a great location to start a rental car fleet company. Whether you own a car rental company servicing travelers and businessmen, or a car dealership providing rental cars to customers, or you are simply an entrepreneur renting your own cars to other people, you will need fleet insurance to cover your company. Luckily at American Business Insurance Services, Inc. we have the connections and expertise to help you find the best insurance coverage for your rental car fleet.

Fleet Insurance – What does It Cover?

Whether your rental car fleet is working with a Transportation Network Company or on its own, the most important coverages to have for your rental car fleet are liability and physical damage. The transportation industry is a high-risk industry and it is important to have coverage for liability and physical damage. Living in California, you’ve probably seen a fair share of accidents on a daily basis on the highways. Accidents do happen, and the cold truth is the more miles your rental car fleet operates, the higher the chance that one of your drivers is involved in an incident.

In case of an incident, proper coverage for liability and collision will give you peace of mind as a business owner by knowing that your rental car fleet is protected on the road. Liability coverage is a must for rental car businesses, because it protects your fleet from potential negligence and mechanical failures.

There are coverage options that will cover all of the cars in your rental fleet, and also coverages that apply to drivers. There are policies for short-term car rentals or ones that operate on a pay-by-mile basis. That all depends on what kind of business you own and operate!

As your business grows, so does your need for more coverage. American Business Insurance Services, Inc. will help you adjust your limits accordingly to make sure you have proper coverage. Our friendly representatives will work with you and your company to fully understand your needs.

Additional Coverages For Rental Car Fleet Insurance

The number of fleet trucks, vans and SUVs on the roads in the U.S. is over 11.7 million. In Los Angeles alone, there are over 6 million vehicles in urbanized areas. The transportation sector is an ever-growing industry. As your company fleet grows, you may want to consider additional coverages such as inland marine coverage to protect any cargo or goods you are transporting.  You may also want to consider raising your liability coverage limits when you have more drivers, because the truth is the bigger your business is the more you have to lose!

Most insurance policies will cover the State’s mandated minimum insurance coverage that include liability and collision coverage. Additional coverages to consider would be roadside assistance, uninsured motorist coverage, and other coverages such as theft and vandalism. Consider the scope of your business, where you operate out of, and any special needs that you require.

Fleet Insurance – How Much Will It Cost

While there is no one single answer to this question, there are some indicators that will help you determine the costs of your fleet insurance plan. Typically, the more drivers and vehicles you have on your fleet, the more expensive the policy is. For example, consider the value of your vehicles – do you own a fleet of luxury European import cars? That is going to cost relatively more to maintain and fix, than say a fleet of economy cars. However, if the cars in your fleet are more likely to break down you run the risk of an increased premium. Another thing to consider is the intended use of your rental car vehicles. Are you using the fleet to transport people? That is going to cost more than  if you own a fleet of service vehicles (plumbers, electricians, etc) that are intended for special uses.

There is no single answer to how much it’s going to cost to insure your rental car fleet, but American Business Insurance Services, Inc will be able to cater to your needs and provide you with a quote in a short amount of time. Get Quote Now

How To Save Money on Rental Car Fleet Insurance

Typically to save money in a competitive insurance marketplace, you’d need to compare the different price offerings from different companies. American Business Insurance Services, Inc. differs from its competitors by its ability to work with different insurance companies writing specialized policies to provide you with a comprehensive coverage package. Located in the Los Angeles metropolitan area, American Business Insurance Services, Inc. has connections not only in California but with insurance providers nationwide. Tell us about your business, and we will do the research and get back to you with a policy that best fits your rental car fleet company.

Other ways to save on your premium is to reduce your coverage, but sometimes this wouldn’t be viable because of your business needs. While this certainly is an option for personal auto coverages, we wouldn’t recommend this for businesses like a rental car fleet. Another way to save on insurance premium is to raise your deductible amount. While this can seem like a cost-saving option in the short term, be sure that your business can pay the deductible when an incident arises.

Look into the regulations and mandated minimums in the State of California. Have an idea of what the minimum cost is going to be and know what your business is looking for. The easiest and best ways to save on an insurance policy is to combine multiple policies under the same provider and maintain a good driving record!

Get an Insurance Quote for Your Rental Car Fleet

In conclusion, you should look into fleet insurance policies if you have multiple vehicles in your transportation network company. Fleet Insurance makes managing your business and expenses easier, because no matter how many cars are in your fleet, one policy covers all! Whether you own a rental car company in California, or you’re just starting a business and looking to purchase a fleet of your own, you should purchase comprehensive insurance coverage. Tell us about your fleet company and we will help you find the best customizable insurance policy!

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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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  Top 5 Issues When Choosing Lyft or Uber vs Taxi

Top 5 Issues When Choosing Lyft or Uber vs Taxi

Written by Laura Loftus on Wednesday, December 5th, 2018

lyft or uber vs taxi ridesharing cost and safety

With travel increasing as we approach the holidays, many of us default to using a Lyft or Uber vs Taxi because we are under the impression that it’s faster, cheaper and all around more convenient than taking a taxi. However, I have a different perspective. As a west-coast based insurance broker who has clients all over the country, I tend travel about once every two months or so.

Most recently, I’ve visited San Francisco, New York City, Denver and Las Vegas for work meetings. I have to tell you, there were times where hopping into a cab was not only easier but also less money than their TNC counterparts.

Nowadays, people seem to think taxis are antiquated. But in reality, taxis are the same thing as an Uber or Lyft app, and I honestly feel safer in a cab. Here’s why.

1) Safety

Safety is my top concern when entering into a Lyft or Uber vs Taxi. For one, Uber and Lyft do not limit how long someone must have been licensed to drive for them. Someone could’ve moved to the US a few weeks ago, obtain a Driver’s License and as long as they have access to a qualifying car and pass a MINIMAL background check – they are approved. Nobody trains them, monitors them, or ensures that they are familiar with the area in which they drive.

The city highly regulates taxi drivers. They require taxi drivers to go through numerous EXTENSIVE background checks. Only then does the city in which they operate in allow them to start transporting people. Many cities require taxi and limo drivers to obtain a Hack License or Chauffeurs license. That means they have endured many hours of classroom-style and behind-the-wheel training.

Besides safety concerns regarding the driver, there are concerns around the vehicle. All taxi companies start their days by inspecting vehicles. They are required to get a vehicle inspection yearly to keep their operating permit. Lyft or Uber vs Taxi vehicles are not regulated at all. Once the driver is approved, there isn’t much regulation unless the ride share vehicle is in an accident.

With ride sharing, you are taking a risk as to who you are getting into a vehicle with. You could end up getting into a vehicle of someone with a criminal background who is dangerous. Even more concerning, I have heard of people leasing or renting out their Uber or Lyft accounts. So, for someone who doesn’t qualify themselves, they will find someone who does qualify. They’ll have to go through the approval process and use someone else’s account to work. That freaks me out, a lot.  When comparing Lyft or Uber vs Taxi, this type of situation would not happen. That’s because fleet owners know exactly who they are leasing the cab out too.

2) Insurance

Insurance issues are a huge concern when riding in a Lyft or Uber vs Taxi vehicle (and I’ll admit, I do use ride sharing apps regularly). Despite being an insurance broker who specializes in Public Auto

lyft or uber vs taxi ridesharing cost and safety

Transportation risks (specifically for-hire, livery businesses such as Taxi’s, Limo’s, Non-Emergency Medical Transportation, shuttles, etc), I often hop into a Lyft or Uber vs Taxi because, let’s face it, it’s super easy.  Hop on an app, order a car, and it will arrive in 4-5 minutes. This is especially the case when you’re in a residential or suburban area where cabs aren’t just lined in the street waiting for their next fare. I often think about what would happen if the car I am in was involved in an accident.

I am extremely knowledgeable on the coverages that Uber and Lyft’s insurance policy include and it’s spotty at best. For one, the driver and passenger are only covered if the app is on and the driver is logged in. What if there is a technical issue and the driver is logged out? If their phone dies, what now? What if they’re in an area with poor reception and the driver is disconnected from the app? A passenger could be held responsible for injuries incurred. Additionally, the majority of ride share drivers do not have commercial insurance. Plus, Uber and Lyft require drivers to turn the claim into their personal auto carrier before they’ll accept liability.

Commercial auto insurance is expensive, about 2 – 5 times higher than personal auto and most ride share drivers do not buy it because their profit margin on operating is thin. They pay for the vehicle itself, maintenance of the vehicle, gas and almost every TNC driver who calls for a quote on commercial auto insurance so that they can be properly insured does not buy it because no one is making them. This means the only coverage they have for their vehicle and the passengers is through Uber or Lyft, which all hinges on the driver being logged into the app.

3) Accessibility

lyft or uber vs taxi ridesharing cost and safetyAccessibility and ease of getting a ride from an airport, in my opinion is far greater for a taxi than a ride sharing unit. When deciding on an Lyft or Uber vs Taxi, typically, I exit a plane and walk straight to a taxi to my destination. I don’t have to rely on my signal being strong enough for the app to work. I don’t have to wait for the car to come through traffic or walk to somewhere off the premises to get a ride. In some airports, they don’t allow ride share units to pick up. If they do, you often have to go up a level to the departure area or walk to a far end of the airport. When I get off a plane, I personally prefer to get straight into a car and quickly be on my way.

On my last trip to San Francisco, I saw a sign that said Ride Share pick up and I could see a side walk with several waiting areas. According to my app, Ride Share would be about 75% of the cost of a cab. I looked at the taxi line and it was empty and there was car waiting. For experimental purposes, I sacrificed my usual cab ride for a Lyft ride to see if it was actually faster and cheaper. I logged into my Lyft app and requested a vehicle. Because the airport was busy, it took 5 minutes for a driver to accept my ride plus 15 minutes for them to actually pull up to the curb. The whole time I kept my eye on the taxi line. I watched person after person get into a cab and drive away.

I wanted to cancel my ride as I had a meeting to get to, but I wanted to complete the experiment. When my driver arrived, the car was new and clean. No complaints. But by the time we sat in traffic and crossed the Bay Bridge from Oakland into San Francisco, the price was literally the same as a taxi. And it delayed my arrival by 30 minutes.

4) Pricing

lyft or uber vs taxi ridesharing cost and safety

Pricing for a ride share trip isn’t consistent. Taxi’s are transparent on how much they charge and most have the pricing displayed on the vehicle. During my last trip to Las Vegas, I spoke with a conference attendee. She complained the surge pricing was triple that of a taxi when she wanted dinner on the strip. And the taxi was ready to go right there. I also found this to be true during my last trip to Denver.

I’ve gone two years in a row for three days of Phish. The band is best known for their musical improvisation, extended jams largely influenced by Grateful Dead, Led Zeppelin, and their dedicated fanbase. The first year we went, we tried to order a Lyft. The price was about $150 to literally go 11 miles!

At 7 am in Times Square, I left my hotel.  My return flight home awaited. It was 30 degrees outside with some expected snow. Out of habit, I opened by Lyft app to find a driver 4 minutes away. As I exited the warm hotel lobby to the frigid air of the NYC streets, I saw a cab waiting right there. I waited a few minutes staring at my phone as the Lyft driver slowly creeped through traffic up the block. I asked the driver if he was available to take me to the airport, and he was. So, I cancelled that Lyft ride and walked straight into a fully insured, inspected vehicle with a professional trained driver. It was a flat fee of $55 which was the same price my Lyft app was quoting had I waited for it.

5) Supporting a local business

lyft or uber vs taxi ridesharing cost and safety

Supporting a local business rather than the corporate monopoly is another reason to consider when deciding between a Lyft or Uber vs Taxi. In a world where Google and Amazon dominate, it’s gratifying to support the local population directly. Most cab companies are the result of families passing down their businesses from generation to generation. In today’s world, it feels as if many businesses are struggling because of the monopoly of corporations that are taking over in so many industries.

It’s hard for me to be ok with living in a world where everything is giant corporation. What does that mean for the rest of us? As the world changes and modes of transportation evolve, many feel taxi cabs will one day be extinct. But many taxi companies are revitalizing and evolving their business models to withstand the test of time. They are upping their standards when it comes to the quality of vehicles they buy. Moreover, they are investing in technology to create booking apps so that they can appeal to the smart-phone dependent generation.

 

Although Uber and Lyft may seem like the cheaper and more convenient option, I strongly urge you to think about all of the above issues around big box ride sharing companies. Is it really worth risking your time, your wallet and most importantly your life – all because it feels easier?

 

More about us: American Business Insurance for taxi companies: https://abiweb.com/services/taxicab-insurance/

How ABI is Protecting HyreCar

How ABI is Protecting Hyrecar

Ride-sharing services are taking the world of transportation by storm. Uber and Lyft are constantly relied on both by riders who need to get places efficiently, and by those who are employed by either company. However, many people are not aware that vehicles must meet certain standards in order to provide rides by Uber and Lyft. Due to these specific requirements for cars, many who desire to drive for the ride-sharing service aren’t allowed the opportunity. There was nothing they could do- until Hyrecar.

The Solution

HyreCar has arrived as the first car-matching service that works hand in hand with Uber and Lyft. The concept is simple: for those who desire to drive but don’t have a car that meets the requirements, HyreCar allows you to rent one and get right to work. Most issues that are preventing certain cars from qualifying for Uber and Lyft are simply problems that are typical of older vehicles. Its a lot to ask of someone to make them purchase an entirely new vehicle just to pass the restrictions test. In turn, less people would drive for Uber and Lyft, which hurts both the would-be drivers and the companies themselves.

The Process

HyreCar realized the very simple solution to this problem, and the founders were shocked when they found that no one had discovered this niche market yet. HyreCar’s platform is easy to use, while still being thorough. It allows car owners to post their vehicles that are up for rental, and when drivers find one they want, they create a profile. This profile includes information such as driver’s license and social security numbers, and drivers can pay just by entering their credit card information into the platform. HyreCar’s founders believe that their screening process for drivers is even stricter than those of Uber and Lyft, checking things like criminal records, DMV records, and sex-offender databases.

Everybody Wins

Thanks to HyreCar, everybody involved benefits in some way. Cars that would otherwise be sitting in a garage or not in use somewhere are making their owners money. Those who wish to be drivers are given an easy way to fulfill that desire without buying a whole new car. Uber and Lyft have more drivers for their companies and therefore generate more business. HyreCar benefits by charging drivers that rent from them a 10% fee and car owners a 15% fee.

How ABI is Covering HyreCar

American Business Insurance is providing HyreCar with a unique insurance policy to ensure the highest level of safety for both the drivers and riders. When a driver is not driving for a ride-sharing platform but is still in possession of the rented car, they are covered by ABI’s policy that covers both the riders and drivers. When they are driving for a ride-sharing platform with the rented car, the insurance defaults to the state-mandated policy provided by the respective ride-sharing company.

As far as HyreCar is aware, they are the only car-matching service that utilizes a unique insurance policy such as the one provided by American Business Insurance. Thanks to ABI, HyreCar now has a competitive advantage that will likely continue to garner success for the company.

TNC Insurance: Insure your Transportation Network Company in California

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What is a Transportation Network Company?

Transportation network companies, TNC for short, are companies that fall under the umbrella of ridesharing. Uber, Lyft and DoorDash are the obvious examples of extremely successful TNCs. Any company that hires people as individual contractors and employs a shared-economy type business model can be considered a Transportation Network Company. A Transportation Network Company is required to have TNC insurance.

Since the early 2010s, the TNC industry has taken off at a rapid pace especially in California’s large urban cities. The impact of Transportation Network Companies in cities has resulted in a decline in public transportation in recent years. San Francisco has become ground zero for a lot of the giants that dominate the ridesharing industry such as Uber and Lyft. The next big Transportation Network Company in California could be your business, but first insurance!

TNC insurance

If you’re reading this, you’re probably looking for the necessary information to grow or get your TNC off the ground. One of the most important steps required for your business venture is to make sure your drivers and passengers are protected with TNC insurance. Keep reading to find out how to make sure your Transportation Network Company is properly insured and protected.

Where to start with TNC insurance

Being in the TNC industry, it may be difficult to find the proper broker that is able to provide TNC insurance. Most everyday insurance companies are most likely not willing to insure a rideshare company due to the high-risk nature of the industry. Insurance companies that write specific policies for TNC insurance are generally specialized brokers who focus on this unique marketplace.

TNC insurance

Luckily for you, here at American Business Insurance Services, we have a direct line to brokers that provide TNC insurance. With 35 years of experience insuring a wide variety of corporate auto fleets, we know exactly what these insurers are looking for in order to get you the best policy.

Questions you may have while looking for TNC insurance:

  • Why you need TNC insurance
  • Types of TNC insurance
  • How to prepare for a quote

Why you need TNC insurance

While researching insurance options for your Transportation Network Company you will quickly realize personal auto insurance doesn’t cover commercial use. However, commercial insurance doesn’t cover independent TNC drivers, even while driving for the company. Therefore, you need TNC insurance for your company to ensure your passengers and drivers are covered incase of an incident.

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners, NAIC, have identified three specific periods TNC drivers are not covered by their personal auto insurance.

  • First period: when drivers have signed into the application but have not yet been matched with a customer.
  • Second period: when drivers are on their way to pick up the customer.
  • Third period: when the driver has picked up the customer and is taking them to their destination.

Types of TNC insurance

In addition, there are two different types of TNC insurance coverage. The first being auto liability insurance for your Transportation Network Company. Auto liability insurance is required by law and protects you as well as your business when you’re at fault in an automobile accident.

Depending upon the coverage, most auto liability insurance covers your company from financial losses surrounding vehicle damage and medical bills of the passengers involved. In other words, auto liability insurance will pay for the damage to other people and their property for which you’re responsible. Furthermore, auto liability insurance usually covers the second and third periods of TNC driving listed in the bullets above.

As for the other type of TNC insurance, there is physical damage insurance. The purpose of physical damage insurance is to protect shared company vehicles from damages. Whether the driver was at fault or not.

To elaborate, physical damage insurance can cover damage caused to your vehicle that is out of your control. For example, vandalism, theft, fire, accidents involving animals, acts of nature, etc. Physical damage insurance also covers at-fault damage caused to the vehicle. However at-fault damage is usually only covered when said damage is caused by the scheduled driver.

TNC insurance

If you want to read more extensively about TNC insurance coverage provided by American Business Insurance Services, Inc. click here

How to prepare for a TNC Insurance quote

If you’re looking to establish your TNC as the next Uber or Lyft, there is a lot of preparations to be made before doing so. Insurers need to do an in-depth analysis of your company before being able to provide you with a quote for TNC insurance. Therefore, in the interest of time, it’s best to have made these preparations before contacting the insurer.

TNC insurance

1. Build the app

One of the first things you want to do is make sure your app is properly constructed and optimized for collecting favorable data points. For example, average speed. If you can prove that, on average, your drivers drive below the speed limit, you’re more likely to get a lower quote than if they tended to speed.

Furthermore, insurance companies want to be able to know things such as: when a trip starts and stops, number of miles per trip and duration of each trip. Therefore, it’s beneficial to both you and your insurer if you have built and optimized the app before contacting for a TNC insurance quote.

2. Business plan and projections

For the most part, this is all relatively simple information you may or may not have already put together when looking for investors. This should include things such as your plans for company growth. How you plan on monitoring and enforcing safety/loss control. And Finally, a set plan on how your company plans on making a ROI.

3. Safety and Training

Due to the nature of their business, insurers are going to care a great deal about safety. They are going to want to see that you have the proper rules, regulations and restrictions in place in order for your company to operate as safely as possible. They’re also going to want to know how often you plan on/provide training to your drivers for a variety of different things.

Insurers are going to want to know a lot about your hiring practices. How old are the youngest drivers you’d be willing to hire? How often do you have them background checked? These are all important questions that will need to be answered in order to get the best TNC insurance quote.

4. Financial balance sheet

Insurers are interested in this information because they want to see two things. First they want to see that you will be able to pay for, and continue paying for, the policy they provide you with. Second they want to see that your company will have the ability to stay afloat until you start turning a profit. The latter is mostly due to the fact that many TNCs don’t start turning a profit in their first year of operation.

5. Other information

Finally, insurers want to see information that will lend further credibility to your name. One thing that will help you accomplish this is information on your investors. Not only do insurers want to get to know your TNC, but they also want to get to know the source of the money behind the TNC. Writing bios on company executives and investors is a good way to allow an insurer to get to know your TNC more thoroughly.

Another thing that helps in regard to the lending of credibility to your name is a summary of your terms of service and privacy conditions. This is where you want to show the insurer that you have policies in place to protect your customer.

Guidance for finding TNC Insurance from American Business Insurance Services

While this may seem like a lot of information to gather for an insurance quote. Insurers need to see this information in order to make sure they are able to match you with the best TNC insurance provider and get you the best policy. Furthermore, insurers are looking for long term, mutually beneficial relationships. Supplying them with this information is an excellent way to build a positive and long standing relationship with your TNC Insurance provider.

Here at American Business Insurance Services, we understand the process of launching a TNC. We understand that it takes a lot of time and effort. And we understand the industry. We can be there for you every step of the way to help make sure that you understand too.

If you have questions or are seeking further guidance, please don’t hesitate to contact us via phone or email. We would love to help you get your TNC off the ground and paired with an insurer that’s right for you.

Insurance Coverage For Your Rental Car Fleet in California

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Rental Car Fleet Insurance Coverage in California

Do you own or operate a rental car service? Are you looking to partner with a transportation network company in California? Nowadays there are multiple ways to get into this ever-growing transportation industry. The rise of ridesharing apps and on-demand delivery apps utilizing rental car fleets in recent years, has more and more entrepreneurs looking to start their own transportation companies. The proper fleet insurance is essential in getting your business off the ground.

With the ever-changing market comes the requirement of insurance policies that can accommodate the unique needs of each business. There is no one insurance policy that fits all that’s why American Business Insurance Services, Inc. is able to find you the right insurance policy for your rental car fleet based off your individual needs. Skip the hassle of comparing multiple insurance quotes based off daunting numbers and endless calls with salespersons and representatives. As an independent agency, American Business Insurance Services, Inc. has direct relationships with all insurance companies currently writing specialized policies for transportation companies such as rental car fleets.

Different Types of Rental Car Fleets

As mentioned earlier, the barriers to enter the rental car industry is getting lower in recent years due to the growth of ridesharing apps and on-demand delivery services. More and more people are choosing to travel in vehicles not their own, as well as relying on on-demand drivers to deliver special goods. Especially in places like Los Angeles and San Francisco where traffic is really bad. The new trend of people relying on services of rental car fleets or other on-demand transportation services continues to rise. On top of that, California is by far the biggest automotive market in the United States.

In California people are more dependent on cars than public transit making California a great location to start a rental car fleet company. Whether you own a car rental company servicing travelers and businessmen, or a car dealership providing rental cars to customers, or you are simply an entrepreneur renting your own cars to other people, you will need fleet insurance to cover your company. Luckily at American Business Insurance Services, Inc. we have the connections and expertise to help you find the best insurance coverage for your rental car fleet.

Fleet Insurance – What does It Cover?

Whether your rental car fleet is working with a Transportation Network Company or on its own, the most important coverages to have for your rental car fleet are liability and physical damage. The transportation industry is a high-risk industry and it is important to have coverage for liability and physical damage. Living in California, you’ve probably seen a fair share of accidents on a daily basis on the highways. Accidents do happen, and the cold truth is the more miles your rental car fleet operates, the higher the chance that one of your drivers is involved in an incident.

In case of an incident, proper coverage for liability and collision will give you peace of mind as a business owner by knowing that your rental car fleet is protected on the road. Liability coverage is a must for rental car businesses, because it protects your fleet from potential negligence and mechanical failures.

There are coverage options that will cover all of the cars in your rental fleet, and also coverages that apply to drivers. There are policies for short-term car rentals or ones that operate on a pay-by-mile basis. That all depends on what kind of business you own and operate!

As your business grows, so does your need for more coverage. American Business Insurance Services, Inc. will help you adjust your limits accordingly to make sure you have proper coverage. Our friendly representatives will work with you and your company to fully understand your needs.

Additional Coverages For Rental Car Fleet Insurance

The number of fleet trucks, vans and SUVs on the roads in the U.S. is over 11.7 million. In Los Angeles alone, there are over 6 million vehicles in urbanized areas. The transportation sector is an ever-growing industry. As your company fleet grows, you may want to consider additional coverages such as inland marine coverage to protect any cargo or goods you are transporting.  You may also want to consider raising your liability coverage limits when you have more drivers, because the truth is the bigger your business is the more you have to lose!

Most insurance policies will cover the State’s mandated minimum insurance coverage that include liability and collision coverage. Additional coverages to consider would be roadside assistance, uninsured motorist coverage, and other coverages such as theft and vandalism. Consider the scope of your business, where you operate out of, and any special needs that you require.

Fleet Insurance – How Much Will It Cost

While there is no one single answer to this question, there are some indicators that will help you determine the costs of your fleet insurance plan. Typically, the more drivers and vehicles you have on your fleet, the more expensive the policy is. For example, consider the value of your vehicles – do you own a fleet of luxury European import cars? That is going to cost relatively more to maintain and fix, than say a fleet of economy cars. However, if the cars in your fleet are more likely to break down you run the risk of an increased premium. Another thing to consider is the intended use of your rental car vehicles. Are you using the fleet to transport people? That is going to cost more than  if you own a fleet of service vehicles (plumbers, electricians, etc) that are intended for special uses.

There is no single answer to how much it’s going to cost to insure your rental car fleet, but American Business Insurance Services, Inc will be able to cater to your needs and provide you with a quote in a short amount of time. Get Quote Now

How To Save Money on Rental Car Fleet Insurance

Typically to save money in a competitive insurance marketplace, you’d need to compare the different price offerings from different companies. American Business Insurance Services, Inc. differs from its competitors by its ability to work with different insurance companies writing specialized policies to provide you with a comprehensive coverage package. Located in the Los Angeles metropolitan area, American Business Insurance Services, Inc. has connections not only in California but with insurance providers nationwide. Tell us about your business, and we will do the research and get back to you with a policy that best fits your rental car fleet company.

Other ways to save on your premium is to reduce your coverage, but sometimes this wouldn’t be viable because of your business needs. While this certainly is an option for personal auto coverages, we wouldn’t recommend this for businesses like a rental car fleet. Another way to save on insurance premium is to raise your deductible amount. While this can seem like a cost-saving option in the short term, be sure that your business can pay the deductible when an incident arises.

Look into the regulations and mandated minimums in the State of California. Have an idea of what the minimum cost is going to be and know what your business is looking for. The easiest and best ways to save on an insurance policy is to combine multiple policies under the same provider and maintain a good driving record!

Get an Insurance Quote for Your Rental Car Fleet

In conclusion, you should look into fleet insurance policies if you have multiple vehicles in your transportation network company. Fleet Insurance makes managing your business and expenses easier, because no matter how many cars are in your fleet, one policy covers all! Whether you own a rental car company in California, or you’re just starting a business and looking to purchase a fleet of your own, you should purchase comprehensive insurance coverage. Tell us about your fleet company and we will help you find the best customizable insurance policy!

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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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  Top 5 Issues When Choosing Lyft or Uber vs Taxi

Top 5 Issues When Choosing Lyft or Uber vs Taxi

Written by Laura Loftus on Wednesday, December 5th, 2018

lyft or uber vs taxi ridesharing cost and safety

With travel increasing as we approach the holidays, many of us default to using a Lyft or Uber vs Taxi because we are under the impression that it’s faster, cheaper and all around more convenient than taking a taxi. However, I have a different perspective. As a west-coast based insurance broker who has clients all over the country, I tend travel about once every two months or so.

Most recently, I’ve visited San Francisco, New York City, Denver and Las Vegas for work meetings. I have to tell you, there were times where hopping into a cab was not only easier but also less money than their TNC counterparts.

Nowadays, people seem to think taxis are antiquated. But in reality, taxis are the same thing as an Uber or Lyft app, and I honestly feel safer in a cab. Here’s why.

1) Safety

Safety is my top concern when entering into a Lyft or Uber vs Taxi. For one, Uber and Lyft do not limit how long someone must have been licensed to drive for them. Someone could’ve moved to the US a few weeks ago, obtain a Driver’s License and as long as they have access to a qualifying car and pass a MINIMAL background check – they are approved. Nobody trains them, monitors them, or ensures that they are familiar with the area in which they drive.

The city highly regulates taxi drivers. They require taxi drivers to go through numerous EXTENSIVE background checks. Only then does the city in which they operate in allow them to start transporting people. Many cities require taxi and limo drivers to obtain a Hack License or Chauffeurs license. That means they have endured many hours of classroom-style and behind-the-wheel training.

Besides safety concerns regarding the driver, there are concerns around the vehicle. All taxi companies start their days by inspecting vehicles. They are required to get a vehicle inspection yearly to keep their operating permit. Lyft or Uber vs Taxi vehicles are not regulated at all. Once the driver is approved, there isn’t much regulation unless the ride share vehicle is in an accident.

With ride sharing, you are taking a risk as to who you are getting into a vehicle with. You could end up getting into a vehicle of someone with a criminal background who is dangerous. Even more concerning, I have heard of people leasing or renting out their Uber or Lyft accounts. So, for someone who doesn’t qualify themselves, they will find someone who does qualify. They’ll have to go through the approval process and use someone else’s account to work. That freaks me out, a lot.  When comparing Lyft or Uber vs Taxi, this type of situation would not happen. That’s because fleet owners know exactly who they are leasing the cab out too.

2) Insurance

Insurance issues are a huge concern when riding in a Lyft or Uber vs Taxi vehicle (and I’ll admit, I do use ride sharing apps regularly). Despite being an insurance broker who specializes in Public Auto

lyft or uber vs taxi ridesharing cost and safety

Transportation risks (specifically for-hire, livery businesses such as Taxi’s, Limo’s, Non-Emergency Medical Transportation, shuttles, etc), I often hop into a Lyft or Uber vs Taxi because, let’s face it, it’s super easy.  Hop on an app, order a car, and it will arrive in 4-5 minutes. This is especially the case when you’re in a residential or suburban area where cabs aren’t just lined in the street waiting for their next fare. I often think about what would happen if the car I am in was involved in an accident.

I am extremely knowledgeable on the coverages that Uber and Lyft’s insurance policy include and it’s spotty at best. For one, the driver and passenger are only covered if the app is on and the driver is logged in. What if there is a technical issue and the driver is logged out? If their phone dies, what now? What if they’re in an area with poor reception and the driver is disconnected from the app? A passenger could be held responsible for injuries incurred. Additionally, the majority of ride share drivers do not have commercial insurance. Plus, Uber and Lyft require drivers to turn the claim into their personal auto carrier before they’ll accept liability.

Commercial auto insurance is expensive, about 2 – 5 times higher than personal auto and most ride share drivers do not buy it because their profit margin on operating is thin. They pay for the vehicle itself, maintenance of the vehicle, gas and almost every TNC driver who calls for a quote on commercial auto insurance so that they can be properly insured does not buy it because no one is making them. This means the only coverage they have for their vehicle and the passengers is through Uber or Lyft, which all hinges on the driver being logged into the app.

3) Accessibility

lyft or uber vs taxi ridesharing cost and safetyAccessibility and ease of getting a ride from an airport, in my opinion is far greater for a taxi than a ride sharing unit. When deciding on an Lyft or Uber vs Taxi, typically, I exit a plane and walk straight to a taxi to my destination. I don’t have to rely on my signal being strong enough for the app to work. I don’t have to wait for the car to come through traffic or walk to somewhere off the premises to get a ride. In some airports, they don’t allow ride share units to pick up. If they do, you often have to go up a level to the departure area or walk to a far end of the airport. When I get off a plane, I personally prefer to get straight into a car and quickly be on my way.

On my last trip to San Francisco, I saw a sign that said Ride Share pick up and I could see a side walk with several waiting areas. According to my app, Ride Share would be about 75% of the cost of a cab. I looked at the taxi line and it was empty and there was car waiting. For experimental purposes, I sacrificed my usual cab ride for a Lyft ride to see if it was actually faster and cheaper. I logged into my Lyft app and requested a vehicle. Because the airport was busy, it took 5 minutes for a driver to accept my ride plus 15 minutes for them to actually pull up to the curb. The whole time I kept my eye on the taxi line. I watched person after person get into a cab and drive away.

I wanted to cancel my ride as I had a meeting to get to, but I wanted to complete the experiment. When my driver arrived, the car was new and clean. No complaints. But by the time we sat in traffic and crossed the Bay Bridge from Oakland into San Francisco, the price was literally the same as a taxi. And it delayed my arrival by 30 minutes.

4) Pricing

lyft or uber vs taxi ridesharing cost and safety

Pricing for a ride share trip isn’t consistent. Taxi’s are transparent on how much they charge and most have the pricing displayed on the vehicle. During my last trip to Las Vegas, I spoke with a conference attendee. She complained the surge pricing was triple that of a taxi when she wanted dinner on the strip. And the taxi was ready to go right there. I also found this to be true during my last trip to Denver.

I’ve gone two years in a row for three days of Phish. The band is best known for their musical improvisation, extended jams largely influenced by Grateful Dead, Led Zeppelin, and their dedicated fanbase. The first year we went, we tried to order a Lyft. The price was about $150 to literally go 11 miles!

At 7 am in Times Square, I left my hotel.  My return flight home awaited. It was 30 degrees outside with some expected snow. Out of habit, I opened by Lyft app to find a driver 4 minutes away. As I exited the warm hotel lobby to the frigid air of the NYC streets, I saw a cab waiting right there. I waited a few minutes staring at my phone as the Lyft driver slowly creeped through traffic up the block. I asked the driver if he was available to take me to the airport, and he was. So, I cancelled that Lyft ride and walked straight into a fully insured, inspected vehicle with a professional trained driver. It was a flat fee of $55 which was the same price my Lyft app was quoting had I waited for it.

5) Supporting a local business

lyft or uber vs taxi ridesharing cost and safety

Supporting a local business rather than the corporate monopoly is another reason to consider when deciding between a Lyft or Uber vs Taxi. In a world where Google and Amazon dominate, it’s gratifying to support the local population directly. Most cab companies are the result of families passing down their businesses from generation to generation. In today’s world, it feels as if many businesses are struggling because of the monopoly of corporations that are taking over in so many industries.

It’s hard for me to be ok with living in a world where everything is giant corporation. What does that mean for the rest of us? As the world changes and modes of transportation evolve, many feel taxi cabs will one day be extinct. But many taxi companies are revitalizing and evolving their business models to withstand the test of time. They are upping their standards when it comes to the quality of vehicles they buy. Moreover, they are investing in technology to create booking apps so that they can appeal to the smart-phone dependent generation.

 

Although Uber and Lyft may seem like the cheaper and more convenient option, I strongly urge you to think about all of the above issues around big box ride sharing companies. Is it really worth risking your time, your wallet and most importantly your life – all because it feels easier?

 

More about us: American Business Insurance for taxi companies: https://abiweb.com/services/taxicab-insurance/

How ABI is Protecting HyreCar

How ABI is Protecting Hyrecar

Ride-sharing services are taking the world of transportation by storm. Uber and Lyft are constantly relied on both by riders who need to get places efficiently, and by those who are employed by either company. However, many people are not aware that vehicles must meet certain standards in order to provide rides by Uber and Lyft. Due to these specific requirements for cars, many who desire to drive for the ride-sharing service aren’t allowed the opportunity. There was nothing they could do- until Hyrecar.

The Solution

HyreCar has arrived as the first car-matching service that works hand in hand with Uber and Lyft. The concept is simple: for those who desire to drive but don’t have a car that meets the requirements, HyreCar allows you to rent one and get right to work. Most issues that are preventing certain cars from qualifying for Uber and Lyft are simply problems that are typical of older vehicles. Its a lot to ask of someone to make them purchase an entirely new vehicle just to pass the restrictions test. In turn, less people would drive for Uber and Lyft, which hurts both the would-be drivers and the companies themselves.

The Process

HyreCar realized the very simple solution to this problem, and the founders were shocked when they found that no one had discovered this niche market yet. HyreCar’s platform is easy to use, while still being thorough. It allows car owners to post their vehicles that are up for rental, and when drivers find one they want, they create a profile. This profile includes information such as driver’s license and social security numbers, and drivers can pay just by entering their credit card information into the platform. HyreCar’s founders believe that their screening process for drivers is even stricter than those of Uber and Lyft, checking things like criminal records, DMV records, and sex-offender databases.

Everybody Wins

Thanks to HyreCar, everybody involved benefits in some way. Cars that would otherwise be sitting in a garage or not in use somewhere are making their owners money. Those who wish to be drivers are given an easy way to fulfill that desire without buying a whole new car. Uber and Lyft have more drivers for their companies and therefore generate more business. HyreCar benefits by charging drivers that rent from them a 10% fee and car owners a 15% fee.

How ABI is Covering HyreCar

American Business Insurance is providing HyreCar with a unique insurance policy to ensure the highest level of safety for both the drivers and riders. When a driver is not driving for a ride-sharing platform but is still in possession of the rented car, they are covered by ABI’s policy that covers both the riders and drivers. When they are driving for a ride-sharing platform with the rented car, the insurance defaults to the state-mandated policy provided by the respective ride-sharing company.

As far as HyreCar is aware, they are the only car-matching service that utilizes a unique insurance policy such as the one provided by American Business Insurance. Thanks to ABI, HyreCar now has a competitive advantage that will likely continue to garner success for the company.

TNC Insurance: Insure your Transportation Network Company in California

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What is a Transportation Network Company?

Transportation network companies, TNC for short, are companies that fall under the umbrella of ridesharing. Uber, Lyft and DoorDash are the obvious examples of extremely successful TNCs. Any company that hires people as individual contractors and employs a shared-economy type business model can be considered a Transportation Network Company. A Transportation Network Company is required to have TNC insurance.

Since the early 2010s, the TNC industry has taken off at a rapid pace especially in California’s large urban cities. The impact of Transportation Network Companies in cities has resulted in a decline in public transportation in recent years. San Francisco has become ground zero for a lot of the giants that dominate the ridesharing industry such as Uber and Lyft. The next big Transportation Network Company in California could be your business, but first insurance!

TNC insurance

If you’re reading this, you’re probably looking for the necessary information to grow or get your TNC off the ground. One of the most important steps required for your business venture is to make sure your drivers and passengers are protected with TNC insurance. Keep reading to find out how to make sure your Transportation Network Company is properly insured and protected.

Where to start with TNC insurance

Being in the TNC industry, it may be difficult to find the proper broker that is able to provide TNC insurance. Most everyday insurance companies are most likely not willing to insure a rideshare company due to the high-risk nature of the industry. Insurance companies that write specific policies for TNC insurance are generally specialized brokers who focus on this unique marketplace.

TNC insurance

Luckily for you, here at American Business Insurance Services, we have a direct line to brokers that provide TNC insurance. With 35 years of experience insuring a wide variety of corporate auto fleets, we know exactly what these insurers are looking for in order to get you the best policy.

Questions you may have while looking for TNC insurance:

  • Why you need TNC insurance
  • Types of TNC insurance
  • How to prepare for a quote

Why you need TNC insurance

While researching insurance options for your Transportation Network Company you will quickly realize personal auto insurance doesn’t cover commercial use. However, commercial insurance doesn’t cover independent TNC drivers, even while driving for the company. Therefore, you need TNC insurance for your company to ensure your passengers and drivers are covered incase of an incident.

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners, NAIC, have identified three specific periods TNC drivers are not covered by their personal auto insurance.

  • First period: when drivers have signed into the application but have not yet been matched with a customer.
  • Second period: when drivers are on their way to pick up the customer.
  • Third period: when the driver has picked up the customer and is taking them to their destination.

Types of TNC insurance

In addition, there are two different types of TNC insurance coverage. The first being auto liability insurance for your Transportation Network Company. Auto liability insurance is required by law and protects you as well as your business when you’re at fault in an automobile accident.

Depending upon the coverage, most auto liability insurance covers your company from financial losses surrounding vehicle damage and medical bills of the passengers involved. In other words, auto liability insurance will pay for the damage to other people and their property for which you’re responsible. Furthermore, auto liability insurance usually covers the second and third periods of TNC driving listed in the bullets above.

As for the other type of TNC insurance, there is physical damage insurance. The purpose of physical damage insurance is to protect shared company vehicles from damages. Whether the driver was at fault or not.

To elaborate, physical damage insurance can cover damage caused to your vehicle that is out of your control. For example, vandalism, theft, fire, accidents involving animals, acts of nature, etc. Physical damage insurance also covers at-fault damage caused to the vehicle. However at-fault damage is usually only covered when said damage is caused by the scheduled driver.

TNC insurance

If you want to read more extensively about TNC insurance coverage provided by American Business Insurance Services, Inc. click here

How to prepare for a TNC Insurance quote

If you’re looking to establish your TNC as the next Uber or Lyft, there is a lot of preparations to be made before doing so. Insurers need to do an in-depth analysis of your company before being able to provide you with a quote for TNC insurance. Therefore, in the interest of time, it’s best to have made these preparations before contacting the insurer.

TNC insurance

1. Build the app

One of the first things you want to do is make sure your app is properly constructed and optimized for collecting favorable data points. For example, average speed. If you can prove that, on average, your drivers drive below the speed limit, you’re more likely to get a lower quote than if they tended to speed.

Furthermore, insurance companies want to be able to know things such as: when a trip starts and stops, number of miles per trip and duration of each trip. Therefore, it’s beneficial to both you and your insurer if you have built and optimized the app before contacting for a TNC insurance quote.

2. Business plan and projections

For the most part, this is all relatively simple information you may or may not have already put together when looking for investors. This should include things such as your plans for company growth. How you plan on monitoring and enforcing safety/loss control. And Finally, a set plan on how your company plans on making a ROI.

3. Safety and Training

Due to the nature of their business, insurers are going to care a great deal about safety. They are going to want to see that you have the proper rules, regulations and restrictions in place in order for your company to operate as safely as possible. They’re also going to want to know how often you plan on/provide training to your drivers for a variety of different things.

Insurers are going to want to know a lot about your hiring practices. How old are the youngest drivers you’d be willing to hire? How often do you have them background checked? These are all important questions that will need to be answered in order to get the best TNC insurance quote.

4. Financial balance sheet

Insurers are interested in this information because they want to see two things. First they want to see that you will be able to pay for, and continue paying for, the policy they provide you with. Second they want to see that your company will have the ability to stay afloat until you start turning a profit. The latter is mostly due to the fact that many TNCs don’t start turning a profit in their first year of operation.

5. Other information

Finally, insurers want to see information that will lend further credibility to your name. One thing that will help you accomplish this is information on your investors. Not only do insurers want to get to know your TNC, but they also want to get to know the source of the money behind the TNC. Writing bios on company executives and investors is a good way to allow an insurer to get to know your TNC more thoroughly.

Another thing that helps in regard to the lending of credibility to your name is a summary of your terms of service and privacy conditions. This is where you want to show the insurer that you have policies in place to protect your customer.

Guidance for finding TNC Insurance from American Business Insurance Services

While this may seem like a lot of information to gather for an insurance quote. Insurers need to see this information in order to make sure they are able to match you with the best TNC insurance provider and get you the best policy. Furthermore, insurers are looking for long term, mutually beneficial relationships. Supplying them with this information is an excellent way to build a positive and long standing relationship with your TNC Insurance provider.

Here at American Business Insurance Services, we understand the process of launching a TNC. We understand that it takes a lot of time and effort. And we understand the industry. We can be there for you every step of the way to help make sure that you understand too.

If you have questions or are seeking further guidance, please don’t hesitate to contact us via phone or email. We would love to help you get your TNC off the ground and paired with an insurer that’s right for you.

Insurance Coverage For Your Rental Car Fleet in California

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Rental Car Fleet Insurance Coverage in California

Do you own or operate a rental car service? Are you looking to partner with a transportation network company in California? Nowadays there are multiple ways to get into this ever-growing transportation industry. The rise of ridesharing apps and on-demand delivery apps utilizing rental car fleets in recent years, has more and more entrepreneurs looking to start their own transportation companies. The proper fleet insurance is essential in getting your business off the ground.

With the ever-changing market comes the requirement of insurance policies that can accommodate the unique needs of each business. There is no one insurance policy that fits all that’s why American Business Insurance Services, Inc. is able to find you the right insurance policy for your rental car fleet based off your individual needs. Skip the hassle of comparing multiple insurance quotes based off daunting numbers and endless calls with salespersons and representatives. As an independent agency, American Business Insurance Services, Inc. has direct relationships with all insurance companies currently writing specialized policies for transportation companies such as rental car fleets.

Different Types of Rental Car Fleets

As mentioned earlier, the barriers to enter the rental car industry is getting lower in recent years due to the growth of ridesharing apps and on-demand delivery services. More and more people are choosing to travel in vehicles not their own, as well as relying on on-demand drivers to deliver special goods. Especially in places like Los Angeles and San Francisco where traffic is really bad. The new trend of people relying on services of rental car fleets or other on-demand transportation services continues to rise. On top of that, California is by far the biggest automotive market in the United States.

In California people are more dependent on cars than public transit making California a great location to start a rental car fleet company. Whether you own a car rental company servicing travelers and businessmen, or a car dealership providing rental cars to customers, or you are simply an entrepreneur renting your own cars to other people, you will need fleet insurance to cover your company. Luckily at American Business Insurance Services, Inc. we have the connections and expertise to help you find the best insurance coverage for your rental car fleet.

Fleet Insurance – What does It Cover?

Whether your rental car fleet is working with a Transportation Network Company or on its own, the most important coverages to have for your rental car fleet are liability and physical damage. The transportation industry is a high-risk industry and it is important to have coverage for liability and physical damage. Living in California, you’ve probably seen a fair share of accidents on a daily basis on the highways. Accidents do happen, and the cold truth is the more miles your rental car fleet operates, the higher the chance that one of your drivers is involved in an incident.

In case of an incident, proper coverage for liability and collision will give you peace of mind as a business owner by knowing that your rental car fleet is protected on the road. Liability coverage is a must for rental car businesses, because it protects your fleet from potential negligence and mechanical failures.

There are coverage options that will cover all of the cars in your rental fleet, and also coverages that apply to drivers. There are policies for short-term car rentals or ones that operate on a pay-by-mile basis. That all depends on what kind of business you own and operate!

As your business grows, so does your need for more coverage. American Business Insurance Services, Inc. will help you adjust your limits accordingly to make sure you have proper coverage. Our friendly representatives will work with you and your company to fully understand your needs.

Additional Coverages For Rental Car Fleet Insurance

The number of fleet trucks, vans and SUVs on the roads in the U.S. is over 11.7 million. In Los Angeles alone, there are over 6 million vehicles in urbanized areas. The transportation sector is an ever-growing industry. As your company fleet grows, you may want to consider additional coverages such as inland marine coverage to protect any cargo or goods you are transporting.  You may also want to consider raising your liability coverage limits when you have more drivers, because the truth is the bigger your business is the more you have to lose!

Most insurance policies will cover the State’s mandated minimum insurance coverage that include liability and collision coverage. Additional coverages to consider would be roadside assistance, uninsured motorist coverage, and other coverages such as theft and vandalism. Consider the scope of your business, where you operate out of, and any special needs that you require.

Fleet Insurance – How Much Will It Cost

While there is no one single answer to this question, there are some indicators that will help you determine the costs of your fleet insurance plan. Typically, the more drivers and vehicles you have on your fleet, the more expensive the policy is. For example, consider the value of your vehicles – do you own a fleet of luxury European import cars? That is going to cost relatively more to maintain and fix, than say a fleet of economy cars. However, if the cars in your fleet are more likely to break down you run the risk of an increased premium. Another thing to consider is the intended use of your rental car vehicles. Are you using the fleet to transport people? That is going to cost more than  if you own a fleet of service vehicles (plumbers, electricians, etc) that are intended for special uses.

There is no single answer to how much it’s going to cost to insure your rental car fleet, but American Business Insurance Services, Inc will be able to cater to your needs and provide you with a quote in a short amount of time. Get Quote Now

How To Save Money on Rental Car Fleet Insurance

Typically to save money in a competitive insurance marketplace, you’d need to compare the different price offerings from different companies. American Business Insurance Services, Inc. differs from its competitors by its ability to work with different insurance companies writing specialized policies to provide you with a comprehensive coverage package. Located in the Los Angeles metropolitan area, American Business Insurance Services, Inc. has connections not only in California but with insurance providers nationwide. Tell us about your business, and we will do the research and get back to you with a policy that best fits your rental car fleet company.

Other ways to save on your premium is to reduce your coverage, but sometimes this wouldn’t be viable because of your business needs. While this certainly is an option for personal auto coverages, we wouldn’t recommend this for businesses like a rental car fleet. Another way to save on insurance premium is to raise your deductible amount. While this can seem like a cost-saving option in the short term, be sure that your business can pay the deductible when an incident arises.

Look into the regulations and mandated minimums in the State of California. Have an idea of what the minimum cost is going to be and know what your business is looking for. The easiest and best ways to save on an insurance policy is to combine multiple policies under the same provider and maintain a good driving record!

Get an Insurance Quote for Your Rental Car Fleet

In conclusion, you should look into fleet insurance policies if you have multiple vehicles in your transportation network company. Fleet Insurance makes managing your business and expenses easier, because no matter how many cars are in your fleet, one policy covers all! Whether you own a rental car company in California, or you’re just starting a business and looking to purchase a fleet of your own, you should purchase comprehensive insurance coverage. Tell us about your fleet company and we will help you find the best customizable insurance policy!

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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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  Top 5 Issues When Choosing Lyft or Uber vs Taxi

Top 5 Issues When Choosing Lyft or Uber vs Taxi

Written by Laura Loftus on Wednesday, December 5th, 2018

lyft or uber vs taxi ridesharing cost and safety

With travel increasing as we approach the holidays, many of us default to using a Lyft or Uber vs Taxi because we are under the impression that it’s faster, cheaper and all around more convenient than taking a taxi. However, I have a different perspective. As a west-coast based insurance broker who has clients all over the country, I tend travel about once every two months or so.

Most recently, I’ve visited San Francisco, New York City, Denver and Las Vegas for work meetings. I have to tell you, there were times where hopping into a cab was not only easier but also less money than their TNC counterparts.

Nowadays, people seem to think taxis are antiquated. But in reality, taxis are the same thing as an Uber or Lyft app, and I honestly feel safer in a cab. Here’s why.

1) Safety

Safety is my top concern when entering into a Lyft or Uber vs Taxi. For one, Uber and Lyft do not limit how long someone must have been licensed to drive for them. Someone could’ve moved to the US a few weeks ago, obtain a Driver’s License and as long as they have access to a qualifying car and pass a MINIMAL background check – they are approved. Nobody trains them, monitors them, or ensures that they are familiar with the area in which they drive.

The city highly regulates taxi drivers. They require taxi drivers to go through numerous EXTENSIVE background checks. Only then does the city in which they operate in allow them to start transporting people. Many cities require taxi and limo drivers to obtain a Hack License or Chauffeurs license. That means they have endured many hours of classroom-style and behind-the-wheel training.

Besides safety concerns regarding the driver, there are concerns around the vehicle. All taxi companies start their days by inspecting vehicles. They are required to get a vehicle inspection yearly to keep their operating permit. Lyft or Uber vs Taxi vehicles are not regulated at all. Once the driver is approved, there isn’t much regulation unless the ride share vehicle is in an accident.

With ride sharing, you are taking a risk as to who you are getting into a vehicle with. You could end up getting into a vehicle of someone with a criminal background who is dangerous. Even more concerning, I have heard of people leasing or renting out their Uber or Lyft accounts. So, for someone who doesn’t qualify themselves, they will find someone who does qualify. They’ll have to go through the approval process and use someone else’s account to work. That freaks me out, a lot.  When comparing Lyft or Uber vs Taxi, this type of situation would not happen. That’s because fleet owners know exactly who they are leasing the cab out too.

2) Insurance

Insurance issues are a huge concern when riding in a Lyft or Uber vs Taxi vehicle (and I’ll admit, I do use ride sharing apps regularly). Despite being an insurance broker who specializes in Public Auto

lyft or uber vs taxi ridesharing cost and safety

Transportation risks (specifically for-hire, livery businesses such as Taxi’s, Limo’s, Non-Emergency Medical Transportation, shuttles, etc), I often hop into a Lyft or Uber vs Taxi because, let’s face it, it’s super easy.  Hop on an app, order a car, and it will arrive in 4-5 minutes. This is especially the case when you’re in a residential or suburban area where cabs aren’t just lined in the street waiting for their next fare. I often think about what would happen if the car I am in was involved in an accident.

I am extremely knowledgeable on the coverages that Uber and Lyft’s insurance policy include and it’s spotty at best. For one, the driver and passenger are only covered if the app is on and the driver is logged in. What if there is a technical issue and the driver is logged out? If their phone dies, what now? What if they’re in an area with poor reception and the driver is disconnected from the app? A passenger could be held responsible for injuries incurred. Additionally, the majority of ride share drivers do not have commercial insurance. Plus, Uber and Lyft require drivers to turn the claim into their personal auto carrier before they’ll accept liability.

Commercial auto insurance is expensive, about 2 – 5 times higher than personal auto and most ride share drivers do not buy it because their profit margin on operating is thin. They pay for the vehicle itself, maintenance of the vehicle, gas and almost every TNC driver who calls for a quote on commercial auto insurance so that they can be properly insured does not buy it because no one is making them. This means the only coverage they have for their vehicle and the passengers is through Uber or Lyft, which all hinges on the driver being logged into the app.

3) Accessibility

lyft or uber vs taxi ridesharing cost and safetyAccessibility and ease of getting a ride from an airport, in my opinion is far greater for a taxi than a ride sharing unit. When deciding on an Lyft or Uber vs Taxi, typically, I exit a plane and walk straight to a taxi to my destination. I don’t have to rely on my signal being strong enough for the app to work. I don’t have to wait for the car to come through traffic or walk to somewhere off the premises to get a ride. In some airports, they don’t allow ride share units to pick up. If they do, you often have to go up a level to the departure area or walk to a far end of the airport. When I get off a plane, I personally prefer to get straight into a car and quickly be on my way.

On my last trip to San Francisco, I saw a sign that said Ride Share pick up and I could see a side walk with several waiting areas. According to my app, Ride Share would be about 75% of the cost of a cab. I looked at the taxi line and it was empty and there was car waiting. For experimental purposes, I sacrificed my usual cab ride for a Lyft ride to see if it was actually faster and cheaper. I logged into my Lyft app and requested a vehicle. Because the airport was busy, it took 5 minutes for a driver to accept my ride plus 15 minutes for them to actually pull up to the curb. The whole time I kept my eye on the taxi line. I watched person after person get into a cab and drive away.

I wanted to cancel my ride as I had a meeting to get to, but I wanted to complete the experiment. When my driver arrived, the car was new and clean. No complaints. But by the time we sat in traffic and crossed the Bay Bridge from Oakland into San Francisco, the price was literally the same as a taxi. And it delayed my arrival by 30 minutes.

4) Pricing

lyft or uber vs taxi ridesharing cost and safety

Pricing for a ride share trip isn’t consistent. Taxi’s are transparent on how much they charge and most have the pricing displayed on the vehicle. During my last trip to Las Vegas, I spoke with a conference attendee. She complained the surge pricing was triple that of a taxi when she wanted dinner on the strip. And the taxi was ready to go right there. I also found this to be true during my last trip to Denver.

I’ve gone two years in a row for three days of Phish. The band is best known for their musical improvisation, extended jams largely influenced by Grateful Dead, Led Zeppelin, and their dedicated fanbase. The first year we went, we tried to order a Lyft. The price was about $150 to literally go 11 miles!

At 7 am in Times Square, I left my hotel.  My return flight home awaited. It was 30 degrees outside with some expected snow. Out of habit, I opened by Lyft app to find a driver 4 minutes away. As I exited the warm hotel lobby to the frigid air of the NYC streets, I saw a cab waiting right there. I waited a few minutes staring at my phone as the Lyft driver slowly creeped through traffic up the block. I asked the driver if he was available to take me to the airport, and he was. So, I cancelled that Lyft ride and walked straight into a fully insured, inspected vehicle with a professional trained driver. It was a flat fee of $55 which was the same price my Lyft app was quoting had I waited for it.

5) Supporting a local business

lyft or uber vs taxi ridesharing cost and safety

Supporting a local business rather than the corporate monopoly is another reason to consider when deciding between a Lyft or Uber vs Taxi. In a world where Google and Amazon dominate, it’s gratifying to support the local population directly. Most cab companies are the result of families passing down their businesses from generation to generation. In today’s world, it feels as if many businesses are struggling because of the monopoly of corporations that are taking over in so many industries.

It’s hard for me to be ok with living in a world where everything is giant corporation. What does that mean for the rest of us? As the world changes and modes of transportation evolve, many feel taxi cabs will one day be extinct. But many taxi companies are revitalizing and evolving their business models to withstand the test of time. They are upping their standards when it comes to the quality of vehicles they buy. Moreover, they are investing in technology to create booking apps so that they can appeal to the smart-phone dependent generation.

 

Although Uber and Lyft may seem like the cheaper and more convenient option, I strongly urge you to think about all of the above issues around big box ride sharing companies. Is it really worth risking your time, your wallet and most importantly your life – all because it feels easier?

 

More about us: American Business Insurance for taxi companies: https://abiweb.com/services/taxicab-insurance/

How ABI is Protecting HyreCar

How ABI is Protecting Hyrecar

Ride-sharing services are taking the world of transportation by storm. Uber and Lyft are constantly relied on both by riders who need to get places efficiently, and by those who are employed by either company. However, many people are not aware that vehicles must meet certain standards in order to provide rides by Uber and Lyft. Due to these specific requirements for cars, many who desire to drive for the ride-sharing service aren’t allowed the opportunity. There was nothing they could do- until Hyrecar.

The Solution

HyreCar has arrived as the first car-matching service that works hand in hand with Uber and Lyft. The concept is simple: for those who desire to drive but don’t have a car that meets the requirements, HyreCar allows you to rent one and get right to work. Most issues that are preventing certain cars from qualifying for Uber and Lyft are simply problems that are typical of older vehicles. Its a lot to ask of someone to make them purchase an entirely new vehicle just to pass the restrictions test. In turn, less people would drive for Uber and Lyft, which hurts both the would-be drivers and the companies themselves.

The Process

HyreCar realized the very simple solution to this problem, and the founders were shocked when they found that no one had discovered this niche market yet. HyreCar’s platform is easy to use, while still being thorough. It allows car owners to post their vehicles that are up for rental, and when drivers find one they want, they create a profile. This profile includes information such as driver’s license and social security numbers, and drivers can pay just by entering their credit card information into the platform. HyreCar’s founders believe that their screening process for drivers is even stricter than those of Uber and Lyft, checking things like criminal records, DMV records, and sex-offender databases.

Everybody Wins

Thanks to HyreCar, everybody involved benefits in some way. Cars that would otherwise be sitting in a garage or not in use somewhere are making their owners money. Those who wish to be drivers are given an easy way to fulfill that desire without buying a whole new car. Uber and Lyft have more drivers for their companies and therefore generate more business. HyreCar benefits by charging drivers that rent from them a 10% fee and car owners a 15% fee.

How ABI is Covering HyreCar

American Business Insurance is providing HyreCar with a unique insurance policy to ensure the highest level of safety for both the drivers and riders. When a driver is not driving for a ride-sharing platform but is still in possession of the rented car, they are covered by ABI’s policy that covers both the riders and drivers. When they are driving for a ride-sharing platform with the rented car, the insurance defaults to the state-mandated policy provided by the respective ride-sharing company.

As far as HyreCar is aware, they are the only car-matching service that utilizes a unique insurance policy such as the one provided by American Business Insurance. Thanks to ABI, HyreCar now has a competitive advantage that will likely continue to garner success for the company.

TNC Insurance: Insure your Transportation Network Company in California

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What is a Transportation Network Company?

Transportation network companies, TNC for short, are companies that fall under the umbrella of ridesharing. Uber, Lyft and DoorDash are the obvious examples of extremely successful TNCs. Any company that hires people as individual contractors and employs a shared-economy type business model can be considered a Transportation Network Company. A Transportation Network Company is required to have TNC insurance.

Since the early 2010s, the TNC industry has taken off at a rapid pace especially in California’s large urban cities. The impact of Transportation Network Companies in cities has resulted in a decline in public transportation in recent years. San Francisco has become ground zero for a lot of the giants that dominate the ridesharing industry such as Uber and Lyft. The next big Transportation Network Company in California could be your business, but first insurance!

TNC insurance

If you’re reading this, you’re probably looking for the necessary information to grow or get your TNC off the ground. One of the most important steps required for your business venture is to make sure your drivers and passengers are protected with TNC insurance. Keep reading to find out how to make sure your Transportation Network Company is properly insured and protected.

Where to start with TNC insurance

Being in the TNC industry, it may be difficult to find the proper broker that is able to provide TNC insurance. Most everyday insurance companies are most likely not willing to insure a rideshare company due to the high-risk nature of the industry. Insurance companies that write specific policies for TNC insurance are generally specialized brokers who focus on this unique marketplace.

TNC insurance

Luckily for you, here at American Business Insurance Services, we have a direct line to brokers that provide TNC insurance. With 35 years of experience insuring a wide variety of corporate auto fleets, we know exactly what these insurers are looking for in order to get you the best policy.

Questions you may have while looking for TNC insurance:

  • Why you need TNC insurance
  • Types of TNC insurance
  • How to prepare for a quote

Why you need TNC insurance

While researching insurance options for your Transportation Network Company you will quickly realize personal auto insurance doesn’t cover commercial use. However, commercial insurance doesn’t cover independent TNC drivers, even while driving for the company. Therefore, you need TNC insurance for your company to ensure your passengers and drivers are covered incase of an incident.

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners, NAIC, have identified three specific periods TNC drivers are not covered by their personal auto insurance.

  • First period: when drivers have signed into the application but have not yet been matched with a customer.
  • Second period: when drivers are on their way to pick up the customer.
  • Third period: when the driver has picked up the customer and is taking them to their destination.

Types of TNC insurance

In addition, there are two different types of TNC insurance coverage. The first being auto liability insurance for your Transportation Network Company. Auto liability insurance is required by law and protects you as well as your business when you’re at fault in an automobile accident.

Depending upon the coverage, most auto liability insurance covers your company from financial losses surrounding vehicle damage and medical bills of the passengers involved. In other words, auto liability insurance will pay for the damage to other people and their property for which you’re responsible. Furthermore, auto liability insurance usually covers the second and third periods of TNC driving listed in the bullets above.

As for the other type of TNC insurance, there is physical damage insurance. The purpose of physical damage insurance is to protect shared company vehicles from damages. Whether the driver was at fault or not.

To elaborate, physical damage insurance can cover damage caused to your vehicle that is out of your control. For example, vandalism, theft, fire, accidents involving animals, acts of nature, etc. Physical damage insurance also covers at-fault damage caused to the vehicle. However at-fault damage is usually only covered when said damage is caused by the scheduled driver.

TNC insurance

If you want to read more extensively about TNC insurance coverage provided by American Business Insurance Services, Inc. click here

How to prepare for a TNC Insurance quote

If you’re looking to establish your TNC as the next Uber or Lyft, there is a lot of preparations to be made before doing so. Insurers need to do an in-depth analysis of your company before being able to provide you with a quote for TNC insurance. Therefore, in the interest of time, it’s best to have made these preparations before contacting the insurer.

TNC insurance

1. Build the app

One of the first things you want to do is make sure your app is properly constructed and optimized for collecting favorable data points. For example, average speed. If you can prove that, on average, your drivers drive below the speed limit, you’re more likely to get a lower quote than if they tended to speed.

Furthermore, insurance companies want to be able to know things such as: when a trip starts and stops, number of miles per trip and duration of each trip. Therefore, it’s beneficial to both you and your insurer if you have built and optimized the app before contacting for a TNC insurance quote.

2. Business plan and projections

For the most part, this is all relatively simple information you may or may not have already put together when looking for investors. This should include things such as your plans for company growth. How you plan on monitoring and enforcing safety/loss control. And Finally, a set plan on how your company plans on making a ROI.

3. Safety and Training

Due to the nature of their business, insurers are going to care a great deal about safety. They are going to want to see that you have the proper rules, regulations and restrictions in place in order for your company to operate as safely as possible. They’re also going to want to know how often you plan on/provide training to your drivers for a variety of different things.

Insurers are going to want to know a lot about your hiring practices. How old are the youngest drivers you’d be willing to hire? How often do you have them background checked? These are all important questions that will need to be answered in order to get the best TNC insurance quote.

4. Financial balance sheet

Insurers are interested in this information because they want to see two things. First they want to see that you will be able to pay for, and continue paying for, the policy they provide you with. Second they want to see that your company will have the ability to stay afloat until you start turning a profit. The latter is mostly due to the fact that many TNCs don’t start turning a profit in their first year of operation.

5. Other information

Finally, insurers want to see information that will lend further credibility to your name. One thing that will help you accomplish this is information on your investors. Not only do insurers want to get to know your TNC, but they also want to get to know the source of the money behind the TNC. Writing bios on company executives and investors is a good way to allow an insurer to get to know your TNC more thoroughly.

Another thing that helps in regard to the lending of credibility to your name is a summary of your terms of service and privacy conditions. This is where you want to show the insurer that you have policies in place to protect your customer.

Guidance for finding TNC Insurance from American Business Insurance Services

While this may seem like a lot of information to gather for an insurance quote. Insurers need to see this information in order to make sure they are able to match you with the best TNC insurance provider and get you the best policy. Furthermore, insurers are looking for long term, mutually beneficial relationships. Supplying them with this information is an excellent way to build a positive and long standing relationship with your TNC Insurance provider.

Here at American Business Insurance Services, we understand the process of launching a TNC. We understand that it takes a lot of time and effort. And we understand the industry. We can be there for you every step of the way to help make sure that you understand too.

If you have questions or are seeking further guidance, please don’t hesitate to contact us via phone or email. We would love to help you get your TNC off the ground and paired with an insurer that’s right for you.

Insurance Coverage For Your Rental Car Fleet in California

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Rental Car Fleet Insurance Coverage in California

Do you own or operate a rental car service? Are you looking to partner with a transportation network company in California? Nowadays there are multiple ways to get into this ever-growing transportation industry. The rise of ridesharing apps and on-demand delivery apps utilizing rental car fleets in recent years, has more and more entrepreneurs looking to start their own transportation companies. The proper fleet insurance is essential in getting your business off the ground.

With the ever-changing market comes the requirement of insurance policies that can accommodate the unique needs of each business. There is no one insurance policy that fits all that’s why American Business Insurance Services, Inc. is able to find you the right insurance policy for your rental car fleet based off your individual needs. Skip the hassle of comparing multiple insurance quotes based off daunting numbers and endless calls with salespersons and representatives. As an independent agency, American Business Insurance Services, Inc. has direct relationships with all insurance companies currently writing specialized policies for transportation companies such as rental car fleets.

Different Types of Rental Car Fleets

As mentioned earlier, the barriers to enter the rental car industry is getting lower in recent years due to the growth of ridesharing apps and on-demand delivery services. More and more people are choosing to travel in vehicles not their own, as well as relying on on-demand drivers to deliver special goods. Especially in places like Los Angeles and San Francisco where traffic is really bad. The new trend of people relying on services of rental car fleets or other on-demand transportation services continues to rise. On top of that, California is by far the biggest automotive market in the United States.

In California people are more dependent on cars than public transit making California a great location to start a rental car fleet company. Whether you own a car rental company servicing travelers and businessmen, or a car dealership providing rental cars to customers, or you are simply an entrepreneur renting your own cars to other people, you will need fleet insurance to cover your company. Luckily at American Business Insurance Services, Inc. we have the connections and expertise to help you find the best insurance coverage for your rental car fleet.

Fleet Insurance – What does It Cover?

Whether your rental car fleet is working with a Transportation Network Company or on its own, the most important coverages to have for your rental car fleet are liability and physical damage. The transportation industry is a high-risk industry and it is important to have coverage for liability and physical damage. Living in California, you’ve probably seen a fair share of accidents on a daily basis on the highways. Accidents do happen, and the cold truth is the more miles your rental car fleet operates, the higher the chance that one of your drivers is involved in an incident.

In case of an incident, proper coverage for liability and collision will give you peace of mind as a business owner by knowing that your rental car fleet is protected on the road. Liability coverage is a must for rental car businesses, because it protects your fleet from potential negligence and mechanical failures.

There are coverage options that will cover all of the cars in your rental fleet, and also coverages that apply to drivers. There are policies for short-term car rentals or ones that operate on a pay-by-mile basis. That all depends on what kind of business you own and operate!

As your business grows, so does your need for more coverage. American Business Insurance Services, Inc. will help you adjust your limits accordingly to make sure you have proper coverage. Our friendly representatives will work with you and your company to fully understand your needs.

Additional Coverages For Rental Car Fleet Insurance

The number of fleet trucks, vans and SUVs on the roads in the U.S. is over 11.7 million. In Los Angeles alone, there are over 6 million vehicles in urbanized areas. The transportation sector is an ever-growing industry. As your company fleet grows, you may want to consider additional coverages such as inland marine coverage to protect any cargo or goods you are transporting.  You may also want to consider raising your liability coverage limits when you have more drivers, because the truth is the bigger your business is the more you have to lose!

Most insurance policies will cover the State’s mandated minimum insurance coverage that include liability and collision coverage. Additional coverages to consider would be roadside assistance, uninsured motorist coverage, and other coverages such as theft and vandalism. Consider the scope of your business, where you operate out of, and any special needs that you require.

Fleet Insurance – How Much Will It Cost

While there is no one single answer to this question, there are some indicators that will help you determine the costs of your fleet insurance plan. Typically, the more drivers and vehicles you have on your fleet, the more expensive the policy is. For example, consider the value of your vehicles – do you own a fleet of luxury European import cars? That is going to cost relatively more to maintain and fix, than say a fleet of economy cars. However, if the cars in your fleet are more likely to break down you run the risk of an increased premium. Another thing to consider is the intended use of your rental car vehicles. Are you using the fleet to transport people? That is going to cost more than  if you own a fleet of service vehicles (plumbers, electricians, etc) that are intended for special uses.

There is no single answer to how much it’s going to cost to insure your rental car fleet, but American Business Insurance Services, Inc will be able to cater to your needs and provide you with a quote in a short amount of time. Get Quote Now

How To Save Money on Rental Car Fleet Insurance

Typically to save money in a competitive insurance marketplace, you’d need to compare the different price offerings from different companies. American Business Insurance Services, Inc. differs from its competitors by its ability to work with different insurance companies writing specialized policies to provide you with a comprehensive coverage package. Located in the Los Angeles metropolitan area, American Business Insurance Services, Inc. has connections not only in California but with insurance providers nationwide. Tell us about your business, and we will do the research and get back to you with a policy that best fits your rental car fleet company.

Other ways to save on your premium is to reduce your coverage, but sometimes this wouldn’t be viable because of your business needs. While this certainly is an option for personal auto coverages, we wouldn’t recommend this for businesses like a rental car fleet. Another way to save on insurance premium is to raise your deductible amount. While this can seem like a cost-saving option in the short term, be sure that your business can pay the deductible when an incident arises.

Look into the regulations and mandated minimums in the State of California. Have an idea of what the minimum cost is going to be and know what your business is looking for. The easiest and best ways to save on an insurance policy is to combine multiple policies under the same provider and maintain a good driving record!

Get an Insurance Quote for Your Rental Car Fleet

In conclusion, you should look into fleet insurance policies if you have multiple vehicles in your transportation network company. Fleet Insurance makes managing your business and expenses easier, because no matter how many cars are in your fleet, one policy covers all! Whether you own a rental car company in California, or you’re just starting a business and looking to purchase a fleet of your own, you should purchase comprehensive insurance coverage. Tell us about your fleet company and we will help you find the best customizable insurance policy!

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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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  Top 5 Issues When Choosing Lyft or Uber vs Taxi

Top 5 Issues When Choosing Lyft or Uber vs Taxi

Written by Laura Loftus on Wednesday, December 5th, 2018

lyft or uber vs taxi ridesharing cost and safety

With travel increasing as we approach the holidays, many of us default to using a Lyft or Uber vs Taxi because we are under the impression that it’s faster, cheaper and all around more convenient than taking a taxi. However, I have a different perspective. As a west-coast based insurance broker who has clients all over the country, I tend travel about once every two months or so.

Most recently, I’ve visited San Francisco, New York City, Denver and Las Vegas for work meetings. I have to tell you, there were times where hopping into a cab was not only easier but also less money than their TNC counterparts.

Nowadays, people seem to think taxis are antiquated. But in reality, taxis are the same thing as an Uber or Lyft app, and I honestly feel safer in a cab. Here’s why.

1) Safety

Safety is my top concern when entering into a Lyft or Uber vs Taxi. For one, Uber and Lyft do not limit how long someone must have been licensed to drive for them. Someone could’ve moved to the US a few weeks ago, obtain a Driver’s License and as long as they have access to a qualifying car and pass a MINIMAL background check – they are approved. Nobody trains them, monitors them, or ensures that they are familiar with the area in which they drive.

The city highly regulates taxi drivers. They require taxi drivers to go through numerous EXTENSIVE background checks. Only then does the city in which they operate in allow them to start transporting people. Many cities require taxi and limo drivers to obtain a Hack License or Chauffeurs license. That means they have endured many hours of classroom-style and behind-the-wheel training.

Besides safety concerns regarding the driver, there are concerns around the vehicle. All taxi companies start their days by inspecting vehicles. They are required to get a vehicle inspection yearly to keep their operating permit. Lyft or Uber vs Taxi vehicles are not regulated at all. Once the driver is approved, there isn’t much regulation unless the ride share vehicle is in an accident.

With ride sharing, you are taking a risk as to who you are getting into a vehicle with. You could end up getting into a vehicle of someone with a criminal background who is dangerous. Even more concerning, I have heard of people leasing or renting out their Uber or Lyft accounts. So, for someone who doesn’t qualify themselves, they will find someone who does qualify. They’ll have to go through the approval process and use someone else’s account to work. That freaks me out, a lot.  When comparing Lyft or Uber vs Taxi, this type of situation would not happen. That’s because fleet owners know exactly who they are leasing the cab out too.

2) Insurance

Insurance issues are a huge concern when riding in a Lyft or Uber vs Taxi vehicle (and I’ll admit, I do use ride sharing apps regularly). Despite being an insurance broker who specializes in Public Auto

lyft or uber vs taxi ridesharing cost and safety

Transportation risks (specifically for-hire, livery businesses such as Taxi’s, Limo’s, Non-Emergency Medical Transportation, shuttles, etc), I often hop into a Lyft or Uber vs Taxi because, let’s face it, it’s super easy.  Hop on an app, order a car, and it will arrive in 4-5 minutes. This is especially the case when you’re in a residential or suburban area where cabs aren’t just lined in the street waiting for their next fare. I often think about what would happen if the car I am in was involved in an accident.

I am extremely knowledgeable on the coverages that Uber and Lyft’s insurance policy include and it’s spotty at best. For one, the driver and passenger are only covered if the app is on and the driver is logged in. What if there is a technical issue and the driver is logged out? If their phone dies, what now? What if they’re in an area with poor reception and the driver is disconnected from the app? A passenger could be held responsible for injuries incurred. Additionally, the majority of ride share drivers do not have commercial insurance. Plus, Uber and Lyft require drivers to turn the claim into their personal auto carrier before they’ll accept liability.

Commercial auto insurance is expensive, about 2 – 5 times higher than personal auto and most ride share drivers do not buy it because their profit margin on operating is thin. They pay for the vehicle itself, maintenance of the vehicle, gas and almost every TNC driver who calls for a quote on commercial auto insurance so that they can be properly insured does not buy it because no one is making them. This means the only coverage they have for their vehicle and the passengers is through Uber or Lyft, which all hinges on the driver being logged into the app.

3) Accessibility

lyft or uber vs taxi ridesharing cost and safetyAccessibility and ease of getting a ride from an airport, in my opinion is far greater for a taxi than a ride sharing unit. When deciding on an Lyft or Uber vs Taxi, typically, I exit a plane and walk straight to a taxi to my destination. I don’t have to rely on my signal being strong enough for the app to work. I don’t have to wait for the car to come through traffic or walk to somewhere off the premises to get a ride. In some airports, they don’t allow ride share units to pick up. If they do, you often have to go up a level to the departure area or walk to a far end of the airport. When I get off a plane, I personally prefer to get straight into a car and quickly be on my way.

On my last trip to San Francisco, I saw a sign that said Ride Share pick up and I could see a side walk with several waiting areas. According to my app, Ride Share would be about 75% of the cost of a cab. I looked at the taxi line and it was empty and there was car waiting. For experimental purposes, I sacrificed my usual cab ride for a Lyft ride to see if it was actually faster and cheaper. I logged into my Lyft app and requested a vehicle. Because the airport was busy, it took 5 minutes for a driver to accept my ride plus 15 minutes for them to actually pull up to the curb. The whole time I kept my eye on the taxi line. I watched person after person get into a cab and drive away.

I wanted to cancel my ride as I had a meeting to get to, but I wanted to complete the experiment. When my driver arrived, the car was new and clean. No complaints. But by the time we sat in traffic and crossed the Bay Bridge from Oakland into San Francisco, the price was literally the same as a taxi. And it delayed my arrival by 30 minutes.

4) Pricing

lyft or uber vs taxi ridesharing cost and safety

Pricing for a ride share trip isn’t consistent. Taxi’s are transparent on how much they charge and most have the pricing displayed on the vehicle. During my last trip to Las Vegas, I spoke with a conference attendee. She complained the surge pricing was triple that of a taxi when she wanted dinner on the strip. And the taxi was ready to go right there. I also found this to be true during my last trip to Denver.

I’ve gone two years in a row for three days of Phish. The band is best known for their musical improvisation, extended jams largely influenced by Grateful Dead, Led Zeppelin, and their dedicated fanbase. The first year we went, we tried to order a Lyft. The price was about $150 to literally go 11 miles!

At 7 am in Times Square, I left my hotel.  My return flight home awaited. It was 30 degrees outside with some expected snow. Out of habit, I opened by Lyft app to find a driver 4 minutes away. As I exited the warm hotel lobby to the frigid air of the NYC streets, I saw a cab waiting right there. I waited a few minutes staring at my phone as the Lyft driver slowly creeped through traffic up the block. I asked the driver if he was available to take me to the airport, and he was. So, I cancelled that Lyft ride and walked straight into a fully insured, inspected vehicle with a professional trained driver. It was a flat fee of $55 which was the same price my Lyft app was quoting had I waited for it.

5) Supporting a local business

lyft or uber vs taxi ridesharing cost and safety

Supporting a local business rather than the corporate monopoly is another reason to consider when deciding between a Lyft or Uber vs Taxi. In a world where Google and Amazon dominate, it’s gratifying to support the local population directly. Most cab companies are the result of families passing down their businesses from generation to generation. In today’s world, it feels as if many businesses are struggling because of the monopoly of corporations that are taking over in so many industries.

It’s hard for me to be ok with living in a world where everything is giant corporation. What does that mean for the rest of us? As the world changes and modes of transportation evolve, many feel taxi cabs will one day be extinct. But many taxi companies are revitalizing and evolving their business models to withstand the test of time. They are upping their standards when it comes to the quality of vehicles they buy. Moreover, they are investing in technology to create booking apps so that they can appeal to the smart-phone dependent generation.

 

Although Uber and Lyft may seem like the cheaper and more convenient option, I strongly urge you to think about all of the above issues around big box ride sharing companies. Is it really worth risking your time, your wallet and most importantly your life – all because it feels easier?

 

More about us: American Business Insurance for taxi companies: https://abiweb.com/services/taxicab-insurance/

How ABI is Protecting HyreCar

How ABI is Protecting Hyrecar

Ride-sharing services are taking the world of transportation by storm. Uber and Lyft are constantly relied on both by riders who need to get places efficiently, and by those who are employed by either company. However, many people are not aware that vehicles must meet certain standards in order to provide rides by Uber and Lyft. Due to these specific requirements for cars, many who desire to drive for the ride-sharing service aren’t allowed the opportunity. There was nothing they could do- until Hyrecar.

The Solution

HyreCar has arrived as the first car-matching service that works hand in hand with Uber and Lyft. The concept is simple: for those who desire to drive but don’t have a car that meets the requirements, HyreCar allows you to rent one and get right to work. Most issues that are preventing certain cars from qualifying for Uber and Lyft are simply problems that are typical of older vehicles. Its a lot to ask of someone to make them purchase an entirely new vehicle just to pass the restrictions test. In turn, less people would drive for Uber and Lyft, which hurts both the would-be drivers and the companies themselves.

The Process

HyreCar realized the very simple solution to this problem, and the founders were shocked when they found that no one had discovered this niche market yet. HyreCar’s platform is easy to use, while still being thorough. It allows car owners to post their vehicles that are up for rental, and when drivers find one they want, they create a profile. This profile includes information such as driver’s license and social security numbers, and drivers can pay just by entering their credit card information into the platform. HyreCar’s founders believe that their screening process for drivers is even stricter than those of Uber and Lyft, checking things like criminal records, DMV records, and sex-offender databases.

Everybody Wins

Thanks to HyreCar, everybody involved benefits in some way. Cars that would otherwise be sitting in a garage or not in use somewhere are making their owners money. Those who wish to be drivers are given an easy way to fulfill that desire without buying a whole new car. Uber and Lyft have more drivers for their companies and therefore generate more business. HyreCar benefits by charging drivers that rent from them a 10% fee and car owners a 15% fee.

How ABI is Covering HyreCar

American Business Insurance is providing HyreCar with a unique insurance policy to ensure the highest level of safety for both the drivers and riders. When a driver is not driving for a ride-sharing platform but is still in possession of the rented car, they are covered by ABI’s policy that covers both the riders and drivers. When they are driving for a ride-sharing platform with the rented car, the insurance defaults to the state-mandated policy provided by the respective ride-sharing company.

As far as HyreCar is aware, they are the only car-matching service that utilizes a unique insurance policy such as the one provided by American Business Insurance. Thanks to ABI, HyreCar now has a competitive advantage that will likely continue to garner success for the company.

TNC Insurance: Insure your Transportation Network Company in California

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What is a Transportation Network Company?

Transportation network companies, TNC for short, are companies that fall under the umbrella of ridesharing. Uber, Lyft and DoorDash are the obvious examples of extremely successful TNCs. Any company that hires people as individual contractors and employs a shared-economy type business model can be considered a Transportation Network Company. A Transportation Network Company is required to have TNC insurance.

Since the early 2010s, the TNC industry has taken off at a rapid pace especially in California’s large urban cities. The impact of Transportation Network Companies in cities has resulted in a decline in public transportation in recent years. San Francisco has become ground zero for a lot of the giants that dominate the ridesharing industry such as Uber and Lyft. The next big Transportation Network Company in California could be your business, but first insurance!

TNC insurance

If you’re reading this, you’re probably looking for the necessary information to grow or get your TNC off the ground. One of the most important steps required for your business venture is to make sure your drivers and passengers are protected with TNC insurance. Keep reading to find out how to make sure your Transportation Network Company is properly insured and protected.

Where to start with TNC insurance

Being in the TNC industry, it may be difficult to find the proper broker that is able to provide TNC insurance. Most everyday insurance companies are most likely not willing to insure a rideshare company due to the high-risk nature of the industry. Insurance companies that write specific policies for TNC insurance are generally specialized brokers who focus on this unique marketplace.

TNC insurance

Luckily for you, here at American Business Insurance Services, we have a direct line to brokers that provide TNC insurance. With 35 years of experience insuring a wide variety of corporate auto fleets, we know exactly what these insurers are looking for in order to get you the best policy.

Questions you may have while looking for TNC insurance:

  • Why you need TNC insurance
  • Types of TNC insurance
  • How to prepare for a quote

Why you need TNC insurance

While researching insurance options for your Transportation Network Company you will quickly realize personal auto insurance doesn’t cover commercial use. However, commercial insurance doesn’t cover independent TNC drivers, even while driving for the company. Therefore, you need TNC insurance for your company to ensure your passengers and drivers are covered incase of an incident.

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners, NAIC, have identified three specific periods TNC drivers are not covered by their personal auto insurance.

  • First period: when drivers have signed into the application but have not yet been matched with a customer.
  • Second period: when drivers are on their way to pick up the customer.
  • Third period: when the driver has picked up the customer and is taking them to their destination.

Types of TNC insurance

In addition, there are two different types of TNC insurance coverage. The first being auto liability insurance for your Transportation Network Company. Auto liability insurance is required by law and protects you as well as your business when you’re at fault in an automobile accident.

Depending upon the coverage, most auto liability insurance covers your company from financial losses surrounding vehicle damage and medical bills of the passengers involved. In other words, auto liability insurance will pay for the damage to other people and their property for which you’re responsible. Furthermore, auto liability insurance usually covers the second and third periods of TNC driving listed in the bullets above.

As for the other type of TNC insurance, there is physical damage insurance. The purpose of physical damage insurance is to protect shared company vehicles from damages. Whether the driver was at fault or not.

To elaborate, physical damage insurance can cover damage caused to your vehicle that is out of your control. For example, vandalism, theft, fire, accidents involving animals, acts of nature, etc. Physical damage insurance also covers at-fault damage caused to the vehicle. However at-fault damage is usually only covered when said damage is caused by the scheduled driver.

TNC insurance

If you want to read more extensively about TNC insurance coverage provided by American Business Insurance Services, Inc. click here

How to prepare for a TNC Insurance quote

If you’re looking to establish your TNC as the next Uber or Lyft, there is a lot of preparations to be made before doing so. Insurers need to do an in-depth analysis of your company before being able to provide you with a quote for TNC insurance. Therefore, in the interest of time, it’s best to have made these preparations before contacting the insurer.

TNC insurance

1. Build the app

One of the first things you want to do is make sure your app is properly constructed and optimized for collecting favorable data points. For example, average speed. If you can prove that, on average, your drivers drive below the speed limit, you’re more likely to get a lower quote than if they tended to speed.

Furthermore, insurance companies want to be able to know things such as: when a trip starts and stops, number of miles per trip and duration of each trip. Therefore, it’s beneficial to both you and your insurer if you have built and optimized the app before contacting for a TNC insurance quote.

2. Business plan and projections

For the most part, this is all relatively simple information you may or may not have already put together when looking for investors. This should include things such as your plans for company growth. How you plan on monitoring and enforcing safety/loss control. And Finally, a set plan on how your company plans on making a ROI.

3. Safety and Training

Due to the nature of their business, insurers are going to care a great deal about safety. They are going to want to see that you have the proper rules, regulations and restrictions in place in order for your company to operate as safely as possible. They’re also going to want to know how often you plan on/provide training to your drivers for a variety of different things.

Insurers are going to want to know a lot about your hiring practices. How old are the youngest drivers you’d be willing to hire? How often do you have them background checked? These are all important questions that will need to be answered in order to get the best TNC insurance quote.

4. Financial balance sheet

Insurers are interested in this information because they want to see two things. First they want to see that you will be able to pay for, and continue paying for, the policy they provide you with. Second they want to see that your company will have the ability to stay afloat until you start turning a profit. The latter is mostly due to the fact that many TNCs don’t start turning a profit in their first year of operation.

5. Other information

Finally, insurers want to see information that will lend further credibility to your name. One thing that will help you accomplish this is information on your investors. Not only do insurers want to get to know your TNC, but they also want to get to know the source of the money behind the TNC. Writing bios on company executives and investors is a good way to allow an insurer to get to know your TNC more thoroughly.

Another thing that helps in regard to the lending of credibility to your name is a summary of your terms of service and privacy conditions. This is where you want to show the insurer that you have policies in place to protect your customer.

Guidance for finding TNC Insurance from American Business Insurance Services

While this may seem like a lot of information to gather for an insurance quote. Insurers need to see this information in order to make sure they are able to match you with the best TNC insurance provider and get you the best policy. Furthermore, insurers are looking for long term, mutually beneficial relationships. Supplying them with this information is an excellent way to build a positive and long standing relationship with your TNC Insurance provider.

Here at American Business Insurance Services, we understand the process of launching a TNC. We understand that it takes a lot of time and effort. And we understand the industry. We can be there for you every step of the way to help make sure that you understand too.

If you have questions or are seeking further guidance, please don’t hesitate to contact us via phone or email. We would love to help you get your TNC off the ground and paired with an insurer that’s right for you.

Insurance Coverage For Your Rental Car Fleet in California

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Rental Car Fleet Insurance Coverage in California

Do you own or operate a rental car service? Are you looking to partner with a transportation network company in California? Nowadays there are multiple ways to get into this ever-growing transportation industry. The rise of ridesharing apps and on-demand delivery apps utilizing rental car fleets in recent years, has more and more entrepreneurs looking to start their own transportation companies. The proper fleet insurance is essential in getting your business off the ground.

With the ever-changing market comes the requirement of insurance policies that can accommodate the unique needs of each business. There is no one insurance policy that fits all that’s why American Business Insurance Services, Inc. is able to find you the right insurance policy for your rental car fleet based off your individual needs. Skip the hassle of comparing multiple insurance quotes based off daunting numbers and endless calls with salespersons and representatives. As an independent agency, American Business Insurance Services, Inc. has direct relationships with all insurance companies currently writing specialized policies for transportation companies such as rental car fleets.

Different Types of Rental Car Fleets

As mentioned earlier, the barriers to enter the rental car industry is getting lower in recent years due to the growth of ridesharing apps and on-demand delivery services. More and more people are choosing to travel in vehicles not their own, as well as relying on on-demand drivers to deliver special goods. Especially in places like Los Angeles and San Francisco where traffic is really bad. The new trend of people relying on services of rental car fleets or other on-demand transportation services continues to rise. On top of that, California is by far the biggest automotive market in the United States.

In California people are more dependent on cars than public transit making California a great location to start a rental car fleet company. Whether you own a car rental company servicing travelers and businessmen, or a car dealership providing rental cars to customers, or you are simply an entrepreneur renting your own cars to other people, you will need fleet insurance to cover your company. Luckily at American Business Insurance Services, Inc. we have the connections and expertise to help you find the best insurance coverage for your rental car fleet.

Fleet Insurance – What does It Cover?

Whether your rental car fleet is working with a Transportation Network Company or on its own, the most important coverages to have for your rental car fleet are liability and physical damage. The transportation industry is a high-risk industry and it is important to have coverage for liability and physical damage. Living in California, you’ve probably seen a fair share of accidents on a daily basis on the highways. Accidents do happen, and the cold truth is the more miles your rental car fleet operates, the higher the chance that one of your drivers is involved in an incident.

In case of an incident, proper coverage for liability and collision will give you peace of mind as a business owner by knowing that your rental car fleet is protected on the road. Liability coverage is a must for rental car businesses, because it protects your fleet from potential negligence and mechanical failures.

There are coverage options that will cover all of the cars in your rental fleet, and also coverages that apply to drivers. There are policies for short-term car rentals or ones that operate on a pay-by-mile basis. That all depends on what kind of business you own and operate!

As your business grows, so does your need for more coverage. American Business Insurance Services, Inc. will help you adjust your limits accordingly to make sure you have proper coverage. Our friendly representatives will work with you and your company to fully understand your needs.

Additional Coverages For Rental Car Fleet Insurance

The number of fleet trucks, vans and SUVs on the roads in the U.S. is over 11.7 million. In Los Angeles alone, there are over 6 million vehicles in urbanized areas. The transportation sector is an ever-growing industry. As your company fleet grows, you may want to consider additional coverages such as inland marine coverage to protect any cargo or goods you are transporting.  You may also want to consider raising your liability coverage limits when you have more drivers, because the truth is the bigger your business is the more you have to lose!

Most insurance policies will cover the State’s mandated minimum insurance coverage that include liability and collision coverage. Additional coverages to consider would be roadside assistance, uninsured motorist coverage, and other coverages such as theft and vandalism. Consider the scope of your business, where you operate out of, and any special needs that you require.

Fleet Insurance – How Much Will It Cost

While there is no one single answer to this question, there are some indicators that will help you determine the costs of your fleet insurance plan. Typically, the more drivers and vehicles you have on your fleet, the more expensive the policy is. For example, consider the value of your vehicles – do you own a fleet of luxury European import cars? That is going to cost relatively more to maintain and fix, than say a fleet of economy cars. However, if the cars in your fleet are more likely to break down you run the risk of an increased premium. Another thing to consider is the intended use of your rental car vehicles. Are you using the fleet to transport people? That is going to cost more than  if you own a fleet of service vehicles (plumbers, electricians, etc) that are intended for special uses.

There is no single answer to how much it’s going to cost to insure your rental car fleet, but American Business Insurance Services, Inc will be able to cater to your needs and provide you with a quote in a short amount of time. Get Quote Now

How To Save Money on Rental Car Fleet Insurance

Typically to save money in a competitive insurance marketplace, you’d need to compare the different price offerings from different companies. American Business Insurance Services, Inc. differs from its competitors by its ability to work with different insurance companies writing specialized policies to provide you with a comprehensive coverage package. Located in the Los Angeles metropolitan area, American Business Insurance Services, Inc. has connections not only in California but with insurance providers nationwide. Tell us about your business, and we will do the research and get back to you with a policy that best fits your rental car fleet company.

Other ways to save on your premium is to reduce your coverage, but sometimes this wouldn’t be viable because of your business needs. While this certainly is an option for personal auto coverages, we wouldn’t recommend this for businesses like a rental car fleet. Another way to save on insurance premium is to raise your deductible amount. While this can seem like a cost-saving option in the short term, be sure that your business can pay the deductible when an incident arises.

Look into the regulations and mandated minimums in the State of California. Have an idea of what the minimum cost is going to be and know what your business is looking for. The easiest and best ways to save on an insurance policy is to combine multiple policies under the same provider and maintain a good driving record!

Get an Insurance Quote for Your Rental Car Fleet

In conclusion, you should look into fleet insurance policies if you have multiple vehicles in your transportation network company. Fleet Insurance makes managing your business and expenses easier, because no matter how many cars are in your fleet, one policy covers all! Whether you own a rental car company in California, or you’re just starting a business and looking to purchase a fleet of your own, you should purchase comprehensive insurance coverage. Tell us about your fleet company and we will help you find the best customizable insurance policy!

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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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  Top 5 Issues When Choosing Lyft or Uber vs Taxi

Top 5 Issues When Choosing Lyft or Uber vs Taxi

Written by Laura Loftus on Wednesday, December 5th, 2018

lyft or uber vs taxi ridesharing cost and safety

With travel increasing as we approach the holidays, many of us default to using a Lyft or Uber vs Taxi because we are under the impression that it’s faster, cheaper and all around more convenient than taking a taxi. However, I have a different perspective. As a west-coast based insurance broker who has clients all over the country, I tend travel about once every two months or so.

Most recently, I’ve visited San Francisco, New York City, Denver and Las Vegas for work meetings. I have to tell you, there were times where hopping into a cab was not only easier but also less money than their TNC counterparts.

Nowadays, people seem to think taxis are antiquated. But in reality, taxis are the same thing as an Uber or Lyft app, and I honestly feel safer in a cab. Here’s why.

1) Safety

Safety is my top concern when entering into a Lyft or Uber vs Taxi. For one, Uber and Lyft do not limit how long someone must have been licensed to drive for them. Someone could’ve moved to the US a few weeks ago, obtain a Driver’s License and as long as they have access to a qualifying car and pass a MINIMAL background check – they are approved. Nobody trains them, monitors them, or ensures that they are familiar with the area in which they drive.

The city highly regulates taxi drivers. They require taxi drivers to go through numerous EXTENSIVE background checks. Only then does the city in which they operate in allow them to start transporting people. Many cities require taxi and limo drivers to obtain a Hack License or Chauffeurs license. That means they have endured many hours of classroom-style and behind-the-wheel training.

Besides safety concerns regarding the driver, there are concerns around the vehicle. All taxi companies start their days by inspecting vehicles. They are required to get a vehicle inspection yearly to keep their operating permit. Lyft or Uber vs Taxi vehicles are not regulated at all. Once the driver is approved, there isn’t much regulation unless the ride share vehicle is in an accident.

With ride sharing, you are taking a risk as to who you are getting into a vehicle with. You could end up getting into a vehicle of someone with a criminal background who is dangerous. Even more concerning, I have heard of people leasing or renting out their Uber or Lyft accounts. So, for someone who doesn’t qualify themselves, they will find someone who does qualify. They’ll have to go through the approval process and use someone else’s account to work. That freaks me out, a lot.  When comparing Lyft or Uber vs Taxi, this type of situation would not happen. That’s because fleet owners know exactly who they are leasing the cab out too.

2) Insurance

Insurance issues are a huge concern when riding in a Lyft or Uber vs Taxi vehicle (and I’ll admit, I do use ride sharing apps regularly). Despite being an insurance broker who specializes in Public Auto

lyft or uber vs taxi ridesharing cost and safety

Transportation risks (specifically for-hire, livery businesses such as Taxi’s, Limo’s, Non-Emergency Medical Transportation, shuttles, etc), I often hop into a Lyft or Uber vs Taxi because, let’s face it, it’s super easy.  Hop on an app, order a car, and it will arrive in 4-5 minutes. This is especially the case when you’re in a residential or suburban area where cabs aren’t just lined in the street waiting for their next fare. I often think about what would happen if the car I am in was involved in an accident.

I am extremely knowledgeable on the coverages that Uber and Lyft’s insurance policy include and it’s spotty at best. For one, the driver and passenger are only covered if the app is on and the driver is logged in. What if there is a technical issue and the driver is logged out? If their phone dies, what now? What if they’re in an area with poor reception and the driver is disconnected from the app? A passenger could be held responsible for injuries incurred. Additionally, the majority of ride share drivers do not have commercial insurance. Plus, Uber and Lyft require drivers to turn the claim into their personal auto carrier before they’ll accept liability.

Commercial auto insurance is expensive, about 2 – 5 times higher than personal auto and most ride share drivers do not buy it because their profit margin on operating is thin. They pay for the vehicle itself, maintenance of the vehicle, gas and almost every TNC driver who calls for a quote on commercial auto insurance so that they can be properly insured does not buy it because no one is making them. This means the only coverage they have for their vehicle and the passengers is through Uber or Lyft, which all hinges on the driver being logged into the app.

3) Accessibility

lyft or uber vs taxi ridesharing cost and safetyAccessibility and ease of getting a ride from an airport, in my opinion is far greater for a taxi than a ride sharing unit. When deciding on an Lyft or Uber vs Taxi, typically, I exit a plane and walk straight to a taxi to my destination. I don’t have to rely on my signal being strong enough for the app to work. I don’t have to wait for the car to come through traffic or walk to somewhere off the premises to get a ride. In some airports, they don’t allow ride share units to pick up. If they do, you often have to go up a level to the departure area or walk to a far end of the airport. When I get off a plane, I personally prefer to get straight into a car and quickly be on my way.

On my last trip to San Francisco, I saw a sign that said Ride Share pick up and I could see a side walk with several waiting areas. According to my app, Ride Share would be about 75% of the cost of a cab. I looked at the taxi line and it was empty and there was car waiting. For experimental purposes, I sacrificed my usual cab ride for a Lyft ride to see if it was actually faster and cheaper. I logged into my Lyft app and requested a vehicle. Because the airport was busy, it took 5 minutes for a driver to accept my ride plus 15 minutes for them to actually pull up to the curb. The whole time I kept my eye on the taxi line. I watched person after person get into a cab and drive away.

I wanted to cancel my ride as I had a meeting to get to, but I wanted to complete the experiment. When my driver arrived, the car was new and clean. No complaints. But by the time we sat in traffic and crossed the Bay Bridge from Oakland into San Francisco, the price was literally the same as a taxi. And it delayed my arrival by 30 minutes.

4) Pricing

lyft or uber vs taxi ridesharing cost and safety

Pricing for a ride share trip isn’t consistent. Taxi’s are transparent on how much they charge and most have the pricing displayed on the vehicle. During my last trip to Las Vegas, I spoke with a conference attendee. She complained the surge pricing was triple that of a taxi when she wanted dinner on the strip. And the taxi was ready to go right there. I also found this to be true during my last trip to Denver.

I’ve gone two years in a row for three days of Phish. The band is best known for their musical improvisation, extended jams largely influenced by Grateful Dead, Led Zeppelin, and their dedicated fanbase. The first year we went, we tried to order a Lyft. The price was about $150 to literally go 11 miles!

At 7 am in Times Square, I left my hotel.  My return flight home awaited. It was 30 degrees outside with some expected snow. Out of habit, I opened by Lyft app to find a driver 4 minutes away. As I exited the warm hotel lobby to the frigid air of the NYC streets, I saw a cab waiting right there. I waited a few minutes staring at my phone as the Lyft driver slowly creeped through traffic up the block. I asked the driver if he was available to take me to the airport, and he was. So, I cancelled that Lyft ride and walked straight into a fully insured, inspected vehicle with a professional trained driver. It was a flat fee of $55 which was the same price my Lyft app was quoting had I waited for it.

5) Supporting a local business

lyft or uber vs taxi ridesharing cost and safety

Supporting a local business rather than the corporate monopoly is another reason to consider when deciding between a Lyft or Uber vs Taxi. In a world where Google and Amazon dominate, it’s gratifying to support the local population directly. Most cab companies are the result of families passing down their businesses from generation to generation. In today’s world, it feels as if many businesses are struggling because of the monopoly of corporations that are taking over in so many industries.

It’s hard for me to be ok with living in a world where everything is giant corporation. What does that mean for the rest of us? As the world changes and modes of transportation evolve, many feel taxi cabs will one day be extinct. But many taxi companies are revitalizing and evolving their business models to withstand the test of time. They are upping their standards when it comes to the quality of vehicles they buy. Moreover, they are investing in technology to create booking apps so that they can appeal to the smart-phone dependent generation.

 

Although Uber and Lyft may seem like the cheaper and more convenient option, I strongly urge you to think about all of the above issues around big box ride sharing companies. Is it really worth risking your time, your wallet and most importantly your life – all because it feels easier?

 

More about us: American Business Insurance for taxi companies: https://abiweb.com/services/taxicab-insurance/

How ABI is Protecting HyreCar

How ABI is Protecting Hyrecar

Ride-sharing services are taking the world of transportation by storm. Uber and Lyft are constantly relied on both by riders who need to get places efficiently, and by those who are employed by either company. However, many people are not aware that vehicles must meet certain standards in order to provide rides by Uber and Lyft. Due to these specific requirements for cars, many who desire to drive for the ride-sharing service aren’t allowed the opportunity. There was nothing they could do- until Hyrecar.

The Solution

HyreCar has arrived as the first car-matching service that works hand in hand with Uber and Lyft. The concept is simple: for those who desire to drive but don’t have a car that meets the requirements, HyreCar allows you to rent one and get right to work. Most issues that are preventing certain cars from qualifying for Uber and Lyft are simply problems that are typical of older vehicles. Its a lot to ask of someone to make them purchase an entirely new vehicle just to pass the restrictions test. In turn, less people would drive for Uber and Lyft, which hurts both the would-be drivers and the companies themselves.

The Process

HyreCar realized the very simple solution to this problem, and the founders were shocked when they found that no one had discovered this niche market yet. HyreCar’s platform is easy to use, while still being thorough. It allows car owners to post their vehicles that are up for rental, and when drivers find one they want, they create a profile. This profile includes information such as driver’s license and social security numbers, and drivers can pay just by entering their credit card information into the platform. HyreCar’s founders believe that their screening process for drivers is even stricter than those of Uber and Lyft, checking things like criminal records, DMV records, and sex-offender databases.

Everybody Wins

Thanks to HyreCar, everybody involved benefits in some way. Cars that would otherwise be sitting in a garage or not in use somewhere are making their owners money. Those who wish to be drivers are given an easy way to fulfill that desire without buying a whole new car. Uber and Lyft have more drivers for their companies and therefore generate more business. HyreCar benefits by charging drivers that rent from them a 10% fee and car owners a 15% fee.

How ABI is Covering HyreCar

American Business Insurance is providing HyreCar with a unique insurance policy to ensure the highest level of safety for both the drivers and riders. When a driver is not driving for a ride-sharing platform but is still in possession of the rented car, they are covered by ABI’s policy that covers both the riders and drivers. When they are driving for a ride-sharing platform with the rented car, the insurance defaults to the state-mandated policy provided by the respective ride-sharing company.

As far as HyreCar is aware, they are the only car-matching service that utilizes a unique insurance policy such as the one provided by American Business Insurance. Thanks to ABI, HyreCar now has a competitive advantage that will likely continue to garner success for the company.

TNC Insurance: Insure your Transportation Network Company in California

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What is a Transportation Network Company?

Transportation network companies, TNC for short, are companies that fall under the umbrella of ridesharing. Uber, Lyft and DoorDash are the obvious examples of extremely successful TNCs. Any company that hires people as individual contractors and employs a shared-economy type business model can be considered a Transportation Network Company. A Transportation Network Company is required to have TNC insurance.

Since the early 2010s, the TNC industry has taken off at a rapid pace especially in California’s large urban cities. The impact of Transportation Network Companies in cities has resulted in a decline in public transportation in recent years. San Francisco has become ground zero for a lot of the giants that dominate the ridesharing industry such as Uber and Lyft. The next big Transportation Network Company in California could be your business, but first insurance!

TNC insurance

If you’re reading this, you’re probably looking for the necessary information to grow or get your TNC off the ground. One of the most important steps required for your business venture is to make sure your drivers and passengers are protected with TNC insurance. Keep reading to find out how to make sure your Transportation Network Company is properly insured and protected.

Where to start with TNC insurance

Being in the TNC industry, it may be difficult to find the proper broker that is able to provide TNC insurance. Most everyday insurance companies are most likely not willing to insure a rideshare company due to the high-risk nature of the industry. Insurance companies that write specific policies for TNC insurance are generally specialized brokers who focus on this unique marketplace.

TNC insurance

Luckily for you, here at American Business Insurance Services, we have a direct line to brokers that provide TNC insurance. With 35 years of experience insuring a wide variety of corporate auto fleets, we know exactly what these insurers are looking for in order to get you the best policy.

Questions you may have while looking for TNC insurance:

  • Why you need TNC insurance
  • Types of TNC insurance
  • How to prepare for a quote

Why you need TNC insurance

While researching insurance options for your Transportation Network Company you will quickly realize personal auto insurance doesn’t cover commercial use. However, commercial insurance doesn’t cover independent TNC drivers, even while driving for the company. Therefore, you need TNC insurance for your company to ensure your passengers and drivers are covered incase of an incident.

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners, NAIC, have identified three specific periods TNC drivers are not covered by their personal auto insurance.

  • First period: when drivers have signed into the application but have not yet been matched with a customer.
  • Second period: when drivers are on their way to pick up the customer.
  • Third period: when the driver has picked up the customer and is taking them to their destination.

Types of TNC insurance

In addition, there are two different types of TNC insurance coverage. The first being auto liability insurance for your Transportation Network Company. Auto liability insurance is required by law and protects you as well as your business when you’re at fault in an automobile accident.

Depending upon the coverage, most auto liability insurance covers your company from financial losses surrounding vehicle damage and medical bills of the passengers involved. In other words, auto liability insurance will pay for the damage to other people and their property for which you’re responsible. Furthermore, auto liability insurance usually covers the second and third periods of TNC driving listed in the bullets above.

As for the other type of TNC insurance, there is physical damage insurance. The purpose of physical damage insurance is to protect shared company vehicles from damages. Whether the driver was at fault or not.

To elaborate, physical damage insurance can cover damage caused to your vehicle that is out of your control. For example, vandalism, theft, fire, accidents involving animals, acts of nature, etc. Physical damage insurance also covers at-fault damage caused to the vehicle. However at-fault damage is usually only covered when said damage is caused by the scheduled driver.

TNC insurance

If you want to read more extensively about TNC insurance coverage provided by American Business Insurance Services, Inc. click here

How to prepare for a TNC Insurance quote

If you’re looking to establish your TNC as the next Uber or Lyft, there is a lot of preparations to be made before doing so. Insurers need to do an in-depth analysis of your company before being able to provide you with a quote for TNC insurance. Therefore, in the interest of time, it’s best to have made these preparations before contacting the insurer.

TNC insurance

1. Build the app

One of the first things you want to do is make sure your app is properly constructed and optimized for collecting favorable data points. For example, average speed. If you can prove that, on average, your drivers drive below the speed limit, you’re more likely to get a lower quote than if they tended to speed.

Furthermore, insurance companies want to be able to know things such as: when a trip starts and stops, number of miles per trip and duration of each trip. Therefore, it’s beneficial to both you and your insurer if you have built and optimized the app before contacting for a TNC insurance quote.

2. Business plan and projections

For the most part, this is all relatively simple information you may or may not have already put together when looking for investors. This should include things such as your plans for company growth. How you plan on monitoring and enforcing safety/loss control. And Finally, a set plan on how your company plans on making a ROI.

3. Safety and Training

Due to the nature of their business, insurers are going to care a great deal about safety. They are going to want to see that you have the proper rules, regulations and restrictions in place in order for your company to operate as safely as possible. They’re also going to want to know how often you plan on/provide training to your drivers for a variety of different things.

Insurers are going to want to know a lot about your hiring practices. How old are the youngest drivers you’d be willing to hire? How often do you have them background checked? These are all important questions that will need to be answered in order to get the best TNC insurance quote.

4. Financial balance sheet

Insurers are interested in this information because they want to see two things. First they want to see that you will be able to pay for, and continue paying for, the policy they provide you with. Second they want to see that your company will have the ability to stay afloat until you start turning a profit. The latter is mostly due to the fact that many TNCs don’t start turning a profit in their first year of operation.

5. Other information

Finally, insurers want to see information that will lend further credibility to your name. One thing that will help you accomplish this is information on your investors. Not only do insurers want to get to know your TNC, but they also want to get to know the source of the money behind the TNC. Writing bios on company executives and investors is a good way to allow an insurer to get to know your TNC more thoroughly.

Another thing that helps in regard to the lending of credibility to your name is a summary of your terms of service and privacy conditions. This is where you want to show the insurer that you have policies in place to protect your customer.

Guidance for finding TNC Insurance from American Business Insurance Services

While this may seem like a lot of information to gather for an insurance quote. Insurers need to see this information in order to make sure they are able to match you with the best TNC insurance provider and get you the best policy. Furthermore, insurers are looking for long term, mutually beneficial relationships. Supplying them with this information is an excellent way to build a positive and long standing relationship with your TNC Insurance provider.

Here at American Business Insurance Services, we understand the process of launching a TNC. We understand that it takes a lot of time and effort. And we understand the industry. We can be there for you every step of the way to help make sure that you understand too.

If you have questions or are seeking further guidance, please don’t hesitate to contact us via phone or email. We would love to help you get your TNC off the ground and paired with an insurer that’s right for you.

Insurance Coverage For Your Rental Car Fleet in California

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Rental Car Fleet Insurance Coverage in California

Do you own or operate a rental car service? Are you looking to partner with a transportation network company in California? Nowadays there are multiple ways to get into this ever-growing transportation industry. The rise of ridesharing apps and on-demand delivery apps utilizing rental car fleets in recent years, has more and more entrepreneurs looking to start their own transportation companies. The proper fleet insurance is essential in getting your business off the ground.

With the ever-changing market comes the requirement of insurance policies that can accommodate the unique needs of each business. There is no one insurance policy that fits all that’s why American Business Insurance Services, Inc. is able to find you the right insurance policy for your rental car fleet based off your individual needs. Skip the hassle of comparing multiple insurance quotes based off daunting numbers and endless calls with salespersons and representatives. As an independent agency, American Business Insurance Services, Inc. has direct relationships with all insurance companies currently writing specialized policies for transportation companies such as rental car fleets.

Different Types of Rental Car Fleets

As mentioned earlier, the barriers to enter the rental car industry is getting lower in recent years due to the growth of ridesharing apps and on-demand delivery services. More and more people are choosing to travel in vehicles not their own, as well as relying on on-demand drivers to deliver special goods. Especially in places like Los Angeles and San Francisco where traffic is really bad. The new trend of people relying on services of rental car fleets or other on-demand transportation services continues to rise. On top of that, California is by far the biggest automotive market in the United States.

In California people are more dependent on cars than public transit making California a great location to start a rental car fleet company. Whether you own a car rental company servicing travelers and businessmen, or a car dealership providing rental cars to customers, or you are simply an entrepreneur renting your own cars to other people, you will need fleet insurance to cover your company. Luckily at American Business Insurance Services, Inc. we have the connections and expertise to help you find the best insurance coverage for your rental car fleet.

Fleet Insurance – What does It Cover?

Whether your rental car fleet is working with a Transportation Network Company or on its own, the most important coverages to have for your rental car fleet are liability and physical damage. The transportation industry is a high-risk industry and it is important to have coverage for liability and physical damage. Living in California, you’ve probably seen a fair share of accidents on a daily basis on the highways. Accidents do happen, and the cold truth is the more miles your rental car fleet operates, the higher the chance that one of your drivers is involved in an incident.

In case of an incident, proper coverage for liability and collision will give you peace of mind as a business owner by knowing that your rental car fleet is protected on the road. Liability coverage is a must for rental car businesses, because it protects your fleet from potential negligence and mechanical failures.

There are coverage options that will cover all of the cars in your rental fleet, and also coverages that apply to drivers. There are policies for short-term car rentals or ones that operate on a pay-by-mile basis. That all depends on what kind of business you own and operate!

As your business grows, so does your need for more coverage. American Business Insurance Services, Inc. will help you adjust your limits accordingly to make sure you have proper coverage. Our friendly representatives will work with you and your company to fully understand your needs.

Additional Coverages For Rental Car Fleet Insurance

The number of fleet trucks, vans and SUVs on the roads in the U.S. is over 11.7 million. In Los Angeles alone, there are over 6 million vehicles in urbanized areas. The transportation sector is an ever-growing industry. As your company fleet grows, you may want to consider additional coverages such as inland marine coverage to protect any cargo or goods you are transporting.  You may also want to consider raising your liability coverage limits when you have more drivers, because the truth is the bigger your business is the more you have to lose!

Most insurance policies will cover the State’s mandated minimum insurance coverage that include liability and collision coverage. Additional coverages to consider would be roadside assistance, uninsured motorist coverage, and other coverages such as theft and vandalism. Consider the scope of your business, where you operate out of, and any special needs that you require.

Fleet Insurance – How Much Will It Cost

While there is no one single answer to this question, there are some indicators that will help you determine the costs of your fleet insurance plan. Typically, the more drivers and vehicles you have on your fleet, the more expensive the policy is. For example, consider the value of your vehicles – do you own a fleet of luxury European import cars? That is going to cost relatively more to maintain and fix, than say a fleet of economy cars. However, if the cars in your fleet are more likely to break down you run the risk of an increased premium. Another thing to consider is the intended use of your rental car vehicles. Are you using the fleet to transport people? That is going to cost more than  if you own a fleet of service vehicles (plumbers, electricians, etc) that are intended for special uses.

There is no single answer to how much it’s going to cost to insure your rental car fleet, but American Business Insurance Services, Inc will be able to cater to your needs and provide you with a quote in a short amount of time. Get Quote Now

How To Save Money on Rental Car Fleet Insurance

Typically to save money in a competitive insurance marketplace, you’d need to compare the different price offerings from different companies. American Business Insurance Services, Inc. differs from its competitors by its ability to work with different insurance companies writing specialized policies to provide you with a comprehensive coverage package. Located in the Los Angeles metropolitan area, American Business Insurance Services, Inc. has connections not only in California but with insurance providers nationwide. Tell us about your business, and we will do the research and get back to you with a policy that best fits your rental car fleet company.

Other ways to save on your premium is to reduce your coverage, but sometimes this wouldn’t be viable because of your business needs. While this certainly is an option for personal auto coverages, we wouldn’t recommend this for businesses like a rental car fleet. Another way to save on insurance premium is to raise your deductible amount. While this can seem like a cost-saving option in the short term, be sure that your business can pay the deductible when an incident arises.

Look into the regulations and mandated minimums in the State of California. Have an idea of what the minimum cost is going to be and know what your business is looking for. The easiest and best ways to save on an insurance policy is to combine multiple policies under the same provider and maintain a good driving record!

Get an Insurance Quote for Your Rental Car Fleet

In conclusion, you should look into fleet insurance policies if you have multiple vehicles in your transportation network company. Fleet Insurance makes managing your business and expenses easier, because no matter how many cars are in your fleet, one policy covers all! Whether you own a rental car company in California, or you’re just starting a business and looking to purchase a fleet of your own, you should purchase comprehensive insurance coverage. Tell us about your fleet company and we will help you find the best customizable insurance policy!

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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 driv