Surf Safety--Insurance Web Sites Share Risk Information

June 1, 2000
SAFETY is at the heart of the relationship between tank truck carrier and insurer. Avoiding risk and operating safely are the goals of both. The insurance

SAFETY is at the heart of the relationship between tank truck carrier and insurer. Avoiding risk and operating safely are the goals of both. The insurance industry, including brokers, consultants, and underwriting organizations, maintains web sites that can be a source for safety information whether one is a customer or not. Several sites reviewed in this article offer access to studies, publications, and general safety programs that can be of use to many tank truck carriers.

If it's time to review companies as possible insurance suppliers, the web sites have both general and specific information about their services. Some have application forms posted that can be e-mailed from the site. Others explain in detail what information must be provided the company seeking coverage. Following are samples of companies that serve this industry. AON Corporation, Chicago, Illinois, has current information about new OSHA proposed ergonomic standards. The topic is posted on the home page and can be read in synopsis form prepared by the company. For more information, a link to the OSHA web site is conveniently placed at the end of the summary.

Also available from the home page is a risk survey that enables companies to see how their risks stack up against others in the same industry. Seven risk categories are listed and people who are interested in the survey are asked to consider the potential impact each of the risk categories has on their company. Listed are financial, human capital, legal, natural disasters, operational, political, and technology. When the boxes are checked, a click will produce the results.

Other web site pages are devoted to transportation information. Services include automobile liability, motor truck cargo, worker compensation, claims administration, garagekeepers liability, general liability, physical damage coverages, owner operated programs, and garage liability. The web site of ECS Inc of Exton, Pennsylvania, has a section with transportation information for both carriers and tank cleaning facilities.

There are pages discussing claims and exposures that transportation companies have had to face. They also define the need for insurance coverage.

The transportation business unit of ECS, which specializes in environmental issues, provides services to transporters of hazardous or nonhazardous materials and/or waste, bulk tank, and industrial commodities. Under the transportation business unit, the company offers coverages for commercial automobile liability and physical damage, commercial general liability, pollution and remediation legal liability, pollution legal liability, property and inland marine, transporter's Superfund liability, umbrella liability, and worker compensation. A click on any of those services leads to more specific information.

ECS lists the details it will require from the prospective customer. For example, if worker compensation insurance is required, the company will require worker compensation ACORD application(s), two years financial statements, five years loss and premium history, and five years payroll history.

Because of its expertise in environmental concerns, ECS offers publications, newsletters, and other relative information from its library pages. Some of the topics relative to the transportation industry are hidden environmental exposures and exposures that transporters discover too late. Seminars scheduled by ECS for customers also are available. Freberg Environmental Inc of Denver, Colorado, is an insurance program managers company that features services for bulk carriers. A specialist in environmental services, the company has a web site that includes online applications and policy forms that can be downloaded.

Information for bulk carriers can be accessed via the products button in the index at the left of the page. Specific information pertaining to bulk carriers is listed in the Gulf Insurance Group, the company's carrier, that provides insurance packages for hazardous material and hazardous waste haulers.

Company products also include analytical testing laboratory program, Lloyds of London Insurance Package, and environmental surety market. Great West Casualty Company, South Sioux City, Nebraska, has just launched an updated web site. Customers can access a password-protected section designed to provide them with a variety of safety information. Scott Wilson, vice-president, says the web site customer section lists company safety engineers who can be contacted for consultations and offers various articles and newsletters. Customers can order various articles and videos through the e-mail links on the pages. The company has seminar dates and information easily reached on the site.

Customers can access information about their own company (and only their company) through password secured areas.

Great West has a lengthy links section that includes trucking industry associations, government agencies and departments, trucking industry news sources, and universities/academia.

For practical information, there are links to web sites that provide weather and traffic conditions. Liberty Mutual, Overland Park, Kansas, provides in-depth pages with information about safety programs for companies to consider using. A section is devoted to the transportation industry and is accessible from the home page. The safety services category lists topics on behavior safety readiness assessment and progress mapping, and corporate climate review - just to name a few.

The behavioral safety readiness assessment is designed to "help focus discussion on factors important for the success of a behavior-based safety process." Samples of the questions include those asked about the company's existing safety program, questions that many companies might want to ask themselves. They include:

-Does your location have an active safety management program that includes an active accident investigation program?

-Has your facility implemented feasible engineering safety controls but your safety initiatives have reached a plateau?

-Does your location accept that accidents and injuries are not a function of careless work habits or poor safety attitudes, but that accidents and injuries are caused by deficiencies in equipment, worker skills, and worker performance?

-Does your facility accept that the traditional safety measurements of accident frequency and severity cannot answer the question, "How safe are we?"

These pages are just a sample of the many resources on the web site. Vehicle accident prevention and other preventive information is posted. A resource library is handy for other information searching.

General information about the insurance services is available and is listed in a services index.