Reducing Auto Damage

Reducing Auto Physical Damage & Auto Liability Losses

By Matt Komac, Assistant Director - PC Pool Operations

What a year 2020 has been, especially for public education in Montana. While some districts have maintained a fully operational and open-school environment, many have had to implement a hybrid learning model. Still, others have had to completely shut down for a period of time. 

The unprecedented challenges and corresponding adjustments have, in many instances, lead to more extended assessment periods, as we have needed more time to gather and evaluate data when assessing our members’ Property and Liability exposures. And yet now, as we near the halfway mark of the school year, it’s surprising that we have not seen the reduction of auto physical damage and auto liability losses one might likely expect in the first half of FY21. 

Although various levels of COVID restrictions have limited the number of student activities requiring transportation, and though the number of students being transported to schools daily has likewise dropped, auto losses still make up 53% of our total Property & Liability losses year to date.

As you may know, one of our recent top risk-management priorities has been reducing auto physical damage and liability losses. The primary reason for addressing this problem has been captured in the old insurance adage “frequency leads to severity.” While fender benders may not seem like a big deal, the losses can become extremely costly, especially if there are injuries involved. When you hear that auto losses make up 53% of our PC claims reported year to date, you can see why this is our focus.

As a whole, the Property & Liability insurance industry is experiencing as hard of a market as we have ever seen. Although the self-insured pooling model that MSGIA has to offer helps stabilize the kinds of substantial price swings you might see in the commercial insurance market, we purchase reinsurance to protect pool assets, and, in turn, those costs do have a significant impact on our final member pricing. It is more important than ever that our members fully understand our effort to prevent these losses from occurring. Not only will this help avoid/reduce injuries to staff and students and reduce damage to property, but it will also positively affect your already tight school budgets when it comes time to pay your renewal premiums. 

Please educate your transportation departments and drivers about the importance of safely operating a motor vehicle each and every time they get behind the wheel. If they understand that over half of our losses involve the use of automobiles, they may likely be more inclined to help reduce that percentage. Below is a list of Safe School courses that can help you educate your employees involved in transportation. These courses are available to your staff at no cost to your district.        

Safe School Transportation Course Top 5:

  1. Defensive Driving – 19 minutes
  2. Distracted Driving – 12 minutes
  3. Transportation Safety – 29 minutes
  4. Winter Driving – 15 minutes
  5. City Driving – 15 minutes

Safe School Bus Transportation Course Top 5:

  1. Safety Best Practices – 47 minutes
  2. LLLC Defensive Driving – 31 minutes
  3. Intersections – 27 minutes
  4. Safe Backing – 12 minutes
  5. Adverse Conditions – 22 minutes

Thank you for everything you are doing for the students of Montana during this trying time. Return to newsletter