Wrecker Truck in Plains.
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Plains, city, Sumter county, southwest-central Georgia, U.S., 10 miles (16 km) west-southwest of Americus. A post office was established there in 1839, and when the railroad was built in 1885 several local settlements, including Magnolia Springs (or Village) and the Plains of Dura (named for the biblical plain near Babylon), regrouped to form Plains, which was incorporated in 1896. The city is at the centre of an agricultural region producing mainly peanuts (groundnuts). It became a tourist attraction in the late 1970s as the hometown of Jimmy Carter, 39th president of the United States; Carter returned there after completing his term in 1981. Jimmy Carter National Historic Site, established in 1987, preserves his home, boyhood farm, high school, and the depot that served as his 1976 presidential campaign headquarters. Pop. (2000) 637; (2010) 776.Restored boyhood farm of Jimmy Carter at the Jimmy Carter National Historic Site, Plains, Georgia. Jeffrey M. Frank/Shutterstock.com
Continuing challenges in commercial auto liability range from distracted driving to increased miles driven and vehicles on the road to higher vehicle repair costs and rising severity in liability claims. Tow trucks are no exception.
'Commercial auto in general is not going to catch a break for the next several years,' Thompson said. Most everything that's commercial auto from trucking to dump trucks to garage risks is difficult. 'Any place now where there is a human being touching an auto is warfare.'
For tow trucks, it's rear-end collisions that are 'bringing insurance companies to their knees,' Thompson said.
'Drivers are going too fast and are distracted,' Thompson said. 'When you are driving a heavy commercial vehicle, like a tow truck, and you hit a car with three or four people in it, all of those people have neck and back injuries, you total their car, you will have $30,000 worth of damage to your tow truck, and it's just a rear-end collision, which theoretically is preventable.'
Right now, Thompson and ATIG are doing damage control and just trying to keep their current clients insured. 'We are working three times as hard to keep the risks that we have but there's a lot of angry people right now. We are catching it from all sides.'
None of my markets will write a towing operation and schedule a tow truck for auto liability or physical damage.'
MGAs, other brokers, and the few insurers left in the space are swamped. 'We are trying to hold our clients' hands through this and explain what's going on.'
Thompson has even had to turn away new business. 'People are calling up panicked, they are in tears because they are going to lose their business. They expire in two days and their premium tripled but you can't help them,' he said. 'I'm at the mercy of the MGAs/brokers/insurers and they only have so much manpower. Everyone is on edge.'
The only thing towing companies can do is to manage their risk, Thompson said.
'I've got guys that are now putting cameras inside the trucks both facing outward and inward and if they catch their drivers eating or talking on the phone or texting, there is zero tolerance. They are fired,' he said.
He doesn't expect the insurance market for towing to bounce back anytime soon either. 'It will be a long time before insurers react to improved risk management in firms.'
For now, focus on driver training, he said. 'I can't specify that enough. And settle more claims out of pocket if you can legally. And if you have insurance right now, and it's semi affordable, then protect it with your life.'
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