Features
Inside OOIDA: Truck Insurance
Owner-Operator Services Inc.
Understanding the needs of truckers

As one of OOIDA’s oldest departments, OOSI’s staff of committed professionals make it easy for truckers to purchase all of their truck insurance under one roof. Licensed agents and staff understand the trucking industry and can advise you of possible choices or options to protect you and your business. All profits generated by OOSI are returned to the association in the form of dividends to assist in funding the work of representing the interests of the membership.

OOSI Mission Statement

It is the mission of the Owner-Operator Services Truck Insurance department to promote and provide OOIDA members cost-effective insurance programs and high-quality service, while continuously assessing, enhancing and improving our performance, service and products. We will achieve our mission statement with highly qualified, sincere, caring and motivated staff who are dedicated to strengthening OOIDA’s commitment to its members.

OOSI is more than just an insurance company; it is a subsidiary of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, an organization dedicated to helping the professional trucker for more than 29 years. OOIDA established OOSI as a separate corporation and licensed insurance agency. It structured OOSI to exclusively provide insurance services to its membership.

“We put the program together as the first special member benefit program primarily because at that time truck insurance for owner-operators was extremely expensive and difficult to obtain,” says OOIDA President Jim Johnston. “No one, especially insurance companies, knew much about owner-operators. For the most part, insurers viewed us as a bunch of gypsies or cowboys with no roots and dangerous driving habits that made us poor insurance risks. There were no group programs or any single insurers that combined enough numbers of owner-operators in order to establish what our claims or loss experience actually was.

“We knew owner-operators were good insurance risks, that they were skilled professionals who took great pride in their equipment and that they were entitled to far better insurance rates than they were at that time able to obtain. Pooling enough members together to separate our statistics from the rest of the trucking industry and prove our contention was a long, uphill battle.

“We dealt with several different outside insurance agencies during the first six or seven years, but found they were unable to separate our experiences from the rest of the industry because of combining their business. Nor were they able to provide the type of service or special coverages our members needed. To address this problem, we formed our own in-house insurance agency wholly owned by the association and staffed with people truly concerned and dedicated to providing the best service possible for our members.

“We were soon thereafter able to accomplish the goal of separating the statistical loss experience from the rest of the industry and proving that in fact, owner-operators are better insurance risks than the industry in general. The proof of our success is the fact there are now many others attempting to duplicate the concept of group owner-operator insurance programs and many insurers vigorously compete for this type of business. Group insurance rates, as a percentage of equipment value for owner-operators, are actually less now than 25 years ago and probably half of what they would otherwise be without the exceptional experience our members were able to prove. 

“Another good example is the current insurance rate crisis that is substantially impacting not only the rest of the trucking industry, but all business and personal lines of coverage worldwide. We have been able to hold the line.”

Coverages offered

Primary liability
General liability
Non-trucking liability
Unladen liability
Bobtail liability
Motor truck cargo
Physical damage
Breakdown coverage
Personal property
Additional downtime
Limited depreciation
Trailer interchange
Gap insurance
Passenger accident

A high-quality service
OOSI was incorporated in Missouri in 1985 to better control the quality and consistency of insurance services to members. At that time, OOIDA brought truck insurance in-house. “Before that time it was referred to an agency in Kansas City and we had no control over that agency,” says Brenda Guffey, supervisor of the Truck Insurance department. “Here an owner-operator can work directly with our agents and we can better meet their needs than a typical agency could. Most other agencies write all types of commercial insurance, however, we specialize in providing insurance for the owner-operator.” 

The agents for OOSI don’t work on commission. “Our agents concentrate on our members and prospective members’ needs, without the typical pressure of commissioned sales, found in other insurance agencies,” says Guffey. “They spend a lot of time on the phone advising truckers about the products we offer, what is available through OOSI and which insurance is needed based on their particular operation.”

Education
OOSI agents must complete 40 hours of insurance classes and pass a two and one half hour exam in order to be licensed and work in the department. There also is approximately six weeks of intensive training (concentrating on the trucking industry) provided to each new agent hired. Ten hours of continuing education is required every two years for agents to maintain their license.

Customer sales & service
The department includes customer service and sales agents who explain and give members advice on the types of coverages they might need. The agency offers competitive rates, over-the-phone quoting and easy monthly payments, in most cases, with no finance charges.

All the agents service existing business by handling member inquiries, as well as assisting with questions about coverages, whether it be adding or deleting.

The truck insurance staff takes the time to discuss members’ individual needs. “We work with many experienced owner-operators,” says assistant supervisor Clydith Carnahan, “as well as those who are new to the industry and need thorough explanations of the available coverages to ensure their interests are protected. We get comments from a lot of members thanking us for taking the time to answer their questions.”

Truck support
Truck Support assists customer service efforts by issuing certificates, answering billing questions, sending binders, ordering motor vehicle records and managing loads of paperwork.

Truck Support aids the agents, who spend much of their day on the phone discussing customer’s insurance needs. “We work to suit everyone’s individual needs,” says Brenda Zinser, a truck support team leader. “We do what we can to assist the agents in helping members.”

Accounts support
Accounts Support lends a helping hand to agents by assisting them in processing customer’s paperwork by mail or phone. They collect information on members and are responsible for making sure follow-ups are conducted after the initial contact is made by phone. They also are responsible for verifying leases and driver history.

Going “paperless”
Truck Insurance is in the process of going “paperless.” The transition from paper to virtual documents will make filing easier and help staff work more quickly to meet customer needs. According to Carnahan, the biggest advantage for customers is that the new system will bring information to staff’s fingertips quicker, saving everyone much needed time.

Billing
OOSI’s billing department services the truck sales department. The billing department consists of 16 staff and supervisor Mary Lancaster. “The purpose of the billing department is to process the owner-operator’s endorsement paperwork,” she says. “Changes to a policy and endorsements also are handled by this department.”

Billing averages more than 40 calls per person per day. The department may receive more than 3,000 calls per week. Thirteen staff take certificate calls and questions about monthly statements, three of those employees also make courtesy calls regarding billing problems. Sending out certificate paperwork encompasses a large part of the staff’s day. When an owner-operator needs proof of insurance, the billing department staff faxes proof of insurance to the owner-operator.

Products
OOSI offers more than 16 types of coverages to meet the individual needs of the members regardless of whether they are leased to a motor carrier or have their own operating authority. OOSI has spent years developing and expanding their product list to specifically meet the needs of members.

Owner-operators who have their own authority and carry their primary liability coverage with OOSI can add commercial general liability as well. This protection covers liability claims for bodily injury and property damage when off the premises or operations.

Q&A

What coverages do most owner-operators who are leased to a motor carrier need?
Most individuals who are leased to a motor carrier purchase their physical damage, Gap coverage and bobtail liability coverage through our office. Physical damage and Gap coverage is optional for the owner-operator depending on whether or not their equipment is financed. However, the motor carrier to whom the owner-operator is leased will specify in the permanent lease agreement what types of secondary liability coverage they expect their owner-operators to carry, such as non-trucking liability, bobtail liability or unladen liability (commonly referred to as bobtail/deadhead liability).

What value will you place on my equipment when it’s covered for physical damage?
Most insurance companies, ourselves included, insure equipment for actual cash value, which is determined by the market value at the time of loss. That is why it is extremely important in today’s market to secure Gap coverage, which will pay off your loan balance if you are upside down in your loan (owe more than it’s worth in today’s market).

Why do you ask so many questions when all I want is a quote on insurance?
The reason we ask a lot of questions up front in the quoting process is to make sure we have properly identified your insurance needs. and to satisfy the underwriting requirements in an attempt to eliminate any future problems. Other insurance agencies quote their coverage based on a limited amount of information and are often forced to increase premium after these important questions are completely answered. Because we have taken the time to gather the information up front, you are given a more accurate quote and the entire binding process is simplified.

Aug/Sept Digital Edition