Why Fleet Insurance Scores Are Important to Your Fleet

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Auto insurance scores are not a common topic among fleets, largely because many fleets don’t understand how these scores can impact their business. In addition, many fleets confuse insurance scores with CSA scores. They’re related, and calculated using similar information, but they are different and have alternate impacts on your fleet. Considering all that fleet managers have to focus on, an insurance score may seem like a minor concern—but it shouldn’t be.

One of the most important tasks asked of a fleet manager is to reduce costs. Insurance costs can be great for fleets, especially those with a larger number of accidents, inspections, and poor credit history. Do all that you can to reduce your insurance costs by arming yourself with insurance score knowledge and tips to increase them.

What Is an Insurance Score?

An insurance score, or insurance credit score, is a rating that insurance companies use to determine the probability of a claim from the individual or company. It utilizes a statistical model to determine the values of these scores, assigning positives and negatives to details in your credit report. It’s very similar to an individual credit score in that regard. The difference is that insurance companies have their own scoring models and data. This model is focused more on the likelihood of an accident and claim.

The insurance score range is 200 to 997. The higher the score the better, and anything over 770 is favorable—much like a typical insurance score. A higher score results in lower insurance premiums. This is quite different from CSA scores, in which a lower score is better and results in lower premiums for fleet insurance.

How are Insurance Scores Calculated?

An auto insurance score is determined by a number of factors, your credit report being the main component. In essence, insurance companies use your credit reports to create scores like credit reporting agencies do. However, they have their own scoring method.

When calculating scores, insurance companies do not measure your ability to pay back a loan. Instead they replace that factor with the likelihood of a claim. They also may use some of the same data as reporting agencies, such as your total debt and the types of credit that a business has in use. Other factors and data that play into insurance score calculations include:

  • Long established credit history
  • Numerous open accounts in good standing
  • No late payments
  • No past due accounts
  • Low use of available credit
  • Collection accounts
  • Driver behavior
  • Local factors such as traffic congestion and weather conditions
  • Historic accident risk

How To Look Up Insurance Scores

The metrics insurance companies use vary from state to state and each company has their own nuances when calculating scores. Therefore, it can be difficult to know your insurance score at any given time. However, you may be able to find these scores on traditional reporting sites such as Experian, Equifax, and even Credit Karma. TransUnion also has an easy-to-read section that specifically lists auto insurance scores. You can also use technological solutions, such as fleet management software, that integrates with your insurance plan. It not only monitors driver behavior to reduce instances that increase premiums, but it also creates individual driver scores and overall insurance risk scores.

Why are Insurance Scores Used to Calculate Premiums?

It might seem strange to consider credit reports when determining insurance premiums and risk of claim. This seems even more bizarre when you take into consideration the number of factors that play into accident risk: safety policies, maintenance, driving conditions, and driver behavior. While all of those factors (and more) are used to calculate premiums, there is a real and comprehensive reason insurance companies use insurance scores in their calculations. There are actuarial studies that prove the financial affairs of a company or individual are good indicators of claim risk.

The Difference Between CSA Scores and Insurance Scores

While insurance companies use both CSA scores and insurance scores to calculate premiums, they are two very different things. We’ve mentioned that insurance scores use your credit report and an algorithm determined by the insurance company. A CSA score isn’t based on your credit at all. In fact, it has much more to do with your driving and inspection history.

A CSA stands for compliance, safety, and accountability. A low CSA score means that your fleet has had fewer accidents, fewer inspection violations, and maintains vehicles to safety standards. This score plays into your ability to attract clients since they will use this score to determine whether or not they want to work with your company. It’s also used by the DOT (Department of Transportation) to determine whether or not your fleet needs to be monitored more closely. Insurance companies also use these scores to determine risk, but the score is not specifically designed for insurance uses.

When fleets work towards improving their fleet and driver safety, they do it for a number of reasons. It may be to reduce costs—either maintenance, insurance, or otherwise. It may be to reduce employee turnover and to help drivers feel safe on the job. It may be to improve CSA scores to help attract more customers and improve the company’s reputation. But it’s often not for the purposes of improving an insurance score. It’s a commonly overlooked factor in the calculation of insurance costs. Luckily, improving driver behavior, maintenance, and inspections can impact your insurance scores. However, if you’re forgetting to look into ways to improve your credit score, then you are surely missing an opportunity to reduce your insurance costs. If you are not focusing on your fleet insurance score, you’re not fully grasping all that your insurance takes into account.

How to Improve Your Fleet Insurance Score

Just like your credit score, your insurance score is not permanent. It’s a continuously updated score that considers multiple factors, which can be improved. This can largely be done by improving your credit report and includes:

  • Reducing debt
  • Paying bills on time
  • Reducing credit utilization
  • Increasing credit history

You should avoid maxing out your credit cards, and try to limit the number of insurance claims you file. Of course, doing so depends on your ability to increase safety and decrease accidents. Increasing your insurance score is about creating a good behavioral record on top of a good financial standing. To accomplish both, consider the following:

Get your credit report

The first thing you need to do is to get a copy of your credit reports from each reporting bureau. It’s recommended that you get a report from each rather than just one because one report may have different information. This is because certain companies report only to one or two credit bureaus and not the other(s). By checking your report, you can identify all of the negatives that are impacting your score. You’re able to get one free credit report each year, or you can use services such as Mint or Credit Karma to keep track of your reports throughout the year.

Certain negatives can be disputed and potentially removed from your credit report. Other disputes will impact your credit less with each passing month and eventually fall off of your record.

Take action

Knowing what’s on your credit report helps to identify what needs to be fixed and gives you a goal to work towards with specific actions to reach these goals. This may include ensuring payments are made on time, paying down credit, and reducing credit usage. You should also make behavioral changes like reducing speeding, hard braking, and other aggressive maneuvers. Insurance companies don’t just rely on your credit history to calculate scores, they use driving records as well. You can use telematics systems to monitor driver behavior and improve training and safety of your fleet.

Driver score

Implementing a driver score algorithm and integrating it with your insurance plan can help you lower insurance premiums. It calculates a daily driver score for each individual based on their driver behavior. These scores are compiled and averaged to create a risk score, which insurance companies use to calculate premiums. This has the potential for reducing your premiums by encouraging driver safety.


Learn more about insurance scoring, fleet tracking software, and asset tracking at Azuga.

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What is the Vehicle Miles Traveled Tax?

The vehicle miles traveled tax is known by multiple names: the mileage tax, road usage charging (RUC), distance-based user fees (DBUF), vehicle miles traveled tax (VMTT), or mileage-based user fees (MBUF). It is simply a tax based on how many miles a driver travels. It is an excellent option to replace the gas tax as a means to fund the Highway Trust Fund. This fund is how our nation pays for maintaining and building infrastructure projects such as roads, bridges, and tunnels.  

Why Do We Need the Vehicle Miles Traveled Tax?

The gas tax is an antiquated way of funding our infrastructure and has been inadequate for over a decade. It has not kept up with inflation in the last 25 years, causing it to drop in value by over 40%. In the last quarter-century, traffic has only increased as the population has grown. The wear and tear on our infrastructure worsens, but our ability to maintain it can’t keep up. 

Furthermore, electric and fuel-efficient cars pay very little, if any, gas tax. They still use the roads and contribute to their degradation, but the drivers do not help pay for their upkeep. While electric and fuel-efficient vehicles are better for the environment, it is still important that these drivers pay their fair share of taxes for the roads. 

How Would We Implement the Vehicle Miles Traveled Tax? 

This tax is already in place in Oregon and Utah on an opt-in basis. Washington, Colorado, Hawaii, Minnesota, California, Delaware, and Pennsylvania have researched road usage charging programs in their states with success. Oregon’s fully functioning road usage charging program, OReGO, is the leading example of how to implement a mileage tax nationwide. 

OReGO uses Azuga Insight to automatically track driver miles and collect revenue without any staff needed or driver intervention. Drivers simply install hardware into their OBD port and set up a wallet online. As they drive, Azuga Insight tracks their miles and removes funds automatically from the wallet. 

Participation in OReGO is optional, but drivers have the incentive of not having to pay increased registration fees based on mpg rating. Drivers who opt-in have to meet these vehicle requirements: 

  • Light-duty
  • 20 miles-per-gallon or better rating
  • Registered to an Oregon resident

OReGO has been implemented smoothly and is easy to sustain. 

Benefits of the Vehicle Miles Traveled Tax

Safer

Roads in poor condition cause 14,000 highway fatalities annually. It’s necessary for communities everywhere to obtain the funding to repair and maintain their roads. Streets all over the country are aging rapidly, and more funding in the Highway Trust Fund would help us stay on top of maintenance before more fatalities happen. 

Fairer

Most drivers will pay the same as they are currently paying under the gas tax, but all drivers will be paying instead of just some. This means that electric vehicles and fuel-efficient vehicles will contribute their fair share as well. Everyone pays for what they use, so drivers who don’t drive very much won’t have to worry about paying very much.

More Funding

Experts believe that implementing a vehicle miles traveled tax across the US would increase the Highway Trust Fund by $340 million. This would fund improvements to existing infrastructure, along with new infrastructure for areas that have grown in the past 25 years. 

Conclusion

The vehicle miles traveled tax is the most likely solution to the issue of our country’s crumbling infrastructure. It may be a long time before it is implemented across the nation, but as states pick it up, it is important to know what it is and how it will affect you. To keep up with the latest updates regarding the vehicle miles traveled tax, follow Azuga Insight’s blog.

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What is Fleet Data?

Tracking fleet data is vitally important to running a fleet in any industry. Any kind of data can be tracked, from where vehicles are, to what assets a company has on hand, to the safety of drivers and vehicles. All of this information is important for fleet managers to know to make their fleet effective and productive. What is fleet data, and how can it help fleets be more effective?

Fleet Data for Vehicle Maintenance

Keeping up with vehicle maintenance is one of the best ways to keep vehicles on the road for the long haul. With how much time fleets spend driving, wear and tear on a vehicle is inevitable, but fleet managers can reduce this by harnessing telematics and maintenance alerts. Telematics can tell managers when a vehicle has engine trouble or when a driver is being rough on the brakes or idling too much. Managers can also set up maintenance alerts so they do not have to try and remember when each vehicle needs routine maintenance. Preventative maintenance is crucial to a vehicle’s longevity and will help it stay on the road for years to come. 

Fleet Data for Safety

Any fleet’s top priority is safety. Drivers and vehicles are integral to a fleet business’s entire operation, and ensuring that they do their jobs safely is a huge part of a fleet manager’s job. Luckily fleet data can track driver behavior and determine if drivers are behaving safely behind the wheel. Telematics can track actions such as hard braking, rapid acceleration, distracted driving, and speeding. When drivers display any of these behaviors, they will receive an alert. If the behaviors continue, the system will alert the fleet manager, who can then choose to get in touch with the driver. Accidents can cost thousands of dollars, and days of lost time for businesses, so avoiding them is crucial for companies to succeed. 

Fleet Data for Asset Tracking

Asset tracking is terrific for preventing theft, but it is also ideal for fleet managers to keep track of what they have on hand in their warehouse. Often, assets and equipment sit unused in a warehouse, taking up space that something practical could be occupying. With asset data, fleet managers can determine what assets the fleet does not use and get rid of them, making room for something that will be more beneficial for the company. Furthermore, knowing what’s on hand prevents double-purchasing, which saves the company money as well. 

Conclusion

Tracking fleet data is essential for keeping a fleet productive and effective. It is all part of a fleet manager’s job. Luckily, Azuga has many tools to help with tracking fleet data. Reach out to the experts at Azuga today to find out how to get started gathering data today so that you can do the best for your fleet.


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Record of Duty Status

Each driver is required by the law to record a driver’s duty of status every 24 hours, using the structures stipulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). A record of duty status (RODS) can also be referred to as a driver’s log. It allows drivers to record details such as date, vehicle number, totals driving hours, the total number of miles driven within 24 hours, carrier’s name, a 24-hour period starting time, address, driver’s certification/signature, and remarks. 

Records can be maintained using an electronic logging device (ELD), using an FMCSA approved automatic on-board recording gadget, or even manually on a grid. Logs must be validated at all times by indicating each change in a duty status.

Exemptions to Record of Duty Status

A RODS is mandatory as part of Hours of Service (HOS) rules, which applies to commercial vehicles (CMVs). However, a few cases of short-haul carriers are exempt from maintaining records of duty status. 

Company policies may be different, but the FMCSA only expects drivers to record time and location after every stop.

Since the introduction of the ELD mandate, several motor carriers are leaning toward electronic logging devices to maintain their records of duty status automatically. Companies were given until December 16, 2019 to update automatic on-board recording devices to the latest ones, meaning there were also some exemptions to the ELD Rule.

Exemptions to RODS regulations include the following:

  • Drivers driving within a radius of 150 air-miles
  • Drivers of CMVs driving within a radius of 150 air-miles, who do not need a CDL, and at the same time operate within a radius of 150 air-miles of their daily reporting locations.

For drivers to qualify for the exemption, they must meet all the requirements stated by the regulations. Failure to meet even one of the requirements means all HOS rules apply.

Electronic Logging Devices

A driver must produce ELD records when requested by a safety official, either immediately, or within the permissible time if the motor carrier operates from more than one terminal or office. A motor carrier is supposed to retain a back-up copy of all ELD records for at least six months.

Only carriers or drivers falling under the exempted categories may use other recording methods, which may include automatic onboard recording devices (AOBRDs) to maintain driver record of duty status.

Submitting and Retaining Driver Record of Duty Status Paper Logs

Being exempted from the ELD rule does not mean you are automatically exempted from the HOS regulations. A driver is required to submit original paper log sheets to their respective carriers within 13 days after the completion of their trips. The driver retains a copy of all RODS for the previous seven days, which must be produced on request for inspection at the time they are on duty. Drivers must also sign all hard copies of RODS.

Electronic HOS Regulations

The idea behind mandating the ELD rules was to provide accurate, consistent, and accessible methods of logging driver hours of service, and simultaneously create a safer working environment. The new measures were intended to ensure drivers took necessary breaks and rested appropriately, and to ensure they remained alert while driving. Making the switch from manual processes like logbooks to electronic hours of service tools makes it easier for businesses to keep up with the FMCSA requirements.

However, the implementation of electronic logging devices does not change the fleet manager’s responsibility to track off duty or driving hours. What it does require is that you make use of a log tracking device and software system.

Who Should Comply with ELD HOS Logging?

The HOS rules apply to drivers operating CMVs such as school buses and semi-trucks. For a vehicle to be classified as a CMV, it must fulfil the following:

  • Weigh above 10,000 pounds
  • Have a combined weight rating or gross vehicle weight of more than 10,000 pounds
  • Be used for transporting 16 or more persons, including the driver, or nine or more passengers for commercial transport purposes
  • Transport goods classified as hazardous and require placards

If a vehicle meets the qualifications above, it is required by the law to comply with HOS regulations and to maintain decent hours of service log. 

Common Hours of Service Violations - And How to Fix Them

Besides ordinary traffic violations and unsafe driving, it is common among drivers to fail to comply with HOS regulations. Hours of Service compliance counts as one of the core basics of CSA, and maintaining a low score is often a result of piling frustrations.

The ability to fix problems associated with hours of service is the most crucial way to keep safety scores in check, and helps in controlling the frequency of roadside inspections.

Below are the most common violations of Hours of Service and how you can fix them.

Clerical Form Errors

When entering data manually, issues like mathematical errors, poor handwriting, the omission of essential information, and many other mistakes, may arise. These are issues that can be minimized by implementing an electronic system that automatically fills in the required data when it is needed. Tired drivers can easily leave out essential data, which could be deemed a violation of the hours of service regulations.

Not Updating Statuses

The driver record of duty status graph shown on a log must always be up to date, showing each detail of changes. Forgetting, or simply failing to update duty status is common among drivers and leads to severe roadside inspections. It is mostly due to drivers failing on their mandate to remain vigilant by changing statuses.

It is easy to fix this recurring problem with the simple touch of a screen. All drivers have to do is to indicate the time their shifts start, and to change their status to off-duty when shifts end. Electronic logbooks are designed to detect when a vehicle is stationary or in motion, and gives accurate data at all times.

No Records of Duty Status

Failing to properly maintain your RODS and not maintaining logs for seven days is a violation that can lead to hefty fines. Drivers of companies running smaller vehicles may not be aware of what is required of them, but they must check with the relevant authorities. Inspectors ask for records of the previous seven days. Therefore, drivers must not misplace any record whatsoever.

Partner with Azuga for FMCSA Compliance

Azuga works with you to deliver customized solutions for fleets and drivers. It doesn’t matter the size of your fleet, Azuga offers the right products and technology to duly maintain drivers’ records of duty status and keep you compliant with the hours of service regulations.

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