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Insurance Operations Update for Transportation Sector during COVID-19 Pandemic (August 2020)

Posted by Tat Wong August 21, 2020

It’s hard to believe that it has been months since our COVID-19 pandemic response shut down much of the world around us as we knew it. Now, as we emerge cautiously, we need to proceed in the safest way possible.

We are proud of the essential services provided by our transportation and logistics customers to meet all of our needs as we sheltered in place and stayed home.

Today, the general public has a better understanding of the hard work, dedication, and the importance that the Transportation & Logistics sector brings to the Canadian economy.  In the early days, Marsh focused on continuing operations and communicated to insurers the financial and operational challenges that companies were facing.  We worked with many of the insurers to mitigate or reduce financial hardships as cash flow was impeded.

Many of our Transportation and Logistics companies have begun to recover from much of that massive disruption, adapting to the changed supply chain demands, and have created a new normal in their operations.

Border crossings by truck of the US/Canada border have returned to normal levels. Auto manufacturing is back, and auto sales have grown beyond pre Pandemic levels.1 E-commerce and last mile operations have benefited from an unprecedented shift in consumer demand. However, there are still many “pain points” as newly required PPE and other essential goods bump priority from other cargo.

Marsh will continue to champion the operational impacts that you still face to ensure our insurance company underwriters are responsive in making sure mutually acceptable terms and solutions continue to be a priority.  

Return to the Office in the Insurance Community

Our colleagues at Marsh, and much of the industry, have not returned to offices yet and are continuing to work remotely from our homes. Communications and the use of technology have all improved in a massive way since the early days of our pandemic response. The focus today is on making sure safety is the priority in returning to the office environment.

Our insurance company partners have assured us that their work from home will not impede their operations and they remain business as usual. Many insurers proactively developed plans around how to address reductions in vehicle use and revenues, as well as providing payment flexibility to help their clients through these challenging times. We will be working with all markets to ensure that changes in exposures continue to be addressed.

We understand that because of your essential service status, many of you are working at your office, and you may need help in ensuring you are doing your best to keep your work environment safe. We have linked resources to help you at the end of this post.

We are ready, how can we help you?

Our Canadian National Transportation team, along with our North American Transportation team, are regularly meeting via web conferencing technology to share emerging issues so we can work to get ahead of your concerns.

As the pandemic has not affected all areas of North America in the same way, we have listed in our resources section at the end of this post important links that can help you help your essential service staff stay safe.

We are here, a phone call or email away, ready to help.

From a Loss Control or Risk Control perspective, your insurers and/or Marsh Risk Control services are available using technology solutions, like video conferencing and conference calls to continue their work with you as required. Marsh Advisory will work with your team and provide support for fleet safety. This includes leveraging existing loss data/reports and video conferencing capabilities to talk through risk management programs, operational changes, and risk improvements that may affect loss estimates or risk profiles.

Emerging technologies hold the promise of improved operational efficiencies and loss reduction. Marsh can assist in different ways: Fleet RiskGap Analysis, Risk Control Improvement Plans, High Risk Driver assessments, and/or Crash Rate Analysis. Marsh can attend your conference calls with the insurance company’s loss control representative to aid with their inspection. Note that the level of detail required will vary and this may not eliminate the need for future in-person inspections when it is safe to do so.

This remote support approach helps to keep the social distancing protocols imposed on all of us, and helps to keep all of us safe. Much of the exchange of records as required is already conducted by email, and can continue to be effectively done in this manner.

What if we have a claim?

From an incident response perspective, insurers and insurance adjusters are ready to help, including attending a site visit as required, with appropriate protective equipment and practicing safe social distancing protocols.

From a damaged equipment standpoint, your insurers are familiar with using remote technologies to help adjust damage claims. We have Claims Specialists on our team who can advocate for our customers in these instances.

Our insurance renewal is coming up, what has changed?

We are working closely with insurers to ensure that we are communicating earlier in advance of your renewal, to ensure that adequate time is available for us to do the best possible job for you.

The market is experiencing continued upward pressure on pricing as well as a reduction in the number of insurers willing to take on Transportation accounts. If you do substantial US mileage, or are a specialized carrier, these factors may limit your choice even more.

At Marsh, our Transportation team has deep, successful long term relationships with markets that can provide solutions to our customers. Our Transportation team consists of a designated group of specialists all working together to advocate for your insurance – on the renewal, if you are new to Marsh, or anywhere you need us, we can help.

Supply Chain & International Traffic

One certain impact of the pandemic is the disruption and re-invention of much of the supply chain. Cross border, international traffic is facing new issues, with the civil unrest that is disrupting many US Cities. In addition, continued efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19 mean operating safely, using PPE, implementing contact tracing, having testing available on demand, and having policies in place to support their workers are essential.   

With the International Borders still closed to non-essential travel, it is more important to establish policies and procedures to help your essential services staff stay safe and to keep their families safe.

We are also advocating for more streamlined, efficient COVID-19 testing and access to medical and dental care for our transportation essential services staff together with industry associations.

Specific American Trucking Association (ATA) and Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) links below can help your operations teams watch for advisories to help keep your staff safe.

How else can we help?

As one of the largest insurance practices in the world, we have resources developed by Marsh, Mercer, and Marsh Advisory that may be beneficial to your forward planning to help ensure safety for your employees and your customers.

We are able to help you with supply chain solutions, as well as your transportation and logistics needs, anywhere in the world.

We are thankful for our essential transportation and logistics customers, and are here ready to help you thrive.


Tat Wong