Holman Insurance Services is rolling out a new approach to the insurance and risk management challenges that face commercial auto and fleet clients. This effort, which incorporates fleet management services into the vehicle insurance equation, addresses a myriad of challenges that currently plague the commercial auto marketplace.
“Traditionally, insurance services and fleet management have not lived together under the same roof,” said Steve Durdin, president of Holman Insurance, about the work that is underway.
Historically, a reported accident or a recently run driving record was the only way insurance companies knew that a driver might not be driving safely or was behaving in a way that elevated his or her risk for personal injury or damage to company property.
“From an insurance standpoint, that’s a real disadvantage. Often claims and insurance premiums will continue to climb because a company is blind to the fact that a driver may need training to help correct behavior behind the wheel,” Durdin said. “When we marry telematics data with insurance information, we can say, ‘Let’s try and get in front of those problems before they happen.’ Let’s provide driver training or corrective action based on their behavior behind the wheel, hopefully before they have an accident and hurt themselves, damage company property, or hurt somebody else.”
With insurance, telematics, and driver safety programs all under one roof, Holman Insurance can transition from a historic perspective, looking at what the driver has done, to a real-time perspective that notes what the driver is currently doing.
A Marriage of Disciplines
The new program is a continuation of growth for Holman Enterprises, headquartered in Mount Laurel, N.J., which started out in 1924 as a single Ford dealership. The company has since grown to six business segments, including the dealership group Holman Automotive, Holman Insurance Services, Holman Parts Distribution, truck upfitter Auto Truck Group, Steward Financial Services, and fleet management company ARI, which Holman Enterprises founded in 1948.
As Holman Enterprises grew through the years, the company’s leadership recognized a need throughout the industry for a more strategic approach to the area of risk management for fleets.
“From there, we built out an entire commercial organization, which is today able to work across a lot of different industries,” Durdin said.
Holman Insurance Services, a full-service insurance brokerage managing personal and commercial products from an array of top-rated carriers and offering customized risk management solutions for commercial clients, was founded in 2016 and has been working hand-in-hand with ARI ever since.
In a strategic move that helped launch the company’s commercial division, this past August Holman Insurance acquired Risk Partners Inc., a N.J.-based commercial insurance brokerage that specialized in a wide range of risk financing solutions.
“What we are doing is marrying two different disciplines together,” Durdin said.
That means using what Durdin calls a “best-in-class insurance and risk management platform,” with experienced in-house underwriters, combined with its relationship with insurance companies and adding to it ARI’s fleet management capabilities. On top of that, the program leverages ARI’s telematics platform that monitors driver performance to identify high-risk behavior, such as speeding, hard braking, etc. The insurance expertise and technology is then complemented by ARI’s driver safety and training programs, which provide opportunities for corrective action — before losses occur.
Coverage Based on Real-Time Performance
Durdin notes that building an insurance and risk management group that can consult with fleets of all sizes to create insurance and risk financing programs for them is the centerpiece of the new Holman initiative. Holman Insurance can consult on a host of topics, from simple physical damage coverage for a small fleet up to sophisticated planning around risk financing for exposures for large fleets.
“We’re building the tools here at Holman to accommodate both ends of that spectrum,” Durdin said.
Telematics is one of those important tools that Holman Insurance believes is currently being underutilized in risk management conversations. But, Durdin believes fleets are challenged to understand all of the data that telematics produces and how to put it to work to reduce risk and costs related to accidents.
“Conceptually, many in the fleet business embrace the idea of more visibility and transparency into driver behavior and factors that might adversely affect their risks and associated costs. But, this ideal is often outweighed by the challenge of effectively managing the massive amount of data that a telematics or safety program produces,” he said. Having access to the data is often no longer the challenge — knowing what to do with that data in order to gain valuable insights is what creates new frustrations for many fleet and safety program managers.
“The technology is there, and the visibility is there like never before for driver behavior and vehicle performance, but I think most fleets are challenged to find ways to put that data to work for themselves,” Durdin said. He added that ARI’s telematics platform is “device-agnostic,” so the product can aggregate data from many telematics providers.
In addition, ARI’s proprietary technology presents the data in a manner that is meaningful to fleet professionals and risk managers, including dashboard views that monitor and illustrate key performance indicators to quickly identify high-risk drivers.
Holman Insurance also benefits from that data as it seeks to provide risk management products and services for its insurance clients. The data helps the company tailor a variety of solutions such as traditional policies as well as alternative risk and captive programs to the specific needs of each client.
Traditionally in commercial auto insurance, when an insurance company is working to underwrite a risk for a business, it will seek information such as a list of accidents and claims the business has reported over the past three to five years. Then, the insurance company will use that data as a foundation during the underwriting and rating process.
Holman Insurance is looking to present the telematics program capability from ARI for a real-time view rather than a historic one.
“Instead of saying ‘what’s happened,’ we can say ‘what’s happening?’ We can identify driver misbehavior much more quickly,” Durdin said.