Motorcoach carriers looking to purchase or change insurance policies contend with several factors, and the process can seem complicated and costly. METRO Magazine spoke with industry experts to get some tips on what to consider and how to ensure you get the best coverage for your company.
First off, look into the several insurance companies that specialize in offering passenger transportation insurance, including Lancer Insurance, Shriver Insurance Agency, Transportation Insurance Brokers, and National Interstate Insurance Co., just to name a few. Because these companies offer products tailored to transportation, including driver safety training, it is a plus to seek them out when conducting your search.
Francis Walsh, vice president/senior underwriter, Lancer Insurance, says that the importance of "having an experienced insurance company familiar with handling passenger transportation claims cannot be overstated. Your customers are your livelihood, so how they are treated in the event of a claim is as important as anything your insurance company will do for you." He also points out that the more risk an operator can afford to take through liability and physical damage deductibles, the more premium savings they will see.
Relationship, safety culture key
Other factors to keep in mind when researching insurance benefits and costs are the needs and assets of your operation and how these will affect your policy.
The International Motorcoach Group (IMG) is comprised of more than 57 motorcoach tour and charter operators in North America. Its members vary in size and insurance needs. Steve Klika, president, says that coach operators need to understand that establishing a relationship with your insurance carrier is vital. "If I were to give some advice...when buying insurance, look at [it] not only on a short-term basis, but on a long-term basis. Take a look at the relationship [you're] going into." He contrasts the experience with buying home or auto insurance. "Don't look at it for just year-to-year, because the insurance company is going to want to know your experience, so in case you do have a bad year, they're not just going to bail out on you. And at the same time, in some cases by having a long-term relationship, it's going to have a [positive] impact on your premiums year-to-year," he explains.