Posts Tagged ‘acuity insurance’

15 Useful Apps for Truckers

Sunday, August 18th, 2019

With so many apps available to the trucking industry, choosing the right app can be somewhat confusing, and it can be difficult to know where to start. So, why would you want to use an app? Simply put, mobile apps extend the reach and productivity of your time and business.

By equipping your smartphone, tablet, or laptop with apps, it can perform a wide variety of business functions for you while out of the office, traveling, at a shipper, talking to brokers, or determining your best route of travel. A mobile app usually enables the user to do something specific, like accessing their bank account or tracking hours of service (HOS) using an ELD app. But most importantly, apps can help truckers enhance three important areas: time, money, and safety. In short, apps can have a positive impact on your business’s bottom line.

In this article, we focus on 15 free trucking apps that may be helpful to your operation.

1. oCFR

The U.S. DOT Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) made available their online Code of Federal Regulations (oCFR) mobile app, which provides quick access to both its hazardous materials and safety pipeline safety regulations.

2. Drive Axle

Drive Axle is an app that allows you to scan and send documents through your smartphone, tablet, or laptop. It allows both drivers and motor carriers to document work completed more efficiently and invoice quicker.

3. Truckstop Mobile or DAT

The Truckstop and DAT apps are both fast and effective ways to find loads. Post your truck or choose from thousands of loads posted daily.

4. Dock411

Interested in knowing the details about a pickup or delivery location? For example, do they have restrooms available to drivers, are they pet friendly, what is the average time to load or unload, or do they allow overnight parking? The app is populated with information reported by other drivers.

5. Trucker Path

Trucker Path provides useful information, including truck stop locations, fuel prices, parking availability, and weigh station locations.

6. Drivewyze PreClear

Drivewyze is a trucker app that, depending upon your CSA score, allows you to bypass more than 700 weigh station locations.

7. Weigh My Truck CAT Scale

This app provides truckers the opportunity to weigh their truck, pay for the transaction, and have their axle group and gross weights displayed on their smartphone and emailed.

8. BigRoad Trucking Logbook

BigRoad is an electronic logging device app and electronic logbook. It tracks hours of service and can help you maintain compliance with the ELD mandate.

9. Lose It! Calorie Counter

The LoseIt! app can help you control your weight by setting calorie intake goals and tracking your meals, exercise, and nutrition.

10. Weather Channel

Weather is something every motor carrier and truck driver must plan for. This app will help ensure you won’t be caught off guard by weather.

11. Waze

Waze is a GPS app used by many in the transportation industry. It provides a lot of roadway information, but it does not provide low clearance, road weight restrictions, or other trucking-specific information.

12. Vigillo

Exclusive for Vigillo Scorecard subscribers, Vigillo’s CSA Daylight mobile app provides CSA BASICs as a bar chart. It aggregates your BASIC percentiles, including HOS, Driver Fitness, Controlled Substances, Crash, Vehicle Maintenance, Unsafe Driving, and Hazardous Materials.

13. Trucker’s Slide Calculator

This app is able to calculate how much each axle is over or under, including the gross, and provide suggestions on where to slide axles or move weight to become legal.

14. Audiobooks.com

The Audiobooks.com app has over 125,000 offerings with more than 8,000 free titles. One nice feature is that the books can be downloaded so they can be listened to when Wi-Fi is not available.

15. 511

511 apps are available through many states. They are the official mobile apps travelers can use to find information for the state’s Department of Transportation. 511 apps can provide current traffic, winter road conditions, road closures, and many have freeway camera images available. Just enter a state’s two letter abbreviation followed by 511 (e.g., WI511) in your app store.

Content courtesy of Acuity.

Joe Beck and Joe Buller visit Acuity Insurance

Tuesday, May 21st, 2019

Joe Beck and Joe Buller recently visited with Acuity Insurance in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. 

“Joe and Joe”, spent two days meeting with the various management teams, industry experts, underwriting, loss control, and the audit team. 

While it was a short trip, these meetings provided greater insight into Acuity’s coverage differences, product guidelines, the claims process, loss control, and other additional services. 

The visit was commercial lines focused, specifically on Trucking, Contractors, Manufacturing, and Retail / Restaurant risks.

All in all, great visit.  Thank you Acuity!

6 Tips to Get Your RV Ready for Use

Tuesday, May 14th, 2019

From our friends at Acuity!

Ready to get your RV out of storage and on the road? Before you pack up, do a check up on your RV to help ensure your vehicle is safe and ready for your adventures ahead.

Contact Beck Insurance Agency for a quote on your RV Insurance today!

Fire Safety Tips for Auto Repair Shops

Tuesday, February 12th, 2019

According to Acuity’s internal data, fire is one of the most common claims for auto repair shops. Unfortunately, fire also causes some of the most expensive claims. Protecting your shop against fire is a great place to start when looking to reduce the likelihood of a major claim in your shop.

To bring you some fire safety tips, I collaborated with Scott Leistner, one of Acuity’s loss control representatives. Scott has more than 20 years of experience in assisting automotive repair, manufacturing, and supply businesses with loss control. He works with these businesses to develop risk improvement solutions, including those aimed at fortifying fire protection practices.

Here are a few of Scott’s tips for reducing the risk of fire in your shop:

1.A clean shop is a safe shop. Maintain a high level of housekeeping at all times, removing trash and waste daily and cleaning up oil spills immediately using absorbent materials. Discard all oily rags in metal storage containers with self-closing lids to reduce the likelihood of spontaneous combustion.

2.Store wisely. Effective storage practices help prevent fires. Store flammable and combustible liquids in approved flammable liquid storage cabinets and keep all combustibles away from heating sources like furnaces and hot water heaters. Store tires separately, away from all flammables and potential ignition sources. Finally, do not allow temporary storage to block access to fire extinguishers and other fire prevention equipment.

3.Practice proper use of electrical equipment. Ensure all electrical equipment and tools are properly grounded and immediately discontinue use of and remove any damaged electrical equipment. Inspect and maintain battery charging equipment and keep combustibles far away from it. Only use extension cords if needed and make sure they are in good condition. Avoid using portable electric space heaters.

4.Guard against fire from special hazard shop exposures. Always spray paint in an approved spray booth equipped with automatic fire-suppression equipment. Implement effective hot work procedures to prevent sparks from igniting combustibles during cutting and welding work. Inspect hydraulic lifts for leaks and repair immediately if a leak is present. Keep solvent tanks clean and maintained and make sure the lid closes securely.

5.Develop and implement formal policies and programs for fire prevention. Train staff in proper use of fire extinguishers and enforce a no-smoking policy. Conduct weekly self-inspections, correcting any hazards found in inspection, and practice daily housekeeping and clean-up duties. Schedule regular preventive maintenance of HVAC and fire-protection systems.

At Acuity, we offer expert loss control services to our business policyholders at no extra charge. Our loss control representatives are safety and insurance professionals who have college degrees, technical certifications, and an average of 25 years of experience in the field. These representatives partner with our customers to minimize risk of future losses by assisting with safety and loss prevention initiatives.

Posted by Paige N. on October 17, 2018 in Mechanic

Wood-Burning Stove Safety

Friday, January 25th, 2019

Having a wood-burning stove as a source of supplemental heat during the colder months can result in significant cost savings on your electric bill, but did you know it can cause an increase in premium on your homeowners insurance?

fire in domestic stove on the kitchen

What to know:

•Even if you have a new wood-burning stove, the act of burning wood as a source of heat creates the possibility of sparking or spitting of hot embers. Taken in combination with combustible materials around your wood-burning stove, there is an increased risk.

•If you are considering having a wood-burning stove installed, be sure it is UL approved and professionally installed. Not only will this help ensure the safety of your home and family, but many insurers will not provide insurance unless certain safety standards or clearances are met. Most insurance carriers will want to do an additional inspection on the unit itself as well.

•Notify your insurance company of the presence of such a stove in your home to ensure you have proper coverage on your home and belongings.

How to maintain wood-stove safety:

•Have the chimney and stove cleaned and inspected annually before you begin using it for the season.

•Look over your unit and chimney regularly for potential cracks. This will help you catch something small before it becomes an issue.

•Follow all clearance requirements in the home. This rule applies to people and pets as well as furniture and other combustible materials. This will help prevent burn injuries as well as limit the risk of a fire starting outside the unit.

•Only burn dry wood. Burning wood can cause deposits known as creosote to build up. If not properly maintained, these deposits can ignite and cause chimney fires.

Having a wood-burning stove doesn’t have to be scary. Make sure you fully understand the risks and responsibilities associated with having one in your home. Also, be sure to talk with your insurance agent or carrier if there are ever any changes in your home that could impact your insurance. Stay warm out there!

References:

https://www.nfpa.org/-/media/Files/Public-Education/Resources/Safety-tip-sheets/WoodPelletStoveSafety.ashx

https://www.doityourself.com/stry/10-safety-tips-to-remember-when-using-a-wood-burning-stove

Content courtesy of Acuity Insurance / Addie B.

Updating your fleet equipment. (Trucking)

Thursday, January 17th, 2019

Are you considering updating your company’s heavy trucks and trailers and, if so, what factors do you use to make these decisions? One thing is certain, there is no right or wrong answer, as a crop farmer’s needs will be completely different than a regional general freight motor carrier. Every trucking operation is unique, and every owner looks for different things in their trade-in cycle. However, we can discuss some common items for you to consider when updating your equipment.

Trucking Insurance

Equipment Specification. Make sure the equipment, whether new or used, fits your operational needs and is spec’d accordingly. Is the engine the correct size, the axles appropriate for weight and gear ratio, the frame the correct length, and the fifth wheel able to be adjusted for your trailers and loads? Depending on the freight you are hauling, is your trailer as universal as possible to meet various load configurations and weights your customers might expect?

What Do You Want to Afford? If you are financing a vehicle, you should ask yourself, “What can I afford?” followed by “What do I want to afford?” Remember, the average term of a truck or trailer loan is 60 months, so you should be sure your income is secure for at least the next 5 years. For example, in the case of a farmer, it must be determined the equipment will be utilized enough to justify the ongoing monthly payments.

Maintenance. The cost of running older equipment is not always limited to mechanical breakdowns and repairs. Unless you have a good maintenance program, CSA violations can also contribute to the cost of operation.

Warranty. Manufacturers are providing some pretty good warranty options on new trucks—many coming standard with 5-year or 500,000-mile warranties. Many larger fleets are buying trucks in bulk, sometimes saving $10,000 to $15,000 per truck. They run these trucks up to 380,000 miles and get a good trade value as they still have 120,000 miles of warranty.

Fuel Economy. Just a decade ago, 5 or 6 miles per gallon was considered good, with some trucks getting 4. Truck technology has changed, and some fleet applications are claiming to see 8 miles per gallon from their fleet.

Driver Satisfaction. Drivers today have a lot of choices—especially professional drivers with years of experience and a clean MVR. What differentiates your company to attract and retain drivers of this caliber? Nice equipment is often thought to be a part of that equation.

Financing. New model trucks are usually easier to finance and often qualify for lower interest rates. The higher cost of buying new when considered with the lower APR can sometimes make more financial sense than buying used. This is important as the standard over-the-road truck is now selling for $140,000 to $150,000, while used equipment commonly runs between $30,000 and $90,000.

Depreciation and Resale Value. Like all new vehicles, trucks and trailers depreciate fairly quickly, so the resale value will drop significantly in the first year. In some circumstances, buying used enables you to recoup your initial investment should you decide to sell the equipment.

Regulations. Are you in trucking for the long term? If so, consider the required CARB regulations when traveling in some states. This can end up costing truckers $16,000 to $18,000 for compliance on a used truck, whereas a new truck is already compliant.

Content provided by Cliff J., trucking insurance specialist at Acuity Insurance.  Original blog post can be found here.

For a quote on your trucking operation please contact Beck Insurance Agency at 419-446-2777, or click here.

Why is my house insurance limit so high?

Wednesday, January 16th, 2019

Some great points courtesy of Acuity Insurance, on a topic we hear about frequently….

Why does it cost more to rebuild after a loss compared to new construction? Shouldn’t the costs be about the same?

The answer is no. Reconstruction almost always costs more than brand-new construction, particularly when there has been a partial loss, and there are several reasons why.

• Repairing a building after a partial loss often means working from the top down, which is a far more time-consuming and labor-intensive process compared to building from the bottom up

• Typically, remnants of the damaged structure need to be removed before reconstruction can begin. Demolition and debris removal are expenses that add up before the first cement can be poured or the first nail hammered in.

• Current building codes are often stricter than those that were in force when the original structure was built, requiring more expensive materials and methods for compliance. In some cases, even undamaged parts of a structure may need to be rewired or re-plumbed to meet current codes.

• In the wake of natural disasters, building material costs rise sharply, and this can add thousands of dollars to the cost. Labor availability may also be more limited, further increasing costs.

• Reconstruction sites can present additional challenges, including difficult access to the worksite and the need to protect undamaged portions of the building.

Of course there are more factors, but these are some excellent points!  Thanks Acuity!

For more information or quotes on your home insurance please call or click.  419-446-2777.

Have a great day!  Beck Insurance Agency, Inc., Archbold, Ohio.

 

Cab Essentials for the Road

Sunday, October 7th, 2018

If you have ever taken your family camping, you know there is a lot to pack. Food, clothing, activities, and so much more. Similarly, truck drivers must understand the items needed on the open road. This knowledge is shared from driver to driver. We then add to this wisdom from our own experiences and personal needs. For example, a long-haul driver operating from coast to coast will need different resources than a local driver who is home most nights. Drivers need to be prepared for delays due to weather, inability to get loaded or unloaded, breakdowns, inspections, fatigue, and even sickness.

Truck Insurance

Here is a short list of items I found necessary to keep in my truck in a regional trucking operation:

1.An emergency preparedness kit. It is sometimes difficult to predict what we will encounter on roadways. As a result, the emergency kit should contain extra batteries, gloves, a flashlight, a sleeping bag, winter clothing when in season, non-perishable foods, extra medication, an extra pair of prescription glasses, a basic tool kit, duct tape, spare bulbs, jumper cables, extra fuses, bottled water, a foldable shovel, window deicer, emergency flares, an extra cell phone charger, and a first-aid kit.

2.Extra money. If your credit card quits working, you lose your wallet, or the store’s power is out, a few hundred dollars tucked away in a safe place can come in handy when you need to spend the night or purchase provisions.

3.Keep your food cold. If your truck is not equipped with a refrigerator, an insulated cooler is important in preserving perishable food items and keeping your drinks cold.

4.How are you cooking? A lot of drivers used to use little propane stoves to prepare meals in their trucks and save money on food costs. My preference is a microwave, which many trucks are now equipped with or have a converter or an APU. A microwave can make a big difference in comfort for a long-haul driver.

5.Another alternative is a slow cooker. Meat, potatoes, and fresh vegetables can be a satisfying end to a long day. A slow cooker allows you to prepare your own healthy food with minimal effort. However, make sure it is secured so it does not cause injury in the event of a sudden stop.

6.Food for truck drivers is no longer one size fits all. Many cultures and tastes influence our food choices. I chose to stock up on items that remained safe at room temperature and could be easily prepared, such as granola bars, bread, peanut butter, jelly, apples, bananas, nut varieties, deli meat, cans of soup, and water—lots and lots of water. There are a lot of healthy choices out there. Google and decide what works best for you.

7.Paper towels and wet wipes were essential items for me. They can be used for maintaining personal cleanliness, as a cleaning cloth in the truck, or as a rag to complete an unexpected repair.

8.Extra clothing. You will need several changes of clothing, depending on the duration of your trip. I found that extra socks, underwear, gloves, and footwear could make life much more comfortable in unexpected events such as weather and breakdowns.

9.Personal hygiene items, including deodorant, toothpaste, a toothbrush, a comb, mouthwash, and floss.

10.Know where you are going. A motor carrier map can prove very helpful in arriving safely to your destination. Understanding your route options and identifying toll roads, inspection stations, and roadway and bridge restrictions can prove invaluable. Personally, I used a trucker’s road atlas first and GPS as a second referral only while driving.

11.Stay warm and pack essentials. If you have ever been really cold and alone, you will identify with why I also kept a small propane heater stowed away. The same holds true for a portable toilet. Whether trapped in a traffic jam or in a remote location, having extra toilet paper and a clean portable toilet can bring a lot of comfort in those emergency situations of life on the road.

When you are stopped, take some pictures to share with family and friends, and remember to take the time to enjoy your trucking experience—appreciate the sunrises and sunsets, the old barns and cattle grazing, and the mountains you encounter along America’s roadways.

Cliff J. on August 15, 2018 in Trucker Focus , Acuity.

Interested in an insurance review and competitive bids on your Trucking Operation?  Call Beck Insurance Agency at 419-446-2777, send an email to joe@beckinsurance.com , or click here.

How to Request an Upgrade to Your DOT Rating

Monday, May 7th, 2018

Though your team does a good job managing your operations and you’re proud of your safety performance, you still ended up with a Conditional or Unsatisfactory rating. In other words, the FMCSA auditor has determined that your company failed to have “adequate safety management controls in place to ensure compliance with the safety fitness standard.”

We all understand why a Satisfactory safety rating is important to motor carriers. Negative ratings can bring many repercussions—your fleet is scrutinized on roadways, customers may have concerns about you hauling their goods, there can be a reluctance to pass on available rate increases offered to better-rated carriers, you may get questions from your insurance company’s underwriters and loss control people, and it can be difficult to attract quality drivers. The best drivers tend to align themselves with well-managed carriers who are not being scrutinized by enforcement officers.

One of the interesting things I notice when visiting motor carriers—especially with smaller, well-managed trucking companies that have been in business for many years and have not had large safety issues—is that they can be unaware of how FMCSA’s Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program works and how it can drastically affect their company. CSA’s Safety Management System (SMS) uses a motor carrier’s data from roadside inspections, crash reports, and investigations to calculate performance in the 7 Behavioral Analysis Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs): unsafe driving, hours-of-service compliance, driver fitness, controlled substances and alcohol, vehicle maintenance, hazardous materials compliance, and crash indicator. Based on BASIC CSA scores, FMCSA determines what interventions are taken against a carrier.

Following a compliance review, one of three safety ratings is issued—Satisfactory, Conditional, or Unsatisfactory—based on the following categories:

1.Documented, adequate safety management controls.
2.Frequency and severity of regulatory violations received by motor carrier.
3.Frequency and severity of driver and vehicle regulatory violations.
4.Frequency and severity of out-of-service driver and vehicle violations.
5.A pattern demonstrating an increase or decrease in similar types of regulatory violations.
6.Frequency of crashes and incident rate are indicators of preventable incidents, whether they are increasing or decreasing.
7.Number and severity of violations of FMCSA regulations.

If you receive a Conditional or Unsatisfactory rating, the first step in obtaining a Satisfactory rating is to understand the deficiencies and controls that were deemed inadequate or missing during your audit. Once your updated safety management plan is developed and you have implemented controls to ensure safety compliance, you will need to provide FMCSA with documentation that deficiencies have been rectified and an upgrade to a Satisfactory rating is an appropriate step for your company.

The FMCSA has a user-friendly guide and accompanying form, 385.17 Upgrade Request, outlining how to request an upgrade to your safety rating based on correction action, or visit Acuity’s Motor Carrier Toolbox to learn more.  Source Acuity Insurance

 

Auto Insurance

Sunday, November 19th, 2017

Auto Insurance

The right auto insurance policy can help get you back on the road quickly if your car is damaged or destroyed by accident, fire, theft, or other covered event. Your policy may also provide protection against medical and legal expenses resulting from injury, loss of life, or property damage caused by an accident involving your vehicle.

An auto insurance policy is a contract between you and an insurance company. You pay a premium, and in exchange, the insurance company promises to pay for specific car-related financial losses during the term of the policy. Work with us to determine the best coverage for you.

Insurance for cars, trucks, boats and more!

Beck Insurance Agency can insure your Motorcycle, Classic Car, Motor Home & RV, Boat & Jet Ski, and ATV too! Contact us for more information today!

How much auto insurance is right for you?

Based in Archbold, Ohio, the team at Beck Insurance Agency understands the auto insurance needs of our customers.

Auto insurance requirements vary by state. In some states, to drive you must carry:
Liability coverage – to pay for losses you cause others, or:
No-fault coverage – to pay you and your passengers for medical and related expenses caused by injuries from a car accident, regardless of who is at fault, or
Both liability and no-fault coverage.

We write insurance in Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Tennessee, Georgia, and Florida and would be happy to help you ensure you have the right coverage for where you live.
Even in states where coverage isn’t required, drivers must, by law, be able to pay for losses they cause others. Having insurance is the simplest way for most people to comply. To finance a car, it is usually necessary to have insurance which covers damage to your vehicle. This includes:

Collision Insurance

Collision insurance coverage pays for damage caused to your vehicle in an automobile accident. Standard collision coverage will pay for any repairs up to the fair market value of your car. Collision coverage usually also comes with an insurance deductible. It’s the amount of money you pay toward repairs before your collision insurance kicks in. The higher the deductible you’re willing to pay, the less the collision coverage will cost.

Comprehensive Insurance (Other than Collision)

Comprehensive insurance covers damage done to your car in some way other than a collision, such as if it were stolen or vandalized. Flood, hurricane, theft, windshield damage and fire are also events usually covered by comprehensive car insurance. Like collision, comprehensive will pay up to the fair market value of your car (less your insurance deductible). And although it’s not legally required by any state, you will probably need it if your car is financed.

Every person is unique – talk to us today to find out how to get the best price and value on auto insurance for you.

Beck Insurance Agency:  “Check with Beck Before You Wreck“.  Call for a quote today at 877-446-BECK (2325), Email us at info@beckinsurance.com, or hit us up via the our Contact Us page!