RLI Safety Solutions Combines Insurance and Commercial Transport Expertise

The newly launched business of the Peoria-based P&C carrier addresses the huge demand for safety-related tools and programs on the part of both policyholders and other companies.

(Image source: RLI.)

This week, RLI Insurance Company (Peoria, Ill.) launched a new business offering to provide comprehensive safety and compliance services for small and midsized commercial transportation fleet operators. RLI Safety Solutions’ offerings are available nationwide to small and midsized commercial transportation fleet operators insured by RLI or other carriers. RLI Safety Solutions consulting services include Department of Transportation compliance reviews, customized driver training programs, compliance and safety practices evaluations, telematics and camera strategy development and other customized safety programs.

Dan Meyer, President, RLI Transportation.

In the words of Dan Meyer, President of RLI Transportation, “Our suite of safety solutions is designed for commercial transportation companies that want to proactively increase safety, improve compliance and better manage risk.”

Jamie Wilson, Director of Loss Control at RLI Safety Solutions seeks to expand customers’ understanding of what loss control has to offer, stressing his team’s specific expertise. “All of our team members are industry professionals, and combined we have over 100 years of safety, risk and compliance experience,” he says.

By creating Safety Solutions, Wilson explains, RLI empowers its safety and risk management experts to do much more than they could within the constraints of a structured loss control context. That’s true of what they can do for RLI policyholders, but the launch of Safety Solutions also opens the door to working for parties that are not insured by RLI.

“It’s an opportunity for us to demonstrate the capabilities that we have from a safety, compliance and risk management perspective, and also talk about RLI as a whole,” Wilson affirms.

Insurance & Transportation Expertise

That said, Wilson stresses that RLI’s insurance expertise is an important part of Safety Solutions’ value proposition. “We combine the insurance experience in camera telematics with industry experience,” he says.

That’s a differentiator for RLI Safety Solutions because there’s a skill and support gap between carriers with telematics and other safety-related programs and the suppliers of the technology and other tools they use.

Jamie Wilson, Director of Loss Control, RLI Transportation.

“What we find is the vendor’s ability to assist customers ends almost at the time of installation, and then it’s up to the carrier staff to figure out how to implement that technology, how to train their drivers, how to train their supervisors, and how to use that data to reduce risk,” Wilson observes. “That’s where our expertise really matters.”

It can be a challenge getting transportation companies to recognize that they don’t understand the systems they’ve adopted, Wilson adds. “We often do onsite assessments and find that they’re only using about 15 percent of the technology capabilities that they’ve had for several years.”

RLI transportation works with its policyholders as a matter of course to implement technology, apply its available features and develop a strategy for using the data it gathers, Wilson says. In the case of transportation companies that are not insured by RLI, Safety Solutions can fill an important gap because their insurer may not have the expertise to develop camera telematics and other safety-related programs. “They can’t go back to the vendor for that help because again, they’re fundamentally tech companies and they don’t understand how a fleet operates or know the best ways to train drivers,” Wilson adds.

Wilson started RLI Transportation’s commercial auto-related safety programs in 2017, and has developed its staff and offerings through interaction with insurance clients. “There’s a tremendous opportunity in the market for it,” he says. “Our insureds are starting to recognize the opportunity we’ve created here, and there are hundreds of thousands of transportation companies out there, and the smaller ones typically don’t receive all of the attention that they need. We insure fleets from one vehicle to several thousand vehicles, and we aim to apply our services equally.”

Prudent Growth

RLI fully expects to take advantage of the opportunity to grow Safety Solutions, but it intends to do so prudently. “We’re going to walk before we run,” Wilson comments. “Our goal is to grow it organically, but also in a smart way.”

Currently, while RLI Safety Solutions offerings are end-to-end, they are still somewhat limited by design, Wilson notes. He elaborates with reference to his pre-insurance career in commercial transportation.

“When I think of the kinds of customized training materials and services we could offer, from the perspective of having been in the industry for so many years—owning trucks and having drivers that work for me directly—is that when you purchase something off the shelf and you put it in front of your drivers, they often can’t relate to it because it wasn’t specifically created for them, the equipment they use or the challenges they may experience.”

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Anthony R. O’Donnell // Anthony O'Donnell is Executive Editor of Insurance Innovation Reporter. For nearly two decades, he has been an observer and commentator on the use of information technology in the insurance industry, following industry trends and writing about the use of IT across all sectors of the insurance industry. He can be reached at AnthODonnell@IIReporter.com or (503) 936-2803.

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