How technology is helping insurers defend truckers

TORONTO, Ont. – Implementing technologies such as electronic logging devices (ELDs) can help insurance companies defend trucking companies when an incident occurs.

That was the message from Peter Aumonier, senior vice-president of Northbridge Insurance, when speaking at the Surface Transportation Summit Oct. 13.

A plaintiff attorney’s two main objectives when taking on a trucking company, Aumonier said, are to “inflame and inflate.”

“In a claim situation, you inflame the circumstances around it and that will inflate the value,” he explained.

Technologies such as ELDs allow insurance companies to better defend carriers, because they limit the plaintiff attorney’s ability to inflame circumstances.

“Managing a major claim event in the transportation business, with all the electronic devices available now, this could be a good thing from a claims management perspective,” Aumonier said. “In terms of managing a claim, any device, any standard, anything set out that people have to comply with – you are no longer left with juries debating what the standard of care is; it has been defined. If you are able to demonstrate you come within those rules and regulations, it makes it much easier to manage a claim event.”

ELDs, Aumonier said, will also help eliminate errors related to driver hours-of-service – whether they are made intentionally or unintentionally.

But Aumonier also pointed out technology brings risks. When it comes to fraud, for example, he wondered if technology is a shield or a sword.

“One of the biggest threats we see is hacking,” he said. “In the world we live in today, I think class action lawyers are always looking for new opportunities and new claims and they will target industries. In believe when you have all this technology and the ability to hack in, there will be things they tie onto to try to create a class action.”

Still, he said the benefits of technology are significant.

“The technology we have allows us to document our practices in our business. As long as you have scrupulous record-keeping and history – good records you can rely on – all those things protect us,” he said.

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James Menzies is editor of Today's Trucking. He has been covering the Canadian trucking industry for more than 20 years and holds a CDL. Reach him at or follow him on Twitter at @JamesMenzies.

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