10 Tips to Ensure a Safe Backing Procedure

Are you aware that about 90% of trucking incidents and crashes occur during backing maneuvers? It’s true! As the owner of a moving and storage business, you bear the responsibility of training all company drivers in order to prevent this type of accident from happening. It is crucial to provide training and backing up safety tips to drivers who will be operating such large vehicles, especially since he or she will be backing up 50% of the time.


Here are 10 safety tips that should be included in your training for a safe and effective backing procedure.

1.    Always perform a walk-around check before making any moves
2.    Look up, down and at fixed objects
3.    Adjust your mirrors properly and check side clearances
4.    Understand that mirrors only show a small portion of the total picture – do not depend entirely on them!
5.    Use your four-way flashers
6.    Keep a close eye on pedestrian traffic in the area and around your vehicle
7.    Plan your course and move slowly in order to stay in control of your vehicle and gauge your distance
8.    Continue to check all sides as you back up
9.    Keep your eyes peeled and moving to ensure conditions have not changed since your last glance
10.    Stop half-way through your maneuver, set the brake, get out, and look around to be extra cautious
Without a safe backing procedure in place, your drivers and the business may be facing a lawsuit much sooner than later. Luckily, our agents at Wolpert Insurance are here to provide your moving and storage business with back-up protection, as well (no pun intended!) Feel free to contact us for more information on our movers insurance options, from automobile liability to warehouse liability.

Reading the Fine Print on Your Insurance Policy

Over the past few weeks, we have discussed the importance of reading over your insurance policy. Isn’t it funny how intimidated Americans are by large, technical word documents? Last month, Wolpert’s own Robert Mucci wrote an entire article on this issue, especially when it comes to those in the moving and storage business.

Since both Motor Truck Cargo (MTC) and Warehouseman’s Legal Liability (WLL) are classified as Commercial Marine Inland (CIM), these policies are written according to the writer’s own terms, conditions and charges. This can be a good thing, because it means that it will be tailored to each individual moving and storage company. However, sometimes this sort of technique will mean coverage gaps. According to the article, “Even though MTC and WLL policies are usually preprinted by the insurance companies for their convenience, they are at least theoretically modifiable, making them more susceptible to errors in customization.”

Let’s look at a quick example from Bob Mucci’s article:

“A carrier’s MTC insurance turned out to cover only shipments for which the trucking company issued the bill of lading. Because BOLs in this company’s operation are always issued by a steamship line, the forwarder or a shipper, the trucking firm had been paying hefty premiums for years for essentially zero coverage. They would have known if they’d read the policy.”

To read the entire article, head over to the Transport Topics Newsletter, here!

If you are concerned about your moving and storage insurance policy, do not hesitate to contact the experts at Wolpert Insurance. Our agents understand the risks you may face if there are gaps in your coverage. Together, we can make sure you do not face the worst case scenario.

Cargo and Warehouse Insurance: Coverage Gaps

Last week, we discussed the importance of reading over your cargo and warehouse insurance policy. These “tailored” policies can be tricky and if you are not careful about reading and understanding them, you may fall victim to a coverage gap.

To open your eyes to this issue, let’s take a look at a possible scenario…

ABC Moving and Storage receives directions for Product Company to pick up an outbound seafaring container that is heading to the local shipping port valued at $159,000. ABC sends a driver to Product Company and who then signs for the container. However, he realizes that he will not make it to the port in time, so he asks to leave the container in a remote section of the facility. He moves and unhooks the container and heads home for the weekend without thinking anything of it. Once Monday morning arrives, the driver returns to Product Company only to find out that the container has been stolen.

Product Company initiates a suit seeking reimbursement for their loss of $159,000. However, the motor truck cargo insurance policy ABC has purchased states that only loads hooked up to vehicles are covered as well as terminals and drop yards listed on the policy. Consequently, the insurance company denies the claim, stating that the load was unhooked from the tractor and the Product Company’s yard was not listed as a terminal on the ABC motor truck cargo policy.

In this case, ABC is now left to pay legal fees, related court costs and any judgment or settlement out of the income that ABC earns. This is just one example of a case where the exposures from operations of the company did NOT mesh with the coverage they have obtained. The bottom line: ABC should have read and understood their policy before making such a careless mistake. This is the horrible consequence of a coverage gap.

We get it; no one likes to read paperwork, never mind the fine print at the bottom. Massachusetts residents and Americans across the country are known to just sign on the dotted lined. While it may be easy to assume that all the language in the document is there to help and protect, this may not always be the case. Instead of taking a leap of faith, take a moment to stop and read over your policy. Failing to understand may just have you taking a leap of faith off of a high cliff, with nothing but financial woes to break your fall.

Cargo and Warehouse Insurance: Reading Your Policy

Business owners, quick question: Have you REALLY read over your insurance policy? It’s a funny thing, to be honest… I once asked a potential client how much he paid for the last book he bought. He said it was $25. I went on and asked if he had read the book and he answered “yes.” I then asked if he had read over his cargo policy and he answered “no.” This client had paid $25,000 for this policy which contained less than 5% of the words in the last novel he purchased and read. Why on earth did he not read over his policy? His response: “It was too difficult to understand.” Does this sound like you?

As an owner in the moving and storage business, it is critical to read over your policy and fully understand what it is saying. While I may not have the authority to force clients to read over their policy, I do feel the need to express my concern. I know that ANY buyer of a motor truck cargo or warehouseman’s legal liability insurance policy will generally, at SOME point, experience a major loss if he or she does not take the time to read the policy over and learn what it will or will not cover.

Motor truck cargo and warehouseman’s legal liability are especially tricky policies. Why? Allow me to give you a quick explanation…

All states regulate the sale of insurance. State insurance “departments” control policy language and the pricing when it comes to the majority of insurance policies. HOWEVER, not all insurance is subject to the same degree of regulatory control, For instance, Marine Insurance, both Ocean and Inland. Motor truck cargo insurance and warehouseman’s legal liability both fall under Commercial Inland Marine (CIM.) Translation: Inland marine underwriters are free to write their own terms and conditions. Motor truck cargo and warehouseman’s legal liability insurance policies are “tailored” and “custom-fit” to properly cover buyers’ exposures and needs.

This may sound great, but it can be both good and bad. With this type of system, the insured will LITERALLY get exactly what he or she pays for. The good news: business owners in the moving and storage industry can get WHATEVER coverage they need, for a price, of course. If the underwriter wants a coverage removed, it can also be removed. However, this freedom also means that these policies may be subject to gaps and errors in “tailoring.” This is where the trouble may begin!

The bottom line: instead of tackling that $25 book you just bought, it may be time to give your $25,000 movers insurance policy a thorough read. If you are not convinced, you should come back next week. We will be discussing the possibility of coverage gaps.