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Insight from a Fleet Transportation Underwriter

Posted in Transportation

Author: Laura Cole

Recently, I joined the JM Wilson Fleet team as Assistant Fleet Transportation Underwriter.  I’ve been training with everyone on the Fleet team, but closely with Mary Ricks who is a Senior Fleet Transportation Underwriter and also happens to be my sister!   

So far, we’ve worked on making sure we have complete submissions! There’s a lot of information that needs to be included in a submission before we can pass it on to our markets.

As I am learning the specifics of Fleet Transportation, it occurred to me that perhaps others might also benefit from this insight.  Here are a few highlights based on my questions during training and Mary’s 17 years of experience with JM Wilson. 

Is there something you find agents tend to leave off a submission that requires you to go back for before beginning underwriting? 

The main item I find that is missing is the historical information:  Unit count, revenue, and mileage for the past 3 years, the current year, and the projected period. Our fleet applications all provide a section for this information.  

The other item we seem to request frequently is a drivers’ list that contains years of experience and dates of hire for all drivers. 

Having a complete submission enables us to get the risk submitted out to our markets in a timely fashion and present the risk in the best light to the carrier. 
For Fleet Transportation, we have a variety of markets that will write 11+ units in a number of states. Tell me about our markets. What do you think is the most important thing to know? 

We work with 6 of the leading truck markets in the industry.  Each has its own appetite which our agents count on us to know so that we can secure the right coverage for their insured. It’s also important that we have strong relationships with our underwriters within those markets in order to work through risks with unique attributes.  
What are the billing and payment methods? 

We have several different payment options from monthly reporters to pay plans and premium finance. We work closely with our markets and agents to find the best option for the insured. 
What are some changes you have seen regarding underwriting fleet transportation business over the past year and what changes do you anticipate in the coming year? 

Maintaining satisfactory DOT scores is vital to a fleet’s success. We are seeing an uptick of fleets seeking to partner with an insurance carrier that offers loss control services and other resources to help them fine-tune safety programs and keep their DOT scores in line. Not only are the DOT scores looked at in underwriting, but shippers and brokers are also using the scores to vet carriers to haul for them.  
JM Wilson has partnered with insurance markets that offer a long list of risk control services and resources that can be offered to our fleet insureds at no additional charge.   

For the coming year, I anticipate that we will continue to work closely with our carriers to provide the best insurance options for our fleet insureds. We will continue to work hard to maintain our renewals and go the extra mile in order to write new business.  

Our markets are eager to write business and I look forward to helping our agents grow their books of business in 2021.   
How long have you been underwriting transportation? 

I have been working for JM Wilson for 17 years now and have enjoyed it tremendously. In addition to me, the Fleet Transportation Team at JM Wilson has a collective 75 years of expertise and experience among Sandi Fritz, Jen Councell, Adam Mandwee, and Casey Larson. 
What’s your favorite part about working at JM Wilson? 

I love the relationships and the people: the retail agents, those at the carrier level, and my fellow JM Wilson associates. One aspect of our culture is to go the extra mile and I have found that by doing so, that kind of care and service is reciprocal. 

What do you find challenging about underwriting transportation insurance? 

The most challenging thing is the constant change in trucking regulations, state statutes, and the economy. Just staying on top of all the changes and being able to adapt is very important.  
We all work together in the Fleet Team to make sure each of us is informed of such changes and do not hesitate to collaborate with each to find solutions for unique situations.
What have you enjoyed most about training me? LOL 

I love to teach people new things, and since we are family, it’s great to be able to share my JM Wilson experience and knowledge with you. 

Who do you think was Dad’s favorite growing up? 

Definitely me. 

Haha. But I was Mom’s favorite. 


Thanks for doing this with me, Mary! It’s been fun! 

Agreed. I look forward to new shared experiences underwriting Fleet Transportation with you! 

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