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Sentry Transportation Agency Conference focuses on telematics, social inflation

This select group of Sentry-appointed agents focuses exclusively on trucking

STEVENS POINT, Wis.  (September 27, 2022) – More than 100 independent agents met with Sentry leaders this month at the mutual insurer’s headquarters in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, to discuss issues impacting the commercial trucking insurance industry.

They covered several topics, including harnessing telematics data generated by AI automation, social inflation, and the need to remove barriers to get more women in the trucking industry—from leadership roles to behind the wheel.

It was the 20th Transportation Agency Conference Sentry has hosted since 1999, the first held in person since prior to the pandemic. Here are some conference highlights:

image from Sentry trucking conference
  • Harness telematics data: Nick Saeger, Sentry AVP – Transportation Products & Pricing, spoke about Sentry harnessing data available through telematics devices to make smart, real-time decisions that benefit the business and customers. “We like to think we have one of the smartest pricing models in insurance. This potentially could be the next frontier on underwriting … getting telematics data. We’re super interested in the data, and what we can do with it.”
  • Educate on social inflation: “The insurance and trucking industries are working for a more fair and equitable legal system,” said Tony Trenzeluk, Sentry Director of Government Affairs. Nuclear verdicts, driven by third-party litigation, drive up costs for everyone, including consumers.
    • Jerry Theodorou, Director of Finance, Insurance, and Trade Policy Program for R Street Institute, who presented at the conference, agrees. Third-party litigation funding—where asset managers fund litigation in the hopes of making large profits—flies under the radar in courtrooms with little disclosure, he said, and “margins are tremendous.”
      • Litigation funding increases. In a study he shared at the conference, Theodorou pointed to a report by Westfleet Advisors that stated firms closed 312 new litigation-funding deals in 2020, totaling $2.47 billion, a 6 percent increase from the year prior.
      • Court verdicts go nuclear: In a study on truck accident litigation by the American Transportation Research Institute, court verdict awards against trucking companies rose nearly 52 percent between 2010–2018, with average verdicts in truck accident lawsuits over $1 million rising tenfold from $2.3 million to $22.3 million.
  • Remove barriers for women: Ellen Voie, President, CEO, and Founder of the Women in Trucking (WIT) Association, said her organization’s mission is to encourage employment of women in the trucking industry—behind the wheel, under the hood, and in the corner office—promote their accomplishments, and minimize obstacles they face.
    • “People have to see people who look like them in an industry before they’ll join it,” Voie said about how women in the industry often dress like their male counterparts to fit in. “Diversity is too often about making minorities comfortable with a dominant norm. Women don’t need fixing.”
    • Why do we want more women in the industry, according to Voie?
      • As drivers, women take fewer risks.
      • Women typically take better care of equipment.
      • Accidents involving women result in less loss of life and less damage to equipment.
      • Women often are easier to train because they’re more eager to learn.
      • Women are better at completing paperwork.
      • Women typically work better with customers.
    • During the conference, the Sentry Insurance Foundation donated $5,000 to the WIT Foundation to help women with financial needs grow their skills by providing access to classroom and vocational training.
  • Build and strengthen the right business relationships:
    •  Build deeper relationships: Scott Miller, President – Commercial Insurance Agency & Broker at Sentry, said that in the past decade Sentry has reduced the number of its appointed agencies that specialize in trucking by 50 percent. “We’ve played to our strength, creating deeper relationships with the right people,” he said.
    • Do the right thing: Pete McPartland, Sentry Chairman of the Board, President, and CEO, said that being part of a mutual insurance group positions Sentry to “constantly do the right thing” for the businesses, customers, and business partners because leaders are free from distractions and pressures of quarterly results.
      • “Due to our financial strength and being a mutual company, we’re in a better position to deal with challenges without having to overreact to them,” he said.

Learn more about Sentry’s motor carrier insurance products and services.

For more information, please contact:

Avery Faehling
Mobile: 715-697-4590

Carolyn Schamberger
Mobile: 715-315-9929

Rick LaFrombois
Mobile: 715-581-9396

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