work comp rates for truck drivers

6 Reasons Why Trucking Company’s Workers' Compensation Rates Are So High...

There are a ton of places where trucking companies leave money on the table because of their drivers’ health.  One of those areas that a lot of companies hate to think about is workers’ compensation.  From a slip on the ice getting out of their truck to an achy knee that started hurting during their pre-trip inspection, work comp claims can be really unexpected and cost your company a lot of money.

Trying to wrap your head around how an insurance company comes up with work comp rates can be intimidating for anyone.  You hear all these phrases like “class codes” or “x-mod”, but kind of shrug your shoulders trying to figure out if there’s anything you can actually do to get your insurance premiums down…

Factors You Can’t Control

For any workers’ compensation plan, there are some factors that you have no control over.

For example, owning trucks and doing business within the trucking industry puts your company into a certain category of risk that you have no control over.  Some other examples include: a truck drivers’ job description and the risk of being on the road all day.

Factors You Can Control

On the flip side, there are definitely some factors that your company can control that play a role in your workers’ compensation rates.

Some examples of these include: number of work comp claims reported per year, the average cost per claim, and the overall culture of safety/health and wellness at your company.

But why are your workers’ compensation rates so high compared to other industries?

The 6 Statistics

Here are 6 statistics that play a role into workers’ compensation rates within the trucking industry:

The Total Number Of Injuries

 1. In 2019, truck drivers had the 2nd highest number of private industry occupational injuries.  That equated to a total of 47,990 cases reported from the trucking industry alone in the United States.

Average Time Lost Per Claim

 2. On average, truck drivers lose 3.4 weeks of work per claim. If a driver isn’t behind the wheel, that means your company is losing revenue.     Obviously, there are a lot of factors that play into your net revenue per truck per week, but FreightWaves put out a great article that broke this topic down. They found that most trucking companies have a net revenue per truck per week between $3,000 to $5,000.  That means for every work comp claim, your company loses between $10,000-$17,000 of revenue, not including medical costs you will also have to pay due to the injury.

How To Decrease Musculoskeletal Injuries In Truckers

 3. Musculoskeletal injuries account for half of all work-related injuries and a fourth of all lost-time claims in the trucking industry.  This is really important because a lot of musculoskeletal injuries can be prevented if your drivers are healthier/fitter.  In the physical therapy world, we talk about a concept called workload tolerance.  Which is defined as the amount of stress a person can handle before they are at a greater risk of an injury occurring.  If your drivers are healthier/fitter, their workload tolerance increases.  Which means that they can handle more stress throughout their day before a musculoskeletal or other injury occurs, equating to less overall claims for your company per year.

The Most Costly Lost-Time Claim

 4. Work comp claims cost a lot of money…. And according to the National Safety Council, the most costly lost-time claim by cause of injury is a motor-vehicle accident.  The average cost per claim for an accident comes in at just over $78,000.  And with truck drivers being on the road for 8 to 11 hours a day, the insurance companies have to keep this statistic in mind.  So, we can categorize this as another one of those “have no control over” aspects of your work comp rate.

Driving A Truck Can Be Dangerous

 5. Driving a truck can be a dangerous job. Truck drivers are 11x more likely to die during their shift than the average worker.  There are a lot of different factors that go into this statistic, but the increased risk of being in a motor vehicle accident and the health of a lot of drivers play a big role.  One study from Xia et al found that poor health status was associated with a higher likelihood of crashes and a greater number of work comp claims. So, making safety and drivers’ health a priority for your fleet can dramatically decrease the likelihood of one of these traumatic events from occurring. 

Drivers Being Obese Affects Work Comp Rates?

 6. Did you know that 85% of truck drivers are overweight (20% higher than the national average) and 48% of drivers are obese (26% higher than the national average)? Those are some scary statistics, but it gets even worse when you look at it from a workers’ compensation point of view.  Obese drivers file 2x as many claims as those who are not obese. They miss 13 more days of work per year due to injuries. And their medical claims cost 7x more than those who are not obese.  That means that almost 50% of your drivers are ticking time bombs of risk for your company’s workers’ compensation policies and bottom line.

How Trucking Companies Can Save Money On Their Work Comp Rates

When it comes to work comp rates, there are some factors that you can’t control. But there are also a lot of aspects that you can make changes to and save money in the long run. One of those being your drivers’ health.  Healthy truck drivers are more efficient and safer drivers.  They’re injured less and miss fewer days behind the wheel. Drivers are the face of your company and it’s time we start treating them that way. 

Do you want my suggestion?

Give your drivers the health and wellness resources and guidance they need while on the road.  Empower them to make this change and you will be shocked at the results.

Here’s to a healthier fleet,

Mark Manera

Owner of The Trucking Fitness Company

P.S. Providing your drivers with a wellness program that they’ll actually use is not a get-rich-quick-scheme. It’s a long term investment that will pay off huge in the long run. Click here to make sure your investment in a wellness program isn’t a shot in the dark….