Insurance costs steering new truck drivers away from the industry

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Insurance costs steering new truck drivers away from industry
WATCH: A shortage of long-haul truckers has been contributing to supply chain issues throughout the pandemic, which ultimately leads to higher prices. A solution could be to hire more truckers, but as Suzanne Lapointe reports, that isn’t always as easy as it seems. – Mar 17, 2022

Even with widespread staffing shortages, trucking companies are facing financial barriers in hiring candidates due to the higher cost of insuring them.

Jamie Mullens, one of the owner operators of Keltic Transportation in Moncton said in an interview on Thursday that while her company is able to hire newer drivers at an affordable insurance rate, that’s not the case everywhere.

“Most companies, from what I hear from other drivers as well, is they won’t look at them unless they have two years experience.” she said.

While her company is able to offer on the job training to new hires, she says for others, the costs of hiring less experienced drivers can be prohibitive, and there aren’t many insurers offering coverage for long haul drivers period.

Atlantic Provinces Trucking Association Executive Director Jean-Marc Picard said this is creating a huge barrier to employment to those new to the industry, and that the ongoing staffing challenges are contributing the Canada’s supply chain issues.

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“Carriers, if you hire a bunch of people under 25 well at some point it’s going to cost you a lot of money if you they don’t have much experience,” he said in an interview on Wednesday.

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Amanda Dean, VP Atlantic for the Insurance Bureau of Canada said it’s not about age, but rather a combination of factors like previous driving history and what training a driver has.

“At the moment where there is such a patchwork of training programs and experience that those drivers may…and coupled with the claims history of new drivers… that’s leading to the tougher conversations.” she said in an interview on Thursday.

Mullens said beyond the implications for insurance costs associated with certain training program, not all driving schools are created equal.

“We do look at how long of a course they took as well. Anything eight to twelve weeks we will look at. If it’s a course where you’re getting your license within a day or two we tend to step away from that.” she said.

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She says those looking to break into the industry should do their research about where they study.

“It’s not cheap to take the course so certainly research the different schools and also research what’s offered from the government in terms of helping financially as well.”

Picard said those caught in the catch 22 of needing experience so they can get hired could start small.

“You could start off doing the local deliveries and get some experience there and slowly make your way to long haul.”

He said it varied from company to company and encouraged new drivers to apply to many different companies in hopes of finding one able to absorb the high costs of insurance.

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