How Nuclear Verdicts are Killing the Trucking Business with Quinn Damon
Joe Lynch and Quinn Damon discuss how nuclear verdicts are killing the trucking business. As a vice president of an insurance company that insures trucking companies, Quinn is very knowledgeable of nuclear verdicts and the underlying causes.
About Quinn Damon
Quinn Damon is a Vice President and Risk Management Consultant with Lockton. He currently leads the property/casualty practice for Lockton Michigan and works with transportation, construction/real estate, and manufacturing companies for risk management and insurance. He works with firms all across the country. Originally from Kansas City, Quinn is a graduate of the University of Missouri where he studied finance. His entire career has been with Lockton starting at the global headquarters in Kansas City and now in Detroit. Quinn earned a Bachelor of Science, Finance from the University of Missouri.
Lockton is the largest independently owned insurance brokerage in the world. Ranked #9 globally, they have all of the resources available to global players but with a family-owned atmosphere. The Lockton Transportation & Logistics Practice consists of 30+ individuals under one roof solely dedicated to the industry. They work with 18 of the top 50 private carriers and 6 of the top 50 for-hire carriers. In total, they oversee the insurance for over 150,000 power units. Despite working with some of the nation’s largest carriers, they also work heavily with the middle-market space.
Key Takeaways – How Nuclear Verdicts are Killing the Trucking Business
- A nuclear verdict is defined as a jury award in which the penalty exceeds $10 million. Other sources consider any jury award over $5 million as a nuclear verdict.
- Nuclear verdict awards are growing rapidly in the trucking business and the resulting insurance rate increases are killing trucking companies.
- The nuclear verdicts are increasing for the following reasons:
- Distracted driving has grown with the use of mobile phones and other personal electronic devices.
- More drivers on the road, as the economy grew and the population grew, there are more cars and drivers, which leads to more accidents.
- As the public and lawyers became aware of the nuclear verdicts, it fueled the growth further.
- Sophisticated advertising campaigns for personal injury lawyers have also fueled public awareness and growth in lawsuits.
- In some cases, investors are backing the lawsuits, which means lawyers are more likely to pursue a jury trial rather than settle the case.
- Juries are now more willing to award nuclear verdicts perhaps because the millennial generation, which is now larger than the baby boomers, have different attitudes about trust in businesses and corporate responsibility.
- To avoid nuclear verdicts trucking companies should do the following:
- Install inward and outward-facing cameras to record accidents so they are better able to defend against suits where the trucking company was wrongfully accused.
- Implement best in class driver and fleet safety programs to prevent accidents and to avoid a gross negligence suit, which is more likely to become a nuclear verdict.
- Implement best in class vehicle maintenance programs to avoid a gross negligence suit, which is more likely to become a nuclear verdict.
- The increased number of nuclear verdicts has caused some insurers to leave the trucking business.
- Trucking companies faced with higher insurance premiums (sometimes as much double) are closing their operations. The industry, in general, will need higher rates and margins to cover the increased insurance costs.