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Are your independent contractors putting you at risk?

MEGAN YOUNG
Account Executive, HNI

The transportation industry depends heavily on independent contractors who own their own rigs and lease their services to motor carriers. According to the Bureau of Transportation GettyImages 200069054 001 resized 600Statistics, for-hire trucks haul nearly 45 percent of the freight shipped around the U.S. Since trucking remains one of the most dangerous occupations, motor carriers who offer inadequate occupational accident coverage - or none at all - are exposing themselves and their independent contractors to risk. 

Motor carriers that do not provide workers' compensation or sponsor an occupational accident program for their contractors are often the target of expensive lawsuits in the event of a serious injury.

Motor carriers can protect themselves by requiring their independent contractors to provide proof of insurance or by sponsoring group coverage for their independent contractors.  This protects the independent contractors from the medical costs of accidents, and it protects the company by deterring workers' compensation lawsuits by uncovered drivers.

These types of occupational accident policies typically contain three components:

  • Accidental death and dismemberment
  • Accident medical
  • Accident disability

The medical coverage is not for general needs, but rather is triggered by an accidental injury that occurs in the course of an independent contractor's work. This would include injuries from accidents en route to a delivery, slip-and-fall incidents in the course of their duties, etc.

Besides helping to protect both the motor carrier and the driver, occupational accident policies can help companies retain and recruit high-quality drivers. By sponsoring such a plan and providing a financial safety net for drivers and their families, motor carriers communicate to their drivers that they value their services.

Topics: Transportation