Transportation risks affect just about every industry. Driver shortages are challenging supply chains, product delivery and availability of services, as 2018 experienced 20-year high freight demands.1 From distributors to manufacturers and last mile carriers like Amazon, the need is expected to remain strong.

Issues like distracted driving continue to plague commercial drivers, as does alcohol and drug abuse. DOT drivers - regardless of industry - are required to participate in drug and alcohol reasonable suspicion training. Non-DOT drivers and supervisors in industries from healthcare to agriculture, construction and hospitality, are also now participating in similar training sessions to recognize signs of abuse as prevention is the best defense to protecting company assets.

With auto insurers taking note of the success of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) rule requiring electronic logging devices (ELD) in commercial motor vehicles, they’re now employing them to monitor drivers across industries in hopes of reducing claims on the roads.

When it comes to hospitality transportation – hotels and restaurants specifically – these issues and a few more provide significant challenges to an industry that was once focused primarily with on-site operations. Here’s a look at three hospitality transportation issues that you’ll want to keep on your radar:

  1. Hotel shuttle services change course. Many hotels have seen a recent increase in claims as more customers were using hotel courtesy vans for airport transportation or to get to nearby destinations. Unlike other transport operations where claimants are almost exclusively outside of the vehicle, when transporting a number of passengers, the claims are even more likely to come from people inside of the vehicle who are utilizing this usually free perk offered by the hotel. Whether it’s luggage falling forward and injuring passengers, or an inexperienced driver falling prey to distracted driving, claims involving hotel courtesy vehicles have increased over the last few years. To reduce liability, hotels are migrating toward smaller, customized sprinter vans that hold less people, have high back seats and have a separate luggage area to reduce the likelihood of significant injuries. Hotels are also limiting the operating radius and hours of operation to further reduce their exposure to vehicle crashes.
  2. Food delivery moves to the cloud. Having a phone app that can order hot food at the push of a button - either directly from the restaurant or a through a third party delivery service - has made dining-in a an attractive choice. The challenge for restaurants and independent delivery services is the financial exposure that often exists when the delivery driver gets into a vehicle accident, or is liable for food that is no longer edible. Many delivery drivers are unaware that they must procure their own business vehicle insurance as well as sign up with the delivery service’s required company insurance policy. Uber and Lyft’s$1M insurance policy, for example, takes effect only when the car is under the dispatch of these services. When driving without a passenger, the driver’s personal vehicle policy, which may include a business exclusion, provides insurance coverage.
  3. Supply chain food safety takes a front seat. There has been an increased focus on the safety of the food supply chain with a number of publicized outbreaks of food borne illnesses over the last few years. Insurance carriers and food retailers are now asking food suppliers to employ telematics in trucks to further ensuring the safe condition of the products that they are selling. The Food Safety Modernization Act and large food organizations are directing distributors to utilize technology to track the integrity of food deliveries. Telematics is being used to track food temperatures in refrigerated environments as well as how often the food is being accessed while in transit. These tracking mechanisms are becoming more sophisticated and affordable over time leading to more distributors and food transporters adopting these best practices.

Contact your HUB hospitality services specialist to find out how you can transfer your hospitality transportation risks to insurance.