Randal M. Smith
Divisional President, Trucking
Great American Insurance Group

As COVID-19 rages across the United States, it’s a particularly busy time for essential workers — and truckers are included in that category.

“Without truckers running during the pandemic, we wouldn’t have food in our grocery stores or supplies in our hospitals. Some truckers are even pulling their trailers to the morgue, transporting those who lost their lives to the coronavirus,” said Randal M. Smith, divisional president, Trucking, Great American Insurance Group. “I can’t say it enough: Truckers are the unsung heroes of the pandemic. We are grateful for the work that they continue to do to support our economy.”

For owner-operators, who are independent contractors, the stakes of not working are especially high. When owner-operators can’t perform their jobs, they must shut down their business. Meanwhile, they still have bills to pay and many have a family to feed. That’s why it’s important for them to find adequate and reasonable occupational accident insurance coverage.

“Outside of buying workers’ compensation, which, depending on the circumstances, can be expensive and difficult for independent contractors to find, owner-operators really only have occupational accident insurance,” said Smith. “And, a lot of what is out there is just a standard policy covering medical, death and disability as a result of an occupational accident. But that won’t cover things like truck payments or childcare, which are significant needs when an owner-operator is sick or injured.”

Indeed, insurers are realizing occupational accident policies must be as unique as the owner-operators that purchase them, so it’s more important than ever that they offer optional riders to supplement a standard policy. These riders may cover anything from hijacking, to coma, to repatriation of remains, to hemorrhoids and hernias, and more.

“Because owner-operators serve as the backbone of the trucking industry, they deserve options for a more complete coverage package depending on their needs,” said Smith. “And, if the time ever comes when they need to rely on this coverage, they certainly deserve a claims team that understands the unique situation they face.”

Claims teams that appreciate the importance of getting owner-operators back on the road faster by exclusively focusing on trucking claims can make the process smoother, expertly dodging potential pitfalls. Perhaps most importantly, specialist claims teams are empathetic to the owner-operator’s plight.

“If there’s an accident or injury, it can be an incredibly stressful time for the independent contractor,” said Smith. “It helps to have an ally that’s been through countless claims — one that knows the lay of the land and can understand the stress and the importance of making the trucker whole again. Whether it’s getting a nurse case manager on the job right away or making sure vehicle repairs happen quickly, that ally can be worth its weight in gold to the trucker and their family.”

Great American Insurance Company, 301 E. Fourth Street, Cincinnati, OH 45202. For informational purposes only. This should not be considered as specific financial, or legal advice. Always consult your financial professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation.