You ask what being a professional has got to do with insurance? In one word, everything.
If you think about it, you may call yourself a professional driver because you’ve been driving for 15 years, you’ve been there, done that, and seen everything and it also says professional driver on your logbook, so you’re a professional, right?
Wrong, that 20-year-old that just bagged you up in the big nine-oh doing a dollar-five has also got a logbook with professional written on it. So, in the eyes of Joe public you are no more a professional than the 20-year-old driver, who’s been driving for all of six months.
From this author, we have nothing but respect for those of you whom have been driving 10, 15, 20, 30 years, etc. The truck driver who has had many years on the road is without doubt, the most skilful driver we have on our roads, bar none. And those skills have in turn saved many a motorist life without them even knowing that it was your skills and/or intuition that prevented an accident from happening before it even looked like happening at all.
Skills of drivers are not disputed, however to achieve a professional status there would be the need for a recognised qualification system.
Being a professional is about knowing your stuff about what you are employed to do and constantly educating yourself on what and how to do it safely and efficiently along with being aware of any changes in legislation that affects you and what you do.
How that could be done, who knows, but we have no doubt it would assist in improving the industry. In our industry (insurance) we are required to complete a minimum of 25 points (25 hours) of documented study every year to maintain our professional status.
We would assume for the same to happen within the transport industry, some sort of similar yearly training/education requirement would be necessary. Of course if new to the industry or only minimal years in it, a full course would need to be undertaken, whereas those with say, in excess of 10 years, a recognition of prior learning could apply and just a short course would initially be required followed by some documented industry specific study throughout the year.
Study could be as simple as reading up on any new legislation or a ‘how to load’ manual on certain types of freight or studying a road map of routes you may need to travel and familiarising yourself with any hazards along the way such as bridges, narrow roads, tight bends and declines or even something as simple as just listening to a podcast while you’re driving.
If the transport industry were to achieve a professional status, we believe it would assist with improving the industry’s image with the general public.
The insurance companies would also look more favourably upon a professional operator as opposed to a non-professional operator and adjust their premiums according to the qualifications and professionalism that each operator can demonstrate via regular documented learning.
However, there may also be another underlying flow-on affect that should also be considered.
As a highly trained and qualified professional, your time, effort and knowledge in your profession are a desired asset and assets come at a cost, that cost could be the freight rate and/or wages.
That got your attention, didn’t it? Professionalise the transport industry. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
About the author: Mark Brown is a leading industry insurance broker with TBI Insurance Services based in Wagga Wagga.
Important: All answers and information contained within this article should be considered as General Advice Only. This advice should only be considered as General in Nature and its intent is only to prompt the readers to investigate their own individual insurances. It has been prepared without taking into account the readers own individual objectives, financial situation or needs. Because of that, before acting on the above advice, the client or any persons should consider its appropriateness (having regard to their objectives, needs and financial situation) and seek further independent advice from their own financial advisor.