July 5, 2017

Part III: 2017 Transportation Outlook

The third installment of this year’s look into the commercial trucking industry as seen through the eyes of your favorite insurance brokers comes at the heels of another blisteringly paced Q2 for Reliance Partners. We’ve successfully moved and settled into our new HQ in Chattanooga, TN and are anxious for offices in Chicago, IL and Buffalo, NY to open by the end of the year.

Enough about Reliance Partners for now and back to the transportation lens. Since the last check in, the commercial trucking industry has not seen much in terms of earth shattering reports. However, shipments continue to rise steadily per a article that states “May shipments, at 1.168, were up 4.3% compared to April and up 7.1% annually, continuing the streak of steady shipment growth that has remained intact going back to October 2016.”[1]

While growth continues in the transportation industry, the autonomous auto frontier continues to be the pervasive topic surrounding all things commercial trucking. Seemingly we’ve entered the beginning phases of the twilight zone so to speak regarding the role of autonomous vehicles in the trucking field; this era is no longer a matter of if it will happen but definitively of when self-driving trucks are on the road. This imminent presence continues to demand talk time and speculation across the industry.

The Insurance Journal recently cited an updated report from Business Services juggernaut KPMG, which predicts the adverse effects of autonomous vehicles on the auto insurance sector. While such correlations are easy to wrap one’s head around, the staggering numbers in these predictions are not lightweight by any means. The Insurance Journal states “a shifting of liability to manufacturers will shrink the auto insurance sector by more than 70 percent or $137 billion by 2050, according to updated research by KPMG.”[2]

Putting a 30+ year time stamp on the predictions suggests that the aforementioned ‘talk time’ regarding autonomous vehicles is just that for now – talk. Furthermore, the reports from KPMG will seemingly benefit the commercial trucking insurance arena to some degree, as the Insurance Journal goes on to say “the rapid adoption of mobility-on-demand is quickly translating into the need for less personal auto coverage, with the use of fleets requiring commercial auto insurance.”


With that being said, addressing and adapting to change is a fundamental cornerstone of Reliance Partners.  In the same article referenced above from the Insurance Journal, Joe Schneider, managing director at KPMG Corporate Finance says, “as a result, auto insurers may choose to branch out into home-related products, or other commercial coverage, to benefit from diversification.”


The ability to find, secure and offer the most cutting edge and obscure coverages will always be a part of the services we provide our clients. Reliance Partners has the diverse offerings Mr. Schneider advises branching out into; whether it’s high risk truck insurance, cargo insurance, new venture truck insurance, business insurance, worker’s comp, or simply risk mitigation tips, we’re a one stop shop. We have agents licensed across the country and they are ready to consult any and all of your trucking needs.


Gentry Smith

Senior Director of Sales

423-803-1463 (O)