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American Towman Magazine Presents the Week in TowingFebruary 15 - February 21, 2017

46 'Move Over' Violators Stopped

Colorado State Patrol and Larimer County Sheriff's officers pulled over 46 vehicles on U.S. 287 that failed to move over for a stopped emergency vehicle flashing its lights on Feb. 16, according to LCSO Deputy Travis Martin. The actions were part of a planned operation meant to educate drivers on the state's Move Over law. "For me, slowing to 40 miles per hour in a 55 is enough, but if someone is still going 60 in a 75, that's not safe enough," Martin said. Similar operations are planned for March and April. Source:
From the American Towman News Bureau
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Unique Heavy Recovery Works Crash

An eight-vehicle crash involving a cement truck occurred in Scottsdale, Ariz., in the northbound lanes of the Loop 101 during rush hour Friday morning. The cement truck was sitting on its side and dumped enough cement to cover two-and-a-half yards of freeway. Unique Heavy Recovery made its way to the scene with two heavy-duty units to get the cement truck upright again. Thousands of people were forced to wait in the backup that went on for miles. Source:

Man Tried to Remove Car from Truck

A man faces a felony charge after he tried to forcibly remove his impounded vehicle from a tow truck, according to Buffalo, N.Y., police. Joseph Farruggia, 40, was charged with felony third-degree criminal mischief and second-degree harassment. Farruggia tried to remove his impounded 2001 Dodge from the flatbed of the tow truck owned by Elite Towing, according to police. Farrugia fought with the tower and caused more than $250 in damages, police said. Source:
Unique Heavy Recovery Works Crash
Overturned cement truck backed up traffic for miles in Ariz.
46 ‘Move Over’ Violators Stopped
Effort by Colo. law enforcement to educate drivers on Move Over law
Man Tried to Remove Car from Truck
40-year-old faces charges in Buffalo, N.Y.

Many Carriers [b]Leaving Industry

The tow truck market is in a state of emergency due to a crumbling insurance market with fewer and fewer carriers willing to write the business, says one broker specializing in this class.

Chip Thompson, president and CEO of American Transportation Insurance Group, has never seen the insurance market for tow trucks this bad since opening the doors of his specialty agency in 2001.

"Right now, we are working three times as hard just to keep the risks that we have on the books." The property and casualty industry's competitive environment is not the problem, Thompson adds. The insurance market is so difficult for tow trucks some are forced to close shop. "We are losing one out of every four customers and we are not losing them to other agents. They are shutting down," he said.

Mike House, vice president, producer, broker for USG Insurance Services in Canonsburg, Pa., agrees.

"Towing is a very difficult market right now," House said. "None of my markets will write a towing operation and schedule a tow truck for auto liability or physical damage." House said his markets will write the garage liability but won't touch the scheduled auto for the tow truck.

The tow truck insurance market has been hit with myriad factors leading to its current state of disrepair, according to Thompson. From reinsurance drying up to the commercial auto market exploding, combined with the ever-increasing costs of litigation and health care, tow truck firms are facing heavy obstacles and it's only just begun.

The biggest shock wave hit the industry in September 2016 when Progressive pulled the plug on the towing sector nationwide, Thompson said.

"That was the bellwether for everything else that followed after that," he said. "In the last 18 months, we've lost eight to nine carriers in this space and it's a small field anyway."

Progressive's exit shut down any hope of new carriers coming into the space as well. "When Progressive shut it down that shut everybody else down," Johnson said.

Progressive hasn't gone so far as to leave current policyholders empty-handed, but will not be taking on new accounts.

"We're not currently taking on new towing business, however, we continue to insure our existing customers," Brett Stalnaker, Progressive's commercial auto product manager told Insurance Journal.

Stalnaker says the insurer will return to the towing segment in the future. "In order to be more accurately priced, we're making some small changes to our program, including introducing new segmentation and fully expect to continue insuring new tow truck business at some point in the near future," he said.

For tow trucks, it's rear-end collisions that are "bringing insurance companies to their knees," Johnson said.

"Drivers are going too fast and are distracted," Johnson said. "When you are driving a heavy commercial vehicle, like a tow truck, and you hit a car with three or four people in it, all of those people have neck and back injuries, you total their car, you will have $30,000 worth of damage to your tow truck, and it's just a rear-end collision, which theoretically is preventable."

Right now, Johnson and ATIG are doing damage control and just trying to keep their current clients insured. "We are working three times as hard to keep the risks that we have but there's a lot of angry people right now. We are catching it from all sides."

'None of my markets will write a towing operation and schedule a tow truck for auto liability or physical damage.'

The only thing towing companies can do is to manage their risk, Johnson said.

He doesn't expect the insurance market for towing to bounce back anytime soon either. "It will be a long time before insurers react to improved risk management in firms."

For now, focus on driver training, he said. "I can't specify that enough. And settle more claims out of pocket if you can legally. And if you have insurance right now, and it's semi affordable, then protect it with your life."

Dynamic Radius Rotating Flatbed
American Towman TV • Emily Oz Reports • February 15 - February 21, 2017

A New Day [b]is Dawning

Well, it's that time of year where pitchers and catchers have reported and "hope springs eternal"—especially for us New York Mets fans (Perhaps you've seen our pitching staff?)

It also means that the tow industry "show season" is right around the corner, too. If you haven't done so already, now is a great time to get started by registering for Tow Industry Week in Las Vegas, Nev., on May 10-12. This year's show is going to be bigger and better than ever, so you don't want to miss it.

For the tow companies who haven't had enough yet—don't worry, we still have more winter to go. More time to bring in the revenue that this particular season brings to make the cash register ring.

All in all, something tells me good times are ahead. As one songwriter put it in 1964:

"The sun is shining, there's plenty of light;
A new day is dawning, sunny and bright."

(Of course, the rest of the song is about how he lost the one he loves ... but that's the great thing about being an editor: I can cut it where I choose.)
--Charles Duke
Editor: Charles Duke
Managing Editor: Brendan Dooley
ATTV Editor & Anchor: Emily Oz
Communications Manager: Helen Gutfreund
Advertising Sales: William Burwell
Content Management: Henri Calitri
Site Progr., Graphics & Video: Ryan Oser
ATTV Technical Production: OMG National
Wrecks + Recovery Editor: Jim "Buck" Sorrenti
Operations Editor: Randall C. Resch
Tow Business Editor: Don Archer
Tow Illustrated Editor: George L. Nitti

Beacon Software

logo fa585Beacon Software's Dispatch Anywhere is software designed by experienced software developers working with seasoned industry professionals from large and small companies worldwide. It allows for viewing and dispatching all jobs and trucks on a map in real-time, and information such as ticket and VIN numbers can be sent back to Dispatch Anywhere via mobile device. Come see what Beacon Software has to offer at the American Towman Show Place taking place at the South Point Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nev. May 10-12, 2017.
By Don Lomax
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