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Dale Young and Andy Peterson are part of Zurich Services Corporation’s Risk Engineering Transportation Team. In this interview, Young and Peterson discuss how the standard “Safe Practices for Motor Vehicle Operations” (ANSI/ASSE Z15.1) has impacted Zurich’s employees and clients.

Please provide a brief description of your positions and responsibilities within Zurich Services Corporation.

Young: I am a Risk Engineering Consultant in Zurich Services Corporation’s Risk Engineering Transportation Team. I work with Zurich customers and underwriters to identify loss exposures and to support improvements in fleet control programs and injury prevention programs.

Peterson: I am Manager of the Risk Engineering Transportation Team at Zurich Services Corporation. I support 15 transportation consultants located across the United States.

How has Zurich Services Corporation applied the standard “Safe Practices for Motor Vehicle Operations” (ANSI/ASSE Z15.1)? How has the standard affected Zurich’s employees and clients?

Although the concepts in the standard are not new and Zurich has recommended these controls for years, there is now a consensus standard that spells out these as best practices, which helps to elevate their importance. This is true for both our underwriters, who typically evaluate controls as a component of pricing, as well as our clients.

What kind of response has the Z15.1 standard received from Zurich’s clients?

Many of our clients with safety professionals in their organization followed the development of the standard but may have already adopted many of its elements. As such, Z15.1 has resulted in little or no change for those clients.

In other organizations, we find they are often unaware of the standard and may not have a sophisticated fleet control program in place. In those situations, our consultants help educate the clients so they have a clear understanding of the best practices and how to implement controls.

Does client opinion of the Z15.1 standard vary according to client size? Why or why not?

The opinion does not necessarily vary according to client size, but frequently it does seem to vary based on the type of operation. For example, so far the Z15.1 standard has been more widely covered by noncommercial vehicle fleet and safety publications than by publications geared toward the trucking community. It appears that many trucking clients are less familiar with the specific ANSI standard. However, they are currently governed by existing regulations, and many already follow some of the key best practices communicated by the standard.

How has Zurich Services Corporation used the Z15.1 standard to train its risk engineers?

Our consultants have recommended these best practices controls for fleet programs for many years, but the issuance of the Z15.1 standard has given us the opportunity to revisit these issues with clients. It also allows us to train our consultants on how to use Z15.1 as a tool in working with our customers. Once the standard was released, we summarized the key elements and provided the summary to our consultants. We also discussed fleet best practices with a focus on the Z15.1 standard during a meeting of consultants at our national meeting. 

How can Zurich’s clients use the Z15.1 standard to manage risk and reduce injury and accident rates?

It is an excellent tool for any company to evaluate their existing program. While it may not be a complete program, it does provide them with a list of important program elements. We encourage our clients to use Z15.1 to identify and address gaps in their programs, and we frequently assist them in this process.

How have Zurich’s clients incorporated the Z15.1 standard into their fleet safety programs? What role has the Z15.1 standard played in clients’ fleet vehicle management?

The Z15.1 standard has only been released recently, so we must wait to see how it will affect our customers. However, we have seen several instances in which clients have adopted elements of the Z15.1 standard and improved practices as a result.

How has the Z15.1 standard affected Zurich clients with noncommercial fleets?

The standard formalizes what was previously a best practice. A consensus standard creates an expectation for effective fleet management programs. This is particularly critical in the nonregulated environment because fatalities from motor vehicle crashes continue to account for more workplace fatalities than any other single factor.

Has the Z15.1 standard influenced Zurich’s clients’ driver hiring and training procedures?

It is too early to determine a specific impact on driver hiring related to the Z15.1 standard; however, it has generated some excellent dialogue on the subject. In particular, it has been useful in talking about this issue with managers in business vehicle fleets where employees who drive were not specifically hired as drivers. It also helps encourage human resources and safety departments in those organizations to work together to look at this issue differently.

Which of Zurich’s North American markets has benefited most from the Z15.1 standard? 

It is not clear that one market has benefited more than any other. The Z15.1 standard has applications for all of Zurich’s clients.

Zurich Services Corporation is a leading proponent of the Z15.1 standard. Why is this so important to Zurich?

Historically, companies that have good controls in place have fewer crashes. By supporting the standard, we are trying to reduce the number of fatalities, injuries and crashes for our customers. The standard promotes the best practices that our consultants and other safety professionals have advocated for many years. We finally have one document that addresses the issue of safe motor vehicle operation that was developed and now supported by a broad scope of organizations.

Additionally, companies that have effective fleet management programs are often more easily defended if a crash does occur. When clients adopt appropriate controls, it can significantly reduce the risk of negligence claims.

Dale Young

Dale Young has over 28 years of experience in the insurance industry. He currently works for Zurich Services Corporation’s Risk Engineering Health, Safety and Environmental division on the transportation team. As a Risk Engineering Consultant, Young provides commercial automobile/fleet risk assessments and customer risk improvement services to underwriting and insured customers.

Young is a Professional Member of the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) and a member of the North American Transportation Management Institute (NATMI).

He also holds the following designations:

  • Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU)
  • Associate in Premium Audit (APA)
  • Associate in Management (AIM)
  • Certified Safety Professional (CSP)
  • Certified Director of Safety (CDS)
  • Certified Playground Safety Inspector (CPSI)

Young holds a bachelor of science degree in structural design and construction engineering technology from Penn State University.

Andy Peterson

Andy Peterson has 14 years of experience in the transportation industry in both safety management and
operations roles. He currently serves as the Manager of Zurich Services Corporation’s Risk Engineering transportation specialty team.

Peterson’s background includes the waste industry, but he has also worked closely with for-hire and private motor carriers to reduce their exposures and loss experience. In addition, he has supported construction operations and non-commercial fleets in improving their safety controls.

Peterson is a member of the Truckload Carriers Association. He holds a bachelor of arts degree from Illinois Wesleyan University.