Best Practices for Hiring the Safest Drivers for Your Commercial Fleet

Most business owners would quickly agree that putting quality operators behind the wheel of their company’s vehicles is the most important component of a fleet driver safety program.

However, when we ask them, “How do you go about weeding out unqualified drivers and hiring the safest and most experienced employees?” there’s typically not a simple answer.

If you’re looking for assistance with selecting the best drivers, then you’ve come to the right place. The Lighthouse Insurance team has spent decades handling the complexities of insuring small, medium, and large commercial fleets. We have partnered with hundreds of companies like yours who need to hire, train, and retain the most qualified drivers.

Whether you’re seeking drivers for your taxicabs, para-transit vans, limos, or commercial trucks, the following outlines the best steps for you to take when hiring these critical operators.

Five best practices to help you easily navigate the commercial driver qualification process

  1. Review all state and federal hiring laws and regulations. Understanding and following Massachusetts state and federal hiring laws and regulations, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Equal Employment Opportunity Act (EEOC), Standards for the Protection of Personal Information for MA Residents, and more, should save you from the potential headache of an unfair hiring practices claim.
  2. Have all prospective drivers submit an Application for Employment and set up an interview. The application is an excellent way to rule out prospective drivers who just don’t meet your hiring criteria. However, the interview is when you can really get to know each applicant and evaluate whether they will be a good representative of your business.
  3. Perform a driver’s license verification, reference checks, and background investigations for each applicant.Once you’ve narrowed down your pool of potential drivers, it’s time to make sure that all the information they’ve given you is on the up-and-up, including their license status, past employment and education, and criminal record. You can also check applicants’ Massachusetts Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) status with the Department of Transportation or request that the driver get their own score on the USDOT website.
  4. Review each driver’s Motor Vehicle Report (MVR). Even though this is one of the last steps in the hiring process, we consider it one of the most essential because it will show all the driver’s past violations and accidents. Reviewing a driver’s MVR for the past five years should give you an excellent idea of how this individual is likely to perform on the road in your company vehicles. To obtain an MVR, you must get permission from the applicant first.
  5. Conduct a road test. How can you be sure a potential employee will drive safely once they’re out on the road? Get in a vehicle with them to see for yourself if they have the skills to handle a variety of traffic situations. Before heading out on a road test, though, you might want to ask applicants to show you how they would check if their vehicle is safe to operate and also have them take a written test of general road rules. Their actions and responses may provide you with even more valuable insights into their driving knowledge and experience and help you make the final hiring decision.

If an applicant makes it smoothly through all of these steps, then they are likely to be a good hire for your business. However, as part of the preemployment process, it is also critical to obtain a medical certificate from a doctor certifying that the applicant is free of health concerns that may impede their ability to drive a commercial vehicle. In addition, you should consider conducting drug and alcohol testing that includes both state and federally illegal substances.

Lighthouse Insurance can help you get rewarded for hiring the safest drivers

The Lighthouse team has partnered with top local and national insurance carriers so that we can find you not only the best commercial auto insurance coverage options for your business’ distinct needs and risks but also the most cost-effective ones.

For example, several of our selected carriers offer their customers the opportunity to save on their commercial auto premiums just by signing up for a safe driver electronic monitoring program. If you choose to participate in a program like this, your insurance provider will use an electronic logging device to collect data about your vehicles, driver behaviors, and other key road safety diagnostics. In addition to instant savings for electing to participate, you may earn additional premium credits if your employees’ driving data are favorable compared to drivers doing similar work.

Most importantly, these data may give you invaluable insight into how your hires are performing on the road. Ultimately, this may help you better protect your business, employees, and commercial vehicles from risk.

The Lighthouse commercial auto team looks forward to personally getting to know you, your business, and all your commercial vehicle needs. Please contact us today to set up a consultation.

Supporting Local Businesses & Non-Profits in a Time of Crisis

Whether you’ve spent the better part of the last few weeks working from the comfort of your home, binging Tiger King on Netflix, starting a new quarantine hobby/craft, or just doing whatever you can to stay sane during the craziness- we all have one thing in common. We are eternally grateful for the people and institutions that are helping to keep our communities healthy and operational.

And while we continue to practice safe social distancing and do our part to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the Lighthouse team understands that these simple actions may not be enough to satisfy your urge to support your neighbors. This is why we have compiled a guide to local funding and relief efforts across South Boston and the surrounding neighborhoods that will go directly to assisting your fellow Bostonian’s in need.

While all of these resources provide impactful ways to give back, we understand if you’re looking for a more direct way to support your community. It can be difficult to feel as though you’re not doing your part to help, especially when the best thing you can do is truly staying home. Which is why we’ve also compiled a list of ways you can more actively support your neighbors while still helping to flatten the curve.

Purchase take-out from your favorite restaurant.

Whether you’re itching for a slice from Broadway Pizza, or you’re craving Sullivan’s famous lobster roll, ordering take-out will help to keep your favorites in business during this difficult time. While many community staples are closed for dining-in, you can continue to enjoy the food you love, and feel good while doing it, by ordering curbside pick-up or delivery.

Consider donating to small business relief efforts.

Like the relief efforts mentioned above, there are many different organizations that are collecting money or food to assist those that truly need it during this global pandemic. If you are looking for something more hyper-local, consider donating to funds that are specific to small businesses in your area, such as the Small Business Relief fund from the City of Boston.

Take advantage of the alternative services being offered by local businesses.

From the online training and wellness sessions being offered by the BAC, to livestreamed power yoga from East Side Yoga, and locally delivered color touch up kits from our neighbors at Salon De Cheveux, businesses are adapting to the new normal in a variety of ways. Taking advantage of these special services allows you to continue your personal care routine while abiding by social distancing best practices, and doing your part to support your community!

If all else fails, purchase a gift card.

If you’re not interested in the alternatives offered by your favorite community institutions, you can still support local businesses by purchasing gift cards to be used when the pandemic is finally over. From hair and nail salons to restaurants, to boutiques, and more, any of the places that you would frequent prior to the pandemic would love to have a guarantee that you’ll still be there when the storm is over.

No matter how difficult things become, there is always a silver lining to be found. And while there is no doubt that this pandemic has left not a single person, business, or community unscathed, it has shown just how strong we can be when we come together.

As longtime residents of South Boston, we at Lighthouse are proud to support the local relief efforts and businesses that make our Southie neighborhood so great. We urge you to continue doing what you can to help fight the pandemic. Whether that means washing your hands 175 times a day, maintaining a proper social distance, donating to relief efforts, or even just ordering a pizza while you catch up on Little Fires Everywhere on HULU, your efforts make a difference. This is a challenging time, and while things may seem dark now, we will get through COVID-19 the same way we have weathered every storm before it — together.

A Note from Lighthouse Insurance regarding the COVID-19 outbreak

To Our Valued Customers,

We consider all our clients and neighbors, an important part of the Lighthouse Insurance family. In light of the current coronavirus (COVID-19) situation, the health, safety, and well-being of you and our employees continues to be our top priority.

Our team has been and will continue to closely monitor the outbreak, as well as adhere to the recommendations and guidelines set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), and Massachusetts’ Governor Charlie Baker.

As a result, beginning Thursday, March 19, 2020, our South Boston location will be temporarily closed until further notice and our team will be working remotely.

So, what does that mean for you and your personal and business insurance needs?

Customer service representatives are available to assist you over the phone or via email during our normal business hours of 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM. For services that can’t be managed over the phone or through our website, our team is available by appointment only. To schedule an appointment, please give us a call at (617) 464-3777.

Additionally, our company website offers a variety of self-service options that you may like to take advantage of during this time, including the ability to:

If you are looking for an insurance quote, to bind coverage, make a change to your current insurance policies, or ask a question, please give our friendly team a call at (617) 464-3777 or email us at [email protected].

To help keep our team focused on addressing the needs of customers directly impacted by this outbreak, we kindly ask you to please leverage the self-service resources listed above whenever possible.

On behalf of the entire Lighthouse team, we hope that you and your loved ones remain healthy, safe, and educated during this unprecedented time.

Sincerely,

Brian Boucher

President


COVID-19 Resources

There is a lot of information circulating about COVID-19 online and in the news. Our team has compiled a list of reputable resources that we have found to be extremely informative during this time. 

State of Massachusetts

Centers for Disease Control (CDC):

World Health Organization (WHO):

Johns Hopkins COVID-19:

Your Guide to NECANN 2017

The New England Cannabis Convention (#NECANN17) is coming up on April 22-23 at Hynes Convention Center — and we want to make sure you’re ready for it! With more than 200 exhibitors and over 100 industry expert speakers, this is going to be the largest and most significant cannabis industry event of the year.

With so much to see and learn, we know it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Don’t worry, Lighthouse is here for you. Here’s a quick run down of 10 businesses to watch from this year’s New England Cannabis Convention:

  • BloomBoss — Looking for high quality LED grow lights? BloomBoss has you covered. Located in Framingham, MA, this local company has been perfecting the art of LED lights since 2010.
  • CW Hemp — Charlotte’s Web created a hemp oil extract bred from their own unique strain of hemp intended to improve overall health and wellness. Strong believers in social responsibility, CW donates a portion of each purchase to the Realm of Caring Foundation for cannabis science and cannabinoid therapies research.
  • CannaKorp — Have you heard of the ‘Keurig for Cannabis’? That was this MA-based startup! Dedicated to simplifying and improving the cannabis experience for medical marijuana users, CannaKorp created the first single-use pod and vaporizer system.
  • Coast of Maine — You can’t grow anything without good soil, and good soil is exactly what Coast Of Maine specializes in. All Coast of Maine products are organic and locally sourced, to ensure that your plants have the nutrients they need to grow and thrive.
  • New England Veterans Alliance — NEVA is here to support those who have already sacrificed so much. The non-profit aims to help veterans improve their quality of life through more natural means while reducing reliance on pharmaceutical options.
  • Urban-Gro, LLC — Urban-Gro is a one stop shop for commercial growers. With lighting, pest management, fertigation, and water treatment solutions, urban-gro helps commercial cannabis growers grow better, more uniform plants.
  • New England Grass Roots Institute —  Want to learn more about how cannabis can be used for medical purposes? Interested in the latest scientific cannabis research? Formed by activists, the New England Grass Roots Institute hopes to educate the public on how marijuana can be used for holistic health enrichment.
  • Kushley LLC — Designed with discretion in mind, Kushley created several different products, including candles, sprays, lotions, and soaps to help eliminate the odor of marijuana. Plus, they’re all organic!
  • HISIERRA Compliant Packaging — HISIERRA prides themselves on being a sustainable and socially responsible company. Their CRREO style bags are not only made from natural sugar cane, their entire cannabis bag factory also runs on 100% wind generated electricity. As an added bonus, the bags are also certified child resistant.
  • MassCann/NORML — With all of the uncertainty surrounding the cannabis industry these days, it’s good to know that the people of MassCann and NORML are constantly advocating for ‘more moral and rational public policy regarding all uses of the cannabis plant’. Sounds good to us!

If you’ll be at NECANN this year, make sure to stop by the Lighthouse booth to say ‘Hi’! We’ll be there all weekend learning, networking, and of course, talking all about insurance for cannabusinesses!

Boston Business Insurance — What Business Owners Should Know

As business owners ourselves, we know — you’ve worked hard to build your dream business in Boston. Really hard. And when it comes to protecting your hard-earned work, having the correct business insurance is crucial. Why? Because accidents happen. Very. Expensive. Accidents.

Luckily, having the proper insurance can protect your employees, your customers, and your investment. For example — say your restaurant was the victim of a data breach, and your patrons’ credit card information gets compromised. Would you have the resources to identify and resolve the source of the breach, notify all of your customers, and then deal with any damages resulting from the hack? Or imagine this scenario: someone slips and falls on the stairs in your building after a particularly bad snowstorm. Not only do they break a leg and sprain their wrist, but they also chip their two front teeth. Could you afford their costly medical and dental bills? If you’re not sure, read on! Just one single incident shouldn’t have to be the end of your livelihood.

Here are the Lighthouse Insurance top-five business insurance coverages we recommend you invest in.

General Liability

General Liability insurance helps cover expenses like legal fees or medical expenses when something happens on your property. It protects you, your business, and your staff against claims resulting from property damage or bodily injury. This insurance can even protect you from copyright issues and instances of libel, slander, or misleading advertising. For example, say your taxi company accidentally uses a copyrighted slogan. You’ve painted it on all your cars and even paid for a few digital and print ads. Now, someone wants to sue. The proper taxi insurance coverage could be a lifesaver.

Commercial Property Insurance

If a fire, wind, or hailstorm took place in Boston and damaged the building your business is in, commercial property insurance would protect your business’ physical assets. For example, say a nasty storm blows through town knocking down a tree in front of your restaurant, which then shatters your floor to ceiling glass windows and ruins all your tables, chairs and place settings. Having the right amount of commercial property coverage included in you Restaurant and bar insurance could save you a lot of money in repairs. This type of insurance coverage also covers acts of vandalism.

Liquor Liability

Liquor liability insurance protects establishments that serve alcohol, whether you are a casual fine dining restaurant, pizza shop or bar. It protects these businesses when anyone they’ve served alcohol to subsequently injures him or herself or others, or if he or she damages someone’s property. Massachusetts made this insurance a requirement to obtaining a liquor license in 2010. And while this is now a mandatory coverage, the required limits are often not enough to fully protect a bar or restaurant in the face of an accident. Which is why we suggest you consult an independent agent today to figure out what liability limits your unique business should have.

Cyber Liability Insurance

Cyber liability insurance is quickly becoming a necessary part of any business insurance package. A cyber security insurance policy can offer coverage for data loss, fines, losses resulting from identity theft, reputation management, and more. Data from Travelers Insurance states that the average amount a business has to pay for a single compromised account is $217. Now multiply that by the number of clients your business serves…it really adds up quickly. Could your business afford that on your own? Unfortunately, almost 60% of small businesses attacked by a data breach close their doors within six months. Avoid becoming a part of that statistic by adding cyber liability to your insurance package.

Commercial Auto Insurance

Commercial auto insurance covers any vehicle that you own, lease, rent, or borrow for business purposes. If you’re using any vehicle for work, whether it’s a catering van, a truck for your plumbing business, or your fleet of limos, it’s crucial that you have a good commercial auto insurance policy. Without it, a lawsuit from someone injured in an accident involving your company’s vehicles could mean the end of your business.

It’s always said that business owners wear many hats. Leave the insurance hat to a Lighthouse Insurance agent! For questions about what business insurance might be right for you, call us at 617-464-3777 or visit us at our convenient office in South Boston at 470 West Broadway.