Inflation’s Impact on Transportation Insurance: An Industry Expert Weighs In

June 24, 2024

During a recent episode of the Stay In Your Lane Podcast recorded live at the 2024 Food Shippers of America conference, Triple T Transport had the privilege of speaking with Thom Albrecht, Chief Revenue Officer at Reliance Partners Insurance. With a diverse and storied career spanning over three decades, Albrecht brings a wealth of experience and insight to the transportation insurance sector, particularly in these challenging economic times.

Albrecht’s journey into the transportation industry has traced many remarkable twists and turns. Spending 28 years on Wall Street, Albrecht never actually worked in New York City. Instead, he made his mark at various regional investment banks and research firms in St. Louis, Chicago, and Richmond, Virginia. His foray into the transportation sector began in the late 1980s when he discovered the then-deregulated trucking industry. His passion and expertise grew, leading to a deep connection with the logistics and transportation equipment industries.

“During that time, I developed a great love for transportation, logistics, and the equipment side,” Albrecht says of the early years. “It’s been a wonderful career.”

In 2016, Albrecht made a significant career shift after the division he was working in shut down. He spent the next year consulting for major motor carriers and shippers, eventually receiving a call from Reliance Partners in 2019. Since joining them, he has helped steer the company through significant growth and innovation.

Founded during the Great Recession in 2009, Reliance Partners has grown to become a leader in transportation insurance. Unlike traditional insurance agencies, Reliance Partners focuses exclusively on transportation, working with over 8,000 motor carriers and 400 freight brokers. This specialized focus allows them to offer tailored solutions, from liability insurance to cyber security.

How do Albrecht and his team leverage data to tailor their insurance solutions? What can carriers do to mitigate the impacts of inflation and rising insurance costs? Find the answers to these questions and more in the latest episode of the Stay In Your Lane Podcast.

One of the standout qualities behind the success of Reliance Partners is their organic growth. Albrecht notes that nearly 98% of their growth has been organic, with strategic acquisitions further bolstering their market presence. This approach has allowed them to maintain close relationships with clients and provide highly personalized service.

Like many economic factors Albrecht and his peers observe, inflation has significantly impacted the transportation insurance industry. Since the pandemic, the value of goods has risen sharply, leading to a corresponding increase in insurance values. Many shipments previously valued under $100,000 now exceed that threshold due to the rising cost of goods and raw materials.

For example, Reliance Partners recently faced a situation where an electronic shipper needed coverage for 37 daily loads, each valued at $1 million. Such scenarios highlight the growing need for higher insurance limits to cover the increased value of transported goods.

Despite the challenges, Albrecht remains optimistic about the future. He points out that while motor carrier failures have increased, the team at Reliance Partners feels more confident about market stability. Factors like regulatory changes and natural disasters have previously tightened capacity, but the current landscape suggests a gradual improvement.

“I’ve been bearish as of late,” Albrecht says on his outlook for the transport economy. “At our firm, the executive team is starting to feel a little bit better. But it’s not going to be like the flip of a switch.”

Reliance Partners’ access to specialized data provides them with a significant advantage in providing tailored and effective insurance solutions. Census data from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) helps the firm evaluate risks, understand industry trends, and make informed decisions. By leveraging FMCSA data, they can better serve their clients and stay ahead in the competitive transportation insurance industry.

“I believe that the carnage at the low end of the market is much greater than people realize. Everybody keeps waiting for bankruptcies to spike, but for carriers with three, five, or even 20 trucks, a lot of times they just cease operating,” Albrecht explains. “We feel that we have a pulse for that end of the market that is different than traditional sources.”

By following insights into shifting market trends provided by Albrecht and his contemporaries, freight brokers like Triple T Transport can help our carrier partners weather the storm. This is just one of the many ways that Triple T provides the best possible carrier experience in the industry.

Reliance Partners continues to grow, picking up new customers and expanding its offerings. Albrecht’s leadership and deep industry knowledge are invaluable assets as the company navigates these uncertain times.

Thom Albrecht’s extensive experience and innovative approach have made him a key player in the field of transportation insurance. At Reliance Partners, he continues to drive growth and flexibility in the changing market, ensuring clients receive the best possible coverage. As Triple T Transport, we are proud to work with leaders like Albrecht, who bring unparalleled expertise and dedication to the transportation sector. This value is shared by Triple T Transport, which holds the TIA Certified Performance rating of $250,000 and allows us provide the highest quality 3PL services available today.

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