Which Insurance Should Handle?

October 12, 2021

Description of the Accident:

Your driver calls into your Safety/Claims Manager to advise that while stopped at an intersection he was rear-ended by another tractor/trailer. After getting out to inspect, your driver advises that he only sees some minor scrapes to the back of your trailer, and there were no injuries. Per your Safety Manager’s advice, your driver writes down the other driver’s insurance information, gets back in your truck, and proceeds to his next stop before bringing the truck/trailer back to your lot. Upon inspection at your lot, the damage appears to be relatively minor. 

The Claim:

Your Safety/Claims Manager does call the other driver’s (adverse) insurance carrier to report a claim under that driver’s auto liability policy. A claim file is set up, and the claim adjuster requests pictures of the damage along with a copy of the repair estimate. The shop you take your trailer to writes up an estimate that is significantly higher than initially anticipated (and greater than your physical damage deductible). As it turns out, the impact was hard enough to cause additional damage that wasn’t easily detectable at initial glance. The adverse claim adjuster advises that they accept liability but dispute the amount of damages. Despite many emails/phone calls back and forth, the adverse adjuster will only offer to pay for about one-third of the amount of the repair estimate. At this point, you’re very frustrated that the trailer has been out of service for a few weeks and it’s affecting your ability to handle loads.


You call your MMA claims consultant, who advises you to report this claim to your physical damage insurance so they can handle the damage for you and then subrogate against (recover money from) the adverse insurance carrier in relation to what is paid out on the claim. The subrogation representative assigned to your claim also assists you in calculating the amount of downtime to include in the claim against the adverse insurance carrier due to the long delay in completing repairs.  After some initial push back from the adverse insurance carrier, your subrogation representative is able to recover 100% of the subrogation demand on your behalf and credits that toward your physical damage claim, resulting in a net loss of $0.

The Lesson:

In most cases, your physical damage insurance carrier can handle damage to your truck or trailer much faster than you would experience dealing directly with another (adverse) driver’s liability insurance carrier, who may want to dispute liability and/or amount of damage depending on the facts of the accident. Prompt reporting to your physical damage insurance carrier also allows your assigned adjuster and subrogation representative to handle on your behalf from the outset. If any questions about a loss scenario or for additional risk mitigation resources, please contact your Marsh McLennan Agency representative, and we will be happy to assist.