Nationwide E&S Exits U.S. Commercial Trucking Insurance Market, Leaving Transportation Businesses with Fewer Options

Nationwide Mutual Insurance, a major U.S. carrier in the commercial transportation sector, announced internally to its broker clients that on July 15, it will no longer write commercial transportation business.

According to the announcement, until the company can better manage its commercial lines exposure and claims frequency, the moratorium will remain in effect. The insurer went on to note that all in-force policies will be non-renewed beginning Sept. 1 and that current quotes will be honored for the next 60 days. Nationwide E&S cited catastrophic weather-related losses, inflation and spikes in nuclear verdicts as the catalysts behind exiting the wholesale-driven commercial auto risk market and primary brokerage auto.

“[Unfortunately], strong headwinds brought on by the economic environment, catastrophic weather events and the impacts of inflation continue to impact the entire insurance industry. As a result, Nationwide has announced specific business actions it is taking to mitigate risk and manage the personal and commercial lines portfolios in the current environment.” Nationwide.

The exposures that the commercial trucking industry has grappled with over the past few years have made it incredibly difficult for businesses to remain in control of their risk exposures and frequency of claims. It is expected that carriers who will continue to remain in the commercial transportation space and that are located in states where they are unable to raise rates to sustainable levels, will begin to further reduce policy limits and coverages to better control costs. However, if current market conditions continue to put a financial strain on these carriers, experts predict that other major U.S. insurers will join Nationwide and also begin pulling out of the transportation insurance market.

What does this mean for rates? The latest Willis Tower’s Watson Commercial Lines Pricing Survey released in June showed that the commercial auto sector has reported price increases near or above double digits for the twenty-second consecutive quarter. As more carriers exit the market, experts anticipate that rates will continue to escalate and carrier appetites will become even slimmer, while policy limits, restrictions and coverage options decrease.

“As the trucking industry navigates this shrinking insurance market, it is increasingly important for brokers to partner with a wholesaler that specializes in transportation and that has extensive market availability to assist them in securing replacement coverage that meets the individual needs of their clients,” said Colby Waltenburg, president at Transatlantic Underwriters. “An experienced wholesaler in the commercial trucking sector has the flexibility and wide market reach that can be a huge benefit to brokers who find themselves forced into a corner by today’s current transportation insurance environment – especially when it comes to hard-to-place risks.”

About Transatlantic Underwriters

Transatlantic Underwriters is an innovative transportation wholesaler specializing in the placement of commercial auto liability, auto physical damage and motor truck cargo insurance coverage.

At TAU, transportation is our sole focus — and has been for over 30 years. Our principals and underwriters have over 80 years of combined experience dedicated to the automotive industry, which has earned us a well-respected reputation in the transportation market. This recognition has opened global channels with leading transportation insurance carriers, allowing us to deliver competitive options from a wide variety of markets for North American commercial auto liability, auto physical damage and motor truck cargo insurance.

If you have questions or want to learn more about our products and services, please contact Colby Waltenburg at

Understanding the Challenges of Refrigerated Transport Trucking

More transportation companies and independent drivers are switching to refrigerated transportation, also known as reefer trucking. Not only can refrigerated trucks transport products that must be kept cool, but they can also haul dry goods, providing drivers with more flexibility regarding routes and pickup locations. In addition, return trips after delivering a load (back-hauling/tri-hauling) by these trucks create an opportunity for companies to transport a wide variety of products with fewer partial and empty loads, according to DAT Freight & Analytics. However, along with the benefits, there are risks.

white paper published by Blue Tree Systems, a temperature management technology company, examined the following key challenges and potential risk exposures in refrigerated transport trucking:

According to the white paper, delivering cargo at an incorrect temperature can result in significant costs for the transporter that could outweigh the invoice value. If cargo is rejected, “The transporter has to compensate the shipper for the value of the spoiled cargo by direct financial payment or through an insurance claim. If an insurance claim is paid out, the transporter faces an increase in insurance premiums for years following the claim.”

About Transatlantic Underwriters

Transatlantic Underwriters is an innovative transportation wholesaler specializing in the placement of commercial auto liability, auto physical damage and motor truck cargo insurance coverage. If you have questions or want to learn more about our products and services, please contact Colby Waltenburg at

Nuclear Verdicts Increase Commercial Trucking Insurance Rates While Reducing Coverage

Over the past decade, the proliferation of nuclear verdicts in trucking has accelerated. According to a study by the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI), verdict awards in the trucking industry have significantly increased over the past few years, with most exceeding the $1 million mark.

Simply put, a nuclear verdict is an exceptionally high jury award that far exceeds what would be considered a reasonable settlement. Nuclear verdicts typically occur when a jury determines that the defendant is willfully or purposely denying any responsibility for or involvement in an accident. Some describe a nuclear verdict as a settlement that exceeds $10 million, while others define it as being much higher.[1]

Why the increase in high jury awards?

A primary catalyst behind the substantial increase in nuclear verdict settlements has to do with the high cost of medical care plaintiffs are seeking. Other reasons include the highly publicized nature of major trucking accidents, as well as the fact that lawyers are moving away from blaming the individual drivers and redirecting the blame at a “lack of systemic corporate oversight and adequate safety procedures and regulations.”[2]

“[Unfortunately,] there is also the now widely accepted societal expectation implicit in nuclear verdicts that [these] verdicts should sustain plaintiffs and their dependents for the remainder of their lives, in addition to providing monetary compensation for suffering.” — Source: Freight Waves

The impact on insurance rates and coverage

In an article by The Wall Street Journal and reported on Freight Wavesthere was a 300% increase in the frequency of $20 million-plus verdicts in 2019 from the annual average in 2001 to 2009. The report goes on to note that in the past five years there have been five times as many $20 million-plus verdicts compared with what was reported from 2010 to 2014.

Due to the high-risk exposures inherent to the industry, trucking and transportation companies typically rely on layers of insurance coverage – often from multiple insurance providers. However, in response to the increase in exceedingly high jury awards, many insurance companies are not only adjusting rates, but significantly decreasing limits to help reduce their overall loss exposure.[3] As a result, companies could find themselves scrambling to secure the coverage they need to mitigate risks, which could mean having to move away from an admitted market and into excess and surplus lines.

“In response to changing conditions, businesses may now need to include several additional layers in order to obtain enough insurance coverage to protect themselves.” Source: Mehaffy Weber.

Increase in smaller awards also impacting insurance rates

In addition to nuclear verdicts, there has a steady increase in smaller awards, just under the $1 million mark, that are also impacting the trucking industry. The ATRI study shows that although less than $1 million, these verdicts and settlements are having a significant financial impact on smaller trucking operations and leading to an average 20%-25% increase in commercial insurance rates.

Examples of average settlement amounts for these somewhat smaller infractions include:


In 2020, there were there were 4,444 truck-involved fatal crashes and 101,000 others that involved injuries, according to data by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. In 2021, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that fatalities in crashes involving at least one large truck were up 13% compared to 2020.

It’s hard to say just how many of these crashes resulted in a nuclear verdict. However, the fact remains that it is impossible to eliminate large payouts completely in trucking injury-related accidents. These mega verdicts should be a catalyst for companies to be proactive in managing their own risks and to mitigate exposures with sufficient insurance.

“[Now, more than ever before], is paramount that carriers, brokers and shippers have the proper procedures and training in place that will help protect them to the greatest degree possible.” — Source: Freight Waves

About Transatlantic Underwriters

Transatlantic Underwriters (TAU) is an innovative transportation wholesaler specializing in the placement of commercial auto liability, auto physical damage and motor truck cargo coverage. For questions or to learn more about our products and services, please contact Colby Waltenburg at

[1] Case Glide.

[2] Freight Waves.

[3] Mehaffy Weber.

Transatlantic Underwriters Announces Multi-State Rollout of Updated Non-Fleet Transportation Insurance Capabilities

The launch will increase TAU’s selective capacity to over 40 states by the end of 2023

Marietta, GA – February 22, 2023 – Transatlantic Underwriters (TAU), a transportation insurance wholesaler specializing in the placement of commercial auto liability, physical damage and motor truck cargo coverage, is pleased to announce a multi-state expansion of non-fleet and for-hire trucking capabilities. Coverage will be offered through a top-rated carrier with an A.M. Best rating of A+ (Superior).

This broadened product offering further develops TAU’s standing in the wholesale transportation insurance arena. The company’s current capacity for non-fleet operations includes 16 states across the nation; the new rollout will bring in 20 new states by the end of Q2, with plans to add over 10 more before the end of the year. Coverage choices will include auto liability, hired auto, non-owned auto, physical damage, motor truck cargo, trailer interchange and general liability, with enhanced options available.

“This exciting expansion is a natural progression of the non-fleet capacity that TAU is already offering in select states,” says Colby Waltenburg, President of TAU. “As a company, we are always looking for innovative ways to empower our brokers – giving them the ability to provide creative solutions to meet current demand and reach a new audience. Our company is rooted in serving the diverse needs of transportation enterprises, and I am thrilled to expand that reach to more states than ever before.”

This growth in capacity comes at an opportune time, as the transportation industry works to adapt to supply chain changes, labor shifts and new technology. As the requirements for coverage transforms, it is increasingly vital for insurance providers to address the unique liability concerns of this market.

“One of the core operational values of TAU is to provide our team with the tools they need to act independently and serve clients in the best possible way,” Waltenburg went on to say. “This new capacity will enable TAU to meet the evolving coverage needs of transportation entities across the country, while fostering the strategic retail and carrier partnerships that we place such a high value on.”

For additional information, please visit

About Transatlantic Underwriters
Transatlantic Underwriters (TAU) is a wholesale insurance brokerage specializing in meeting the insurance challenges of the automotive and trucking industry. TAU has provided competitive pricing, stellar service, and coverage for unique risks since 1989. Visit to learn more.

Media Contact
Anita Nevins, Direct Connection Advertising & Marketing

Read the full Press Release here

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Takes a Closer Look at ELD Rule

The Electronic Logging Device (ELD) rule is a mandate by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and Department of Transportation, and it applies to most motor carriers and truck drivers who are required to keep records of duty service.

ELDs were implemented to regulate the number of hours of service (HOS) a commercial driver may drive to ensure they don’t exceed the maximum driving hours allowed. The fact is, drivers who push their logbook hours can become fatigued and are less alert and able to respond to current driving conditions which impact safety.

ELDs are aimed at replacing manual paper logbooks typically used in the trucking industry. Compared to the paper log system, ELDs are more efficient in helping to reduce HOS violations and in preventing drivers and carriers from manipulating logbook hours.

When drivers or fleet companies violate HOS rules, trucks and drivers could be placed on a temporarily out-of-service order for up to 10 hours for each violation of the updated Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance guidelines,[1] as well as be subject to penalties and fines. In addition, a violation can impact company’s Compliance, Safety and Accountability scores (used to identify high-risk carriers or drivers that the FMCFA may need to act against), driver safety ratings, insurance premiums, and even the quality of future loads.

However, since the ELD’s inception more than four years ago, the FMCSA has made the decision to review the rule to ensure that it remains appropriate for the transportation industry and whether changes should be made. Here, we’ll look at the specific areas in which the FMCSA is proposing possible changes to the ELD rule as outlined in the Federal Register.  

ELD certification

All ELD providers must self-certify their technology according to the FMCSA’s standards and notify the administration of any major updates before being added to the list of registered ELDs. According to Fleet Owner, the FMCSA is considering whether a centralized certification process would be more effective in relieving the government of the duty to verify ELDs, as well as decreasing wait times for device approvals. Currently, it’s unsure what that process would look like and how it could impact the transportation industry and existing devices.

ELD malfunction clarification

In the event of an ELD malfunction, a driver documenting his or her records of duty must switch to paper logs that will then be reviewed by enforcement personnel. However, when an ELD malfunctions but continues to accurately record the driver’s hours, the driver is not required to switch to paper logs. The FMCSA is addressing the issue of clarification to help drivers and carriers better determine their responsibilities under the rule as to exactly when they must use paper logs.[2]

Currently, a company has eight days from the time a malfunctioning has been discovered to make repairs or replace the unit. If a device cannot be repaired in time and obtaining a replacement is not an alternative, a company must file for an extension withing five days. During that time, the FMCSA considers  a company in compliance until a decision is reached. [3]

ELDs and pre-2000 engines

The ELD rule exempts all vehicles with pre-2000 engines and most vehicles with rebuilt pre-2000 engines because it was assumed that ELD devices could not accurately record/relay the required information. The FMCSA is considering a rewrite of the exemption, as many pre-2000 vehicles, as well as those with rebuilt engines, have engine control modules that could accommodate an ELD.[4], [5]

Revoking noncompliant ELDs

There are three main issues of concern for the FMCSA regarding the revoking of noncompliant ELDs.

First, the ELD rule requires ELD providers to keep their information updated in order to remain in compliance, but it does not state a specific time restriction in which to do so. The FMCSA is questioning whether ELD providers should be given a time frame of 30 days to update their listing when changes to their registration information are made. And, if these providers fail to comply, if the FMCSA can make the determination to remove them from the list.  

Next, the rule states that when a provider is given written notice of a proposed device removal, it has 60 days to act. Currently, the FMCSA is considering decreasing the notice compliance time to 30 days. 

Lastly, if an ELD provider goes out of business and fails to self-revoke, the FMCSA is addressing whether the agency should be granted the authority to remove the device from the registered ELD list.  

ELD technical specifications

The FMCSA is also questioning technical specifications associated with ELDs in an effort to ensure that devices remain current with advances in new technology. Key areas the agency is looking to address to help improve ELD technology include data recording and transfer, cross-border commerce and information security and compliance. You can read more about these and other proposed changes by the FMCSA by visiting the Federal Register.

Take note! Effective Jan. 1 of this year, carriers operating in Canada are required to use ELDs certified by Transport Canada. Drivers operating Canadian or American trucks in Canada must use devices from the country’s list of ELDs in order to avoid receiving citations, according to the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance.

Moving forward, it will become increasingly important for companies and drivers to stay informed regarding changes to the ELD rule and the potential impact of being found in noncompliance should new guidelines be implemented.

About Transatlantic Underwriters

Transatlantic Underwriters is an innovative transportation wholesaler specializing in the placement of Commercial Auto Liability, Auto Physical Damage and Motor Truck Cargo coverage. If you have any questions or to learn more about our products and services, please contact Colby Waltenburg at

[1] Fleet Trax

[2] Federal Register

[3] ELD Devices

[4] HDT Trucking Info

[5] Federal Register

Transatlantic Underwriters Recruits Colby Waltenburg as Vice President

STOCKTON, CA – Transatlantic Underwriters (TAU) has announced that Colby Waltenburg will be joining their team as President.

Since 1997, Waltenburg has worked in almost all aspects of wholesale property and casualty insurance operations—including over 15 years in underwriting and placement of challenging transportation risks. His experience has included working at a Lloyd’s broker in London and exposure to the insurance excess and surplus lines market in Canada.

Prior to joining TAU, Waltenburg specialized in transportation risks at a well-established insurance wholesale brokerage in Northern California.

“I also have experience in property and casualty risk placement,” Waltenburg says. “But I found that working on the transportation side is what I love doing.”

As part of Waltenburg’s growth plans he will be opening a new office for TAU on the West Coast, where he has extensive contacts. “I plan to help expand TAU’s product offering to include auto liability as a complement to the physical damage and cargo they currently offer,” he says.

“We’re thrilled to bring Colby on board as the next leader at TAU,” says Dan Parrish, former President at TAU. “Although we have served the specialized needs of our industry throughout the 48 contiguous states, we are enhancing our presence by establishing our latest facility in Stockton, California. We feel strongly that Colby’s relationships with markets and the industry at large, as well as his deep expertise in transportation risks, will be a huge benefit to our company and the insurance retailers we serve.”