All insurers urge their customers to be safe, but Federated Insurance has taken that desire to unusual heights with its campaign against distracted driving.

The Owatonna, Minn.-based company since October has been distributing a package to help its customers persuade--or outright bar--employees from texting while driving or engaging in other unsafe practices. The package includes:

  • Two videos providing education in the dangers of distracted driving. (View one of them here.)
  • Information sheets targeting employers and employees.
  • Advice on how to run a meeting devoted to distracted driving.
  • A sample policy on the use of mobile devices.
  • A test that Federated's customers can give their employees regarding distractied driving.
  • Information on technology solutions that companies can use to restrict cell phone use in vehicles.
  • Posters of children (shown at left) to help people remember the message to come home safely.

"The worst price a business can pay is losing an employee," Federated said in an email sent to ProSales earlier this month. "With this in mind, we have also refocused our risk management messaging to reinforce that each employee is important to us and the business. Ultimately, we (and the employer) want them to make it home safe each day.

The campaign will run through October. It comes at a time in which some individual dealers also are fighting distracted driving. Federated's videos note that texting while driving is the fastest-growing cause of vehicle accidents today, and that drivers who text are 20 times more likely to crash than those who don't, and that texting while driving is equivalent to being behind the wheel at a 0.08% intoxication level--enough to get you a driving under the influence charge in many states.

Federated isn't alone in its campaign. Franklin Building Supply of Boise, Idaho, ProSales' 2016 Dealer of the Year, has gone so far as to enact a policy barring employees from talking on smart phones while they drive, even if their vehicle is equipped with hands-free speaking devices.

“We had to figure out ways for customers to have access during [OSRs’] windshield time,” Rick Lierz, Franklin's president and CEO, told ProSales in a recent profile. “We identified people in our locations to be the first responders for customer calls, and we worked to implement those solutions before we went live. The solutions were varied; in our larger locations we added inside customer support for the outside salesmen.

“In all, I think we improved our accessibility,” Lierz added adds. “... Customers became fans quickly of calling another number to get help, without in most cases going to voicemail and waiting for a callback from a salesman. Some salesmen were nervous for a while, but they are now fans. In fact, they tell stories of all the bad drivers out on the road who are using their devices while driving.” Franklin has joined with several other local companies in Boise to promote a “Just Drive” campaign.