CLM Voices: Getting to Know Tom McLaughlin
See how he keeps everyone’s eyes on the road as director of risk management and claims for Transport America and CFI.
By Eric Gilkey
Overseeing 4,000 trucks and 4,500 drivers in all auto, general liability, workers compensation, and cargo claims—not to mention all risk management functions—is no small task for Tom McLaughlin, even with 39 years of insurance claims experience. See how this hockey-playing dad keeps everyone’s eyes on the road as director of risk management and claims for Transport America and CFI.
You could say McLaughlin was born into the claims business. His father owned a medium-sized independent adjusting company in St. Paul, Minnesota, which meant he and his brothers often went out to accident scenes after hours. He went to work for his father after graduating from high school, and has been in the business ever since.
Approach to Risk Management
“How we hire, train, supervise, and discipline drivers could affect the outcome of a case. It’s important to keep the accidents from happening, but equally important to make sure your processes are solid.”
McLaughlin says technology is affecting risk management and claims in the transportation industry. He says most mid- to large-sized transportation carriers are utilizing collision mitigation, cameras, and lane departure systems, which are reducing crashes and exonerating drivers. He cautions that if the information collected is not properly managed, though, it can create a treasure trove of information for plaintiff’s attorneys.
I don’t think fully autonomous trucks will be here for a while. However, we as risk managers need to keep an eye on evolving technologies like this that could change how claims are handled.”
A Watchful Eye
McLaughlin says his company decided to implement an external-facing camera program several years ago. He says while it is a no-brainer for risk managers—footage has been used to exonerate his company in third-party injury claims—it can impact driver retention and have negative implications in litigation if bad driving behavior is captured but not addressed through training.
“I’m honored to play hockey with my two sons, the eldest of whom works in risk management for Wells Fargo. With three generations already in the business, I’m hoping one of my grandkids follows in the same footsteps.”