In a check presentation this morning at the Great American Trucking Show, National Association of Independent Truckers Vice President of Business Development David King delivered $50,000 to Wreaths Across America specifically earmarked to be used to offset the fuel costs of owner-operators who wish to donate their equipment and time to deliver wreaths in the program.
The sizable contribution from NAIT is the organization’s third annual donation to help Wreaths honor fallen military service members across the United States with their well-known wreath-laying ceremonies at more than 1,400 participating cemeteries.
The donation was made possible by NAIT partners in the effort, TransGuard and the IAT Insurance Group. Wreaths representative Debbie Sparks notes that her organization is thrilled “NAIT wants to do this,” and hopes news about the availability of assistance gets out to the owner-operator community to encourage more participation in cross-dock loads in areas all around the country, some moving earlier than the main December push. “All of the guys I talk to that might need the fuel assistance, the hardest thing” is convincing them that it is something that “is OK to do,” Sparks says, noting Wreaths coordinators have something of a sales job in making sure owner-operators are fully aware of the NAIT donation and what it’s for.
“Our reliance on independent truck owner-operators cannot be understated when talking about the success of National Wreaths Across America Day,” Sparks added.
NAIT’s guaranteed-issue life and disability insurance offering; Equinox accounting, consulting partnership
David King briefed Overdrive on new benefits to NAIT members in a new guaranteed-issue life and disability insurance offering available for members in all 50 states in partnership with AllState Insurance. Both are “guaranteed-acceptance” policies structured as group plans, which reduces costs for all participants.
With the new offerings, King said, members benefits are available in what he calls a “complete program — an entire package of products that allows one of our benefits counselors to build a package based on the needs of the individual driver. As owner-operators, it’s hard to find a lot of this stuff in a group environment, which brings costs down and gives us the ability to offer a guaranteed-issue possibility.”
Rates will vary according to the individual only by age and sex, and “spouse and family coverage is available in this program,” King says. “Anytime you can get guaranteed acceptance for a spouse, it’s a big deal.”
Also new is a partnership with Equinox Business Solutions that is available to all NAIT members at the lowest rate possible, whether leased to an Equinox partner fleet or not. Equinox offers owner-operator-knowledgeable accounting service — important, says King, in that “one of the stumbles we see owner-operators make is having an accountant who doesn’t understand how an owner-operator works,” whether they miss easily taken deductions or “handle things like depreciation incorrectly.”
Equinox, he says, has “an established name and history with owner-operators.” They’ve made their name partnering largely with fleets who lease owner-operators. The partnership with NAIT may stand to open up their services to more true independents and small fleet operators among NAIT members.
Also significant, it is “making their services and training available to NAIT members at a cost lower than anywhere available in marketplace,” King says. The “thing that excites me the most is not the bargain on a rate on a tax return,” though. Equinox’s services enable owner-operators to utilize “benchmarking and coaching” around business best practices.
“We have a lot of owner-operators who jump in without knowing everything they need to know,” King says. He hopes the partnership will “help change the odds of them succeeding” for the better.