As the Great Recession ground down the trucking industry, the first companies squeezed out were high-risk truckers, those with marginal or poor experience, the very companies that formed the core of Canal Insurance Co.'s client base. By 2009, the company's business shrank from $500 million in 2007 to less than $200 million.

Simply said, the commercial trucking insurer needed a new strategy, one that diversified the company's portfolio while leveraging its expertise in "specialty wheels," a niche that includes trucking, towing, waste, construction and repossession. At the same time, Canal sought to take a more personalized, service-oriented approach to dealing with its policyholders while improving claims management, loss control and loss mitigation.

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