I am preparing for a speaking engagement with local insurance professionals. Typically, I speak to peers, those in risk control, loss control, and related safety functions within the insurance industry. This time, I have the opportunity to pump up the risk control role to insurance professionals who may not fully value or understand what we do.
Maybe I’m biased, but I’ve always considered risk control a selling point and retention tool for insurance carriers and brokers. When I was employed on the other side, as a safety executive for large contractors, I always evaluated my company’s insurance business partners for their risk control capacity. Strong risk control departments were an indicator of the carrier or broker’s overall commitment and capabilities.
I’d like to know why you value risk control services from your insurance carrier and/or broker, or if applicable, what you would like from those business partners. To get you started, here’s some reasons why I found risk control to be an important piece of the business insurance puzzle:
An extension of the safety department
A reliable and professional risk control consultant (RCC) from the insurance carrier or broker was essential when I was a one-person safety department. I clung to resources that the RCC would provide me on their (not often enough) quarterly visits. Back then, I had a file drawer full of CD-Roms with training and program templates that I referred to constantly. I realize this is outdated and has been replaced with online training discounts and risk control “portals” with seemingly endless information, but the point remains – risk control resources are invaluable to those who are asked by their employer to do more with less.
A good RCC will not just bestow such safety treasures on you, their policyholder, however. They will sit down with you, walk you through logging in, and point you to the good stuff. As a good RCC myself, this is something I routinely did at client kickoffs and was told that it was valuable. Having been on the other side, I know that a safety professional is pulled in many directions after the RCC leaves their office. Ensuring important resources are treated as such will ensure your policyholder actually uses the “portal” when you’re not there!
A good RCC will be available to answer random, usually urgent emails, phone calls, or texts from the insured (within a reasonable time frame) who now looks to them as a trusted advisor.* When I worked with subcontractor trades like electricians, ironworkers, and plumbers, these questions usually started with “the GC is asking me for…” and I was able to advocate on the insured’s behalf.
*If you’ve had any sales training, this “trusted advisor” status is THE holy grail of customer satisfaction and ultimately retention. Here’s a nice read on that status and how to achieve it.
Boots on the Ground
This is especially crucial with heavy industrial, manufacturing, and construction environments. The best RCCs have direct experience in the field the insurance carrier or broker’s policyholders conduct business in. This cannot be faked, only learned and earned. For those without the field experience and currently in an RCC role, cross train and visit as many sites as possible – go with coworkers who are more experienced to see how they approach their clients’ sites. Never stop learning.
This field experience becomes evident when the RCC makes recommendations. Thoughtful, relevant, and practical recommendations will be complied with, because they make sense. If a recommendation is rooted in compliance only, it may not be as well-received by the policyholder.
More on recommendations
A bulk of my presentation to the local insurance group will be about promotion of safety through well-written recommendations and an action plan for follow-through. This is the process by which insureds improve their programs with holistic guidance from their carrier or broker. This process is often an afterthought and is where an RCC can really shine and prove that risk control retains policyholders.
So, what do you think? How does risk control add value? What can be improved?