10 Risk Management Resolutions for Mid-Size Businesses

By: | January 15, 2019

Eric B. Copple CIC, CRM is a risk management adviser for Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. Throughout his 20 years of brokerage experience, he has helped clients build effective risk management systems to stay on the road to success. He can be reached at [email protected]

I recently had the opportunity to help a (recovering) lawyer friend land her first true risk-management gig. She asked for advice on building a list of priorities that could help her focus and improve the performance of the company.

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This made me think: After 20+ years serving mid-size companies, what wisdom do I have to share? Here is my list:

1) Implement a risk-management committee.

So many mid-size companies fail to get enough people from different parts of the company involved in the “why” and “how” of the risk-management strategy to effectively make it a living part of the culture. There is no better way to create buy-in than to involve employees and stakeholders in planning and implementation. The leadership in mid-size companies is often afraid to reveal the skeletons in the closet to the employee base. Trust me: they already know — and they know of a few the C-suite isn’t aware of.

2) Re-evaluate your insurance broker relationship.

AIRMIC put out a Broker Tender Guide in 2016 that was spot-on in labeling the areas you should consider in choosing the right insurance broker. As the person shouldering the duties, you need to score your existing relationship against this list. If you are a broker like me, you need to honestly assess yourself and the deliverables of your agency and fix the weak spots this year. And this brings me to my next suggestion.

3) Join AIRMIC or RIMS (or both).

I cannot overestimate the importance of up-to-date information when it comes to risk management planning in mid-size businesses. The speed of business today, and the fact that most people performing the risk management role in a mid-size business have a lot on their plate, makes it very difficult to carve out time for identifying emerging risks and effective risk treatments.

4) Meet your underwriters face-to-face.

Through the years, I have found it to be extremely effective to have a working relationship with your carrier underwriters — not just your broker. Most large companies seem to know this, but a much lower percentage of mid-size organizations are taking advantage of this.

5) Re-evaluate your property insurance limits.

Replacement cost has nothing to do with market or accounting values when it comes to property. As a result, a lot of mid-size businesses will renew with the same property limits every year or with the 4 percent built-in increase. That could be a very costly mistake with a simple remedy. Make sure your property limits are accurate.

6) Re-read your contract terms.

Most likely someone signed a contract in your organization this month about which you are not even aware. This contract might be full of terms and conditions detrimental to the mission of your organization. One of my CIC instructors once gave an example of a very costly port-a-potty lease clause. Have you read your port-a-potty lease lately?

7) Train your safety people in communication skills.

Over the years I have asked many different carrier managers how often they provide communication training for their safety and loss control reps. Nine times out of ten the answer is never, and sadly it shows. Using a poor communicator to transmit your safety agenda signals a low value on the information to your employees. If you want to elevate the importance of the safety or risk management agenda this year, elevate the proficiency of the communicator.

8) Create new checklists.

Good checklists can improve your organization. They aid in task prioritization and progress tracking. Apps like IAUDITOR can provide a helpful framework if you’re having trouble getting into the habit.

9) Prioritize driver safety and make it a constant conversation.

The alarmingly high number of personal injury attorneys at work in this country and our personal addiction to staying “plugged in” all day long has brought auto-related injuries and lawsuits to a crippling level today.

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This type of insurance is becoming hard to get and is often cost-prohibitive in many states. A system to effectively influence your drivers’ behaviors should be a top priority for any organization in 2019.

10) Make gratitude a core value.

Organizations with leaders who are not only proud of their employees, but also verbalize this consistently, simply have better loss ratios. Schedule some time for authentic gratitude in your weekly calendar. It is both inexpensive and extremely effective. People perform better for companies that care about them. Period. &

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The R&I Editorial Team can be reached at [email protected]