Business Travelers Can Ride Easy With This Risk Manager on Their Side
Venerable commercial property insurance carrier FM Global routinely dispatches claims adjusters to client locations around the world, sometimes on just hours’ notice, even when those visits involve sites disrupted by natural disasters such as a hurricane, tornado or flood.
In addition, 1,300 FM Global risk engineers travel to nearly 73,000 locations to service clients in 149 countries each year. That’s a lot of road warriors to manage.
In the past, sometimes employees had to do their own research for things such as required vaccines, climate conditions and even cultural etiquette. If employees ran into issues while traveling, they had limited resources to support them.
Jeff Delmore knew that, as a company founded on the philosophy that the majority of loss is preventable through risk engineering, FM Global could do better with its travel risk management program.
As a former attorney, he was keenly aware of the both the risks and liability involved in travel gone wrong. “While my regular duties at FM Global include insurance renewals, review of contracts and leases and so forth, they also include crisis management and safety — of which travel risk management is a part,” he said.
Delmore set out to improve the employee travel risk management program in three ways:
- Obtain consistent, reliable travel data from sources around the world.
- Provide FM Global employees and managers with more specific and timely travel risk information,
- Provide employees mobile access to travel risk data.
In 2017, he put together a cross-functional team of the company’s loss prevention engineers and IT professionals with the goal of identifying ways the company could use its own technology and expertise to specifically address these objectives.
Delmore and his team began by gathering in-person data from dozens of people who traveled the most — operations managers, field engineers and their managers — to understand the unique and different places where they traveled and the challenges they experienced.
Next, they identified travel patterns company-wide. Among the questions they needed answers to: Where were people going? How were they getting there? How frequently did they travel to these locations? Did they have travel or safety issues? Where did they stay? How did they use ground transportation?
The collaborative effort to develop the system involved FM Global executives and staff, travel agencies around the world, and a commercial provider of travel risk management services.
As Delmore’s team gathered data, they asked: “What if we could build an innovative travel risk management tool for internal purposes that performed in a way that was similar to how the company provides its clients location-specific property risk analysis via an online tool?”
With such a tool, FM Global could identify potential trouble spots before employees left the office, giving the company the ability to make informed travel risk decisions.
In 2018, after 15 months of intense work, Delmore led his team in the creation of what is now called Travel Shield. It is now the company’s enterprise-wide travel risk management program providing a risk-based ‘heat map’ that indicates security and health risks.
“Working with those outside organizations, we were definitely aware of the commercial developments in the field of travel risk management. We made use of their data and worked closely with them to develop our system.”
The genesis of the project was organic. “There was no incident that sparked the idea. As I became more involved in travel risk management for the company, people asked me about our existing program and I thought there had to be a better way.”
Delmore already had support and encouragement at the highest levels of corporate management, but the biggest boost was actually from the enthusiasm he got along the way from colleagues at FM Global as well as collaborating organizations.
“The level of involvement at all levels was so impressive,” he said. “It was encouraging how willing people are to help. I am lucky to be surrounded by very smart people.”
Looking ahead, Delmore added that “FM Global does not sit and wait for things to happen. We are rolling along on further data analytics, looking at ways to examine risks that we did not even consider previously. It is all to the end of keeping our people safe in the field.” &
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