There are resources your carrier offers you as a policyholder, which are included in your premium that often go unused. Perhaps you are not aware they are available, in which case you might not be taking advantage of them, but you should be.
Everyone hates paying insurance premiums. It is an expense most of us feel has been forced upon us either by laws or lenders. If we had it our way we would go without insurance, or perhaps carry far less than we are now as we see the potential for loss differently than our carrier does. Stroking that monthly check sometimes feels like a punishment as we never see a “return” on those funds unless there is a claim that needs to be paid, which ultimately increases our premium anyway. There are resources your carrier offers you as a policyholder, which are included in your premium that often go unused. Perhaps you are not aware they are available, in which case you might not be taking advantage of them, but you should be.
People love to hear themselves talk regardless of their business or audience and sometimes in all of the noise we miss crucial details as we just want the speaker to get to the point. One of the most often missed points are the “value adds” a carrier provides to their policy holder. These can be dismissed as fluff, or perhaps there is a mentality within your company of wanting to keep the insurance folks as far away from your operation as possible. In either case, you are wasting opportunities you have already paid for.
More Technology Resources
If this past year in the insurance marketplace has taught us anything it is you should always expect the unexpected. Underwriters are using more technology than ever when considering an account for proposal. One of the most often checked resources is the FMCSA data known as the SAFER Score (www.safersys.org). If an underwriter is looking at your data and your Out Of Service (OOS) rate is higher than the industry average (which is currently 20.72 percent) you are going to limit your potential suitors. This probably isn’t new information to you. However, many carriers are beginning to offer assistance with DOT and FMCSA related issues to their policyholders. This can range from training of drivers to fighting citations. In some cases this might require an additional fee, but the point is, this resource is readily available to you and often goes overlooked.
There are several other areas of assistance your carrier might be able to provide assistance with. Most carriers now offer some type of training resource library. The content will vary, but they generally have content in both written and video formats. Because of the ever changing demographic in the U.S. most items are in at least English and Spanish. There could be additional languages available, but again, this will vary.
So, let’s say you are having an issue with Pre and Post Trip Inspections. For whatever reason you can’t get your employees to do them correctly. It is almost guaranteed you will find information, checklists and possible videos that you can share with your employees on this subject to bring them up to an acceptable level of competency. If you access the carrier’s library and take advantage of this resource, there is likely not going to be any additional costs (carrier libraries are becoming very common place and most no longer charge for accessing the content). Further, you now have a story to tell your agent or carrier underwriter during renewal about actions you have taken to make your company safer and more efficient which is what they want to see. This should translate over to what you want, premium concessions.
We are also starting to see carriers offer policyholders claims tracking tools. This enables you to view updates on claims in real time so you know what is going on and are not surprised by a settlement, change in reserve or closure of a claim. This is a great service, but should you elect to move to a different carrier you could lose access to the system. If your carrier does offer this service it is advised you discuss this situation with your agent so you understand ahead of time if access will remain in place or be lost should you part ways. Either way, the carrier has the obligation to see the claim through as well as provide you with updates as they occur.
Generating Premium Credits
What about items the carrier offers that can generate premium credits for you? Some carriers are offering credits for in-cab camera systems or GPS trackers. There are even a few who will help subsidize the cost of these systems over time for their policyholders. Not only could you end up with a new safety system in place, you could potentially get your carrier to pay for it. The funny thing is, they are happy to do this as it brings in another layer of safety measurements you didn’t have before offering more protection for both your company and the carrier.
These affinity programs are rather vast. Depending on the carrier, they might have relationships with companies who can assist with driver file management, medical testing, background checks, physical abilities testing or mock OSHA inspections. The point is that these resources are there for a reason. Carriers want you to be better than the next guy in the industry; given that the waste and recycling industry currently resides in the top five most dangerous industries, can you blame them?
Carriers are not the only ones making a push for safer work habits. Recently, the National Waste & Recycling Association launched their Driver Certification and Temporary Worker Certification programs. Although there are not currently carriers offering credits for companies who put employees successfully through these programs there are conversations being had which could prompt this to happen down the road. One of the industry’s associations has recognized the need for additional training and has taken action in making it available.
Take the Time to Review
Everyone is in business to make money. This is true for you and the insurance carriers. The better your safety record is the less the carrier has to pay out in claims, and this should be reflected in your premiums. That being said, it is important to realize one good year after three or four years of poor performance isn’t going to get you any credits, but it is a step in the right direction. Once you put together a string of several years with little to no claims activity you will then have grounds to make your argument that you have risen above the “average” company in the industry and should be viewed accordingly. Your ability to prove what steps you have taken to get to this juncture will be extremely important. Make sure you document and track all training you are doing with your staff. If your folks receive certifications of any sort be sure to include a copy in their employee file and alert your agent so they can use this in your favor when negotiating your renewal terms. Policies are typically reviewed at time of issuance as well as about 4 months prior to the renewal.
No one wants to pay more for insurance than they have to, yet many are not taking full advantage of what is included in their premiums. Take advantage of your insurance carrier and their resources. I promise they want you to.
Nathan Brainard, AAI, is Vice President of the Environmental Division at Insurance Office of America (IOA) (Longwood, FL) and a member of the NWRA’s Safety & ANSI Committees. IOA is also the endorsed insurance services provider of the NWRA. Nathan has been with IOA for ten years and specializes in Environmental Insurance with an emphasis on insurance for the Waste, Recycling, Remediation and Demolition industries. He can be reached at (407) 998-5287 or via e-mail at email@example.com.