Before You "Bid" Insurance
#1 Thing To Know
At an auction, it's the bidding that pumps excitement into the event. It's the thrill of the chase and the victory of a win! So if bidding works at an auction, why not bid insurance?
On the surface, insurance can appear to be a commodity...something that is easily bid out. Let's face it, we would love it if insurance was that easy. But insurance is complicated and typically not fun which is why we depend so much on the trust we have in our agent to help us protect the things that are important to us.
At the same time, businesses that must provide bids to generate revenue for themselves tend to expect the same when it comes to their insurance. A contractor who bids for work all day long is likely to expect better insurance pricing if he goes out to bid.
In insurance, the process of producing a proper plan is more like preparing a tax return than bidding at auction. The insurance process coordinates historical information, classifies current operations, and projects the impact of potential future risk exposures to protect the consumer from unanticipated, potentially devastating losses.
Prep Strategy 1
Renewal time is the wrong time to make corrections, get educated, and change things. In fact, waiting for renewal will guarantee you lose one year of potential savings. Six months before renewal is not too soon to start.
Prep Strategy 2
Loss runs do not tell us enough to stop claims. We need to trend where, when, how and why these claims are happening. When we review the trends related to our insurance losses, we know exactly where to start to eliminate the biggest risks immediately.
Prep Strategy 3
Do an audit.
Ask your broker to audit every aspect of your insurance program and provide a written list of comments and recommendations. Now is the time for them to ask you questions, get updates, correct misunderstandings, and offer up improvements.
Prep Strategy 4
No confidence in your current insurance agent? Give the audit opportunity (see #3) to your next-in-line insurance broker. Or just contact or call one of us here at VANTREO. An audit is a great way to experience us in action.
Preparation is the key to successful insurance shopping. Before you go "out to bid," you'll want to make sure your insurance will be priced based on your lowest possible cost of risk. You'll want to eliminate potential overcharges and reduce your risk of injury and claims cost. Underwriters considering your insurance will want to see an excellent explanation for past results and a compelling "going forward" risk reduction plan.
The Biggest Risk
In the beginning there was "risk" and the risk consumed progress. Cities were built but then destroyed. Lives were created but then taken away. Investments were made but with no guarantees. Risk was everywhere and, at a moment's notice, had the potential to destroy a lifetime of effort.
Today, insurance and risk management change everything. Insurance dares us to take risk, to explore, to invent, to be strong and brave. Insurance is everywhere we look and it touches everything we do, safeguarding our dreams and aspirations.
Our biggest risk lies in how well we understand our exposures and the values we must protect. Spend too much time working the day-to-day and we risk losing sight of the fundamental reason we are in business. Everything should be working together to increase the overall value of the enterprise.
The Bottom Line
Insurance and risk management are security guards on your business journey. They are designed to help make sure you get to a high-value destination. They perform extremely well when the values and exposures are known.
How An Ordinary Company Becomes Extraordinary
The "biggest risk" business leaders often face is in not knowing the value of their enterprise and how to drive that value.
Business Value Calculator
Similar to the housing market, what your business is worth to a buyer is subject to a lot of forces; some controllable and some not. Moreover, what separates your business (or house) from others on the market is sometimes subtle; yet those subtleties can be costly if you are not in the know.
Being "in the know" about your business, means you understand that the starting point for any business valuation begins with the financial formula:
V (Value) = P (Profits) X M (Multiple)
Understanding this calculation and the levers that can increase that value, allow you to drive those controllable forces in your financial favor.
To find out more about this valuation formula check out the book "Rings of Value" by Timothy Beglin on Amazon
4 Ways to Manage Risk
Do not offer or cease to provide a service or conduct an activity considered too risky. Includes not performing an activity that could carry risk. An example would be not buying a property or business in order to not take on the liability that comes with it. Another would be not flying in order to not take the risk that the airplane was to be hijhacked. Avoidance may seem the answer to all risks, but avoiding risks also means losing out on the potential gain that accepting (retaining) the risk may have allowed. Not entering a business to avoid the risk of loss also avoids the possibility of earning profits.
Accept all or part of the risk and prepare for the consequences. True self-insurance falls in this category. So do amounts paid as deductibles. Risk retention is a viable strategy where the cost of insuring against the risk would be greater over time than the total losses sustained.
Change the activity so that the chance of harm occurring and impact of potential damage are within acceptable limits. Reduction involves methods that reduce the severity of the loss or the likelihood of the loss from occurring. Examples include sprinklers designed to put out a fire to reduce the risk of loss by fire. This method may cause a greater loss by water damage and therefore may not be suitable. Halon fire suppression systems may mitigate that risk, but the cost may be prohibitive as a strategy.
Outsourcing could be an example of risk reduction if the outsourcer can demonstrate higher capability at managing or reducing risks.
Cause another party to accept the risk or a portion of the risk typically by contract. Liability among construction or other contractors is very often transferred this way. Insurance is sometimes considered a transfer of risk. This is not correct. Risk is not transfered to insurance but rather the insurance policy agrees to pay for all or a portion of an insured loss . For example, an automobile insurance policy does not transfer the risk of a car accident to the insurance company. The risk still lies with the policy holder namely the person who has been in the accident.
The Risk Management Process
Risk is everywhere and, at a moment's notice, risk has the potential to destroy a lifetime of effort. We reduce risk, and the negative effects of losses on an organization, through a decision-making process called "risk management".
Successful risk management is centered on the things we care about the most...the exposures and values we must protect.
We care about...
- our health
- our people
- our protection
- our reputation
- our stuff
- our ability to continue to do what we want to do
Risks can come from various sources including uncertainty in financial markets, threats from project failures (at any phase in design, development, production, or sustainment life-cycles), legal liabilities, credit risk, accidents, natural causes and disasters, deliberate attack from an adversary, or events of uncertain or unpredictable root-cause.
The Risk Management Process
- identify and analyze the loss exposure
- examine ways to handle the risk
- select the best method/technique
- implement the technique
- monitor the program
Generally a prioritization process is followed whereby risks with the greatest loss (or impact) and the greatest probability of occurring are handled first. Of course identifying and measuring probability is not always easy.
Risk management also faces difficulties in allocating resources. This is the idea of opportunity cost. Resources spent on risk management could have been spent on more profitable activities.
Ideally, risk management minimizes spending (or manpower or other resources) and also minimizes the negative effects of risks.
Some risk management solutions blend multiple methods of managing risk to come up with the optimal strategy (see Chapter 3, 4 Ways to Manage Risk).
Top 5 Health Benefits Solutions
Let's make it simpler.
Human Resources (HR) is the linchpin to managing not only healthcare but just about every aspect of the most important asset of any company, its employees. HR teams across the country are relied on to handle more and more responsibilities. Easing that burden is the key to success.
According to a recent Guardian Workplace Benefits Study, HR administrators said that the complexity of benefits was significant – with 8% saying their benefits have low complexity, 33% moderate complexity and 59% report high complexity.
The highest priority, however, is "advocacy"...people want to know that they have professional expertise readily available to help them navigate health care challenges when they need it.
So to ease the burden, simplify the process, and empower a world class benefits experience, let's start with the Top 5 Health Benefits Solutions...
The Top 5 Health Benefits Solutions
Working doesn't look like it used to. With "mobile", we are "on" anytime, anywhere. We are more diverse than ever. And, we expect our employers to keep up with current trends and proactively provide solutions for our changing needs.
1. Controlling Healthcare Expenses
At the risk of over-simplifying an extremely complicated subject, "awareness" is key to helping control health benefits costs. Awareness empowers us to make better decisions. It gives us confidence and courage to do things we might have thought impossible.
For example, learn how to live healthy ...and increase the odds of living longer and spending less on healthcare.
Perhaps learn how to use a Health Saving Account, fund a large HSA deductible...and eliminate financial anxiety when a health emergency arises.
Education fuels awareness. It's required at all levels of the organization, medical community and government.
VANTREO brokers play a vital role in providing the awareness and support that employers need to educate employees about their benefits. And with our political awareness, benefits technology, and bilingual capablites, we continue to provide leading professional expertise and support to employers when it comes to cost reduction benefits strategies.
2. Maximize Technology To Save Time and Win Talent
According to a recent survey from Aflac, half of employees spend 30 minutes or less making benefit selections during open enrollment each year. This means employers have a short window of time to educate employees and make sure they're armed with the right information to feel confident in their benefit selection.
To do this effectively, HR needs to move pass brochures, handouts, lengthy employee packets and paper applications and look for ways to meet employees where they live...online.
With VANTREO, your benefits program comes wrapped in easy technology that not only simplifies HR onboarding and benefits administration, manages ACA compliance, and includes unlimited reporting capability, but this technology also offers a digital experience that employees actually enjoy.
Let us know if you'd like to check it out.
3. Satisfying Diverse Benefit Expectations
The workforce now includes people living a wide variety of lifestyles. There are more single women than ever. Same-sex marriages are increasingly common. Careers are lasting longer, and many people have several careers in a lifetime. This diverse mix of people represents new realities for employers.
Yes, employees are more diverse than ever before and they want to be recognized as the unique, multidimensional, and "whole" people that they are.
Here's what they want from their employer-sponsored benefit plan...
- A broader definition of benefits
- More tailored benefits
- More accessible benefits expertise
- A clear explanation of benefits
- A simplified enrollment and engagement experience.
As employees have a broader, clearer understanding, they can make choices that better fit their needs. And with a simplified process, employees are able to discover the immense value of their benefits. As a result, their appreciation can enhance their loyalty and commitment to their company.
We are here to help provide the experience that satisfies both you and your team.
4. Empowering Work/Life Wellness
A recent MetLife employee benefits study reported that today's employees put increased focus on happiness at work. Personal well-being and satisfaction can be as important as the numbers on their paycheck. To that end, employees look to employers to help safeguard them against work-life stress, anxiety and to provide wellbeing programs that reward healthy behavior (even if the employer does not pay for them).
The first step to empowering wellness in company culture is to survey the team for input. People participate in something they are a part of. Then we create a blueprint related to what will be included and how it will be implemented and maintained. We launch and then monitor and evaluate the results for value. Culture is not static, it's a journey.
Our launch communicates the following:
- what the program entails
- how it works
- what's in it for them
- ways to get involved
Once launched, here are the key questions to ask along the way...
- Are we teaching people how to be well?
- Is the program voluntary and not forced?
- Does leadership demonstrate commitment and support for the plan?
- Does it promote mastery? Do participants have an opportunity to grow, learn and be challenged to get better at something?
- Does it help people have a great sense of purpose?
Success occurs as people adapt to the new and evolving culture of healthier living.
5. Managing Regulatory Compliance
The easiest way to stay in regulatory compliance with the Affordable Care Act is through technology. Eligibility tracking, employee changes, open enrollment, and even employee self-service capabilities are easily done online.
Manage and Automate HR, Benefits, and ACA Compliance
With VANTREO, your benefits program comes wrapped in technology that not only simplifies HR onboarding and benefits administration, manages ACA compliance, and includes unlimited reporting capability, but this technology also offers a digital experience that employees actually enjoy.
Not only that, but since our online capabilities are embedded in our service progam the platform comes at no additional cost to you.
In addition, as our client, VANTREO can generate the 1094-C and 1095-C forms for your organization at pricing significantly less than most payroll vendors. Just ask us.
How to Stop Automobile Claims
Distracted driving is any activity that diverts attention from driving, including: talking or texting on the phone; eating and drinking; talking to people in the vehicle; fiddling with the music, entertainment or navigation system. It is anything that takes attention away from the task of safe driving.
Any non-driving activity is a potential distraction and increases the risk of being involved in a crash. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that 25 percent of all crashes involve some form of driver distraction, and thousands of people are killed each year in those crashes. Sadly, every single death is 100 percent preventable.
Why consider implementing a best practice, distraction-free policy? Juries all over the country are reacting very strongly to distracted driving cell phone crashes. They are awarding very large damage amounts. A jury in Texas, for example, found a beverage company liable after one if its drivers crashed while talking hands-free. The hands-free headset complied with company policy. One injury – verdict $21 million.
Do you text and drive?
98% know its wrong. 49% do it anyway.
- About 100 people die every day in car crashes
- Up to 94% of crashes are caused by human error.
- Distraction is the #1 cause of human error and a top factor in fatal car crashes.
- Hands-free is not risk-free.
- Multi-tasking is a myth. The brain switches causing us to miss seeing 50% of what's around us like other drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists.
- 7% of all drivers at any given time are using their cell phones while driving.
People know that distracted driving is dangerous, but often feel they can't afford to miss calls, emails, or text messages. Many feel their job depends on it. Fortunately, employers are recognizing this extremely hazardous expectation of always being connected and are changing company policy to ban cell phone use while driving.
Ask us for Sample Vehicle Use Policy wording.
87% of drivers engage in risky behavior
Today, more Americans are on the road than ever before...and they're getting into more accidents. A recent report by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found about 87% of drivers engaged in unsafe behavior. Add to that, rising medical and auto repair costs and you create a sort of double whammy to the cost of auto insurance. Of course, and more importantly, safe driving reduces the injury rate and saves lives.
Telematics Saves Lives
Vehicle telematics is powerful technology designed to help reduce crashes, increase fleet efficiencies, and improve customer service. Data obtained from accelerometers, cellular communication, and on-board computers can provide a huge quantity of information about where a vehicle is located and how it is being driven. Of course, simply having this information does not change outcomes.
Management support, commitment, cultural change and employee buy-in are also a critical part of the successful implementation of a telematics solution. Employees must see that the monitoring can specifically benefit them, and that it is not primarily a trigger for punitive action. They should understand that the main reason for using telematics is to improve safety for the drivers for others on the road.
Empowering employees by making information and self improvement tools available is also critical for success, A good telematics program provides a driver scorecard that tells the driver and management how well they are doing. The more data points the better (hard braking, hard turning, over-speed, hard acceleration, etc.).
In today's competitive environment, the financial health of a company should resonate with employees at all levels, and knowing how each team member can contribute can be a strong motivating force. Other potential telematics benefits, such as lower collision, fuel, and maintenance costs, can help make for a healthier organizational bottom line.
Risk engineering experts have watched companies significantly improve their fleet safety programs with the use of telematics. It is not uncommon for companies to experience a 70% improvement in driver safety scores, and reduce the incidence and severity of accidents generating thousands of dollars in savings.
However, these instances have a common theme – they include an ongoing management commitment to a cultural change – NOT just installation of telematics equipment.
Other benefits include:
- Fuel Savings
Fewer "extra stops", more direct routes, better mpg, less idling and less unauthorized usage.
- Labor Savings
Saves up to 30 minutes per day per vehicle.
- Increased Productivity
At least one more job per day per employee.
- Improved Customer Service
Predictable arrival times, helps respond more effectively to emergencies and last-minute changes.
- Improved Communication
2-way messaging. All messaging date/time stamped and archived.
- Reduce Traffic Violations & Accidents
Monitor driving behavior with real-time alerts.
- Enhance Security & Safety
Integrated GPS, monitoring, alerts, and messaging
How To Stop Work Comp Claims
Do you sometimes feel like you are playing a losing game? Workers compensation claims can cripple an organization…and they are a critical indicator of poor morale and low productivity. So when you eliminate work comp claims you can increase profitability.
The Loss-Free Culture
Every company has its own culture.
The way things are handled in your organization determines your company culture. It's the processes, systems, behaviors and beliefs that are considered "normal" and out of which decisions are made and results are generated.
For example, an employee that is relationally well connected, energized, and accountable generally has fewer and less severe injuries.
Safety has to be your number one priority. Every process, every job has a way of being done safely. We eliminate work comp claims by making sure that every single person knows their job safety protocols and that they are watching out for each other.
To stop workers compensation claims, you have to change what is normal in your organization. It's what we call W.I.N. "What Is Normal". Things are normal either because that's the way they have always been or because that's the way you want them to be. And your people must be in it with you...that means having everyone involved in making the changes required to stop claims.
Safety First At Alcoa Video
There is a great YouTube video called Safety First at Alcoa in which Bill O-Rourke a former VP at Alcoa explains how CEO Paul O'Neill transformed Alcoa to profitability by making the number one priority safety. The message has to come loud and clear from the top. And managers must be trained to lead in safety and in enterprise value.
Watch the Alcoa video…we haven't heard it explained better.
Here's a little rapid fire list of some of the most effective strategies to stop (and reduce) work comp claims:
Safety has to be your number one priority. Every process, every job has a way of being done safely. Everyone's goal must be zero-injuries.
Treat Injuries Appropriately
For the best results, it's important to guide injured workers to the appropriate level of care... is it first aid, an occupational medical clinic, an emergency room or a 911 call?
Train Manager Leaders
Your middle level managers and supervisors are the key to eliminating work comp claims because they are the closest to the people having the claims. Once these managers learn to become true leaders, the entire organization becomes more productive.