SC&RA’s insurance platform delivers mutual value

19 May 2022

Late last year, SC&RA renewed its agreement with the two endorsed market partners of its Property & Casualty Insurance Platform: National Interstate Insurance Company and NationsBuilders Insurance Services (NBIS). The Association also renewed partnerships with three preferred producers – Allied Insurance Brokers, (a Gallagher Company); Emery & Karrigan; and USI Insurance Services – while adding newcomer Brown & Brown.

While insurance may be a necessary evil for SC&RA members, the more they know, the more protected they are.

Billy Smith, executive vice president, risk management and claims at NBIS, keeps two things front and center when he thinks about the mutual value SC&RA and NBIS share. “The Association staff and the members,” he said. “SC&RA staff remains steadfast and fierce in the defense of their members and the mission of the Association – and that spans from advocacy for important industry issues on the Senate floor through ensuring meaningful and safe industry events and forums that provide collaboration, education and professional growth through training content.”

Secondly, he added, SC&RA members are dedicated and open to working together for the betterment of the industry.

“After over 25 years of working with members to provide insurance coverage, continuously customized by their operations, it really feels more like we are protecting our own family. Insurance coverage is one thing, but when you stand beside your customer in defense of job ticket terms, claims handling or even proposing regulatory changes, it’s the relationships that remain a powerful force for change.”

For Smith, NBIS’s value proposition is wrapped around industry experience, which in turn creates several key points of value for members. “Our staff representing crane, rigging, specialized transportation and concrete pumping began in the operator’s seat,” he pointed out. “Additionally, our risk managers have an industry pedigree of sort – before they began the work of supporting our customers’ risk and safety plans. It’s precisely this experience that drives all of our risk solution offerings and service.”

Tailored solutions to manage cost of risk

Like Smith, Shawn Los, president and COO at National Interstate, understands the value of experience within the industries SC&RA serves, and he takes it to heart. “Every member of SC&RA has a unique operation that deserves more than a one-size-fits-all solution,” he said. “Instead of simply buying insurance, we encourage folks to look for ways to truly manage their cost of risk to make it a competitive advantage.”

While National Interstate offers several products that cater directly to SC&RA members, their proposition goes well beyond the overall insurance policy. “From education, safety workshops, discount/subsidy programs, telematics, automated event recorders, dashboards – the list goes on – we strive to provide all the tools members need to run a safe, best-in-class organization.” Los said.

To kick off 2022, National Interstate launched a new insurance product, Boomerang, designed to specifically serve the crane, rigging and specialized carrier industry. “The program gives companies the upfront cash flow advantages of a deductible program coupled with enhanced safety tools, and the control and potential financial rewards of a group alternative risk program,” he said.

On the technology side, they also recently launched a home-grown program for eligible insureds – the proprietary CoPilot Telematics program. “With this program, we strive to provide a value-added risk-management tool for our customers to improve the claims process as well as provide industry benchmarking that cannot be found elsewhere,” Los said.

Tres Whitlock, national director, crane and scaffold – construction practice at Allied, knows a little something about how technology, innovation and automation can provide unique insights and solutions for SC&RA members – especially now that Allied is a part of the Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. family. “Being part of Gallagher, there are opportunities to develop tools and resources that we had only dreamed of previously,” said Whitlock. “Our primary goal is to help our clients and other industry members understand and manage their total cost of risk. This is accomplished through aggregating and leveraging data technology in order to analyze a member’s insurance and risk-related information. With our ability to contextualize exposures and cost of risk, we can sit with the industry member and view their total cost of risk right there in black and white.”

Insurance strategies alleviate guesswork

Once all of the information is consolidated, Allied is able to see what risk needs are lacking, where there may be overspending, potential future risks, bottom-line impacts, growth potential and so on. “This leaves little room, if any at all, for guesswork,” Whitlock said. “It also ensures that industry members’ insurance and risk-management solutions are optimized as much as possible, positively impacting their bottom-line and strengthening them as a company now and for the owners’ strategic future goals.”

Keeping an eye on the future is a familiar practice for Rick Emery, president at Emery & Karrigan, which recently celebrated its 30-year anniversary with SC&RA. “We continue to work with the insurance industry to seek new markets while tailoring coverage and risk-management tools around those new markets,” he said. “Recently, however, we’ve invested our time and capital into a unique AI platform that we hope will revolutionize how insurance risk is measured for individual crane and rigging companies. Our goal is to leverage this platform to bring new insurance company partners into the SC&RA membership space.”

Staying on theme, Dave Wittwer, executive vice president at Brown & Brown, said SC&RA members have a lot to stay focused on at the moment. “Association members have experienced, by one estimate, a 714 percent increase in cyber-attacks in the last two years,” he said. “One key focus in partnership with our Cyber Practice Group has been to educate interested SC&RA members in the value of a comprehensive cyber security and liability program. The strategy is much more about improving IT infrastructure and protocols than it is about insurance. While cyber liability insurance is important and adds value, the highest priority is quality, comprehensive IT risk-management practices to mitigate the probability of a cyber-attack.”

Supply chain disruption is another area of concern members should be paying close attention to from an insurance perspective, stressed Jeff Haynes, national construction practice leader at USI. “It’s going to create valuation problems,” he said. “In terms of equipment, if you lost a crane in the recent past, you could repair it or get another one, say, within a six-month period. Now, you’re looking at maybe a year-plus. The economic loss of that piece of equipment and the way we can compensate our insureds for that has changed.

“You can’t get the limits, and additionally, as you’re seeing in the automobile market, people will have vehicles that are coming off lease – so they buy the car and turn around and sell it for a sizable profit. The depreciation on equipment is upside down, which creates valuation problems. SC&RA members really need to understand some of the exposures they have, what the real market value of their equipment is, insure it properly and understand that supply chain issues and inflation are going to affect their business dramatically.”

Ultimately, added Emery, the more SC&RA members know, the more protected they are. “Insurance is a necessary evil for Association members,” he noted. “Cost, coverage and how and when these insurance policies respond to a particular event is confusing to many members. But today, there are a number of sound tools available to individual members to protect their companies. Some of these tools are referred to frequently – some are lesser known but equally important. I’ve spent thirty-plus years on the insurance side, and I’m surprised to learn something new almost every day. If SC&RA members are not seeking all the information they can on a regular basis, some risk-management tools will pass them by.”

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