By Bill Smith29 November 2016
The idea of insurance, and the related idea of managing risk, has been around for a long time. Scholars estimate that the transference of risk in monetary societies has been around since the second and third millennia BC. As we might expect, the entire insurance mechanism has since then become smarter and more sophisticated, but the basic premise is the same: we trade premium dollars in exchange for peace of mind. However, there is one element that has changed drastically over the years, one factor that can make an enormous difference for the insurance policyholder: the insurer’s ability to understand the risk (and market) it’s insuring.
Real risk management
When we talk about true risk management, we’re really talking about understanding and comprehension, about the ability to assess a business entity and make an evaluation as to all the factors that might prevent (or allow) that particular business from achieving (or not achieving) its goals.
For me – and for most of us at NBIS – this evaluation process often involves a good, old-fashioned conversation talking about the potential policyholder’s business and the challenges they face every day on the job. We discuss their approach to safety and how well they think they’re doing, as well as what risk management efforts are already in place. We typically bring up their job tickets – how they’re worded and what terms and conditions are included – and we look through their safety and training manuals. We ask about hiring practices and past claims experience and their outlook on the industry. When we leave, we know that regardless of whether or not we underwrite their risk, they know they’ve dealt with an insurance provider who knows an awful lot about their industry and what they do for a living.
For us, this conversation, this intimate understanding of the policyholder, is an absolute must. After all, we offer an insurance solution that was founded, in part, on the belief that to manage industry risk we have to “walk a mile in our customer’s shoes.” We believe in this idea so completely that we hire program managers who’ve actually worked in the fields of crane and rigging, heavy hauling and concrete pumping. We understand first hand the challenges our policyholders face on a daily basis and have a passion for providing them risk management services designed to keep their companies safe, compliant and protected in the broadest capacity possible.
Unique risks & solutions
Perhaps you’re wondering why this matters. Well, it matters because your company is unique and operates in a unique space in the construction landscape. And some of the factors that make your company and industry unique can only be understood by folks who are on the inside, by people who’ve grown up in the industry.
NBIS employs a number of experts who are involved in influencing OSHA standards through year around work on ANSI committees. We not only train our claims staff in the details and specifics of OSHA and ANSI, but we also train our defense attorneys. We know business owners feel like they really don’t need their insurance partners until they have a claim, but when they do, it’s imperative their insurance company knows the standards and regulations related to their industry because policyholders rely on insurance experts to protect their business.
Along those same lines, one trend we’ve noticed over the years is that many insurance companies contract out claim handling services to a Third Party Administrator (TPA), and many of
those TPAs handle claims in a very general, non-industry specific way. The last thing policyholders want is a claims examiner calling about a claim and asking what a crane or concrete pump
is. To remedy this, we handle our insured’s claims internally because we believe without a doubt that we know the best way to defend our customer’s business. After all, we’re part of the same industry.
To that end, we also have a substantial list of approved and seasoned attorneys who truly understand the rules and regulations of the heavy construction business. They not only understand the laws of the state but they know ASME B30 standards of care and responsibilities for cranes, trucks/trailers and concrete pumps – as well as OSHA and DOT regulations. This gives policyholders peace of mind that their insurance partner can garner the best defense possible in their favor.
What sets NBIS apart from other insurers is our focus contract management. The contractual risk transfer program our policyholders have access to is a part of a bevy of benefits and resources we offer, and it was tailored specifically to fit the industries we serve. What happens is essentially this: our legal team reviews an insured’s contract(s) and offers recommendations for rewording terms and conditions in a way that optimally protects their business.
Because risk management is such a fundamental part of what we do – part of our value proposition, you might say – we also offer a 50 percent deductible endorsement on certain policies. Here’s how it works: If an insured uses our recommended language in their job ticket, and that signed ticket exists when a claim occurs, the deductible endorsement is triggered. This means that the policyholder will only be responsible for paying half of their deductible on that specific claim.
We also offer something similar with mobile equipment drivers who complete our industry specific driver-training course. If the insured driver has taken and passed all five (5) modules of the training program and then has an over-the-road incident, the deductible endorsement applies. We don’t make this training mandatory, but we believe in proper and ongoing training, and we want to give policyholders incentives to continue to educate their people in the safest way to perform tasks.
Understanding your risks
When it comes down to it, having a partner who understands your business and risk isn’t just a good idea, it can make a sizable financial difference. Better risks, and better-managed risks, pay less money for insurance over the long term. So perhaps the question you should be asking yourself when it comes time to renew your insurance is this: Who knows me the best?