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Redefining Risk Management Using Technology - A Loss Control Panel Discussion

July 30, 2020 Warren Woermke Blog

Risk Control Technologies’ Director of Customer Experience, Ryan Nagy, recently sat down with four RCT customers to explore loss control’s value, data usage, and how technology has helped redefine risk management and safety practices. 

Below you will find a paraphrased and condensed summary of the discussion. A full recording of the session can be accessed here.

We were joined by Joseph Alcaraz, Associate Vice President - Risk Engineering at Sovereign Insurance; Elesa Hurley, Sr. Risk Control Technical Specialist - Worker Safety at Berkley Agribusiness; John Greco, Vice President - Loss Control at Houston International Insurance Group; and Terry Tucker, Regional Underwriting Supervisor at Shelter Insurance Companies. 

In recent years, there's been a heightened focus on the role that loss control plays in the policyholder's customer experience; from trying to win their business to trying to retain it. Many talk about the competitive edge that loss control brings to the table - how and what does it do to positively impact customer experience?

John: One thing loss control can do is make sure that we're engaged with the customer, and most importantly, that we understand their business. We understand the strong headwinds that they have to make their business grow and thrive, and the value add that we can bring to their business. The relationships we establish with our customers from a loss control standpoint are very important, and most of our larger accounts that we have established relationships with tend to stay with us.

There has also been a shift in the market with more focus on value-added service and providing the insured more information that demonstrates that value. From an underwriting perspective, how does loss prevention take a role in that customer experience?

Terry: Outside of occasional agent contact, we may be the only company contact that some clients see - we often have to be the face of the company.  We do a lot of personal line inspections, and we don’t always catch folks at home so we'll leave behind door hangers and brochures with loss control tips and resources. We sell our recommendations by putting it on a personal level by saying that this is certainly financially important that you do these things, but it’s also a life safety risk for you, your family, your employees, and commercial policies. 

We don’t necessarily handle claims directly, but triage and good customer service provides an avenue for people to have a good customer experience and see us in a more human light. 

Elesa: I also think you have to look at your book business and what your account base looks like.  With small accounts, loss control may or may not be as critical, but if you're writing large premium accounts, they expect to have some amount of service and assistance in various areas. 

Certainly if you can get face to face, you're going to make more of an impact. We've been challenged in recent months to find other ways to connect, but one of the positives I've seen come out of it is that people are becoming more accustomed to using technology and communicating just like we are now [online].

Joe: John had mentioned third party farming out for the smaller accounts and ones that are more hazardous. And I would take that on as also a customer experience piece in the sense that the more sophisticated the insured becomes and the more risk managed they are, the more the relationship of the loss control team becomes exactly that: a relationship and a sharing of ideas. The smaller risks are typically very price-sensitive and can hopefully be served through more self-serve options. But certainly, our larger, more complex accounts are where we have that relationship-based loss control experience. 

Knowing that technology is changing - what changes have you seen around data? What data is loss control actually collecting in the field, and further, how is that data leveraged?

Joe: In our organization our business intelligence and data analytics teams have discovered us and RCTs capabilities in terms of data mining. The important thing about using a Web based tool is that you can do that data mining. We’ve also really seen a big shift in the way that underwriting is approached, using a lot more of the science to make decisions as opposed to purely underwriting. 

What are everyone’s thoughts on what is being found about the data that we’re seeing leveraged out in the industry today?

Elesa: Earlier in my career loss control was just assumed to be beneficial. There was an assumption that if you provide some form of loss control service, that it helped strengthen the relationship. I believe that it does, but now and really over the last five or 10 years, there is a lot more emphasis on proving objective results. And so there's a lot more need to be able to look at accounts that you’ve provided service to versus accounts that you haven't. Did the loss ratio improve? Do we retain more business from that segment of our book? What other information can we glean? These are further pieces of information that should help you improve decision making.

Terry: We have more and more data all the time. Which I think we always had but didn’t know how to harness and use it to our advantage. One of the things that RCT has done for us is the way we use forms, which you [RCT] made for us in the beginning and some other forms that we’ve created over the years. We harness things like roof types, foundation types, liability risks, and if we want to run reports on those types of things we can. 

John: Some of the data that we look at is when we make recommendations - how quickly do we get a response, or do we get a response at all? We can send out notices and if we don’t hear back, we can refer it back to the underwriter. We also issue monthly notices of non-compliance with loss control to the heads of all of our business units. I remember from the RCT seminar [The Loss Control Summit], one of the presenters said there is a direct correlation with insurance compliance with their recommendations, and their loss ratio.

One other thing we do with the RCT data we now have is looking at what brokers bring us business that has the highest loss ratio. Is one broker in the same industry giving us ‘worse’ accounts? We can also break it down into lines of business. Being able to slice that down is fantastic, and when our business leaders want to know something specific we can provide that data and the information they need.

How do you envision RCT’s role in helping loss control have a greater impact for your organization data-wise, and through internal partnerships?

Elesa: We're really using it all across the organization. Marketing is getting reports by agent, by account, by loss ratio. Underwriting gets several automated reports that we've developed that just automatically go to them on certain days of the month. The notice of non-compliance on recommendations is huge so that underwriting knows. Essentially, if it’s in the system, you can get it out. I have recently started providing information to our actuaries with our questions as well, and they’re seeing value in it.

Given the immense impact that COVID-19 has had to everybody across the world - how do you see it changing loss control long-term? And how do you see the role technology is going to play in that shift?

Terry: As I mentioned, my folks do a lot of one on one surveys and inspections. It's definitely changed our process. We've had to practice our social distancing and to try and communicate that to our agents and policy holders as best we could with regards to technology. 

One of the things we’ve piloted is texting our business card to our policyholders before we arrive so they have an idea of who we are, what we look like, etc. Beyond that, using all the means we have at our disposal, such as using RCT and our in-house systems to ease the process along and make it a little more comfortable for the policyholder. 

And what are your thoughts on the changing marketplace with COVID and what it’s doing, even after everybody gets back to work?

Elesa: It's going to be really interesting to see how it evolves and whether the changes that are made as we go through it stick or not. I think that everyone in the business world is reassessing when they can use technology and when person-to-person, face-to-face communication is necessary. 

I know that we’ve experimented with several different types of technology - taking pictures and video, and using vendors that go out and take pictures. Different methods of gathering the information we need to underwrite our book or renew our book without being face-to-face. I don’t think we will eliminate that face-to-face contact that’s necessary at times, but I do think that we gain some efficiency and will be better able to define what can be done virtually. 

Thank you to Elesa, Joe, John and Terry for participating!


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