The most important aspect of risk solutions? Human behavior

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Michael Spath of Kapnick Insurance discusses risk solutions with expert Amy DeKeyser of Kapnick Insurance. Here are the highlights from that conversation.

Michael: Welcome to Kapnick Insurance’s Ask the Expert. I’m Michael Spath. Here with me is Amy DeKeyser, our vice president of risk solutions at Kapnick. Amy, thank you so much for joining us.

When someone hears the term risk solutions, it can mean many different things to many different people. What does that mean on Kapnick?

Amy: Risk Solutions really encompass everything from loss control and security, cost containment strategies and more behaviorally based – looking at someone’s organization holistically. It can also include wellness and other external resources.

Michael: One of the things we always talk to our clients or potential clients about is, how significant is your risk? Because your risks ultimately determine your exposures. And your exposures will determine how much premium you will pay to cover those exposures.

If you can reduce those risks, you can reduce those exposures and, in theory, you can reduce those premiums. So, Amy, let me ask you, how important is it for any business to identify and address issues for their greatest risk, or overall just understand where their risk is?

Amy: Well, especially the way the market is now, those who don’t consider their risk, as minimal as it may be, are the ones who work their way out of the business. Those who don’t explore options to reduce risk based on human behavior don’t tick the box, they don’t get the contracts, they don’t get the best prices.

Michael: I had a client who had a lot of work demands because they had people who got into accidents. And I know one of the things you just said to me was, well, what’s your protocol? What is the drivers checklist before turning on the ignition?

It sounds like very simple stuff.

Amy: Absolutely. You can say that they focus on the material, on their investment, but they have to realize that their employees are also an investment.

So they can have that checklist over, check the mirror, check the tires, check all that, because they want to protect the vehicle that the person is getting into. But do they check the box of the human getting into the vehicle? The mental health, the physical. That person may be completely distracted, where presenteeism is a much bigger problem than absenteeism these days, and you put that person in a vehicle without knowing if they are fully focused.

So that’s where I talk about human behavior and investment in employees. If there is something at home that will accompany them to work. It’s going to cost the employer, so they might as well drill down and help take care of that bit.

Michael: So a little tidbit: do you check in with the staff on a regular basis? Do you check in with them every day?

Amy: Absolutely. You don’t know what that person is doing at home. You don’t know what that person is up to. Maybe financially, physically, emotionally, and then having that distraction is such a safety concern.

We talk about mental health in this country over and over again, but they are the ones who link mental health to safety. It means really, really.

That is why it is important to give employees the opportunity to concentrate on their financial health, their mental health, their physical health while they are at the workplace. We spend more time at work than we do with our families.

So the more employers are able to bring that part and protect the human element, the more they’ll find that it’s a benefit to employees. It is not often thought of. And with the big resignation, it’s so important that we come up with pieces that make employees want to stay and make them feel valued.

Michael: Amy, how is the risk in something like manufacturing different than construction, different than transportation? I guess the question is how specific are each industry, the risks and the solutions that Kapnick and you provide to each industry?

Amy: At the end of the day, it all comes back to the human element. You still hire people to do each of these. It’s just a question of which security-sensitive roles they play. So you have to drill down into the level of training required, where your focus needs to be, whether it’s drug testing, whether it’s additional certifications.

Michael: So take me through a bit of a process here. Someone contracts with Kapnick and they say: I want to reduce my risk exposure. Where do you come in and what type of role do you play for them and for Kapnick?

Amy: Sure. The first step is always not for us to make assumptions. We want to understand the culture. So first of all we take a look at their history, where have they been? That’s going to be very telling. We like to have boots on the ground. We will carry out a mock audit. And it’s really raw for a client to go through because a lot of people can say, yeah, we’re doing this. So, do you have a security program? Yes. Have you shared it with your employees? Yes. Where is it? Well, it’s in the binder, and when they’re hired, we review it with them.

Once we have conducted employee interviews, everything can change.

One of the biggest things is making sure that what we say we do, we actually do, and that we share it and practice it. So during the mock audit, it can be really telling for an organization to say, yes, we tick the box to put these policies and procedures in place, but we’ve failed to really implement it and follow through.

So that’s where we can then build our timeline of what is the low hanging fruit? Where shall we begin? What are some opportunities for us to improve your safety culture immediately? What are some things that may need capital? What are some things that are going to be long-term that we’re going to turn this ship around?

And from there we can really tell their story in the market. At Kapnick, we have great relationships with our insurance company partners just because some things can be a little hairy, but they know we’re going to be intimately involved with it. But we can also tell a story to explain how we are going to help them and how we are going to be committed during the whole process that they underwrite, that we are going to help make them better.

So it’s not just a one-stop consultation of, here are your problems, get off and fix it. It builds our relationship throughout the time we have it.

Especially in my role, I love the fact that I work with the security managers. I work with the HR managers. I work with the site managers. I work way down in the organization because these are the people I need to make sure they give that message to their organization and get that follow-up.

Michael: I think what you’re talking about is building a culture that extends from the bottom all the way to the top and the top. Risk Solutions is about creating that culture in an organisation.

Amy: Correct. You should be able to ask what is the importance of safety for the owner of a business all the way down to the hourly employees? And it should be the same answer.

It is not if a claim happens, that’s it when a claim occurs. That’s why we’re in the business we’re in, and you want to make sure these policies are there to protect you.

Michael: Amy, thank you so much for joining us.

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