The most important aspect of risk management 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 of that conversation.

Michael: Welcome to Kapnick Insurance’s Ask the Expert page. I am Michael Spath. 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 a lot of different things to a lot of different people. What does this mean at Kapnick?

Amy: Risk solutions really encompass everything from loss control and security, to cost containment strategies and more behavior-based – looking at someone’s organization holistically. It may also include welfare and other external resources.

Michael: One of the things we always talk to our clients or prospects about is how big are your risks? Because your risks will 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 a business to identify and address the issues of its greatest risk, or overall, to simply understand where its risks lie?

Amy: Well, especially in the current state of the market, those who don’t pay attention to their risk, no matter how small, are the ones who pull out of their industry. Those who don’t explore human behavior-based risk reduction options don’t check the box, they don’t get the contracts, they don’t get the best rates.

Michael: I had a client who had a lot of workers compensation claims because they had people who had accidents. And I know one of the things you just said to me was, well, what’s their protocol? What is the driver’s checklist before switching on the ignition?

It looks like very simple things.

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

So they can have this checklist, check the rear view mirror, check the tires, check all of that, because they want to protect the vehicle that the person is riding in. But do they check the box of the human who gets into the vehicle? Mental health, physical. That person can be completely distracted, where presenteeism is a much bigger issue than absenteeism these days, and you put that person in a vehicle not knowing if they’re fully focused.

This is where I talk about human behavior and investing in employees. If it’s something at home that will follow them to work. This is going to be expensive for the employer, so you might as well dig in and help take care of this element.

Michael: So, a bit of: do you regularly check in with your employees? Are you in contact with them every day?

Amy: Absolutely. You don’t know what this person is dealing with at home. You don’t know what this person is dealing with. Maybe financially, physically, emotionally, and so having that distraction is such a security issue.

We talk about mental health all the time in this country, but these are the ones that connect mental health to safety. It’s really, really important.

That’s why it’s essential to provide these opportunities for employees to focus on their financial health, mental health, and physical health while they’re at work. We spend more time at work than with our families.

So the more employers are able to bring in that element and protect that human element, the more they’ll find it’s a benefit to employees. We don’t think about it often. And with the big resignation, it’s so important that we bring pieces that make employees want to stay and that they feel valued.

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

Amy: In the end, it all comes down to that human element. You still hire humans to do each of these. It’s just a matter of security sensitive roles they play. So you need to go deeper into the level of training required, where you need to focus, whether it’s drug testing or additional certifications.

Michael: So walk me through the process a bit here. Someone makes a contract with Kapnick and they say, I want to reduce my exposure to risk. Where do you come from and what kind of role do you play for them and for Kapnick?

Amy: Sure. The first step is not always for us to make assumptions. We want to understand the culture. So first of all, let’s look at their history, where did they go? This is going to be very revealing. We love having boots on the ground. We are going to do an audit simulation. And that’s really raw for a client because a lot of people can say, yes, we do. So, do you have a security program? Yes. Have you shared it with your employees? Yes. Where is he? Well, it’s in the filing cabinet, and when they’re hired, we go over it with them.

Once we’ve done some employee interviews, that could all change.

One of the most important things is to make sure that what we say we do, we actually do, share it and practice on it. So during this mock audit, it can be very telling for an organization to say, yes, we tick the box for having these policies and procedures in place, but we have failed to implement them. and to ensure follow-up.

So this is where we can then build our timeline of what is the fruit at hand? Where are we going to start? What are some of the opportunities we have to immediately improve your safety culture? What are the things that may require capital? What are some of the things that are going to be long term that we’re going to be running this ship?

And from there, we can really tell their story in the marketplace. At Kapnick, we have great relationships with our insurance partners for the simple fact that some things can be a little tricky, but they know we’re going to be intimately involved. But we can also tell a story to explain how we are going to help them and how we are going to commit ourselves throughout the process that they subscribe to, that we are going to help them improve.

So it’s not just a one-time consultation, here are your issues, go ahead and fix them. It builds our relationship for as long as we have it.

Specifically in my role, I enjoy working with security managers. I work with HR managers. I work with site managers. I work very low within the organization because these are the people I need to make sure they get that message across to their organization and act on it.

Michael: I think what you’re talking about is building a culture that extends from the bottom up and up and up. Risk Solutions is about creating this culture within an organization.

Amy: To correct. You should be able to ask how important is security to the business owner right down to the hourly employee? And there should be the same answer.

It’s not if a complaint arrives, it is when a claim occurs. That’s why we do business, 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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