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The Rough Notes Company Inc.



September 09
07:02 2020

When it comes to great client loss control programs, you as agent or broker must lead the way. Here are some practical tips to make sure your work has impact.


It takes more than lip service to develop practical and effective strategies

By Michael Wayne

August provided a stark reminder to all regarding the dangers of lack of common sense and loss control in the form of the ammonium nitrate explosion that devasted the port and other areas of Beirut, Lebanon. Not surprisingly, German reinsurer Hannover Re SE announced that it will see a “major loss” as a result. Hannover Re SE reported a fall in net income to $478 million for the first six months of 2020. That represents a drop of nearly 40%. Obviously, this tragedy is not going to help with results.

Make sure your client’s strategy is understandable and available to employees. An organization’s loss control plan should be institutionalized and seen as a part of its foundation.

For the last few months, I’ve focused my articles on subjects related to COVID-19. This month, I’d like to pivot away from that and address loss control.

What are you doing for your clients so far as loss control is concerned? How have you involved them in the process? Effective loss control, like so much in our industry, depends on communication and commitment.

Here are five top factors you should pay attention to when evaluating your client’s level of commitment to loss control.

  1. Get management engaged. The program that you partner with your client to implement must have buy-in from top management. They need to be active participants. The leaders of smaller organizations will play an important role in the process. For larger clients, the situation may be vastly different.

A larger organization may have a dedicated loss control administrator. That’s great. A big drawback arises if top management has delegated to the point where they are not involved in the promotion of their loss control strategy. Senior management needs to show employees that they are contributing to the health and safety of the organization. It’s vital for top executives to show up for training and meetings and make their voices heard. 

  1. Take time to plan. Throwing a loss control strategy together just to get it out the door or onto the company intranet is absolutely the wrong approach. Take time to identify and address the client’s risks and discuss the client’s needs with the colleagues you will rely on to implement and monitor the loss control strategy.

Put the plan together, review it, and update it on a regular basis. Set a deadline to have the strategy ready to be implemented and stick as close to it as possible. 

  1. Put it in writing. Your client’s loss control strategy must be in written form and published digitally for all employees to refer to. The responsibility for keeping eyes open and scanning for potential risks belongs to everyone.

Make sure your client’s strategy is understandable to all employees. An organization’s loss control plan should be institutionalized and seen as a part of its foundation. Have your client share elements of the plan and reinforce it continually with employees via email, newsletter, video from the president, and so on.

  1. Provide adequate resources. Even in the best of times, it seems like personnel, time, and finances are scarce. In the past, you had to work to encourage your clients to find those resources. In today’s environment, it’s even more of a challenge.

For a loss control strategy to be viewed favorably by employees and to have a positive impact on preventing and minimizing risk, it must be supported by all of the resources your client can provide.

  1. Solicit feedback and respond. If issues are punching holes in the loss control strategy, if a client is providing feedback that necessitates action, make sure you take action. Action can be as simple as showing the client that you are listening and that you are available to listen. That tells your client that you are taking the loss control strategy seriously and that all of its employees should do the same.

To make a difference, loss control has to be more than a buzz phrase. Unfortunately, not every organization or producer takes this important part of risk management seriously—or as seriously as they should. Numerous tragic examples show what happens when loss control is ignored.

Impress on your client the fact that you consider loss control to be an essential element in the effort to improve the bottom line. And your client needs to give it the same serious attention you do.

It’s our responsibility to lead the way.

The author

Michael Wayne is a freelance insurance writer.

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