It’s frustrating, we know. Your insurance renewal bill is on your desk, and it’s a lot higher than you thought it might be.
Your claims history, of course, can have an enormous impact on whether your rates go up or down. But it can sometimes seem as if some dark, unknown forces are wreaking havoc with your insurance rates.
We have some advice on that. Before we start, though, you shouldn’t be surprised to hear us say it’s always a good idea to work with your insurance broker to begin the renewal process early. A submission that’s thorough, clearly written, and sent in on time can make a big difference winning over underwriters.
While there are no silver bullets, what follows are 22 tips to help nudge your insurance costs in a more favorable direction, both now and in future renewal periods.
- Incorporate safety measures such as fire alarms, sprinkler systems, security cameras, theft alarm systems, etc. All of these can help to reduce the chances of accidents or crimes, which in turn can help keep your insurance premiums lower.
- Analyze your organization’s natural-disaster exposures. If you’re located in an area that is more prone to a specific type of catastrophe, implement mitigation and response measures that will protect your property as much as possible if such an event occurs (e.g., installing storm shutters on windows to protect against hurricane damages or utilizing fire-resistant roofing materials to protect against wildfire damages).
- Make sure your replacement cost calculations are up-to-date and accurate to remain fully protected when covered events occur and avoid potential coinsurance penalties.
- Develop a documented business continuity plan that will help your organization remain operational and minimize damage in the event of an interruption.
- Ensure your establishment has measures in place to reduce the likelihood of customer or visitor injuries (e.g., maintaining safe walking surfaces and promoting proper housekeeping).
- Make sure your driver-training programs fit the exposures facing your business. Regularly re-train drivers in safe-driving techniques.
- Ensure you are hiring qualified drivers by using motor vehicle records (MVRs) to vet drivers’ experience and moving violations. Disqualify drivers with unacceptable driving records.
- Review MVRs on a regular basis to ensure that drivers maintain good driving records. Define the number and types of violations a driver can have before they lose their driving privileges.
- Consider technology solutions, such as telematics, where appropriate to strengthen and supplement other loss-control measures.
- Consider implementing various digital solutions — such as wearable safety technology and telemedicine — to help prevent and treat injuries.
- Conduct routine safety training for employees of all experience levels.
- Develop an effective return-to-work program that properly supports employees in the process of healing from a work-related illness or injury and resuming job duties following their recovery.
- Develop policies and procedures aimed at helping remote employees make their workspaces more ergonomic to prevent injuries at home.
- Have clear processes established for handling workers’ compensation claims as diligently and efficiently as possible. Effective claim management protocols can often help mitigate claim severity and prevent similar losses from occurring in the future.
- Ensure your senior leaders follow safe financial practices (e.g., timely payments, educated investments, accurate documentation, and reasonable reimbursement procedures). Be transparent with stakeholders about your organization’s economic state to avoid misrepresentation concerns.
- Make sure your senior leadership team is actively involved in monitoring your organization’s unique cyber risks, implementing proper cybersecurity practices to help prevent potential attacks (especially in the realm of remote work arrangements), ensuring compliance with all applicable data security standards and establishing an effective cyber incident response plan to minimize any damages in the event of an attack.
- Assess your employee handbook and related policies. Ensure you have all appropriate policies in place, including language on discrimination, harassment, and retaliation.
- Implement effective sexual harassment prevention measures (e.g., a zero-tolerance policy and a sexual harassment awareness program), reporting methods and response protocols.
- Promote diversity, acceptance, and inclusion in the workplace through staff education and training. Take any accusations or reports of discrimination seriously.
- Document all evaluations, employee complaints and situations that result in employee termination.
- Review any state-specific legislation related to marijuana legalization. Consider revising procedures related to conducting workplace drug tests for marijuana or basing employment decisions on an employee’s marijuana usage, as these practices could potentially contribute to employment practices claims.
- Evaluate the algorithms and data sets for any AI systems utilized within recruitment and hiring processes to prevent discriminatory employment decisions and ensure compliance with applicable federal and EEOC guidance.
Navigating the insurance world can indeed be challenging and sometimes frustrating. But consistent, proactive risk management can certainly make a difference. You’ll not only appease insurance underwriters but put yourself in a better position to withstand the unforeseen storms ahead.
The Mahoney Group, based in Mesa, Ariz., is one of the largest independent insurance and employee benefits brokerages in the U.S. An employee-owned organization, we’ve been providing our clients with the confidence to face whatever lies ahead for more than 100 years. For more information, contact us online or call 877-440-3304.
This article is not intended to be exhaustive, nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as legal advice. Readers should contact legal counsel or an insurance professional for appropriate advice.