February 5, 2023

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

Michael: Welcome to Ask the expert at Kapnick Insurance. 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 it mean at Kapnick?

amy: Risk Solutions encompasses everything from loss control and safety, cost containment strategies and more behavior-based looking at one’s organization holistically. It can also include wellness and other outside resources.

Michael: One of the things we always talk about with our customers or our prospects is, how big are your risks? 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 company to identify their biggest risks and fix them, or in general, just understand where their risks are?

amy: Well, especially as the market is right now, those who don’t pay attention to what their risks are, no matter how minimal they are, are the ones who work themselves out of their industry. Those who don’t explore options to mitigate risk based on human behavior don’t tick 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 employee claims because they had people getting into accidents. And I know one of the things you just said to me was, what’s their protocol? What is the driver’s checklist before turning on the ignition?

It sounds like very simple things.

amy: Absolute. You could say they focus on the tangibles, on their investment, but they need to realize that their employees are also an investment.

So maybe they have that checklist of, look in the mirror, check the tires, check all of that, because they want to protect the vehicle that the person is getting into. But do they also check the box of the human getting into the vehicle? The mental health, the physical. That person may be completely distracted, presenteeism being 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’m talking about human behavior and investing in the employees. If it’s something at home that will follow them to work. It’s going to cost the employer, so they might as well zoom in and help take care of that piece.

Michael: So a little bit: Do you regularly check in with your employees? Do you check them in every day?

amy: Absolute. You don’t know what that person is doing at home. You don’t know what that person is dealing with. Maybe financially, physically, emotionally, and so on, having that distraction is such a security risk.

We talk about mental health over and over again in this country, but it is those who associate mental health with safety. It really matters.

That is why it is essential to give employees the opportunity to focus on their financial health, their mental health and their physical health while they are at work. We spend more time at work than with our family.

So the more employers are able to break that and protect that human element, the more they’ll find that it’s an employee benefit. That is not often thought of. And with the big layoff, it’s so important that we bring pieces that make employees want to stay and feel valued.

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

amy: At the end of the day, it all goes back to that human element. You still hire people to do all those things. It’s just a matter of what security-sensitive roles they play. So you need to drill down into the level of education required, where your focus should be, whether it’s drug testing, whether it’s additional certifications.

Michael: So take me through a little bit of a process here. Someone has a contract with Kapnick and they say, I want to reduce my exposure to risk. Where do you come in and what kind 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 look at their history, where have they been? That will be significant. We like to have boots on the floor. We’re going to do a test audit. And that’s very raw for a customer to go through, because a lot of people can say, yes, we do. So, do you have a safety program? Yes. Do you share it with your employees? Yes. Where is it? Well, it’s in the folder and if they’re hired, we’ll review it with them.

Once we do employee interviews, that can all change.

One of the most important things is to make sure that what we say we do, we actually do, and that we share and train on it. So during that mock audit, it can be really telling for an organization to say, yes, we’re ticking the box to put these policies and procedures in place, but we’ve failed to actually implement and enforce it.

So that’s where we can build our timeline of what’s the low hanging fruit? Where do we start? What are some of the opportunities for us to immediately improve your safety culture? What are some things that may need capital? What are some things that will be in the long run that we’re going to turn this ship around?

And from there, we can really tell their story to the marketplace. At Kapnick, we have great relationships with our insurance partners just because some things can be a little hairy, but they know we’ll be deeply involved. But we can also tell a story to explain how we’re going to help them and how we’re going to be committed throughout the process that they endorse, that we’re going to help make them better.

So it’s not just a one-stop consultation of, here’s your problems, solve it. That builds our relationship for the entire time we have it.

Particularly in my role, I enjoy working together with the safety managers. I work with the HR managers. I work with the site managers. I work deep into the organization because those are the people I need to make sure they deliver that message to their organization and that it gets through.

Michael: I think you’re talking about building a culture that stretches from the bottom all the way to the top and the top. Risk Solutions is about creating that culture within an organization.

amy: Correct. You should be wondering what the importance of safety is for the owner of a business down to the employee on an hourly basis? And there should be the same answer.

It’s not in the event that a claim happens, it is when a claim happens. That’s why we’re in the industry we’re in, and you want to make sure this policy is there to protect you.

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

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