A big part of an agent's job is responding when there's a problem, including helping clients manage claims and get employees back to work (aiming for minimum damage to the ex-mod and workers’ compensation premiums). Something that’s often overlooked, however, is that injuries (and the resulting claims and other consequences) can be avoided if agents spend a bit more energy helping employers focus on prevention.
Because so few agents talk to their clients about loss prevention, having that conversation with prospects is a great way to cast doubt on their current agent. We’ll share some strategies for doing so in this blog.
Adjusting focus beyond lost time
Most agents get involved when major incidents happen causing lost time and serious injuries; however, even good agents often overlook the opportunities to prevent these major incidents. A study by H.W Heinrich found that: “for every workplace accident that causes a major injury, there are 29 accidents that cause minor injuries and 300 accidents that cause no injuries.” This quote illustrates the plethora of opportunities for learning and prevention that great agents use to their advantage.
Minor incidents happen more frequently than lost workday incidents and have less visible, but still very real, costs. For example, if a box of materials spills and an employee trips, even if nobody is hurt, time is taken away from work to clean up the spill and record the incident, and material is lost in the spill and used in the cleanup process. All of these are indirect costs, and it is a mistake to write this incident off and not use it as a learning experience just because it didn’t cause lost workdays. Beyond the indirect costs, it’s a good opportunity to examine why the spill occurred, to prevent future spills that could result in worse accidents.
Talk to prospects about how they can use minor accidents as chances to educate employees and improve accident prevention.
Prevention’s place in prospecting
When prospecting, ask what their incumbent agent is doing to prevent incidents before they happen, and be sure to find out if they’re doing this before it's time to discuss renewal. Letting prospects in on some ideas you have for accident prevention, and assuring them that, as their agent, you’ll be there to assist year-round, will make you stand out from their current agent. Here are some suggestions for accident prevention you can discuss with prospects and clients:
- Ensure the workplace is free of clutter that could cause slips and falls
- Inspect and maintain company equipment and vehicles regularly
- Stay adequately staffed to avoid accidents as a result of exhaustion due to overwork
- Implement a safety and wellness plan to educate and empower employees to take control
- Create and cultivate a culture of safety and prevention through regular topical conversations and events
- Provide necessary personal protective equipment to employees
- Regularly review OSHA records to see what accidents have happened and implement new safety procedures when necessary
- Pay attention to small incidents and near-misses, and make changes to avoid larger accidents in the future
Showing prospects how they can use prevention to reduce the number of injuries in the workplace can help you gain credibility and win new business. Don’t stop there, though. Once you’ve won the new business, work with your clients to build a safety culture in their workplace and improve prevention practices regularly.
Learn more about how to help clients avoid major incidents and reduce costs in our infographic, Lost Time: Just the Tip of the Iceberg.