Written by Mat Geffin, Vice President – Webber and Grinnell Insurance
If I had a dollar for every 2020 meme I’ve seen, I’d be a rich man. COVID-19 has completely changed our world and impacted both the way we work and the way we socialize. This year has also seen a dramatic shift in the insurance marketplace driven by both the pandemic and our changing environment, with hurricanes, wildfires, and other mass events causing huge losses. So what does this mean to you and your business?
The insurance marketplace has entered what we within the industry call a “hard market” where insurance companies raise rates on all lines of business in an attempt to drive profitability and offset losses. Today’s hardening market environment is different from those in years past, with some key new factors driving prices higher:
- Low interest rates
- The rise in claims activity from social inflation and catastrophic natural disasters
- The extended “soft market” where prices steadily decreased unchecked for close to a decade
And while some of this is totally out of our control, especially if you are a small business leader, there are several steps you can and should take to protect yourself against the hardening market. First and foremost, you can take control of your own destiny by putting extra focus on your business operations. As I mentioned, claims activity is a major driver in this hard market, and social inflation is the key contributor. Everywhere we turn, there are advertisements for personal injury attorneys. In the current environment, the smallest mistake of a company could trigger a lawsuit. And I see this becoming more and more prevalent in our increasingly digitized world driven by social media and instant access to information.
So it has never been more important as a company to put laser focus on the quality of your operations. In the insurance world we call this “loss control” or “risk mitigation” or “risk management.” Whatever you want to call it, it’s all about running a quality organization where you are hiring quality people, training them well, retraining them when changes occur, and putting the necessary systems and processes in place to anticipate issues and address them before they cause you big problems.
As 2020 closes out and we look to the future, our focus at Webber and Grinnell will be on these types of risk mitigation strategies to keep rates down for our clients. I strongly encourage you to really look hard at your own operations, especially if you are in an industry considered to be higher risk. If you operate a construction company, have large trucks on the road, or make a product that could cause harm, it is absolutely vital that you look closely at the health and safety policies you have in place for your workers, fleet safety policies to protect the general public, and quality control processes that ensure the product you make is safe and effective. These are the questions underwriters ask us every day, and will generate either a further increase or decrease in your premiums. Controlling premiums in today’s environment means controlling your businesses operations, and making sure that you protect the health and safety of your employees and the general public.
If you’re not yet working with us on this, we’d love to schedule a Free RiSC Assessment where we can have an initial look at these topics for your business together.
Congratulations on making it to the end of 2020, and here’s to a productive, lucrative, and SAFE year in 2021!