Who is Telling Your Story?

By: Brett C. Bradley, IOA Commercial Risk Advisor | January 4 , 2014

In our new world of PDFs, email, social media, and mobile devices, there is an increasingly impersonal approach to many facets of business. Insurance is no exception. When was the last time you met your underwriter or even had a call with the underwriter who is handling your account? Does your underwriter know your account because they understand the history of the firm, the current year objectives, and the long term plan? Or are you in a PDF and quote relationship?

Every company has a story. Who is telling your risk management story? What is being told?

Here are the top three ways your risk management story is being told:


1. No Story

Bradley reportThis situation is seen most often. Does this form look familiar?

This is what comes across most underwriters’ desks when an agent sends in a submission. An Acord application, a brief “narrative” (a basic description of the scope of your work), and maybe loss runs.

The insurance underwriter is your “buyer.” They are the gatekeepers to best pricing and terms. They receive hundreds of submissions every month. If the basic submission described above is what an underwriter receives, so much of what your organization does from a risk management standpoint is unknown. I’m not talking about the basic safety programs or drug-free workplace here. There are other things your organization is likely doing to control and mitigate losses, or at least would be willing to implement with some guidance, direction, and a little help from your agent. However, if these are unknown to the underwriter, how can he or she possibly unlock their secret drawer of best pricing and terms? They can’t. And they won’t.

Your risk management efforts should be known. Don’t sacrifice your story in the marketplace. Entrust it to a broker who is not only committed to helping you achieve best risk management practices, but who is willing to spend the time to communicate them.


2. A False Story

Unfortunately, underwriters sometimes receive submissions from agents with misleading or false information. The agent may not know, or they simply may not care, but do not let this happen with your business. The last thing you want is to have your business misrepresented to the one who has agreed to defend you in court and pay for your legally liable damages. If you can’t trust your broker, move on. Insurance fraud is a felony, and misrepresentation can leave your company in a really vulnerable position were a claim to occur.There are a lot of really good, trustworthy risk advisors out there. Don’t settle for anything less.


3. Your Story

This is what we strive for with every submission. The only way we can tell this story is if we do the hard work up front listening to your story. Sure, we’ll need vehicle schedules, property information, and the rest of the often painfully tedious information in order to accurately do our work, but the most important risk management pieces are discovered through the process our customers and I walk through together.


This includes, at the very least:

  • A face-to-face visit (or phone call if in another city) with the underwriter

Discussion and presentation of a three-ring binder containing at the very least:

  • Cover Letter
  • One Page Narrative outlining Risk Management Commitment of organization
  • Video of Organization Executive sharing commitment to risk management
  • Acord Applications
  • Supplemental Applications
  • Photos of premises / buildings / job-sites / vehicles / etc.
  • Copy of applicable Employee Handbooks, Safety Manuals, Drug-Free program, contracts, etc.
  • Agency Stewardship report of our committed service promise for client over the next year
  • Highlight of current risk management excellence in areas of pre-hire, post-offer, pre-claim, and post-claim.


Key risk management practices to be implemented by client over the next year:

  • Reformatted Loss History (for underwriter convenience)
  • Experience Modification Worksheet
  • Risk Snapshot (Exp Mod last five years)
  • Explanation of large losses, and what has been done to prevent similar losses in future.
  • Etc.


What story is being told for your company?

How can you know what the underwriter is receiving from your chosen representative? It’s easy. Ask your broker to forward over the submission that was sent in on your last renewal. Into which of the three categories does it fall? No story, false story, or your story?

Brett can be reached by calling 407.788.3000 or emailing brett.bradley@ioausa.com.