For risk and safety professionals, the new calendar year brings with it a renewed focus on improving their organization’s culture of safety. Whether looking to put a new safety program in place, make wholesale changes to an existing program, or build upon previous successes, many organizations face the challenge of ensuring that their employees are fully participating in safety efforts.
A recent EHS Today article takes a look at a potential solution for involving people across an organization in this process: safety assessments.
How safety assessments differ from safety audits
To Build Safety Culture, You Must Get People Talking provides an overview of a 2018 Safety Leadership Conference session — “Distracted Drivers R US — Assessment RX for Success” — led by Walter Fluharty, vice president of EHS and organizational development at Ohio-based Simon Roofing.
Where static surveys may be seen as yet another safety-related requirement, focus group-based assessments followed by the completion of self-assessments are more likely to drive engagement and add value.
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One of the Claims Journal’s most popular articles of 2018 covered the Altus report that investigated the possibility of Amazon entering the claims management sector. The fact that Amazon tried to poach employees from Lemonade and recruit for a new product manager position certainly provided enough circumstantial evidence to fire up the rumor mill.
The report highlights some of the advantages Amazon brings to the table. The customer-facing infrastructure — from Alexa and Echo devices to an online juggernaut offering an expansive consumer marketplace and digital media center — is unlike anything currently in the insurance space. In addition, Amazon Home Services, which offers on-demand repairs and potential assistance with installing large replacement goods; its array of supported smart home devices; and its direct access to customer purchase history make the company poised to completely transform the claims management process.
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Is the sky falling? Or is it clearing? Will the new owners be a breath of fresh air? Or will they turn the business upside down? As a risk manager, you’ll likely hear all sorts of messages from peers, providers, and competitors. Following the acquisition of your risk management information system (RMIS) provider, the only message that matters is this: You have options.
It’s easy to feel as if your hands are tied as you seek answers to questions about what a new, combined company means for you and the users of your current RMIS. Asking questions and voicing any concerns regarding the answers you receive is the surest way to proceed prior to extending your contract.
Perhaps the biggest question—and in some cases, the one that is the most difficult to get an answer to—is whether or not you’ll be forced to migrate to the RMIS of the acquiring vendor.
While migration sometimes means you’ll be gaining access to functionality not available in your current system, the reality is that the move may not be as simple, or as straightforward, as promised.
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On November 26th 2018, GM announced plans to close five plants and lay off 15,000 employees. Given the ongoing expansion of the US economy, the announcement came as a surprise to many. Speculation as to what GM’s move and other flagging economic indicators might suggest for the future of the economy at large serves an unwelcome reminder: No matter how steady the economy or how secure we feel in our current positions/careers, uncertainty is always with us.
Risk managers work to ensure organizations achieve their objectives as they operate in environments full of uncertainty. Risk management involves the practice of identifying the potential threats and opportunities an organization faces, asking “what if” questions to decide on the optimal response, then taking the appropriate actions based on that exercise.
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As risk pools look to improve or add to the services provided to members, inefficient and ineffective processes always stand in the way. In many cases, inadequate technology (in the form of antiquated databases, disparate systems, and multiple spreadsheets) limits the ability of risk pools to implement change. Take, for example, the challenges associated with processes related to the calculation of members’ premium contributions, such as:
- Values and exposures collection is time-consuming for staff and members
- Historical and current loss data is not readily accessible
- Spreadsheets used to calculate premium contributions increase the risk of error and limit options for easily incorporating changes
- Visibility into the process is extremely limited for pool staff and members
The right technology can help. It should be capable of tracking and managing the exposures and loss data for all of a risk pool’s members. It should include underwriting tools flexible enough to accommodate changes in rating tables and formulas, while also being easy to use. The right solution should also provide staff and members with role-specific insight into each point in the process.
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The risk management industry certainly had an eventful 2018. As the calendar closes out another year, we’ve picked five prominent trends that may impact your organization in the upcoming year.
1. Increasing Damage from Natural Disasters and Extreme Weather
The 2018 list of major natural disasters is notable for its scope and intensity. From Japan’s flooding and mudslides to California’s wildfires to an unprecedented global heatwave, records for severity and damage were shattered throughout the year. One article noted that, “Nationwide, 8.5 million acres, an area larger than Maryland, have burned this year to date.” Unfortunately, extreme weather and increased natural disasters are becoming more commonplace.
In the article Step up your disaster preparedness, don’t wait for the news report, we discussed how to combine audit technology with weather alerts to develop a preparedness solution that works in real-time and ensures your organization is tested and ready when the next emergency hits.
2. Telematics Emerging in Fleet Management
Consumer adoption of telematics continued at a strong pace, particularly with drivers in the youngest age range, where some studies estimate four in five drivers have telematic-based policies. While the use of telematics to enhance fleet management programs has been underway for some time, the value of this data is becoming more clear.
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Whether it’s boxes of paper forms that must be keyed into a system, pouring over spreadsheets to verify that critical requirements are met and up to date, or sending yet another email to request missing information, there’s almost always room for improvement when it comes to the management of vendor-related data and workflows.
From the submission of application forms through to the evaluation of vendor performance, businesses can add to the value of their risk management information system (RMIS) by using the system to transform their approach to vendor management. In this post, we look at four examples of how a cloud-based RMIS like Origami Risk can contribute to cost control, service excellence, and risk mitigation.
1. Streamline the vendor intake process
Simplifying the vendor application process reduces the amount of time staff spend engaged in time-consuming, repetitive activities like keying data and sending multiple emails to chase down missing details. This process can also be the first step in defining expectations and building a relationship with potential vendors. After all, as 6 essential steps for managing vendors makes clear, “A good vendor relationship starts well before you ever sign a contract with a vendor.”
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Risk management in healthcare is a topic that is gaining increasing importance. A large driver of this attention is the shift from fee-for-service to value and outcome-based models. An article in the New England Journal of Medicine’s (NEJM) Catalyst blog notes, “For these reasons, hospitals and other healthcare systems are expanding their risk management programs from ones that are primarily reactive and promote patient safety and prevent legal exposure, to ones that are increasingly proactive and view risk through the much broader lens of the entire healthcare ecosystem.”
This demand for an expanded view of healthcare risks has fueled the demand for Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) solutions. The road to fully functional ERM programs, however, has proven to be a challenging one for most healthcare organizations. The NEJM Catalyst article cites a report from Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) that states, “Despite the growing importance of programs today, and the raised awareness of their importance, many healthcare providers have been slow to adopt a more sophisticated approach… The current state for most providers falls between ‘basic’ and ‘evolving’ maturities for ERM programs.” … read more
Selecting the right risk management information system (RMIS) is about more than choosing a set of features and capabilities. You’re also choosing a partner to help you meet your risk management objectives — both now and in the years to come. The aspirational nature of the sales process should only resonate if the team on the other side of the table can demonstrate a long-term record of success.
“That is why it is critical to vet out the potential partner as much as possible during the discovery period as the overarching goal is to produce a mutually beneficial relationship,” writes Michel Koopman in 10 Steps to Forming Long-Lasting Strategic Partnerships. … read more
Despite the widespread ambition of organizations to create a data-driven culture, few seem to make the transition successfully. In the article Big Companies Are Embracing Analytics, But Most Still Don’t Have a Data-Driven Culture, the authors cite the results of this year’s annual New Vantage Partners survey on data issues. “Virtually all respondents (99%) say their firms are trying to move in that direction, but only about one-third have succeeded at this objective. This gap appears every year in the surveys, and the level of success hasn’t improved much over time.”
According to a Gartner study, a similar disconnect is found — 80% of CEOs claim to accept the concept of data as an asset, yet only 10% say their organization treats it that way. Given the fairly daunting odds, why are so many organizations still fighting the uphill battle to establish a data-driven culture? Because, as a TechCrunch article notes, “Being data-driven pays!” As proof, the authors cite an MIT study finding a 5-6% higher output in data-driven organizations and other research indicating more than a $13 payback for every dollar spent on analytics.
The importance of the risk manager
Given the potential payoff of a data-driven culture, the analysis-based role of a risk manager can be a linchpin in the effort to elevate the role of data in strategic decision making across the organization. To make this transition, risk managers need to adopt an enterprise risk management (ERM) mindset, regardless of whether the organization actually has an ERM program in place or not. The core of this mindset relies on using data to influence decisions and direct actions.
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