Risk Control Program Helps FCCI Write and Retain Business

Risk control is a process of analyzing business loss exposures and devising plans that mitigate those risks.
Every business should have a risk management plan that helps them create a safer work environment and lower the cost of doing business. For FCCI, risk control offers an opportunity to write new business as well as help to retain current business through a focus on expertise and service.

FCCI’s risk control consultants work extensively with a wide variety of commercial industries, including agriculture, construction, manufacturing, retail, service, wholesale and distributing. In 2019, risk control consultants spent thousands of hours on-site with policyholders, offering a wide variety of services tailored to the needs of the customer.
One such policyholder is Sun King Brewing Company. It is located in Indianapolis, Indiana, and is a fairly new policyholder for FCCI. The award-winning microbrewery has grown into the second-largest brewer in the state of Indiana and is the first full-scale production brewery in the city since Indianapolis Brewing Company closed its doors in 1948. The company has unique exposures related to the brewing process. These include the threat of loss from a bad batch of yeast or a cooler that breaks, extensive water use, unusual fire issues and direct-to-consumer issues at tasting rooms and restaurants.
For the decade-old company, Chris Phillips, vice president of NFP Insurance, felt it was time for the owners to meet Stephanie Hipskind, risk control specialist in FCCI’s Midwest Region. From the moment she stepped on-site for a risk management consultation, she impressed all involved with her base of knowledge, her willingness to listen to the Sun King team, and her focus on their needs.
“She came in having done her homework,” Chris said. “She understood what Sun King was currently doing, had studied their loss history and wanted to show that FCCI could help ensure those losses wouldn’t occur in the future.”
For Stephanie, being effective at her job means being consultative and able to work with varying types of personalities as well as being understanding, available and easily accessible. Closing a deal is all about relationships, and this is what she believes was critical in Sun King deciding to place its trust with FCCI.
“We noticed right off the bat that we could work well together. They were open, honest and trying to do the right thing,” said Stephanie. “That relationship starts developing from the very first visit, when you start getting to know the exposures. From there, we work to find ways to bring value and service to them.”
Stephen Koers, a partner in Sun King, agreed. “It’s important to meet with someone who is thorough, who you can get along with and you’re not afraid to pick up the phone and call when you need to,” he said. “An individual who will go the extra level.”
“Stephanie made sure that Sun King knew she was that person,” Chris affirmed. “She made it clear from the very first visit that if something happens, if they have a claim situation … that she would be available if they called and would have expertise in their area of business, and that they would get the help they needed.”
Providing great service and reducing risks are key for Stephanie. “To me, safety isn’t a competition,” she said. “I love bringing on clients and helping them any way I can. There isn’t any size or level of business at which I won’t help if there is a need.”
(L-R) James Womack, Paige Womack, Glen Womack and Chase Womack, Womack & Sons Construction Group
(L-R) Dave Colt, Brad Cornelius, Sun King Brewing Company; Chris Phillips, NFP Insurance; and Stephanie Hipskind, FCCI
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Creating a Safety Culture
Once FCCI underwrites a policyholder, the risk control consultant must collaborate with their team to identify potential hazards and the controls that should be in place. Just as Randall Foster, a senior risk control consultant for FCCI’s Gulf Coast Region, did for policyholder Womack & Sons Construction Group.
Randall noted that he was able to identify common places where accidents could occur as well as offer controls and training that could be put in place. Site visits offered the opportunity to look at jobs, see how the crews were working and identify challenging areas as well as ways to improve safety training.
Brian Harris, risk control director in the Gulf Coast Region, notes that the carrier-policyholder relationship definitely goes both ways. Womack showed its commitment to improving by instituting annual Safety Day trainings, which Randall has attended every year. Randall has also presented employee safety and defensive driving training. When the company’s safety director resigned in 2018, the company asked that Randall and the Fisher Brown Bottrell safety representative make additional visits to keep awareness high and in the forefront.
“Rates are higher if there have been accidents. A good risk control consultant will come in, ask what challenges a policyholder is facing and provide solutions to alleviate their pain. Randall is helping Womack & Sons to focus on safety and drive down their rates,” Brian explained. “We want to retain good businesses. Their exposures will be positively impacted if we’re doing our job well.”
“To me, safety isn’t a competition. I love bringing on clients and helping them any way I can.”
Safety is part of the job at Womack & Sons. (L-R) Chase Womack, Paige Womack, Glen Womack and James Womack
Womack & Sons is primarily an underground utility contractor, specializing in trenching and excavation. Key exposures include keeping crews safe while digging underground, driving to job sites and working alongside traffic. FCCI was engaged to assist Womack & Sons through Fisher Brown Bottrell Insurance, an FCCI Chairman’s Club member.
“When we first wrote this business [in 2013], they had grown rapidly and had a high loss rate,” Randall explained. “From a risk control standpoint, we talked about the importance of management support and a companywide commitment to safety. There was a definite intention to focus on a safety culture.”
For Womack & Sons, there has been a culture shift due to their dedication to doing things right. With FCCI’s guidance, their experience modification rate is now better than average.
“With the help of FCCI, along with Bottrell, we are pushing safety to another level. We are striving to teach and train our employees to be the best they can be when it comes to safety. Our safety culture is changing. We will continue to work hard to stay ahead of anything that may come our way,” said James Womack in an appreciative note.
Randall said that his work in risk control goes well beyond the numbers. “We’ve got to be able to recognize where a company is, where they are with safety policies and provide a consultative approach to steer them in a direction that will help them improve their performance,” he said. “We need to listen to our customer’s needs, see where we can provide value-added service, and help give them a road map that will make an impact. That’s how a policyholder will develop a trust with you.”