I regularly get asked what exactly is Risk Management and what does a Risk Consultant actually do?
Essentially, it's my aim to see that a client is in a better position after my visit than when I first turned up. Having a claims background, my work comes from a claim’s defensibility point of view. For example, if someone makes a claim against one of my clients, I want them to be able to defend themselves from the best position possible. If they don’t have all the necessary compliance in order, then the insurer may pay-out on the claim. Ultimately it will affect the clients’ future insurance premiums and not to mention other costs such as time and reputation and stakeholder trust. If the client has a robust health and safety regime in place and can demonstrate it, we can confidently defend a 3rd party claim against them.
Concern is often expressed at the possibility of new legislation being a burden on business, but it is also a great opportunity to review how a business currently meets compliance with existing legislation. Many of the businesses I have visited over the last 12 months have not been up to date with compliance and have had significant issues to resolve. Compliance with appropriate legislation is vital for a business and claims defensibility perspective. The HSE is looking to become a government profit centre and is prosecuting businesses for breaches of legislation and charging them to bring them up to date and within compliance.
From my experience, lots of businesses still consider The Fire Safety order 2005 as new legislation, and less than half of businesses visited comply with the legislation, despite it being in place for 14 years! Producing or advising on fire risk assessments also takes up a lot of my time, making sure clients don’t fall behind in this vitally important area. Every workplace in Scotland needs a documented fire risk assessment and a responsible person identified within the business.
Business continuity planning is becoming a very active area particularly in the charity and housing association sectors, but all businesses should have a robust plan in place and this should be reviewed on a regular basis to ensure all relevant information and contacts are up to date. It is a simple fact that many businesses do not survive a major loss because of a failure to plan. Some of my clients were unaware that staff training is a legal requirement, particularly in the case of induction training. Our BCARM system provides very cost-efficient e-learning packages and I also have produced bespoke training for clients which ensures businesses are compliant and up to date. I also get involved with post claims issues trying to make sure lessons are learned following accidents.
Delivering a risk managment presentation at our recent Networking Breakfast at Abbotsford
Typically, I’m introduced to clients through our account executives who will usually drop me an email to call one of their clients ‘because they’ve got a problem’. Recently I met a client of ours who had risk management work done previously by another broker, but it was 5 years out of date. They knew they had to bite the bullet and do something about it, so after a general chat, I said the best way to tackle it was for me to do a formal audit and identify what they needed to do to bridge any gaps by way of an action plan.
I subsequently spent a day on-site and a day writing up the report and marked it with a ‘red, amber, green’ status – and there were a lot of reds. The chief executive called me right away and we arranged to sort it out over a three-month period. In this instance, I covered everything from the Bruce Stevenson online health and safety management system, arranging an induction process, fire training, manual handling and creating a bespoke health and safety policy. I then arranged to come in 6 months later to see their progress, what had improved, what still needed some work and from now on, I will continue to run two audits a year.
As risk management covers a wide spectrum of work, I can honestly tell you that no two days are ever the same, but I wouldn’t change it for the world. It’s the variety and the genuine sense that you are helping someone that fulfils me.
For a free risk management review, simply visit our business risk assessment questionnaire and in less than two minutes, you can discover if your business is in a good place from a compliance point of view.
By Nick Morrall, Risk Management Consultant