Six Qualities to Consider
Nothing exists in a vacuum. This scientific principle holds as true for businesses as it does for physics. Complex interdependencies allow businesses to flourish and prosper in the short and long-term. Regardless of the role, successful partnerships require understanding, expertise and an ability to see beyond the immediate need. From suppliers to advisors to customers, success today requires partners with eyes on tomorrow.
As professional risk managers and consultants, our work requires constant education, real life experience and a pulse on both the industry and our markets. Our goal is always to create relationships to better businesses through expert insurance consultancy and by leveraging our networks to help businesses and the economy grow.
Over time, we have found that in order to transform risk management from transactional to strategic, the following six characteristics exist within the risk manager and client partnership.
- Understand the Client’s Business
Many factors including industry type, segmentation, ownership structure and geographic markets served, contribute to the uniqueness of a particular business. However, ALL evolve at unprecedented rates. Depending on a “one size fits all” approach to managing risk and offering protection can result in disaster. Business interruption, claims issues and long ranging reputational impact can cripple or close a business.
Our firm works closely with governmental entities, large corporations and middle market companies. We know the differences in risks within each. We understand compliance requirements and the roles ownership structure, industry profiles, technology advances, taxing districts and every other aspect of operations play in protecting organizations.
For example, we recently worked with a large government entity which recognized the importance of continuing to offer and sustain attractive employee benefits. Taylor Oswald’s understanding of the more than 20 employee groups, including bargained groups, along with knowing the compliance complexities and having the ability and aptitude to market the plans appropriately allowed the entity to save millions of dollars without negative employee impact.
A completely different approach with a large construction firm allowed the firm to have property and casualty coverage for job sites across the region at rates most fitting to each. In addition, by understanding the risks owners and project managers were taking, appropriate additional coverages were secured.
A risk management partner will demonstrate understanding, share experiences and work with a particular business to meet the unique demands of inherent risks in each. In doing so, the partner looks beyond the immediate situation to growth opportunities, threats and solutions – solutions that will continue to perform for the business over time.
- Match the Products to the Need – Today and Tomorrow
Just as different businesses have unique characteristics, insurance types cover different risks. A professional risk manager can recommend the right policies with the right limits, at the right cost and, at the right time for each situation. Moving beyond the most general to specific niche coverage can protect a business into the future.
For example, general liability insurance protects from many risks but perhaps not risks associated with property or employees, and usually does not cover professional services. It is likely that general liability will serve as the cornerstone while complemented by property insurance, workers’ comp coverage, professional liability insurance and other niche policies designed for specific industries, situations and risks.
It is no secret that the world is rapidly changing. Rapid technology drives faster, smarter ways of operating, communicating and measuring success. With this increased connectivity and volumes of data comes risk unheard of even a decade ago.
The rise of this risk is likely to continue to require specialized coverages and only a proactive approach will ensure protection. These evolving cyber coverages require specific knowledge of what has happened and what is likely to occur next in cyberspace. Specialized policies can protect businesses from tragic business interruption consequences that come with cyber risk. The policies are complex and what is covered today may not be the coverage needed tomorrow. The best risk managers know what’s on the horizon and how to best help clients stay prepared.
- Market Clout Gets Attention
The best consultant brokers have clout with carriers. This clout translates into better negotiating power for rates and placements and perhaps more importantly over time, can resolve claims faster and service issues as they arise. A known firm will also have fingers on the pulse of current and upcoming legislation at the local, regional and even national level.
Many major carriers award premier brokers and consultants designations. For example, large health insurance carriers oftentimes award elevated broker status to brokers with large premium placements and proven success.
More recently, some firms have begun offering specialized programs that carry VIP status for their clients. In times of disaster, this status guarantees that clients get first rate and timely resolution of their claims. This can directly impact when businesses can become operational after a disaster such as the 2017 onslaught of hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria.
Working with a firm that carriers know and respect can build reputation and enhance business operations.
- It’s About the People
They say that employees leave jobs because of bosses, not organizations. The same can be true of risk management partnerships. While the influence of a premium advisor can help, it’s the consultant who makes the difference. All the clout in the world will not matter if a partner isn’t a professional serving as client advocate and trusted advisor every step of the engagement.
Knowing who best fits the needs of a particular client or type of organization is both an art and a science. While credentials demonstrate proficiency, tenured relationships prove advocacy, reliability and results. We see this every day as our firm continues to add the professional risk managers and support staff who put our clients first with proactive and innovative solutions for their risk management needs.
As a minority owned business (MBE), Taylor Oswald can offer unique solutions to those looking for supplier diversity coupled with innovation and strategic vision.
- Network, Network, Network
As mentioned, a successful business is a web of partners and partnerships working together to drive business results. From Day One, a risk manager is more than a broker. He or she becomes part of the inner workings of your business and can often leverage networks to recommend or place other advisors as business needs arise.
One of the benefits of working with a firm like Taylor Oswald is the established centers of influence network. Well-known and respected as innovators, solutions providers and consultants, the team is often called upon to recommend other professional service providers. It is a reputation built over decades of experience and success.
- Transformative Partners
The number one characteristic for a successful risk management partnership is the ability of the partner to see past today. All of the other aspects matter but long term partnerships are built on vision. While no one has a crystal ball, doing “what has always worked” is not enough to succeed in today’s competitive, fast-moving markets.
Building on strategic vision is what the best and most perceptive risk managers do every day. Every engagement should start with a strategic planning process to align business goals with appropriate tasks and protection. We like to engage key stakeholders in these discussions as we use a disciplined and proven multi-step approach to building the strategic risk management plan. The plan is never a stagnant document. Rather, it is used to measure progress, recognize gaps and address changes that can occur over time.
Great relationships give clients the confidence that the risk management partner will provide the best products and services and offer protection for future, often unseen, needs. The best will offer preparedness and protection.
If you’re ready for a transformative risk management partnership, contact:
President & CEO
Taylor Oswald is a joint venture between Oswald Companies and Mr. Taylor. In addition to serving in the leadership role at Taylor Oswald, Mr. Taylor is also a Vice President of Oswald Companies.
Note: This communication is for informational purposes only. Although every reasonable effort is made to present current and accurate information, Oswald makes no guarantees of any kind and cannot be held liable for any outdated or incorrect information. View our communications policy.