August 5, 2020
As insurance brokers, we’re in the risk business.
Everything in life has an element of risk, so we want to be prepared when the worst happens. That’s the entire reason why companies need Workers’ Compensation Insurance. It’s not a matter of IF an employee will be injured on the job; it’s a matter of WHEN. And when that happens, organizations need their insurance to be there to protect both themselves and their business.
That said, just because you have insurance doesn’t mean you want to have to use it. With this in mind, we highly suggest that every business out there has a fully-fleshed-out Emergency Response Plan. This is especially important right now in hurricane season and with COVID-19 continuing to ravage the country.
Remember doing fire alarms back when you were in grade school? That was part of your school’s Emergency Response Plan. The second the bell rang out, your teachers jumped into action to get all of the students out to safety (“Single file, please!”)
A similar plan should be in place at every business across the country, especially right now. In the event of an emergency, everyone should jump to their assigned jobs. A comprehensive emergency response plan could make the difference between life and death, depending on the situation.
With employees working from home more frequently, it is imperative to rewrite any plans you had to take the latest changes into consideration.
Asking your clients if they have an emergency response plan is a vital part of your job. Some newer small business owners may have never thought about it before, so by bringing it to their attention, you will provide them with another layer of protection.
In the event of an emergency, a business must have insurance of all kinds. By reviewing emergency response plans with your clients, you can take into account any risks that could leave them vulnerable during a time of emergency, or during the recovery period.
When talking to your clients, make sure that their insurance coverage is adequate, taking into account their staff size, responsibilities, and risks. You might also want to ask them about their other insurance, just to make sure they haven’t missed something that could save their business if the worst comes to pass.
Obviously, one plan can’t cover all contingencies. For example, the way employees should respond to a fire is much different from how they should respond to flooding.
With this in mind, guide them towards making sure every contingency is covered. Is it an emergency that requires an evacuation? Or one that requires them to shelter-in-place? What if there is a threat that isn’t a natural disaster, like the threat of violence in the workplace? This line of thinking will likely result in about two or three plans that should be part of employee training.
In the event of an emergency, a business should prepare for every contingency. For example, if everyone is sheltering-in-place for an extended period, employees will eventually need food. If someone is injured and can’t reach medical help, they will need a medical kit.
It could also pay to make sure your building has an emergency supply of power. This doesn’t necessarily need to be an expensive backup generator. Instead, it could simply be a powerful emergency battery. If the power is out, this source of electricity could help keep phones charged and connected to the outside world. Not unlike insurance, this is something you hope never to use, but it could be essential in an emergency.
It’s one thing to be taught an emergency response plan when you’re training for a job; it’s another thing to put everything into action. That’s why employers should have regularly scheduled drills throughout the year to make sure their staff knows and can execute their emergency responsibilities.
If most of the staff fails the drill, that can mean two things. One, they don’t actually know what they were supposed to do and more training is required. Or two, it’s an ineffective emergency response plan that should be reexamined ASAP.
Insurance brokers often have a more comprehensive view of risk that most business owners. That’s because we’ve seen the worst-case-scenario first-hand. It is why people depend on us to provide them with effective coverage to protect them when the worst-case scenario happens. With that in mind, we should also help our clients get a better understanding of risk and make plans to mitigate it. So, the next time you’re talking with a client, ask them about their Emergency Response Plan along with their workers’ comp insurance.
If you’re an insurance broker looking for new opportunities, please drop us a line. At Normandy Insurance, we specialize in Workers’ Compensation and helping our clients protect both themselves and their employees. We’d love to talk to you about joining our team!