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“All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.”
— Charles M. Schulz
5:18 a.m. MT, 7:18 a.m. ET, coconut oil infused coffee in hand; my fireplace is burning, time to do a little mind dump.
I had a fantastic day yesterday connecting with clients and friends. I work with a few newer small business owners; the idea that the youth of today have lost their work ethic is a myth. I work with many young men and women who bust their ass every day.
Our company started targeting specific verticals in 3 areas, and I’ve been asked to write a little about the insurance needs of these verticals. I’m not a fan of “insurance writing,” but occasionally will drop some risk management wisdom. If you are a regular reader of my work, you might want to skip today’s blog; I’ll return tomorrow with some inspiration.
One of the first risks I ever put on the books was a restaurant. It was a small account, but early in my career, I learned the risk management needs of a restaurant were very specific. I also learned there were different ways to rate a restaurant that allowed for a more controlled cost basis.
We have multiple restaurant insurance programs at our firm. My favorites rate the liability portion of the program by square feet. This is very helpful for restaurants that sell high-end wine. Traditional insurance programs rate by sales and if you have some higher end products, your insurance premiums go up with your sales. Rating on square footage eliminates the carriers ability to audit your liability; it locks in your general liability rate.
Speaking of wine, if a restaurant sells any booze, they need to make sure they have liquor liability. If someone leaves after consuming too much, there will be a lawsuit and the restaurant will be named in the said lawsuit.
Restaurants serve food and food is perishable, an authentic restaurant program will include coverage for spoilage. If your walk-in cooler goes down, your food will die, and so you can think of spoilage coverage as life insurance for your food.
EPLI or employment practices liability insurance is critical as well. We now call this the #metoo coverage. Romance seems to spring up from time to time in the intimate quarters of food service, and when a relationship goes wrong, some employees turn to the management for an “unsafe work environment.” Many of these cases are dismissed, but they must be defended, and that is where #metoo coverage is so essential.
Restaurants take credit cards, and many points of sale systems have holes that can allow intelligent thieves to steal credit cards as they are being scanned. This is much less a risk today than in the past, but making sure you have some cyber insurance is a key when creating a risk management program for a restaurant.
Workers compensation is another area of risk management that needs some attention. We had a loss a couple of years ago where a man poured a large pot of boiling soup on his foot, needless to say as the skin began melting off his foot, the claim expense began to rise. Without work comp, our client would have had to pay a six-figure medical bill.
Cameras are essential to help manage risk. The cost of video surveillance has dropped dramatically, if you own a restaurant, invest in a camera system that can allow you to monitor your locations from your phone.
If you own a restaurant, your risk management program is one of your most essential tools to protect your investment. Do not try and cut corners, engage with a firm that understands your risks. You should spend your time on serving your clients and let risk management professionals manage your risk.
Our firm has been around since the earth began cooling. We have insured multiple restaurant types and exposures. We have a keen understanding of what a restaurant needs but also what they do not need.
If you are not sure what your insurance program covers, we have a simple risk management process that can help you identify gaps in your current program and also what it might cost to cover those gaps. Most insurance programs we review have some form of under and even over insurance. We pride ourselves on matching the exposure with the correct limit. Once we create a plan, our customer service staff works to make sure that when and if there is a question, the question is answered promptly.
If you own a restaurant, have a family member that owns a restaurant, or know a restaurant owner, advise them to talk to our firm. We’re happy shiny people that understand the exposures and might create a program that helps keep them in business after a significant loss.
“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”
— R. Buckminster Fuller
5:10 a.m. coconut oil infused coffee in hand, my Queen is fast asleep, and I dreamt like never before. I cannot tell you what my dreams were about, but I think I traveled about 20000 miles last night while asleep, meeting many new people, and conquering new lands.
No matter how great or bad my dreams are, I awake to a better life. I have a fantastic, beautiful partner, three amazing kids, and a team of amazing people that we call The Thompson Group.
I’ve got a packed day of meetings, talking with strangers, looking for solutions, managing problems, it’s what I do. I’ve got a pretty good gig these days, I feel like a Doctor whose only mission is to help heal those that are sick. If I meet someone that is not sick, I thank them and move on, but many people need our firm’s services.
We are launching a significant marketing effort at our company targeting specific verticals. We have ten main lines of coverage or solutions that can help solve some of our prospects pain.
One of those verticals is technology companies. If a company does anything tech, we have a solution. We found this solution by accident, one of our old friends took a new gig, she reached out, we had an opportunity with a new prospect, and this carrier simply killed the opportunity.
Technology companies have two significant needs when purchasing risk management products; they have a substantial errors and omissions exposure but also a cyber-exposure.
From an errors and omissions aspect, managing someone’s network leaves open the door for a mistake that cost business thousands of dollars. A few years ago a fellow insurance agent hired a company to manage his technology; they were charged with the management of this man’s network, backing up the data, making sure the system was available when needed.
But something happened, and the network went down. As a prudent business owner and good technology firm, they were backing up his data. When they went to pull the back up from the cloud, they realized they didn’t have a quality backup of data. The data was junk; there was an error in their process.
That required the insurance agency owner to devote thousands of dollars of resources to reload all his client data. The agent sued the technology company, and their errors and omissions responded. Without errors and omissions, the technology company would have been out of business.
Another area we manage when working with our technology clients is cybersecurity. If you are playing in the technology space and a client get’s hacked, the finger will be pointed to the technology company. I’m astounded at the number of tech companies that have little or no cyber coverage.
They may think they have a robust program but our risk management analysis brings to light multiple gaps and issues with their current plan. Our go-to carrier has solved the riddle of cyber insurance and offers a product that is bulletproof.
If you are a technology company owner or manager, it might be a good idea to contact our firm. You don’t know what you don’t know, and our review process will help you identify gaps in your program. We will not quote your insurance that is not our process. We will, however, take a deep dive into your exposures and current plan and show you how your current operations match your current plan.
Will your current insurance program cover you when things go “wiggy?” It’s a matter of time before things go “wiggy” and I’m confident our clients will have the protection they need when data that is supposed to be backing up magically decide not to back up.
If you are a technology company, it might be time for a risk management analysis.
“You never change things by fighting the existing reality.
To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”
— R. Buckminster Fuller
It usually takes a year or two of renting an apartment before you realize that having a house of your own makes more financial sense. Yet because buying a home is a huge investment, you are forced stall out until you are ready to take on such a huge fiscal obligation. As soon as you manage to find a sound mortgage deal, you have to quickly look for a suitable home insurance.
Published: September 28, 2017
or Immediate Release-
Anson Ross Thompson with The Thompson Group was recognized on September 27th, 2017 by Westfield Insurance Companies for 25 Years representing their company and products.
Published: September 15, 2017
The Thompson Group is excited to announced that MMA Fighter Jimmy Zidek has been selected for sponsorship in 2017. Follow all of Zidek’s stats as he manages risk in the ring by clicking here.
Published: September 14, 2017
That’s right! Our very own, Jenny Durr, has been recognized by the IBA as one of their Elite Women of 2017. When asked what makes Durr an elite woman, Anson Ross Thompson said, “There is no other agent like her, and I mean that. She runs circles around her competition…she knows what she is doing.”
Jenny Dils-Durr is the CEO of The Thompson Group with offices in Beautiful Parker City, IN, Indianapolis, IN and Denver, CO!
Find the Pain | Heal the Pain | Show the Love
The power of Thank you…
“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough”
― Oprah Winfrey
My partner and I just sent 5 of our staff to our annual convention. We even had the opportunity to spend a Saturday night with a few of them laughing and have a couple of drinks. The convention is held in Indianapolis and is a collection of vendors, classes for our industry, and a bevy of old friends.
One of our producers is very active in our association that hosts the convention, so it has been our practice to provide him a room at the Westin during the convention. We closed our office Monday so that every person in our Parker City office could attend the convention. We thought it a nice reward for their dedication and hard work since our recent merger.
My first interaction about the convention happened when I asks an employee “how was the convention”. The reply was, “it was nice, we had a nice dinner, the stuff they gave away was not as nice as last year, so and so got really drunk, but it was nice.”
Immediately following that exchange was “yeah, I wish I would have had a room like Ronn, I didn’t like driving home at 12:30 last night”. The reason for the late night was there was an optional party that a few of them, obviously decided to attend.
I then went back to my conference room and lamented on the fact that every year I spend about twenty five hundred dollars sending my staff to this convention. Never is there a thank you, it has come to be expected. I resolved that this was “just the way it was”.
Then, like a hammer to the head, an employee entered my office and stated “I just wanted to thank you and Jenny for allowing us all to go to the convention. It was nice to get out of the office and attend such a nice event. We really appreciate the gesture.”
The staff lives to attend another convention! As a business owner I get frustrated with my perceived lack of employee appreciation. I’m sure this is a two way street. I think I say thank you, you are doing a great job, and that a’ boy, but my staff would probably tell a different story. I was reminded yesterday about the power of thank you and hopefully, this might remind you, the reader, as well.
Taking this thought a little farther since I’m only at 480 words and my editor really likes these snippets to land somewhere about 500 to 600 words, this concept should be taken to your clients. Think about the last time you received a hand written thank you. That thank you is probably in your desk or on a board somewhere in your office. That last “thank you” email is in your deleted bin.
Our office for years has had post cards made and we encourage our staff to use them frequently to say “thank you” or other positive messages to our clients and vendors. Over the years I’ve received many calls from vendors and clients thanking me for the thanks that they received from my staff. A hand written thank you is worth 100 thank you email. Ok, man, that got me to 563 words, I can now stop this rant on thank you’
The BFD – Big Freaking Deal
“If these Mount Everests of the financial world are going to labor and bring forth still more pictures with people being blown to bits with bazookas and automatic assault rifles with no gory detail left unexploited, if they are going to encourage anxious, ambitious actors, directors, writers and producers to continue their assault on the English language by reducing the vocabularies of their characters to half a dozen words, with one colorful but overused Anglo-Saxon verb and one unbeautiful Anglo-Saxon noun covering just about every situation, then I would like to suggest that they stop and think about this: making millions is not the whole ball game, fellows. Pride of workmanship is worth more. Artistry is worth more.”
― Gregory Peck
Pride of workmanship, is it a lost art? I just completed an audit of a distributor of film supplies risk management program and am sorry to report in this case, there is a lack of any pride of workmanship. As insurance professionals, we strive to review current risk management programs and point out to our prospects, other’s clients, and gaps in coverage that exist. We comb through every policy, form, and declarations page to determine is this good program. Sometimes, we find excellent work with very few errors, today is a different story.
In reviewing a risk management program we usually start with the insurance policies and them move on to internal policies and procedures. In this specific case, we found four major limitations or errors that could put this company out of business.
What were these egregious felonies of risk management protocol? Well first, the policy was rewritten last year from Carrier A to Carrier B. The reason for the rewrite was that one of the owners had a major issue with how Carrier A handled a claim for his wife and in his words “was not going to give the bastards any more money”. When the coverage was rewritten, the agency moved the loss of income form from Actual Loss Sustained to a limited form only providing a limited amount of income coverage for this client. During our next review, I’ll ask the assumptive question, “When you made the decision to limit your loss of income protection, talk about how that decision was made.”
Next up the current provider failed to move the retro date on both the employee benefit coverage and the employment practices coverage. Had this client had a claim with these two coverage lines that occurred before the effective date of this policy, there would have been NO coverage? There was no tail coverage sold or offered and thus, this client has been naked on all “before effective date” benefit claims.
Finally, our prospect travels the world. They have two main sales people that regularly travel over the pond to conduct business in France, the UK, and other foreign countries. At no time has the current provider ever discussed foreign exposures or repatriation. Repatriation is a key component of any foreign travel. According to Wikipedia, the simple definition of repatriation is Repatriation (from Late Latin repatriare) is the process of returning a person back to one’s place of origin or citizenship. How important is this coverage when 35% of all travel is outside the United States?
Having an audit of your companies risk management program by a Commercial Risk Manger can save your company from uncovered claims. Some firms charge for this service while we build it in to our sales process. We do charge for this service in some instances, but we are confident that the ROI is priceless.
Big Head part Deux
“Creativity is intelligence having fun.”
― Albert Einstein
This past Saturday I had the fortune of attending my son and daughters cross country banquet. After a great season, it was great to have one final dinner with a family of about 50 kids, parents, and coaches. As I sat there watching the program I could not help but continuing to turn my attention to the “big head”. You’ve have seen these big heads at various basketball and football games. In essence, it is a photo of either a player or a famous person that is held up during the game.
The man who had made that head was sitting beside me and I asked him, how much would it cost if you made me six of those heads? He said, well our cost is $25.00. I stated I would pay him $200.00 for 6 heads, he replied, done.
Tomorrow night, I’ll be stopping by our high school gym and after practice take a few high resolution photos of our top 6 players on our varsity team. I will have them wear a white headband and once the photos are downloaded, I’ll send them to my “big head making Dad”.
He will then take our logo and website address and put that information over the headband. I’ll have these 3-foot by 5-foot heads affixed to some heavy cardboard and then provide them to the student section. During our varsity basketball games, each time a kid scores, the head will be held up. At the end of the season, the heads will be given to the players.
As a business owner, I am always looking for creative marketing opportunities. I get calls every day from various marketing folks wanting to sell us billboards, TV, radio, and newspaper advertising. Over the past few years, we have moved away from those traditional media outlets and went more “gorilla” and social media type advertising.
It’s very important to keep a consistent look and feel to all of our advertising and promotional activities. One other unique and low cost marketing idea we implemented years ago was The Thompson Group Rocks. This is nothing but a small zip lock bag which we buy for $8.00 per 1000 online with a sticker of our logo and website affixed to the front. I get my kids to fill the bags with a few rocks from the parking lot and boom; you have a drop off piece that has a little more point of difference than a simple business card.
Imagine walking back in your office and having a normal business card laying on your desk and a back of 3 or 4 rocks with nothing but a logo and a website. Our experience is that the owner or decision maker is far more intrigued by our rocks and might take the time to visit our website to figure out that the heck it is we do.
Rocks, Big Heads, and other unique ideas are all part of a much larger campaign. A constant smash or our logo, web site, and brand in front of our clients and prospects. Marketing is by far the best parts of owning your own company. Get creative and start having fun today!
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