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The Insurance Broker’s Role in Employer-Driven Safety: An Interview with KPA’s Rob Stansbury

Toby Graham /
This week on The Safety Meeting, we're joined by Rob Stansbury Director of Sales at KPA, to discuss the role that insurance brokers play in employer driven safety.

[00:00:43]
Thanks for joining us today, Rob. As someone who works with brokers daily, you have a good sense of what topics and trends are impacting them. So I wanna know, what are brokers talking about? What are the hot topics right now?

It’s an interesting question. The insurance industry in general, it’s such a, at least stereotypically, it’s such a stodgy kind of behind the times industry and I think paramount right now for these folks is the adoption of technology.

And in different industry segments, construction, manufacturing, transportation, it’s gonna be applied differently. Um, but I think right now, kind of the thing that most of the folks that I’m looking for, or that I’m speaking, you know, to on a day-to-day basis, they’re looking for resources, they’re looking for tools.

And really, I think that’s largely driven by the needs of their clients, their insureds. So, the broker is positioned as the problem solver. And in many instances does not actually have the solution to the problem. So it’s kind of an ongoing quest right now in my conversations. How can I, how can I level up with the bigger competition?

How can I bring resources to the table that’ll help me align with my, you know, my insured’s needs? And then be able to kind of keep a sticky factor or a barrier to exit with them, which is a pretty big part in almost every conversation around, you know, what these folks are looking for.

[00:01:52]
So what obstacles are brokers facing these days and how are they overcoming that broadly and then, you know, with the use of, of EHS?

Again, industries, it’s gonna make a difference in terms of the function of their clients. And most of these folks spread their books across several different industries. But if you’re focusing on construction, say for example, and, and you know, a fatality at a job site will be much more likely than it would be at a commercial office building.

You know, those types of variables weigh in. I think right now in the world, you know, cyber is a big thing. It’s very difficult for these folks even to get cyber coverage placed in certain instances. We’re certainly dealing with the need for technology and the way of, you know, mobile applications and remote employees and the ability for folks to have visibility to locations where maybe they’re not physically there, but need to understand around the safety procedures for that employer. Like how is, how can I as the broker, how can I positively impact that employer’s day-to-day world? How can I make it a safer world for them? And how can I make it a more cost effective one and really drive down, you know, their avoidable risk.

[00:03:07]
What would you say is the common denominator of brokers who are really getting the most out of their EHS software? What habits do they have and how are they using the software really to their advantage?

There are so many cool technologies out there right now. And, and I think the most important part I think is, is making it kind of narrowly positioned to solve a problem. I get blown away sometimes. When you think about what this technology can do, like getting ahead of risks and injuries.

I had a conversation with one of our clients today. And he was talking about the various technologies that he looked at and the artificial intelligence, even in like cameras and being able to, you know, from an AI perspective, sense improper lifting procedures or dangerous scenarios using ladders, like this stuff is, is crazy.

Like the robots are coming to get us. But that’s kind of the way that, you know, the world is, is heading. And if you tried to apply that solution to an unsophisticated insured, great that you have that as a resource. Terrific. But it’s not actually solving a problem, you know, for your insured. So I think it’s important to ensure you’re placing the appropriate solution.

And if, if somebody needs basic learning management content. Somebody needs a system to be able to, you know, track certificates of insurance. Terrific. You know, that that’s a good solution to be able to apply and solve that specific problem. If somebody’s looking for the ability to, you know, maybe do equipment maintenance and have, you know, QR codes associated with specific pieces of equipment in their business, they’re looking for integrations with their carrier or integrations with their payroll provider. Like there’s different solutions that you’re gonna bring to the table relative to the sophistication and the needs of the insureds. So I think it’s really important right now, if you’re placing EHS software, you could have the greatest tool in the world, but if it’s not properly applied to the needs of the insured, you’re, you’re missing the mark.

[00:05:07]
Yeah, absolutely. It sounds like if you don’t have the right solution, Or rather if the solution you’re offering is fitting a different problem, then it’s not really a solution at all. Right?

Yeah, exactly.

So what advice do you have for brokers who are struggling to stay sticky with their insurance. Really make it so they wanna stay.

That’s such a key. I mean, it’s different than a direct approach, really with, you know, with a company like KPA, a software company, like working directly with an employer, my broker relationships with their clients as a, even just from a pure sales perspective, right?

You bring that client on board. There’s all that time and effort and energy to make that happen. All of the relationship development, all of the meetings, all of the competition versus the other folks out there. It’s so valuable to keep those folks. And in the insurance world, obviously, with residuals, you know, these brokers are paid on the renewal of their client as well.

It’s a, it’s a pretty staggering statistic. The cost of acquiring a new client in insurance. It’s actually one of the highest cost of client acquisition industries out there. It’s about nine to 10 times more expensive for these folks to pick up a client than to keep and retain one. So it comes down to ensuring your value is embedded, right?

There are so many folks out there and this business is largely outside of guaranteed relationship renewals. This business is largely up for grabs on an annual basis. So why do they need to stay with you? Like what are you providing them from a value-added services perspective? How are you actually tangibly impacting their business? And, you know, that’s how these folks need to have that sticky factor. There’s a barrier to exit involved if you, as the broker, are how you’re actually solving those problems for the insured. So if I’m getting my learning management content through my broker, it’s that much harder for me to leave them.

If I can do, you know, mobile inspections in remote job sites without, you know, wifi or cellular connectivity, value to the broker. People, don’t want to have to change. They will sometimes change for economic purposes, but if you can put that barrier to exit in there where it’s like, ah, you know, if I leave this broker, now I lose this functionality.

Now I have to go find a new LMS. Now I have to find an inspection and OSHA 300 reporting tool. So that’s really what it comes down to in that regard. If you’re providing value for your client, largely you should retain that client. There’s obviously gonna be the economic instance where, you know, they’re buying on price, and maybe you don’t really have a fair shot at creating that value there.

But if you become that trusted advisor, to your, to your client. And you’re actually asking them about solving business problems rather than just, Hey, what’s your loss run? How many employees do you have? And, I’ll give you a quote for business. I mean, those are the folks that are gonna continually win up front, and they’re also the same folks that are gonna continually retain on the back end.

[00:08:08]
Yeah. And plus the ROI of using tools like this and offering those kind of extended value services to your insured. I mean, even if it’s not necessarily cost saving up front, in terms of the actual price, the cost savings in terms of what you avoid down the line can be really quite large, right?

Oh yes. We’ve done a survey a couple of years ago and in Florida and in California, And I think it was a few thousand employers, but by putting in place, the things that, that our program’s doing, and this is the same message that, you know, a broker should deliver, by focusing on training your employees, getting documented employee comprehension of employer policies, by doing ongoing inspections, by having safety committee meetings, like we actually documented a 20% decrease in the experience modifiers.

So the factor that determines the worker’s compensation premiums, I mean, that’s significant. Bottom line savings, right? So not only are you benefiting yourself at the agency level by growing and retaining, but you are, as I said before, having a direct and positive impact on the day-to-day world of your employer, I mean, talk about retention, right?

Like if, if I can save you 20% on your work comp cost, isn’t that a pretty valuable connection for us to have, and can somebody else do that same thing?

[00:09:25]
Absolutely. Well, Rob, tell me, do you have any, any parting words of wisdom? What do you want people to walk away from this conversation remembering?

I’ll tell you maybe just as a technology and a safety geek like I am, I’m excited about what’s coming down the way and the opportunity to maybe even get ahead of some of these things, that whole concept of proactive versus reactive.

We certainly live in a proactive world. But the technology that’s coming down the way is gonna enable us to kind of even understand, you know, what might happen and prevent it from occurring. Like that for me, you know, that type of stuff I find so fascinating and to be able to deliver solutions that help in that way.

It’s just great.

[00:10:06]
I agree. Yeah. Moving from proactive to predictive is a really exciting step. Absolutely. Well, thank you so much for joining us today, Rob. I really appreciate it.

Cool. It was awesome talking to you.

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