Tech tools improve risk management efforts – Business Insurance | Region & Cash

Technology — from employee engagement to fleet management to machine learning — is a growing staple of the insurance industry’s toolbox, experts said during sessions at the Public Risk Management Association’s annual meeting in San Antonio in June.

“How do you keep employees engaged,” said Rick Brush, chief member services officer for Public Risk Innovation, Solutions, and Management, a member-led insurance risk-sharing pool called PRISM, amid the challenges of the pandemic lockdown and resurgence Based in Folsom, California. “We think technology is a big part of that,” said Mr. Brush.

Founded in 2020 as the successor to the State Excess Insurance Agency, PRISM has more than 2,000 members, including 95% of counties and 70% of cities, as well as educational organizations, special districts, housing authorities and fire districts in California.

Virtual connectivity has been a major benefit during lockdown, but it has brought with it cybersecurity challenges, particularly for large online groups like school districts that could have tens of thousands of students.

According to Tom Pelster, Folsom’s chief information officer for PRISM, implementing multi-factor authentication in such a group can be extremely difficult.

The issue of multifactor authentication is taking center stage as it can be a requirement for cyber coverage in some cases, Mr Pelster said. “It’s a huge challenge and I think people are lagging behind. I hear all the time that people aren’t sure what to do with MFA,” he said.

Mr. Brush noted that in the wake of the pandemic, the organization has transitioned to an online orientation for new members and is attracting a larger audience. “New people who come in want to get information in a different way,” he said, adding that the online briefings for new members now draw about 175 to 200 viewers, compared to 40 to 45 at previous face-to-face meetings.

“There are so many efficiencies that can be gained from this. It’s the balance of being efficient but still building relationships and having interaction,” said Mr. Brush.

According to Maria Williams, Senior Member Services Specialist at PRISM, online outreach can allow an organization to reach a wider audience for training purposes. Training programs presented online can often be recorded, stored and provided on demand, allowing users to participate anytime, anywhere.

The technology is seeing broader penetration in the insurance sector in general, said Brian Billings, Ballwin, Missouri-based vice president of predictive analytics at Midwest Employers Casualty Co., part of WR Berkley Corp.

Tools like natural language processing, which can be used to digest lengthy documentation and extract needed information or encourage interaction with an automated representative or chatbot, are becoming more common, Mr. Billings said. While such technologies can still be expensive, the falling costs associated with broader penetration should put many technologies within the financial reach of far more companies, he said.

The continued adoption of technology is driving the generation and collection of far more data than ever before, which in turn helps inform the further development of existing and future technologies and fuel the march towards digitization. “We’re going to see more and more of that,” said Mr. Billings.

According to Tiffany Allen, area manager for public services in Monroe, North Carolina for Travelers Cos .Inc.

The information collected by the telematics programs, which often includes video recordings of drivers, can aid in driver training to improve safety; it can be used to establish or ward off liability in the event of damage; and it can be used for monitoring and maintenance purposes, for example to improve fuel efficiency and track scheduled maintenance.

According to Sarah Sylvis, Risk/Benefits Manager for the City of Franklin, Tennessee, thorough training is key to a successful telematics program. The objectives and parameters of the program should be made clear, e.g. B. what data to collect and how to use it.

Drivers and other staff also need to be involved to ensure they understand how the technology works and that it can be used as a constructive tool to improve performance and potentially even defend liability in the event of damage, Ms Sylvis said.

Telematics are increasingly being used to manage and control losses from vehicle accidents, which are the leading cause of workplace fatalities and also the most costly work-related claims, Ms Allen said, citing data from the National Safety Council.


Online resources add an extra dimension to meetings

Video conferencing and online connectivity may not offer the direct human interaction of on-site meetings, but offer users a range of tools designed to improve communication, sources say.

“You can make meetings more visual and integrate data and graphics,” said Rick Brush, chief member services officer for Public Risk Innovation, Solutions, and Management, a member-led insurance risk sharing pool called PRISM, based in Folsom, California.

“We can use online meeting software to do so much more graphically,” Mr. Brush said.

Other online meetings also benefit from the fact that participants can attend training sessions in breakout rooms as part of the activity, Mr. Brush said.

Tom Pelster, chief information officer at PRISM, said systems like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Cisco’s Webex are “working very hard to improve engagement.” Zoom, for example, recently introduced a whiteboard feature, he said. “These are collaborative things that should improve engagement,” he said.

Most of these web software tools have a free version. “Don’t be afraid to explore the capabilities of these software programs,” said Mr. Pelster.

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