This client has emerged as an industry leader in property management and golf course development, starting from modest roots. Through a strong partnership with one of our advisors, they were able to overcome worker safety and driver management hurdles while maintaining steady progress.
Initially, this company comprised two friendly individuals who began by working with The Villages in Florida, expanding their services as the community grew. Eventually, they developed communities and golf courses and were acquired by the largest inspection service, expanding to offer landscaping and snow removal. The firm now operates throughout multiple Florida locations, including Naples, Ft. Myers, Mount Dora, Jacksonville, and Vero Beach, and continues to grow through acquisitions.
One of our BKS advisors has built a strong relationship with the company over 11 years, beginning when she insured them as a standalone policy for her prior employer in Mt. Dora. At that time, the company struggled to find adequate insurance coverage and faced a significant $2 million uninsured pollution claim. They subsequently sued their previous broker for failing to secure appropriate coverage. The advisor later served as an expert witness in the lawsuit, demonstrating her insurance expertise. Despite these challenges, the company remained a loyal client of the advisor, continuing to work with her upon starting their new venture.
The client faced several challenges, including issues with workers’ compensation coverage. Upon beginning work with the advisor, their work comp rate was 1.48 and increasing, with no claims management in place. This led to a potential non-renewal and difficulty finding a new policy. With time running out, the advisor opted to place them in a professional employer organization, resulting in significant savings with a reduced rate.
Another challenge was their substantial number of vehicles and employees. The advisor worked with the client to implement driver management, emphasizing defensive driving and setting up a 24-hour monitoring system. Compliance with industry regulations regarding US driving experience presented an additional obstacle, solved by providing JJ Keller courses in both English and Spanish and road testing all new drivers. Safe drivers were rewarded with gift cards, and those with child support issues had payments taken directly from their payroll. To ensure employee safety, the advisor implemented green vests instead of orange vests for newer and potentially higher-risk employees, which they upgraded to safer equipment after six to twelve months. The “best and worst” system incentivized good driving behaviors and corrected bad ones.
To begin, it is crucial for companies to ensure that their vendors have proper insurance coverage, even if this involves reviewing their subcontractors’ insurance policies. Though it can be challenging and time-consuming, this step is vital to avoid legal and financial complications in the future. Additionally, implementing large deductible programs can significantly lower insurance premiums and give companies more control over claims.
Another crucial lesson from this case is the importance of collaborating with claims advocates and safety experts who understand the company’s unique operations. With this kind of collaboration, the company, insurer, and other service providers can bridge the gap in understanding, and be proactive in identifying underlying risk areas before they become significant issues. It is also critical to work with insurers that can provide suitable coverage options and effective claims management processes, tailored to the company’s needs. This understanding can minimize the risk of losses and expenses.
Overall, this client’s experience highlights the importance of due diligence, claims management, and strong partnerships with expert service providers. Organizations that manage their insurance policies efficiently and proactively lower their risk and allocate resources more effectively.