How to Maximize A Loss Control Visit

Written by Eric Petersen, CIC

What feeling do you get when you learn that your insurance company wants to do a loss control visit with your tree care company? Hopefully a loss control visit would be met with high expectations of a collaborative relationship between your organization and the insurance company, however, we’ve found that most tree care owners are skeptical and even worried about what will happen during the visit. These feelings of skepticism and worry are completely normal and why I wanted to write this article.  

First, let’s talk about what a loss control visit  really is and why the insurance company would want to perform one. Simply put, a loss control visit is a meeting between a tree care company and the insurance company to learn more about the tree care company. The majority of the time this is an in-person meeting that happens at the office or shop of the tree care company and might continue in the field at one or two job sites. Loss control visits could also be done over the phone in certain circumstances. 

There are a few different reasons for the visit, but the underlying theme is to help the tree care company reduce the risk of injuries and accidents within their company. They also can be utilized by the insurance company to help in pricing of the insurance policy and where to guide the tree service for improvement. Sometimes the visit is set up before the insurance company even issues a quote for coverage or after you’ve had a large accident or claim. 

Unfortunately, most people have heard a  story or experienced a loss control visit that wasn’t productive or collaborative which has lead to the common skepticism and worry about these visits. Too often, these visits can be pencil whipping check box visits where the loss control rep is just checking items off a list without offering much help or guidance. 

One key to remember is you are already paying for loss control services with the premium that you pay for the insurance coverage. Whether it is your General Liability, Property, Auto or Work Compensation company that is doing the visit with you, their loss control services are already built into the price that you’re paying. 

So to help you get the most out of your next loss control visit, I’ve come up with these 6 tips. 

  1. Understand the Purpose of Visit – When asked by the insurance company to set up the visit, ask for clarification on what the insurance company wants from visit. If they are looking to learn about a specific part of your operation or the equipment you use? Perhaps they want to help mitigate any fire hazards in your shop? Whatever it is, understanding the insurance company’s purpose will set the meeting up for success and allow you to engage them in helpful conversations around those topics. 
  2. Who, How Long and Where – Along with understanding the purpose of the visit make sure to ask who will be performing the visit, how long they expect the meeting to take and where they would like to go.
  3. Make it Your Priority – Sometimes schedules don’t align perfectly, but as the leader of your organization, making the loss control visit your priority is vital. If your insurance company is coming to help your company out don’t you want to be the one to hear what they have to say and offer the appropriate information to them? 
  4. Engage your Agent – Some insurance companies are better at informing or involving their agents in the loss control process. That said, many times your agent won’t know that the visit has been scheduled, so whenever you get asked to have a visit done, contact your agent to discuss it with them. They may be able to join you for the visit or at the very least help you before or afterward the meeting. Remember they are your advocate to the insurance company and will be able to help during this process. 
  5. Be Prepared – Before the representative comes to visit with you, inform your team and ask if they have any questions they’d like you to bring up during the visit. Chances are no one on your team will say anything, but by asking them, you are including them in the process and helping to foster the safety culture you desire to have. You also should think about the insurance company’s purpose for the visit and what information you can get from them to benefit you the most in that area. 
  6. Keep an Open Mind – Lastly, please remember to keep an open mind with the objective of the meeting and with the loss control representatives themselves. I wish all representatives would “wow” their clients with their experience, knowledge and charm however, reality is they do not know the inner workings of your business as well as you do and while some representatives may get into preaching or even scolding mode, check your emotions to not take what they are saying personally or worse close off to them. Take the helpful nuggets from the representative that you can use and politely offer a different vantage point to them if needed and when appropriate. 

 Like most of the advice we give to tree care companies, the more prepared you are for a loss control visit the more successful the visit will be and the further ahead your company will be for it. With practice and attention to the bigger picture of loss prevention and risk reduction, loss control visits can become an integral part of your company’s success.