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Keven Moore: Change is good — but include your insurance agent to go in the right direction

What is the definition of heaven?

Well, for me I could say – for a brief time until Bud Selig and Major League Baseball woke me out of my dream – it was the day I was hired at Roeding Insurance in 2001 and later learned that we insured the Cincinnati Reds and they needed my loss control assistance.

As a loss control consultant, I have been in and out of all sorts of businesses and industries, adding a welcome variety to my workday. I’ve seen the good, the bad, and the ugly. I’ve inspected everything from sewer plants where I watched a machine screen out the used condoms and tampons (nicknamed torpedoes in that industry) to rendering plants where they melted down discarded animal flesh and parts to make fuel and lipstick. I’ve walked auto manufacturing plants, plastic injection molding plants, apparel manufacturers, steel mills, construction job sites, hotdog meatpacking plants, nursing homes, schools, movie theaters, resorts, and, yes, the old Cincinnati Red’s house of worship, the old Riverfront Stadium.

As a huge Reds fan growing up watching and rooting for the Big Red Machine that included the likes of Johnny Bench, Pete Rose, Joe Morgan, Tony Perez, Dave Concepcion, George Foster, Ken Griffey, and Cesar Geronimo – I was amazed that I was now being paid to attend professional baseball games, as I walked and crawled through every square inch of the stadium looking for safety hazards. I even stopped to pinch myself a couple of times that first year.

The old Riverfront Stadium

I walked the very same sacred hallways that Sparky Anderson once took to the field to reach his outdoor office. I was able to sit in the same dugout as I pretended to call it work. I once even had the opportunity to look out the old backstop door behind the catcher at Riverfront Stadium, as I watched future Hall of Famer Ken Griffey Jr. bat against the Cubs.

As a kid, I had always wondered what it would be like to watch a game from that vantage point. Then years later I actually got to stand out in the middle of a dirt field where the pitcher’s mound stands today, as I watched 100-plus construction workers build the new Great American Ball Park.

All good things must come to an end, as I realized I was still living a mortal life. The MLB decided to change things up and go into the insurance business on their own, by forming an off-shore captive and forcing all the baseball teams to join. The sad part about it was that we still offered better competitive prices and it actually cost the smaller clubs like the Reds more to join but saved the larger clubs.

The one thing that remained the constant between all these different industries and places of business, was that change happens often and if our clients aren’t careful such change can negatively affect the bottom line. It takes a trained eye to spot those changes to best protect a client’s risk management risk exposure.

Early in my career we also insured a very large furniture retail company with several locations. Years before this client had hired a general contractor (GC) to build a large addition to their warehouse to accommodate their growth and expansion. Unfortunately involving their insurance agent into the equation was an afterthought.

As it turns out the GC was somehow able to skirt the fire suppression system requirements and installed a weaker, cheaper system for the intended fire load when they moved in, but it didn’t take into account that this company was planning on installing taller storage racks a few months after they moved in.

Unfortunately, nobody caught this deceptive tactic during the construction phase.

Then a few years later the insurance carrier on the risk finally discovered the inadequacy and immediately issued a non-renewal notice on their policy, because of the potential huge loss exposure. After much debate and arm twisting, our client eventually had to upgrade the sprinkler system and install a fire pump to strengthen the sprinkler system to the tune of over $150K.

Another example of potential costly change occurred a few years later when a client who was experiencing substantial growth did happen to remember to include us into the equation at the 11th hour, just before pulling the trigger on a new long-term lease agreement. As it turned out the existing sprinkler system for the new building was inadequate for their intended occupancy. By remembering to include us into the decision process, they were able to go back to renegotiate a lower lease rate with the property owner to help off-set the cost to upgrade the sprinkler system.

In your business or even in your personal life, risk exposure changes as life does.

As the CEO of your family or home, unexpected or even unnoticeable changes can affect you greatly if you don’t pay attention.

To properly protect your business or family remember to include your insurance agent in all major life-altering decisions. With the exception of Flo from the TV commercial, insurance agents sometimes get a bad rap as being boring or square, but they are the professionals and can save you a lot of headaches and dollars if you let them.

So remember:

To call your insurance agent for life-changing events such as growth opportunities, business diversification and new product lines that come online.

In your personal life,
if you are planning a move, getting married or divorced, or even if your kid is moving out or back in, call your agent. The amount of insurance you need and the items you want to insure will change.

As your financial health improves, you may even want to assume more of the risk by self-insuring more of that risk by increasing the deductible to lower your premiums.

When purchasing a big ticket item for your business or home, the first call you should make is your insurance agent. In some cases, you will need to buy a floater as many times policies will limit the amount you can collect on a loss to a big ticket item. In the case of something new, save the bill of sale with your inventory, and then fax a copy to your insurance agent. If the item is older, have an appraisal done. Again, save one copy and send another to your agent. That way, you’ll never have to worry about proving you owned an item, and there will never be a dispute over what it’s really worth.

Keep pace with inflation. This is especially important with a homeowners policy. It may have cost you $100,000 to build your home 10 years ago, but it might cost $120,000 to replace it today. Many companies have an inflation guard, which covers the increasing cost of rebuilding. When your policy comes up for renewal, talk to your agent to verify that your coverage amounts are still realistic. And when you make an improvement, add it to the total.

Change always presents new opportunities, if you embrace it early enough you can visualize the opportunities that are being presented. If you keep your head buried in the sand wishing for the opposite, you usually miss those opportunities and can make very costly mistakes you will have to live with.

Change is inevitable – except a vending machine – and most of them have changed and how you have to use a credit card. Winston Churchill once said, “There is nothing wrong with change if it is in the right direction.” As for me, I’m still waiting on an apology from MLB Commissioner Bud Selig for messing up my dream, as that change was very traumatic for me.

Be My Friends!

Keven Moore works in risk management services. He has a bachelor’s degree from University of Kentucky, a master’s from Eastern Kentucky University and 25-plus years of experience in the safety and insurance profession. He is also an expert witness. He lives in Lexington with his family and works out of both Lexington and Northern Kentucky. Keven can be reached at kmoore@roeding.com.

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