When we discuss technology in risk we seem to focus on increased exposure and how we protect our assets and brand. Rarely do we see it as a solution to an exposure. Yes, a solution.

Just the other day as I was walking into a strip mall, I saw a maintenance worker block off an area of a sidewalk that needed repair. Not surprisingly – considering my line of work – I took notice of the area quarantined off and the sign placement which made risk visible from all directions. What came next was impressive. The worker took out a cell phone and snapped a picture of the area from a couple of different angles.

We hear risk managers tell their employees on a regular basis to follow this procedure, yet countless claims received don’t contain sufficient evidence to defend against liability. In this instance, something this simple could prove that the client did their due diligence, taking any subjectivity out of whether their actions in quarantining this area where appropriate. In addition, imagine if that client took the next step and reviewed these reports to ensure they met with their internal safety requirements. How impactful would that be? If there was something not in accordance with this company’s internal risk procedures, this step would allow the issue to be rectified in short order.

This is just one example of the use of technology to improve a risk program. There are many others that risk managers should be aware of and including as part of both their risk management programs and accident investigation protocols.

Some of these technologies include:

  • Cell phones
  • GPS devices, including those applications on cell phones that provide direction
  • Wearable technology (Google Glasses, Garmin watches, iWatches)
  • Personal drive camera
  • Integrated software that captures, stores, and reports on risk conditions (majority are available as apps for cell phones)
  • Telematic devices (vehicle plug-ins that record driver habits)
  • I-Pass, EZ-Pass, and other tool-based devices that record vehicle location
  • Security cameras

To optimize the use of this equipment for loss prevention, you need to identify how this technology could impact your risk management program and then set expectation of performance of this technology. For example: if you have a fleet of vehicles and install telematics devices in those vehicles that capture dangerous driving habits and don’t react, you’ll actually be placing yourself in a position of potentially willful and wanton conduct. Accordingly, it’s critical that behavior modification and strict adherence to the policy is met on a consistent basis. In that same scenario, if the dangerous driving is captured and a progressive discipline program is followed consistently, you’ll be either changing that driver’s behavior or replacing that driver with an individual who will be less likely to expose your company to loss.

Technology can be utilized to improve the accident investigation protocols within your company. However, your investigators need to know the what and the how. Internal investigation forms should include a question to require your investigator to look for technology and how to capture this in a meaningful manner. If an individual indicates something was captured on camera, can your employee secure their contact information and obtain a copy of the video? Would your employee know to ask for this information? When information is obtained, does your process include a “preservation of evidence letter” to the party with the media that you want to ensure is available?

In those situations where there is objective evidence to support the defenses cited, the overall cost of the claim is reduced or in some cases eliminated.  A simple program update utilizing technology already available that makes a large impact on outcomes? Sounds like a microphone dropping moment.

For more information, contact an MMA advisor.

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