In order to provide continued value added services for our clients, our insurance policies offer comprehensive in-house risk management services. At the foundation of our risk management approach is a commitment to working in partnership with property owners to create comprehensive risk management strategies.

As part of our risk management services we provide on-site risk management surveys, which provide opportunities for owners to work with our Risk Management Advisors to review areas of risk at their business. Our on-site risk management surveys are collaborative in nature and are extremely important to identify any potential risks, develop strategies for claims mitigation, and ensure proper building valuation for your insurance policy.

Here are the 10 things to expect in a Risk Management Survey:


1. Anticipate a phone call to schedule the appointment.

Verbal two-way contact is the best way to communicate with our clients, and we will always try to send a confirmation email after the phone call to provide a bit of information about the survey, and remind you about the appointment.


2. On the day of the appointment, expect a visit at the scheduled time.

The duration of the survey can vary based on a number of different factors, and don’t worry if you need to take breaks to speak with customers or take important phone calls. We fully understand that you need to run a business, and try to be as undisruptive as possible.


3. Be prepared to answer a few questions about the building.

These are general construction questions such as:  what year was the building built? What type of building materials were used?  What type of heating/air conditioning is in place? Etcetera.  We also ask about renovations and additions to the building, and other pertinent questions such as, “Does the building have heritage designation?”

This is also when we collect fire protection (e.g. how many fire extinguishers?) and security information (e.g. how many security cameras?).


4. Be prepared to answer a few operations questions.

We try to collect as much information about the operation of the business as possible.  This includes physical (e.g. number of rooms in a hotel), financial (e.g. how much cash is on hand?), and liability (e.g. does the bar/restaurant have a liquor liability policy?).


5. Building walk-through.

While we do not always have to be accompanied while we walk-through the building to take photos, it does help since access to key areas like mechanical/electrical rooms is often necessary (and these rooms are often locked).  During the walk-through, we will also measure the building (or this is sometimes done beforehand), and scan the main breaker panels with infra-red technology.


6. Identifying and summarizing recommendations.

During the visit, if hazards are identified, the RMA will recommend solutions to mitigate or manage the risk.  There are too many recommendations to list every single one here, and sometimes the risk is so unique that we need to generate a specific, distinctive recommendation. But here are some examples just to give you an idea:

  • Area mats should be provided at the front entrance to avoid slip/fall injuries.
  • Fire extinguishers should be provided for every 2500 square feet, in prominent locations near fire exits, and important areas like laundry rooms and mechanical rooms.
  • Combustibles should be a minimum of 36 inches away from heating appliances and electrical panels.
  • Emergency exit signs should be illuminated to provide greater safety during fire emergencies.

You will notice an emphasis on fire protection, however, all aspects of the business will be examined and assessed.  Building, crime, liability, etc. could all potentially pose different types of risk/hazards. At the end of the visit, the RMA will quickly go over the recommendations again, to ensure understanding and summarize the survey.


7. Education and counselling.

We often provide bulletins, flyers and pamphlets that can be read, distributed to employees, or posted to help educate and guide commercial insurance clients towards a safe and claim-free environment.


8. Letter from underwriting regarding any possible recommendations.

After the survey, you should receive a letter or email from detailing the recommendations of the survey.  Recommendations are categorized as either:  desirable (no deadline, and is basically optional/food for thought), important (should be completed within 30 to 60 days), or critical (should be complied with immediately, i.e. within 5 days).


9. Risk management follow-ups.

The RMA (risk management advisor) or your CSR (customer service representative) will follow-up on a recommendation to ascertain if it has been completed.


10. Re-inspection.

We do our best to revisit clients after a certain number of years to re-assess the property/business.


We’re always here if you need us.  Whether you need customer service, or have a claim, we’re available 24/7.  Insurance is intended to help share your risk, so you can focus on your business/life and not worry about the future.

The information provided in this blog is intended to be general in nature and should not be taken as advice or as a recommendation about insurance.

Western Financial Group Insurance Solutions

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