Growing up, my experience with the insurance industry was limited to my small town’s local agency. Unlike physicians, lawyers, accountants, and teachers where the public has a general knowledge base about the duties and responsibilities, insurance remained a mystery. Even while attending college, insurance as a profession never crossed my mind. It was not until after graduation that by virtue of job listings and Wikipedia, I discovered the many career avenues that insurance as an industry presents.
I entered the industry as a claims adjuster handling simple auto claims and worked my way up to handling more complex claims involving property damage in excess of $100,000 as well as claims involving litigation. Claims was certainly a crash course in insurance. Through my claims career, I gradually gained knowledge of loss causes and ways they could have either been prevented or their severity reduced. With this knowledge, I found myself wanting to be on the forefront and thought it would be great to have a job in which I could apply my claims knowledge to prevent accidents from occurring. That led me to apply for a loss control position.
As defined by The Institutes , a loss control consultant is someone who possesses a demonstrable knowledge and/or education in the arts and science of safety engineering and risk management. Other titles for this occupation include risk consultant, risk management professional, insurance safety specialist, and occupation health and safety specialist.
My typical day as a Loss Control Consultant involves inspecting facilities, factories, and in some cases equipment for areas with potential for accidents or property damage. After research and analysis, a determination of risk exposure and potential liability is made and risk control measures are developed in an effort to eliminate or reduce possible hazards. Information regarding operations and building construction is also gathered in order to ensure the underwriting department and decision makers have the best information to properly evaluate the account. This information is presented in the form of a report filled with photos and detailed description of operations, construction, and hazards.
What do I like most about my profession? I like the responsibility. As a safety and risk management professional I’m entrusted with the duty of helping to ensure products are made, packaged, and distributed in a safe manner; that premises are free of any unsafe or defective conditions; and workers can return home safely. Such responsibility, while appearing daunting, provides a certain level of fulfillment and serves as a reminder that I’m working as part of something larger than myself. The responsibility is further enhanced by the fact that I’m the eyes and ears of the company. The information I gather allows the underwriter to accurately evaluate the account to ensure sufficient premiums are collected which ultimately affects the company’s bottom line. I’m also the only face of the company that many of the customers will ever see.
I enjoy the flexibility of my work environment.I set my own schedule (within certain parameters). Having such flexibility allows me to achieve a work-life balance. Loss control is not a typical 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. office job; approximately 55-65% of my time is spent out in the field visiting the customers at their place of business. The remaining time is spent working from my home office. It’s great not having a morning commute.
I also like that every day is different. Being a consultant gives me a firsthand look at different manufacturing and production processes as well as being entrusted to sensitive operations information. Each customer has their own set of risks associated with their operations and no two businesses are ever exactly the same. As such, there is a great degree of range in what I will look at in a given week. I have looked at everything from biological research labs in New Mexico to candle manufacturers in Texas. No two days are the same.
While I happened to have wandered into the insurance profession, I have been honored to join the ranks of men and women who put forth efforts to ensure safety. It’s a career that has been challenging, rewarding and, most importantly, one that I enjoy.