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What’s in a name? Plenty!

Do you provide loss prevention, risk control, or something else? It may sound like a frivolous question, but how we define what we do is very important. Without a clearly articulated identity, it’s difficult to communicate the value that we bring to our organizations and to explain to newcomers why they should choose our profession as a career. The problem became apparent during a session at our 2016 E&S Loss Control Executive Forum.

Kim Cavallero, director of Social Media and Communities for The Institutes, was discussing The Institute’s InsureMyPath initiative to promote insurance careers to high school and college-aged individuals. The career roles page on the initiative’s website had descriptions for actuary, agent, broker, underwriter, claims professional, and data scientist, among other titles. For us, the title “loss assessment and control” was used. Upon clicking through to the career description page itself, we were also given the title of “the sentinels of stuff.”

One reason given for choosing the title “loss assessment and control” was the lack of consistency in how insurers referred to service providers within their companies. An informal survey of forum attendees provided evidence of this. In a group of 33 executives—all performing highly similar job functions—
11 different titles were used to describe the business units that they led. The individual titles were variations of five basic themes:

  • Loss Control
  • Loss Prevention
  • Risk Control
  • Risk Engineering
  • Risk Management

The occupational employment statistics (OES) collected by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) show a similar disconnect. In May 2015, insurers employed more than 1.1 million workers. This included 118,940 claims adjusters, examiners, and appraisers; 55,600 insurance underwriters; and 9,480 actuaries. All in all, the industry employed people in more than 350 different occupations. However, nowhere on this list will you find loss control professional, since the BLS does not define such a category. Instead, insurers employed health and safety engineers, occupational health and safety specialists, construction and building inspectors, management analysts, technical workers, and numerous other individuals to identify, assess, and control risks.

Perhaps the lack of a single defined category simply shows the diverse range of knowledge and expertise that we bring to the industry. A person evaluating property for potential loss exposures has a different skill set from someone who improves the safety of a worksite or who’s asked to help manage liability risks. This diversity also creates a challenge for us to create a consistent message as we look to attract new workers to perform our roles.

E&S would like you to be part of this discussion and take a short, two-question poll. We’ll share the results in a future blog. This is an important topic and something we urge you to think about. After all, if we don’t define ourselves, we let others do so for us.

Please share our blog with your colleagues in loss control, risk engineering, loss prevention, risk control, risk management, and any other areas you feel appropriate. The more responses we receive, the better we can serve your needs. For more information on E&S, please visit our website.

Thad Nosal

Thad Nosal is Director of Engineering and Safety Service at Verisk – insurance solutions.

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