Charles Bernier, president of ECBM, joined the firm in 1984 and later purchased it in 2001. The firm has doubled in size under his leadership. Bernier has helped ECBM develop service capabilities and create standards and methods for monitoring the consistent delivery of services. He graduated from Philadelphia University with a bachelor of science in business administration.
Q. How can a business determine the risks it faces?
The first step is to talk to your insurance broker and determine if your insurance broker has some sort of a procedure that they can come in and do an analysis of your particular business. If they don’t, I think you should find one that does. They’ll come in, and ask a lot of specific questions about your business and go through a step-by-step process to determine risk. They have to have a procedure; it can’t be just off the cuff.
Q. Are there ways to save money on risk management?
The answer is yes, and the process would be to evaluate the risk and make sure you understand what the costs of the risks are. We’re getting back to management. If you, for example, take a claim and manage the claim process, you will ultimately reduce the cost of the claim and, by doing that, reduce the cost of risk transfer. From a savings standpoint, it’s very important to look at the values of whatever you’re insuring and understand if the values are too high perhaps there’s savings there. If your insurance broker is not actively speaking to you about this on a quarterly basis you need to contact them and say, ‘I want to re-evaluate what I’m covering.’ You don’t want to wait a year.
Q. How can a company benefit from a long-term relationship with its broker?
I think the way you benefit from that is your broker almost becomes an outsource of risk management. They become part of your team and they understand not only your company but your industry, so they’re acting in a proactive manner to help you reduce risks and contain costs.