What is a Loss Control survey & how does it help me?


If you get a call from Wawanesa’s Loss Control team to set up an on-site survey, you may feel a bit hesitant at first and unsure what it entails. The truth is, you might be pleasantly surprised by the helpful results!

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It may sound intimidating or even unnecessary, but having a survey from our Loss Control team can save you time, money and hassle. So what exactly is Loss Control, and what role does it play in the insurance process? 

To start, it’s worth noting that most major insurers have a Loss Control or Loss Prevention department. Typically, when you sign up for a new policy or when it comes time for renewal, the underwriter may request the Loss Control team to perform a survey. In a nutshell, they will be assessing any possible hazards on your property, such as electrical and plumbing system hazards, with the goal to help prevent or minimize losses in your home, business or farm.

“We’re not inspectors, and we’re definitely not code enforcers. We’re risk consultants,” clarifies Paul Johnston, Eastern Commercial Manager of Loss Control with Wawanesa Insurance. “We work with our clients and try to keep them from incurring a loss.”

“It’s a win-win situation. Loss Control is great for both the company and for our policyholders.”

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What happens during a Loss Control survey

Since Loss Control pertains to both commercial and personal insurance, it’s helpful for homeowners as well as those who run a farm, business or fleet operation to understand what happens during the process.

At Wawanesa, when the Loss Control team gets a request from underwriting for an on-site survey, they talk to your broker first before contacting you. Sometimes ‘ride-along’ surveys are conducted with brokers, or joint surveys are conducted with underwriters for training and educational purposes.

Through both the on-site survey and virtual surveys, our Loss Control team gathers pertinent information from you to provide risk-related advice that helps minimize or avoid loss. As part of this process, underwriters gain a greater understanding of the property being insured under the policy.

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A Wawanesa Senior Loss Control Representative conducts a home survey in Calgary, Alberta wearing his personal protective equipment

These surveys also provide significant value for you as the policyholder.

For example, when a Loss Control representative surveys a property, they provide transparent feedback on potential hazards that may have previously been unknown. You gain these insights and are then in a better position to action items that may have otherwise resulted in an insurable loss—plus avoid the inconvenience of downtime and any deductible costs.

Here’s how the on-site survey works

Once a member of our Loss Control team notifies your broker, they’ll call to schedule an appointment for the on-site or virtual survey. You’ll be able to arrange a convenient time to ensure the right person or people are available to show the team member around and answer related questions.

During an on-site appointment, the Loss Control rep will survey the property, ask relevant questions, take notes, measurements and capture photos with your permission. They look at a variety of factors, from building construction features to fire, liability and crime hazards—highlighting areas of excellence as well as conditions that may lead to a loss.

“We perform a different job than your broker,” says Johnston. “Loss Control’s purpose is to analyze exposures to loss and work with policyholders, brokers and underwriters in offering creative solutions. Once again, that becomes a mutual benefit.”

Contrary to what many people might assume an insurance person would be on site to do, it’s important to know that Loss Control’s job is not to recommend coverages. Rather, Loss Control’s role is preventative in nature—to assist you in preventing losses from occurring.

Conducting surveys during COVID-19

During the pandemic, Wawanesa’s Loss Control team is outfitted with personal protective equipment (PPE) to conduct on-site surveys, ensuring that surveys continue while respecting your safety and comfort level.

When on-site surveys are not possible, the team has the option of using a virtual survey platform. This includes a phone interview with you, followed by a smartphone-compatible link where you can provide photos and input additional information directly into the system.

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A Loss Control Representative in Moncton, New Brunswick​ inputs photos into Wawanesa’s digital platform during ​a home survey

Results of a Loss Control survey

Following the survey, our Loss Control team provides documentation to your broker and underwriter. This includes a recommendation letter with photos that highlights opportunities for risk improvement. Your broker can review that letter with you and discuss any questions or next steps if needed.

Our Loss Control team is always available for post-survey consultation, including clarification on recommendations or even advice on future building renovations or expansion projects (such as the addition of sprinkler protection or alarm detection).

Benefits of a Loss Control survey

“We’re there to help both the policyholder and the broker,” says Tyler Bjornson, Director of Loss Control with Wawanesa Insurance. “We’re helping to play that defensive line.”

“Most policyholders don’t have access to the technology we have, such as infrared cameras, and they’re benefitting from the team’s collective years of field experience,” Bjornson continues. “A loss prevented is always a mutual win, saving our policyholders from experiencing downtime, inconvenience and from paying their deductible.”

As Bjornson explains further, “The majority of policyholders do not maintain photo documentation of their building and contents. As an added side benefit, through our Loss Control process, survey photos are maintained on file and may be useful in the event of a significant loss or claim.”

When it comes to hazards, risks and losses, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure—and the Wawanesa Loss Control team is working with our policyholders, brokers and underwriters for mutual good.

 

Contact your broker to learn more about preventing losses to your home or business.

 

 


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