How the new digital way of working has found its way into the world of GrECo Risk Engineering ─ ensuring the best support for GrECo clients in the future.

By now, we are used to many restrictions that this pandemic has brought. Risk and insurance management has not been spared either. Fortunately, most classic risk transfer activities are very suitable for home office and online meetings.

However, one very essential area of GrECo Risk Engineering (GREG) poses a particular challenge: the performance of risk surveys of operational site risks and the preparation of the corresponding risk reports as a basis for property and business interruption insurance. Comprehensive, detailed and up-to-date risk information is indispensable for the design of the corresponding insurance solutions, today even more than in the last decades with a comparatively soft market environment.

The pandemic has accelerated the hardening of the insurance market. In many cases, this means that without high-quality risk information, capacity cannot be purchased or can only be purchased at very high cost. Travel restrictions, the lockdown, and the understandable caution of many companies only allow very limited appointments at their own operating sites which makes it difficult to obtain high-quality risk information.

Special measures in special times

In the past year, replacement strategies emerged to provide the best possible support to national and international companies. In addition to traditional risk survey services with a pure on-site presence, GREG also focused on “hybrid” surveys, i.e. a combined approach of an online meeting followed by a personal site visit. Particularly abroad, “remote” models, i.e. purely digital visits, have already gained acceptance in the past year.

Hybrid is the trump card

The hybrid approach aims to minimize face-to-face contact and avoid large group meetings. Good preparation for the meeting is essential for success and largely outweighs any disadvantages compared with a purely face-to-face meeting. Experience shows that discussions on topics such as maintenance and repair, business continuation, and financial data are generally very well suited to virtual meetings. The on-site appointment takes place close in time to the online meeting so discussed information is still present. Care must be taken to keep the group small, as all internal areas are visited. This approach will continue to play a role in the future in order to achieve effective results very efficiently, even during the initial inspection of new locations.

Remote as an alternative or for follow-up

“Remote” risk survey services, i.e., fully virtual site analyses, are used when travel or visits are not possible due to pandemic constraints. Again, GREG starts with an online meeting and, as a first step, undertakes a detailed discussion of the available information and documentation.

What is new is that a detailed route for the virtual walk-through is planned during the meeting. GREG’s risk engineers work with the plant manager to determine critical or relevant infrastructure and other areas of interest. A responsible person at the site then walks all areas according to the plan, providing a live video stream.

The remote model is especially suitable for follow-up visits, if good site plans are available and ideally the people in charge on the site are familiar with the process of such visits. The equipment that is suitable for such video streams are, for example, cell phones using Messenger, Google glasses or GoPro cameras. Some of these devices require a WLAN connection, others work via mobile communications. It is also not impossible that certain exposed locations such as basement areas or more distant parts of the company premises cannot be covered if transmission problems occur. Using purely digital recordings such as video streams, it is incomparably more difficult to compile complete risk reports including recommendations. However, such reports are quite suitable and very helpful to provide a property insurer with up-to-date feedback on site risks as a follow-up.

What remains of the pandemic?

On-site, hybrid or remote risk survey services. The pandemic has created many forms of innovation, including in risk management. The GREG remains a toolkit of instruments that can be targeted in the future as needed or adapted to the situation.

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Markus Husa

Risk Consultant

T+43 5 0404 895