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As telematics have shown, the promise of the insurance Internet of Things (IoT) resides in its capacity to influence behavior in a way that reduces insured losses. Argo Group (Hamilton, Bermuda) has applied the principle to the creation of its new Argo Risk Tech Solutions set. The tools enable the insurer’s restaurant, grocery and convenience store owner clients to significantly reduce the frequency and severity of customer and employee accidents through behavior modification and the digital documentation of mission critical inspection processes.
Argo Risk Tech combines sensor-based location beacons and portable device-based software applications connected to the cloud. The applications guide designated workers in insured facilities to monitor all aspects of safety on a given premise, including checklist performance of safety activities and alerts. For example, depending on the type of facility, a worker might be directed to verify that floors are dry and clear of debris, or to check the temperature of soup terrines or prepared foods.
The range of Argo Risk Tech Solutions includes:
- ART-iWalk: Find the risk with a customized premises inspection that uses electronic location markers and smartphones or tablets.
- ART-iReport: Report incidents and allow managers to efficiently document customer incidents.
- ART-iReportWC: Minimize paperwork by allowing managers to efficiently document an employee incident.
- ART-iTemp: Monitor temperature ranges by using state-of-the-art Bluetooth wireless communication.
- ART-iINSPECT: Streamline inspection reports on a digital platform that relies on single-point-of-data entry.
An Ounce of Prevention
“Slip-and-fall accidents impact close to 25,000 people per day, costing companies over $30 billion per year; there is a tremendous opportunity to utilize the IoT to prevent accidents and cover costs,” comments Rooney Gleason, President of Argo Insurance-U.S. Grocery & Retail. “From a spill in the front lobby to a rising temperature in the cold section, we’re helping our customers fix the issues before an incident occurs.”
During the implementation process, Argo risk management specialists, apply their expertise in retail safety, claims and employee injury prevention to tailor the solution to the location. Argo then assists clients in installation and training to ensure a seamless, turnkey experience. “Every facility is somewhat different than the next one, so we custom design to reflect the unique risks of each client,” notes Argo’s Gleason.
Argo Risk Tech is like telematics in as much as they serve to reduce the probability of loss through transparency about user behavior. However, a more apt comparison for the way it works in detail might be automobile collision avoidance technology, which intervenes in real time to supplement the attention of drivers. However willing individuals may be to perform their tasks, they be distracted and forget some part of their routine. Argo Risk Tech takes forgetfulness, or any other distractions, out of the equation and supports workers in making their safety procedures habitual.
“When we apply the technology we find that workers may execute tasks roughly 50 percent of the time, but with management alerts and prompts, they quickly rise to between 70 and 80 percent,” Rooney relates. “Really, what we do is measure employee behavior.”
The Argo solution also transforms record-keeping for both users and the insurer. “So much record keeping that goes on in a retail grocery story, restaurant or convenience store, and our competition is still a piece of paper and a clipboard,” Rooney observes.
Argo spends a significant amount of time showing clients how they can use management data that is collected through the solution. “Prior to implementing Argo Risk Tech, they were just writing notes or keeping a log on paper and dropping them into a file,” he says. “Now they are collecting an incredible amount of data that can be used in many operational areas other than risk management.”
Drastic Reduction in Slip/Fall
Through the simple expedient of modifying worker behavior to consistently implement safety procedures, Argo Risk Tech results in precipitous drops in slip/falls and other common workplace accidents, according to Rooney. Compliance is key, of course, but the digital nature of the Argo solution ensures that it is precisely documented.
As for the efficacy of Argo Risk Tech, Rooney reports that their insured clients and as a result, Argo, have seen significant ROI in the reduction of the frequency and severity of incidents. “Our Clients who have utilized Argo Risk Tech for more than one year typically have seen losses and incident rates that are half those of clients that are not using the solution,” says Gleason.
“Not only does Argo Risk Tech substantially lower risk, lessen claims costs and help maintain safe environments for customers and employees, it also allows businesses to increase sustainability,” Gleason adds. “Because all monitoring and reporting takes place over smartphones and tablets, our clients see an average 10-15 page reduction of paper per day per location.”
Argo now offers Argo Risk Tech to businesses throughout the United States as part of what it characterizes as turnkey risk, claims and insurance programs for insured clients. The insurer also touts the offering as a new approach for broker/agent partners to bring a true added-value approach to the reduction of total cost of risk to their clients.