Posts Tagged ‘Twitter’

Toronto Blue Jays, Pro Sports & Risk Management

December 24, 2016

Sure, it is the day of Christmas Eve and I have not written a blog in quite some time but…why waste time writing several hundred words if I only need 140 characters – sorry Twitter, not this time.

Why title the blog with 1 of my favourite sports teams and link to my occupation? It does catch your attention, right? What is so strange is that I had a full day to think and re-think how the two do link and figured I better include those non-Blue Jays and other teams and pro sports fans in here or I am limiting my potential readership. Besides, I am still seething at the thought of #Edwing (yes, #EE or Edwin Encarnacion as so many in Baseball know him by now) playing for the nearly-world champ Cleveland Indians – not upset with him but with Toronto management for ignoring the fans.

I have been following closely and reading the sports items since the end of the season, following Cleveland’s win over Toronto, and (I have to admit to being a baseball fan but even more a fan of the Jays since their inauguration) blame both sides in the contractual mess-up but more with Jays new management and their lack of understanding of the Toronto market, Canada AND the huge risk with the role of the dice they have played.  Yes, Kendrys Morales is a great catch but to think he is equal to the beloved EE is probably not going to happen.

Cleveland surprised many in reaching the World Series this year – the team had numerous injuries so what will a healthy team with EE look like? The Jays, on the other hand, had a pitching staff that remained healthy and didn’t make the World Series with EE so if injuries plague the team in 2017 (odds are that this will happen) and no EE – hmmm, 3rd, 4th or 5th place in the East division? I know that the 1-dimensional home run concept is not to my liking (it did fill the stands and energize fans) and it appears the team now is focusing less on that fan-drawer and a more multi-dimensional team but…my fear is loss of fans and the income accompanied by them.

What is mind boggling is that Toronto is not just Toronto’s or even Ontario’s team but Canada’s team – as Rogers reminds all of Canada – and not spending money to compete with Boston, New York, St. Louis (compare this city with the GTA and I just don’t see them more a top tier market) and Los Angeles (as a Tier 1 team should) sends a message to the country. The Jays draw fans wherever they go – Seattle, Minnesota, Detroit, etc. – and the past two years have seen more attention and attendance in 20 years! Why? “We” were winning and competing so, unless the gamble this off-season pays off, one can bet the risk will increase and income decrease proportionally. And that might mean the loss of players like Josh Donaldson who ignite the stands. Will Jays fans tolerate that?

The Jays are NOT the Maple Leafs where Toronto fans have been blindly loyal for 50+ years. Leafs fans have been hopeful for a Stanley Cup they have not seen since I was a child and continue to fill the arena and buy memorabilia which is where so much revenue is earned. The Jays learned (I thought) that lesson following the strike-shortened season in the mid-90’s – and sales of their hats, etc. are nation-wide and not just in Toronto so the discussion over whether they are a Tier 1 or Tier 2 market is moot. They are most definitely a Tier 1 market when winning but will be a Tier 2 market if losing. If Rogers and management continue to be like Scrooge then good-bye fans, once again.

Do you now see the link between Risk Management and pro sport and my beloved Jays? I hope Jays management will read this from a long-time fan, a very bewildered and perplexed consultant in risk management they might wish to contract when making such poor decisions on player, fan and attendance risk in the future.

Real Estate, Investing, Risk & Insurance

September 10, 2013

Following several meetings I have attended – as an observer – of various Real Estate Investment Forums, I decided that I should blog about some of the information and misinformation that I see being offered by experts in their fields when touching on my own expertise – risk and insurance.  Why?  Being in the business of sales, I must forgive them for trying to convince others to follow in their footsteps at being as successful as they are; I know how important it is to be contagious when selling but their excitement might give someone the impression that they know all and that their views are cast in stone when I know that they’re wrong.

Example, a very well recognized real estate agent recently mentioned about “his” contact and the “group” package for investors he uses.  Yes, it might be a very good program – sorry if I’m skeptical – but following 9/11, I’ve learned to read closely what is and is not included in an insurance policy coverage (from the definitions to exclusions and the legal descriptions).  I also know that any “program” – like the 80/20 rule – might be terrific for 80% of the people, 80% of the time BUT…what about the remainder?  Most insurance professionals tend to know less about risk and more about sales than what the public, business-owner or investor might think, especially those relative novices in the insurance industry (and there are far too many of those). 

When studying the Canadian Risk Manager (CRM) program, would you believe that insurance company underwriters or “risk managers” of companies like The Gap were in attendance but lacking were insurance brokers/agents, those professionals upon whom you rely for your information?  Risk involves understanding about currency, interest rates, market factors, contingent risk, etc. – NONE of which tend to affect the usual insurance policy nor reason for insurance salespeople to want to learn about risk since there isn’t any increased income to them – and not about selling insurance to a client or a prospective client!

Second example, another expert mentioned about the reasons “he” likes the previously mentioned group insurance package – yes, 90 days vacancy might be very important but that doesn’t mean one cannot buy coverage beyond 30 days in any other “in force” insurance policy – and that the buying power of “X” members ensures the best rates in the country?  Well, possibly, but the “X” was nearly 2X what the website for that organization shows as members.  I question where the figure originated since, again, this is misinformation for the insurance-buyer-investor who might be relying on those comments.  This expert is not in the field of insurance and should not be relied upon for that lack of understanding; all investors/buyers should look around and ask questions.  When that expert also downplays the delinquency risk of an investment, I wonder why 90 days vacancy is so important.  I worked in credit so I know this is a significant risk to any investor and one should NOT discount it when encouraging others to buy real estate as an investment – this is WRONG!  If there was never a delinquency risk and/or vacancy risk, would not every real estate investor be a millionaire and be driving up the value of real estate even further by wanting to outbid one another?

Following a phone call with a prospective client, I was surprised to hear that someone had researched the group plan and commented to me about the weaknesses in that policy.  Does everyone else research in this manner?  I know that most people don’t – having recently seen information from an insurance company that indicated nearly 25% of all commercial insurance buyers ask their lawyer or accountant for insurance information!  What accountant or lawyer will know as much about insurance as he/she should?  I don’t know any who don’t rely on an insurance professional friend for the answers because that is not their level of training and expertise.

I also had my eyes opened by a property manager I know; she didn’t realize that Tenants’ Vandalism could be purchased on Rental Units.  That individual commented on a Social Media site to the effect that damage by tenants could never be insured and this is absolutely wrong.  I have learned, with experience, to never say never in this business.  Many times, coverage can be bought – for a price!  Because I emphasize risk and discuss appetite for risk vs. risk transfer with clientele, I do understand what clients need and ensure they understand deductibles and risk retention on any investment of theirs.

Would you not prefer to deal with someone who represents your investment interests by knowing what you need, someone with a career in the financial services industry from banking to lending to insurance?  I have personal experience working with credit risk and currency risk; I’ve consulted with lenders and approved the compliance of insurance policies with loan agreements. 

As an insurance broker with a large and reputable brokerage, I can buy insurance for you – the right coverage for your individual needs – from most of the country’s insurance sources and I have the training of a recognized Risk Management program.  You need to put your faith and trust in someone who will represent you, in good faith, to be as professional as your accountant and lawyer!  Let’s talk!  I can be reached on Twitter @WRiskManager

Social Media and its impact on your business and mine!

October 26, 2012

Coming through one of my busiest seasons in several years offers some unique insights as I continually review what I do correctly and analyze how to improve.  Does Social Media have any impact on the “why” I have been successful recently?  YES, unequivocally! 

 

What I see, however, are people who want value but expect to pay the lowest insurance premiums for what they buy, meaning they usually obtain less than they want.  Unfortunately, what is so easily forgotten is that there are many differences between insurance policies and that cost should only be 1 factor!  What else should be considered?  How do “you” determine who you should be buying from and what you should be buying?  Do you like the salesperson or do you “trust” the individual advising you?  What should be important to you, believing the provider of your coverage or asking questions and evaluating the honesty and integrity and knowledge of that person?  How should you evaluate that person and the professionalism exhibited?    

 

One new client asked that I quote a second insurance policy because he valued my opinions.  What he didn’t know (and, apparently, hadn’t been explained by his prior insurance broker) was that the insurance company he is insured through increased his premium when he purchased the building from the previous owner.  This was due to the added risk that his “operating” business, as a tenant in the building, had on the property’s insurance. 

 

What value did I offer to this client?  We discussed Risk Management to reduce his potential for any insurance claim and also various deductibles, necessary and optional coverage, etc. to lower his insurance premiums.  I found many other insurance companies did not want to quote the building insurance and suggested that he be happy with what he had and he appointed me the broker for his business.  Knowing he will implement some of my suggestions will permit our brokerage to shop his renewal in subsequent years and maintain lower pricing for his insurance, a win-win for both of us. 

 

As for his “operation”, isn’t it nice that I can promote his business through my own online activities?  When my competition is reluctant to have an online presence on Twitter, Google+, Facebook, LinkedIn and Pinterest – well, how many of your customers or potential customers are using Social Media now?  Wouldn’t you like to connect with them or have someone, maybe a business partner, promote you to other businesses, increasing your sales and profit?

 

As an insurance broker, I know there are major differences between the “intermediaries” (insurance salespeople) and not just insurance companies and policies.  Offering my various and large online networks should assist you, especially in comparison with my competitors who are not online in any manner.  Additionally, I try to find information of importance and interest to you and disseminate in a timely manner so that you understand the many opportunities and various risks you are or may face in your business at the present time or in the near future.

 

Some of these risks include Occupational Health & Safety, Employment Practices, Human Rights Legislation, Business Continuity Planning, etc.  I am on the mailing lists of various law firms, consultants and governments, agencies and regulators to help you!  Some of these issues may involve insurance but many may only, indirectly, due to the changing environment concerning “risk”.  Imagine using contract workers, for example.  What if the employment agency doesn’t submit EI or W/T?  Do you know you can be held responsible, individually?  What can you do to avoid this?  Should you purchase additional insurance protection to cover in the event of something like this? 

 

Let’s talk!  If your insurance provider is not offering suitable professional assistance to you, maybe you need to make an immediate change?!

Looking for a true business partner who is interested in helping YOU succeed?

October 25, 2012

When navigating Highway 401 recently, I thought about work.  For me, this is easy and I soon forgot about the stresses of rush hour traffic on a Friday evening.  Driving 350 kms to visit my wife’s family, knowing that I’m going to enjoy a weekend feast fit for a king, also helped; anyone who knows me knows my appreciation of good food accompanied by some fine wine.

 

I can identify almost anything with the business of Risk Management and I saw many drivers who were distracted, inattentive to the point that if I was a member of our “illustrious men in blue”, it would have been so very easy to ticket drivers for violations other than speeding.  Glancing, as a defensive driver, makes it easy to see what vehicles I should avoid – the drivers who tend to stare at their laps instead of the “stop and go” traffic indicated to me that someone is paying closer attention to an electronic device (maybe a Blackberry?) or similar item.  Yes, I did see several drivers looking down for extended periods of time instead of through the windshield.

 

But that is not the reason for writing this.  I realized the last while that I have not been blogging and this has me wondering why?  To begin with, I don’t have a shortage of ideas – on the contrary, I have an abundance of thoughts that could be written about.  So what is my problem?  Is it time management?  I know that I need to set aside time – each day – to write for just a few minutes.  But this is the key item here!  Tweeting and posting to G+, FB, LI, etc. a lead-in to my blog takes much more time than just authoring the original article.  Pinterest is a fabulous tool but, somehow, I need to use it to increase my online visibility even more.  My “learning” about Social Media seems to be the true obstacle but I hope a manageable one that I will overcome in the very near future. 

 

I work with Canada’s “oldest insurance brokerage” but the 21st century brings so many opportunities that I need to relate how to use these technologies in my own business – identify my Vision, develop niches and work with those people and businesses who want my specialized skills and training to reduce their “total cost of risk”, not just their insurance premiums for this year but the risks of operating their business for the short and long term.  I live and work in “Canada’s Technology Triangle” and this means that my own knowledge and training has been focused on IT, Start-Ups and cutting-edge business ideas from Life Sciences to Bio-Tech and Environmental Industries.

 

If you think you have a business that is leading in your field, let’s discuss!  I will work with you to determine what your expectations of an insurance broker may be but also identify areas in which I can assist you with increasing your sales, profits and value.  Isn’t this what you really want from all your business partners? 

 

As an insurance broker/risk manager, I will be your partner because I don’t earn any income/profit from you if you don’t succeed!  As a business partner with you, we both derive benefit – mutual and beneficial, and isn’t this the best way to work with each other?

 

Addressing Reputation Risk, Handling Media and What If?

May 2, 2012

Recently, something came to my attention that I just wanted, desperately, to write about – media and reputation. 

This is an issue that could easily be headlined differently – something really catchy but…I won’t be drawn into what I remember once as media’s goal of shocking its audience to draw attention to an article (yes, I know that a larger audience and readership equates to greater profitability, even with blogging) but I’m not a reporter or editor – only an insurance broker/risk management consultant.  Because my purpose is to educate, however, I will better explain my choice of titles and topics below.

Gay Pornography – does that now catch your attention?  I didn’t wish to headline this article as such but could have easily included in my title since that is how this article came about.  I’m sorry for my version of shock tactics but there was an incident that took place where gay pornography was being broadcast, errantly, in place of regular television programming.  I don’t know if 3 minutes is an accurate amount of time but some media reported it as such – during a cable company’s daytime broadcast schedule (apparently, this was not the fault of the television station but that is still to be determined).  Now that I have explained, let’s commence with my purpose.

Why do I wish to write about this topic or, for that matter, reputation?  Well, I know how difficult it may be to avoid any and every risk in life – it is not reasonable or practical (though I did have a client who, for many years, described himself as “risk averse” and I still continue to wonder how his business remains profitable and expanding, if he truly is reluctant to assume any risk in business). 

What I want to highlight is how reputation and media risk can be handled differently by various individuals or businesses.  The incident that came to my attention did pique my Risk Management curiosity, especially when I read where a similar event like the above recently occurred, in another locale, and was curtailed in a very short timeframe (I read 30 seconds!). 

Did someone, as we say, fall asleep at the switch?  Was the system hacked into?  How could this have taken so long for anyone, working, to notice?  Was there negligence by an employee and/or management?  How will broadcast authorities now respond?  What about the audience?  What feedback will be caused and will there be financial losses due to advertiser(s) being upset and choosing other forms of marketing?  Will the advertiser(s) see adverse feedback from their own customers and, if so, will they seek recourse for financial and reputation claims from the cable broadcaster and/or television station?  You will now see that Risk Management entails a lot of questions – not all have simple responses but require considerable thought, contemplation and planning for what we all hope will never occur.

Let’s imagine any business facing a catastrophe of any kind and then how one is to address the media onslaught (did I forget to mention that the above happening was reported almost instantaneously, online?).  This should be the single most important lesson to be learned by my writing about this.  In somewhat recent local history that I recall, a manufacturer had a disgruntled employee enter the work premises, armed, and subsequently shot some co-workers, injuring and killing people.  Immediately, there occurred bedlam, media frenzy, with the police and emergency personnel responding.  Have you heard of Twitter and Google +?  Imagine your company’s name being mentioned negatively hundreds of thousands of times in a matter of minutes on Social Media! 

By having a plan of action, you could be prepared for the adverse publicity created by such an event and neutralize or maybe even generate positive attention by being pro-active in your management of such an unlikely but potential calamity.

Another incident a number of years ago was the situation with Tylenol.  The manner in which they addressed it – let me remind you that there will always be significant costs associated with any choice in your plan of action – was unique at that time and may now form the template for proactively handling similar events.  Your reputation should be the most important issue when deciding how your company will appear, following the public’s scrutiny and review, and Tylenol did exactly that – they considered their Brand and the value it had.  This will determine your overall future profitability!  You will need to assess the financial and non-financial damage which could impact lender lines of credit, regulatory agencies, sales by competitors, etc.  If you don’t agree that your reputation is of paramount importance in any decision you make or don’t choose to make then why not brand yourself generically?

By planning for the unknown (and, hopefully, what won’t ever take place), one must decide who the best professionals will be and take the necessary steps to devise a plan of action, in conjunction with your senior management personnel, accounting and legal professionals, PR experts, insurance providers, etc.  Why not let me assist you in determining who is best suited to assist your business?  I work with many key professionals who I gladly recommend in the fields of expertise they operate and I work in conjunction with them.