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The Utah Gumshoe: Three Small Business Risk Management Tips

  • November 02, 2016
  • by Scott Fulmer

The Utah Gumshoe: 3 Small Business Risk Management Tips

Listen: 3 Small Business Risk Management Tips

Private investigators work with small business owners in a variety of ways. If you own a private investigation company then you’re also a small business owner yourself. Running a small business is not for the faint of heart. In fact, it’s like juggling a pillow, bowling ball and a chain saw, all at the same time. In other words, it’s not easy. A big part of it is risk management; which essentially means identifying the specific risks inherent in your type of business and then doing what you can to mitigate those risks. To that end, consider these 3 small business risk management tips:

Tip #1: Don't Rely Solely on Your Insurance Company

I know. You purchased the insurance so you don’t have to worry about risk. But the truth is it’s your business and your responsibility first. And when it comes to the insurance company you’re just one customer out of of tens of thousands of customers; hence, the need for these 3 small business risk management tips. You really can’t afford to leave everything to the insurance company. If you end up having too many theft claims or fraudulent workers compensation claims it could lead to a considerably higher monthly premium or worse, your policy being cancelled altogether. So what do you do? You get proactive, that’s what you do. For example, you conduct background investigations on new employees to lower your risk of employee theft. You install security cameras and follow up on exception reports to prevent inventory shrinkage. You have clear procedures for workplace accidents. And you implement security measures to reduce shoplifting. As you can see, these 3 small business risk management tips are just the beginning.

Tip #2: Today's Employee of the Month is Tomorrow's Workers' Comp Problem

So you have to be prepared. You should have a clear policy for dealing with workplace injuries. Employees should be constantly reminded that injuries must be reported immediately. If it requires an ER visit or hospitalization make sure a manager rides in the ambulance with them or takes them there. And make sure you visit them in the hospital. Employees that become injured can begin to feel as if the company doesn’t care about them. Which can lead to them becoming openly disgruntled, which can lead to malingering (which is exaggerating the injury or purposefully dragging out the recovery time) or even lead to false injury claims. Statistically, the newer the employee the more likely the workers comp claim is fraudulent. And also make sure that your managers are not tolerating unethical behavior by employees who are otherwise producing good results and making the company money. You’re just asking for a problem. The longer the employee is out on workers comp the less likely they will return to work in a full-time capacity. Providing injured employees a part-time light duty alternative can help reduce malingering. And finally, the HR department should be use the annual anniversary of an employee’s hire date to verify their home address, telephone numbers and other contact information. I would recommend you update their employee identification at the same time and take a new photograph every year. You should also require employees to maintain a parking permit at work that will allow you to keep track of the color, year, make and model of the vehicle that they drive to work. All of this information will be needed by a private investigator for a future workers comp claim investigation. You might as well have it current and at the ready. It’ll significantly reduce the time and money investigators often take “re-inventing the wheel” in the field as they attempt to come up with this information on their own.

And finally, the last of the 3 small business risk management tips:

Tip #3: Liability Claims–It's Not a Matter of if, it's a Matter of When

At some point a customer is going to slip and fall in your business. Maybe one of your drivers will cause an accident. You will more than likely be a victim of personal injury fraud. Make sure you’re in compliance with OSHA guidelines and that your employees understand company procedures involving accidents. You can go over all of this in your monthly safety meetings. You are having monthly safety meetings, right? When accidents do occur never admit fault. But do seek proper medical attention for the injured party. If a loose rug or some other item contributed to the accident fix is right away. Make an effort to improve the situation. Security cameras in the workplace are an excellent means to help mitigate these types of claims. I have one client that owns a chain of convenience stores and went so far as to install security cameras in the beer coolers (walk-in refrigerators.) This has helped lower claims from both vendors and customers. Of course, cameras alone will not prevent fraudulent claims. A good private investigator can conduct surveillance on a personal injury claimant and head of a costly claim. While the insurance company may come along and hire an investigator several months down the road, you don’t have to wait for them to do so. You can hire one on your own shortly after the accident. After all, it’s your business (see Tip #1). A good private investigator can obtain covert video of the claimant engaging in activities outside the scope of their alleged injuries over a protracted period of time. And that, my friend, will save you two of your most precious resources: time and money.

These 3 small business risk management tips are not necessarily the most important but they will help you reduce the risk inherent in your business.

Until next time,

This is Scott Fulmer, the Utah Gumshoe, reminding you the game…if afoot!

About The Utah Gumshoe Podcast

Scott B. Fulmer The Utah Gumshoe

The Utah Gumshoe Podcast follows the real-life exploits, riveting case stories, investigative tips and insightful advice of Scott Fulmer, The Utah Gumshoe. Scott is a 20 year veteran Utah private investigator, surveillance expert and President/CEO of Utah Gumshoe, a private investigation firm based in Salt Lake City.

He has written numerous articles on investigative and surveillance techniques that have appeared in and other industry journals. He is a decorated combat veteran of the Persian Gulf War where he served with the famous 2nd Armored Division (Hell on Wheels). Whether you're a novice or an experienced investigator this is the podcast for you.

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