Headquartered in Mount Gambier, South Australia, K&S Freighters has been providing transportation, logistics, warehousing and fuel distribution services for more than 55 years. With operations in Australia and New Zealand, K&S has geographic and functional coverage second to none, and it controls one of the largest company-owned fleets in the region.
Helping businesses to move raw materials and end products, K&S has become a vital lifeline to industries Down Under. With the movement of goods, however, come associated risks that must be managed. We spoke with Fiona Johnston, insurance manager at K&S, about her company’s partnership with Aon to secure a comprehensive insurance program and its use of RiskConsole to transform manual operations into a more automated, data-driven strategy.
The K&S insurance program includes motor vehicle, Industrial Special Risks (ISR, also referred to as property coverage in other regions), various types of liability, and coverage for special transport exposures, such as marine cargo, goodsin- transit and carrier’s cargo liability. To secure coverage for this program, K&S has worked with Aon for more than seven years.
“Through this long-term partnership, Aon has come to understand our business very well and has helped us address insurance needs as our company continues to evolve,” commented Johnston. “In Australia alone, we employ approximately 950 drivers, and our fleet is close to 800 prime movers. This makes for a very large motor insurance program.
“In addition, we’ve grown significantly over the last few years. In 2010, we acquired Pacific Transport, and we just added Regal Transport to our business. Both acquisitions have enabled us to grow our presence in Western Australia and better address the transportation needs of mining industries. In essence, the nature of our business has stayed the same, but it’s the acquisitions that have driven coverage changes. At each step, Aon has helped us adjust our program,” said Johnston.
As K&S grew, Aon recommended the use of RiskConsole to help centralize and streamline the management of its claims, policy and risk information.
“At K&S, we self-insure and selfadminister our motor vehicle claims,” Johnston stated. “When I first came onboard as the insurance manager in 2008, I had already been working at K&S for over 13 years. My background was technology and accounting, so I was surprised by the manual insurance processes we had in place. The department lacked a central data platform, so existing processes weren’t the best, most efficient way to operate. Fortunately, K&S implemented RiskConsole in March 2009 to help streamline operations and to better manage our information.
“Previously, when a claim came in, we wrote it down in a ledger, and we opened a physical file folder. As a result, we stored a lot of documentation.
“We don’t handle a large volume of claims, but the number has increased as the company continues to expand. Claims costs can be significant. With RiskConsole, we can keep a diligent eye over claims as losses develop,” reflected Johnston. “And now, for many claims we simply open an electronic file within RiskConsole, which reduces paperwork and archiving. We recently finished importing our ISR and marine claims into RiskConsole, and we anticipate the same efficiencies for these claims.”
“We had also used various spreadsheets to track motor claim information. As a result, reporting was a nightmare,” said Johnston. “We had to gather and piece together data from various spreadsheets. It was time-consuming and not always accurate. Each time we created a report, the information we pulled together was open to interpretation, so we weren’t consistent in how reports were created.
“Reporting capabilities in RiskConsole are fabulous," Johnston continued. “We’ve created a more efficient and automated process. At the same time, the data is accurate and delivered much more quickly. For example, it used to take me three days to pull together a standard monthly report. Now, I can perform the same report in just a couple of hours.
“In addition, RiskConsole is connected to our fleet system and our employee database. As we add vehicles or new drivers, this information is automatically uploaded into RiskConsole, so we have the most up-to-date data,” said Johnston. “RiskConsole provides us with the flexibility to perform various types of reports, and to analyze information by various data elements, such as by branch or by state. That’s the beauty of RiskConsole—it’s easy to get the information we need.
“The capability to quickly look up information is another benefit,” she continues. “If we want to know if truck A was involved in an accident three years ago, or if a manager wants to know how many accidents driver B was involved in, we can find that information in a matter of minutes.
“As a business, K&S is focused on safety. RiskConsole has helped to identify problem areas,” Johnston said. “For example, I recently worked with the safety manager to quantify accidents and losses related to lane changes. Using this information, we initiated driver training to increase awareness about safely changing lanes to reduce potential accidents.”
“At renewal time, we can now feel confident that the information we’re sharing with our broker is accurate,” stated Johnston. “Using this data, Aon helps us negotiate the most competitive coverage, while helping us to balance premium costs with our level of retained risk.”
Overall, K&S has the reputation of being a well-run firm with an excellent loss history across all its lines of coverage. This stellar performance speaks volumes about the company’s safety, risk management and loss prevention programs. In fact, K&S has done such a great job at managing its motor vehicle claims, that at its last motor insurance renewal, Aon was able to help negotiate a 13-percent reduction in its aggregate deductible, while keeping premiums the same.
“Our department has embraced RiskConsole,” concluded Johnston. “We add quality data to the system, and as a result, the system has begun to work for us—providing our company and our Aon brokerage team with the information we need to achieve the best-possible results.”
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