Risk control phone surveys and annual reports can be cumbersome, but they don’t have to be impossible. I’ve identified some go-to links for the lines of coverage I most frequently survey for clients. The information provided by these free searches enable you as the risk control consultant to craft specific open-ended questions for the insureds or prospects you conduct surveys on. It shows that you have a grasp of what the company does and how they’ve fared with the regulators! You can also demonstrate value by coaching them on how to access these sites for themselves to verify their own records as well as their subcontractors, vendors, and other business partners.
The OSHA Establishment Search enables you to search for a company’s OSHA inspection and violation history. Use a minimum amount of the company’s name information for a better search, for example “Abby Ferri Construction Company” should be shortened to “Ferri” or “Ferri Construction” to ensure relevant results are found.
If a company operates in one state, you can narrow the search to one state. Companies in state plan states like California may be subject to multiple inspections just for starting new work, usually, these inspections are for license or certification reasons only, and no violations are issued. It may be useful to choose the option view only the inspections that resulted in violations to narrow the search results.
When researching a company that has multiple additional named insureds or entities, be sure to look up each entity! Often, a holding company will not have inspection or violation activity, but the individual entities or subsidiaries will.
The MSHA Mine Data Retrieval System is a great resource to use for companies that own, operate, or conduct work at mining sites. Even if a company states they do not conduct much mine work, you will be able to verify that using the MDRS.
Use a simple Google search to look up news articles and press releases about companies. If there are severe claims or fatal incidents, reputable news sources can provide more details.
General Liability, Product, Pollution
The EPA ECHO search is useful but can be tough to narrow down. Use as much detail about the company’s name and location to narrow down the search results, this is the opposite of my advice for the OSHA Establishment Search! When you do get a “hit” on an enforcement action, the site provides many details if you keep clicking hyperlinks. I have been able to find very specific spill incident or deficient program information using EPA ECHO, which allows me to ask detailed questions of the insured or prospect, ultimately leading to a nice report for underwriting.
For companies with a DOT regulated fleet, the FMCSA SAFER site’s Company Snapshot is a must-search resource. If you know a company’s DOT number, you can easily find the right SAFER report. If not, use the same advice as the OSHA Establishment Search to find the company, you can further narrow down by location on the next step. The SAFER site allows you to download the entire SAFER Safety Measurement System (SMS) file in Excel, which is often a great addendum to a risk control report, especially with large fleets or fleets with a large amount of inspections.