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Making a Solid Case for Safety

University Business, July/August 2012

Those at colleges and universities who have helped implement moneysaving safety programs offer some tips on how to begin persuading officials to get serious about safety. First, talk to all decision makers, including campus risk managers all the way up to vice chancellors.

Erike Young, director of Environmental Health & Safety at the University of California Office of the President, says whether the institution is self-insured like UC or part of an insurance pool, the institution’s insurance premiums can be reduced by working with its actuary.

Mark Priven, principal at Bickmore Risk Services, recommends that those interested in overhauling their safety programs for savings start with a pilot safety program.

A major hurdle is the one-time cost to get started.

Even though it would result in savings for many years down the line, it’s hard to get over that initial hump to make that savings,” Priven explains. “What we did was give credit up front for the program during the year so they didn’t have to bear the full cost of implementation.”

Priven says an actuary has to deeply understand a school, and the risks associated with any interventions. Fortunately, UC’s campuses individually proposed solutions, which were vetted by the system’s Office of the President before they were presented to Priven. He also suggests a school persuade an actuary to buy in to the idea.

“In my case, I have a professional accreditation,” he explains. “I have to be careful that everything I do is professional. You don’t want to strong-arm someone into this. You have to make sure they understand and believe in the program.”

From there, an actuary would likely make a conservative estimate of how much a school would save.


Priven says once costs and the number of lawsuits drop, the savings are exponential. “Safety is the new true win-win situation.”


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