One of the new “games” to play in reputation management is to suggest your business is in some way friendly to the environment. An increasing percentage of the population believes you run a better business if it is more sustainable and “green”. In this, there’s actually an ironic benefit. Insurance companies also believe you should run your business in ways that reduce risk. This means keeping all your policies, processes and procedures under review to ensure they are safe.
If you find ways to reduce the risk of claims, the insurer will respond with discounts. So, for example, your business may benefit if both the public access and the employee-only parts of your premises are redesigned in a more environmentally friendly way. If you use paint that does not fume and has reduced levels of toxicity, this reduces any risk of allergic reactions and illnesses.
Using natural light wherever possible, fitting LED lights and generally using power-efficient equipment reduces heat and the risk of fire. It also makes the premises more comfortable and popular with customers. Ask your insurer whether there are incentives to upgrade the building by fitting energy-efficient systems. If you comply with the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards, the Insurance Information Institute reports that, as from 2010, there are more than twenty insurers offering up to 10% discount on premium rates. One of the factors you might want to consider is the use of solar or wind power. Ignoring the capital cost to produce enough electricity to allow you to “go off the grid”, one of the main worries is the risk of outages. Some insurers are now offering specialized business interruption coverage to boost confidence.
When it comes to the vehicles used in the business, some of the commercial auto insurers offer discounts if you buy or lease hybrids. Even though you may not be impressed by the claimed threats of global warming or climate change, the insurance industry is firmly on the side of reducing emissions. The better the fuel-economy of your fleet, the lower the premium rates are likely to be. Similarly, the idea of pay-as-you-go will both save you money on the premium rates if you reduce milage to the absolute minimum and persuade your employees to drive more safely. The more safely and efficiently you run the fleet, the lower the premium payments. It also makes an excellent add-on to your marketing to show how much you care about the environment and that you are committed to reducing America’s dependence on imported oil. If you build environmental factors into your current risk management system, there’s a real chance of improving your bottom line, negotiating discounts on your business insurance rates, and giving yourself some marketing copy that will enhance your reputation with green customers. In this instance, there’s no reason why your skepticism about climate issues and other environmental factors should stand in the way of improved profits. Talk this through your your business insurance advisor to find out what your state’s insurance industry has on offer if you do decide to become more eco-friendly.