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Risk Analysis and Evaluation.

The risk management process involves a series of steps: risk identification, risk analysis and evaluation, risk control, risk financing, and risk administration. Each of these steps is dependent upon the other and that the entire process is active, fluid, and constantly changing. However, the risk management process doesn't work very well unless the camp director/risk manager gathers data -- information about incidents and accidents from operations -- that can be quantified, analyzed, and evaluated. This data, which takes on new meaning through the analysis and evaluation process, leads to new risk identification, fosters risk control (safety and loss prevention efforts), and challenges how you finance risk (buy insurance, retain the risk through deductibles, transfer it in a contract), which in turn redefines how you manage the whole process.

Incident vs. Accident

An incident is generally considered to be an event specific as to date and time that could have resulted in injury to people, damage to property, or financial loss to the business. Professionals in experiential education and in organized camping have characterized incidents such as this as "near misses." Incidents occur often in business. Unfortunately, managers are not always on the alert, so some incidents are not recognized as such. On the other hand, an accident is an incident that results in unintended injury to people or damage to property that will cause a loss to the enterprise.

Capturing data about where, when, and how incidents and accidents occur at camp is critical to the success of the process. The detail of each situation is the fuel needed to run the risk management engine.

Sources of Information about Incidents and Accidents

Camp directors can obtain information about incidents and accidents from many sources, such as from their insurance company and from camp staff.

Insurance reports

One of the best sources of information on incidents and accidents is claims information from your camp's insurance carrier. All insurance companies make claims information available to customers on request. Known as loss runs, or loss experience, these documents usually capture information such as the annual premium, the type of policy, policy number, date of loss, date the loss was reported, name of the claimant, the type of loss (e.g. broken arm, sexual misconduct, windstorm damage), a claims adjuster's estimate of the dollar amount necessary to settle the claim, and the estimated expenses of adjusting the claim (e.g. attorney's fees, investigators fees).

In addition, information about whether the claim is paid and the matter closed or open and still pending is available. Each claim shown on the loss runs reports has a story, which is where the real value resides for the camp director/risk manager and the risk analysis/evaluation process.

Camp directors should be obtaining loss runs reports at least annually on all their insurance coverages, especially on property, liability, automobile, workers compensation, and camper accident medical insurance coverage. This information should be obtained from your current insurance carrier and from all prior insurers. When there are no more open claims on your record from the prior carrier, you need this report only from your current insurer.

Health center log

Another source of valuable information on incidents and accidents is the health center log. This record represents a wealth of information about what is happening at camp. A daily review of the log will provide the camp director/risk manager with important information. Overtime, patterns may become evident, which may lead to further analysis, investigation, and action. The camp nurse is an excellent resource for the camp director and can be a valuable partner in gathering information about incidents and accidents to fuel the entire risk management process.

Camp incident reports

Some camp directors have established a procedure for capturing information about incidents that occur at camp. This can also be a very valuable source of information since these incidents are typically situations where events did not go as planned, and except for good luck or quick thinking on someone's part, probably would have resulted in accidents where someone was injured or property was damaged.

Generally, these incident reports capture data about when the incident occurred, including the time of day, and include the type of activity, location of the incident, who was involved, age range of participants, who was responsible, equipment in use and how it functioned, weather, how safety issues/plans worked, and what happened. The objective of incident reports is to identify the cause of the incident. They tend to be narrative, take a 20/20, retrospective view, and provide some of the best opportunities for learning. They also provide terrific material for in-service training programs for staff during the summer.

Using the Data

Fortunately, today you don't have to be an actuary or a computer expert to develop a database. Many user-friendly software programs are available to help you organize the data and make some sense out of it. Chances are someone on your staff or, for that matter, one of your campers has the knowledge to help you create a database for incidents and accidents. This could be a great project for someone during the off-season, too.

You can't manage what you can't measure

The objective of the process is to gather information over time, ideally five or six years, to identify trends and patterns to help you manage, reduce risk, and increase safety. The information can also help you make decisions about deductibles, staffing, staff training, and even develop projections about the number of incidents and accidents at your camp using simple mathematical averages. Information about how many incidents and accidents have occurred at camp can help you set goals for staff to improve upon next summer. It will also increase staff awareness about safety because it will become part of your culture. Develop your own report card, so to speak.

The risk management process is dynamic. This characteristic makes it an ideally suited tool to help you manage. Over time, the people who work for you change, as do the campers and the families they come from. There is no better way to help you organize and manage change than this process. Risk analysis is at the heart of the process. Make a commitment to develop a database of incidents and accidents. Stick with it and over time it will provide you with valuable insight about the claims patterns, loss trends, and risk management issues at your camp.

Ed Schirick is vice president and division manager of Frontier Insurance Group in Rock Hill, New York, where he heads their CampPRO insurance program. He is a chartered property casualty underwriter and a certified insurance counselor. Contact Ed at 800-836-2100, ext. 5795, with your risk management inquiries.
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Author:Schirick, Ed
Publication:Camping Magazine
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jul 1, 2000
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