Figuring out safety alone can be one tough task. That’s why Canal’s Risk Management Services (RMS) wanted to provide a forum for our like-minded insureds to share ideas and learn about new safety resources. To this end, AVP Bob Milane led the efforts of RMS to host the first annual Safety Seminar in September, inviting Safety Managers and owners from firms with 30+ power units to Greenville, SC, to collectively review education materials, learn how safety programs benefit the bottom-line and share feedback on how Canal can support their safety efforts.
Keeping this first seminar small fostered some excellent dialogue during group sessions and attendees also were able to socialize more informally at several receptions and dining events.
Outstanding presenters engaged attendees, starting with Canal’s CEO and President Dave Firstenberg, who reminded participants that they were the “charter members” of Canal’s inaugural Safety Seminar. Noting that Canal has been in business nearly 75 years, he said that “Canal recognizes the change in your business, and we need to change our business as well.” He pointed to various safety challenges faced by Canal’s insureds and said that as they navigate those challenges, Canal “will be right there with you.”
Throughout the seminar, all were reminded that safety, while continually evolving, must remain a primary focus of every company moving forward. Attendees were challenged to include a focus on safety at every conference or major company meeting moving forward. Multiple aspects of the safety puzzle were addressed, further emphasizing the complexity of the subject. Tom Flaten, VP Marketing Operations of Thorn Valley Enterprises, highlighted the goal of having managers build and foster a safety attitude because, as he said, “Safety is an investment – ultimately you will pay for safety.” Thorn Valley’s President, Walter Guntharp, stressed the need to improve driver retention, noting that “90% of driving is attitude.” He shared ideas for recruiting and retaining drivers by focusing on how they are treated by their company.
In another session led by Corporal Michael J. Still, SC State Transport Police/Community Relations Officer, the group went through a Mock DOT Tractor Trailer Inspection, seeing the process from the perspective of law enforcement. And in another mock situation, this one based on an actual catastrophic incident, attendees posed as trial jurors – and it was interesting to see the disparate verdicts of the different groups, with damages ranging from $1.3 million up to $3.6 million.
Ultimately, Canal’s first Safety Seminar proved that safety cannot be a task that is reviewed or managed intermittently. Rather, it takes ongoing effort and the kind of partnership that Canal pledges to offer all its insureds. At the seminar’s conclusion, attendees were asked to rate their experience and every single survey respondent said they plan to attend the Canal RMS Safety Seminar next year, with one noting that the event “was the best seminar of its kind they have attended!”
Thank you to this year’s attendees – and we look forward to seeing even more customers at next year’s seminar! Until then, be safe!