Building and Maintaining a Fleet Safety Culture

While Distracted Driving Awareness Month is a prime opportunity to discuss fleet safety, it goes beyond simple rules against texting and driving. Organizations that have implemented a proper road safety culture start by screening drivers in the hiring process and then provide ongoing training and support throughout an employee’s career.

Unfortunately, many companies may not adhere to the rules of road safety as well as they should. In the last eight years, insurance companies have been losing money on auto premiums, and premium rates are increasing as a result. To counteract that trend, safe driving must be top of mind for everyone in an organization.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 3,166 people were killed because of distracted driving in 2017, with mobile phones as the cause of most of these accidents.

But fleet safety is about more than the cost of insurance. It’s also about ensuring that your employees and crews remain alert and injury-free on the roads. It’s about creating a culture of safety that protects your most valuable asset—your people.

Elements of Fleet Safety

Only qualified drivers should be allowed behind the wheel, which means properly evaluating the driving record of everyone operating a vehicle for company business. More than three moving vehicle violations in a five-year time frame should draw red flags, as should even one DUI in the same timeframe.

For many organizations, the vehicle and equipment used depend on the scope of the job or project. If this is the case, all employees should receive safety training on the vehicles they may drive for work before being designated a company driver and should attend regular classes throughout their employment. This includes training on routine maintenance checks, adjustment of mirrors, and other actions to ensure safe vehicles.

Distracted Driving

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 3,166 people were killed because of distracted driving in 2017, with mobile phones as the cause of most of these accidents. Even with more and more states passing legislation to outlaw the use of cell phones without a hands-free device, drivers are still texting, sending emails, or engaging with social media apps on the highways.

Distracted driving courses and lessons are a vital pillar of road safety culture. Encouraging drivers to be patient and wait until after they’ve turned the car off to answer a call, email or text may help prevent collisions, injuries or death.

Leverage Telematics

Telematic systems like installed GPS systems allow drivers to rely less on their phones and pay more attention to the road. No one needs to take their eyes off the road to learn where their next turn will be.

Consider April’s Distracted Driving Awareness campaign as a kickstart to a safer organizational culture. Whether that means training your staff or implementing ways to keep drivers off their phone, every company can make healthy changes to make the roads safer.

For more information about distracted driving, contact us today.


Alison Wynne Expands Footprint of Hays Aviation

Hays Companies is pleased to share the recent industry accomplishments of Alison Wynne, Assistant Vice President of Hays Aviation.

Wynne was voted by a group of her peers as Treasurer of the Minnesota Business Aviation Association (MBAA). The MBAA serves to enhance communication between various aviation groups, most notably the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA). The NBAA’s membership is comprised of over 100 Minnesota-based organizations with a core business focused on aircrafts and aviation.

Following her term as Treasurer, Wynne will serve as Vice President for the MBAA chapter in 2020 and as the President in 2021. Notably, Wynne’s term officially marked the first time that a regional chapter of the National Business Aviation Association has had an all-female Board of Directors since its inception in 1947.

Wynne with her fellow Board of Directors

In addition to her new role as Treasurer, Wynne also serves on the Broker Committee of the Aircraft Builders Council (ABC). Since its founding in 1954, the Aircraft Builders Council program has provided aviation products liability insurance for the benefit of manufacturers in the aviation industry.

Alison holds a Bachelor of Science in Aviation Science Administration from Western Michigan University – College of Aviation and is an active instrument-rated Private Pilot.

Environmental Wellness Could Affect Employee Performance

What responsibility does an organization have for the health of their employees? The answer is unique to individual companies, but those who take on a greater role in encouraging an active and fit lifestyle through wellness may see better performance and lower insurance costs.

Traditional wellness programs provide health screenings and participation or outcome-based programs, but many organizations are taking their responsibility a step further. They’re creating a culture of health through environmental wellness—a strategy that includes organizational and systems transformations that actively promote healthy living.

As Anja Jamrozik of the Mayo Clinic recently said, “the environment can have a profound effect on how people are performing.”

Environmental wellness shifts a portion of wellness’s burden of responsibility on the organization itself to foster healthy living, and for good reason. According to Entrepreneur, “among employers offering wellness programs, more than half saw a decrease in absenteeism” and “66 percent reported increased productivity.”

Anything companies can do to make sure their staff is pursuing better living can have an impact on the bottom line.

Three factors to creating environmental wellness

Environmental wellness falls under three categories—policies, systems and environment. Policies start from the top, molded by leadership. Systems are the infrastructure in place that provides healthy choices for employees. And environment is the surroundings that help employees focus and increase daily productivity. Each factor is just as important as the next.

Policies of health and accountability

Wellness programs are only effective if employees actively participate, and it takes encouragement and communication to implement a healthy culture successfully. Some companies provide financial incentives like a discount on the next year’s health insurance premiums to those who meet goals throughout the year. Others tie manager performance to employee health and wellness engagement. No matter how policies are implemented, they should prove that executives and company leaders are committed to the health of their staff.

Environment’s impact on wellness

As Anja Jamrozik of the Mayo Clinic recently said, “the environment can have a profound effect on how people are performing.” The Mayo Clinic’s Well Living Lab has studied the link between comfort and efficiency. That doesn’t mean your office needs a nap room—though many forward-thinking companies like Google and Facebook do offer them.

Changes in temperature settings, workspace and noise distractions all have physiological effects on people and change the way they may work. In lab studies performed at the Mayo Clinic, researchers have found that increasing temperature from the mid-70s to the low-80s negatively impacted participants’ ability to complete simple math problems.

The environment people work in—whether it’s temperature, chair comfort or standing desks—can be accounted for and augmented to increase productivity.

Wellness structures and systems

Systems refer to the infrastructure an employer offers to encourage healthy living. For example, many organizations provide on-site medical clinics where employees can see a nurse practitioner or even a physical therapist. At larger campuses, you may find outdoor walking trails, gyms and quiet rooms where employees can meditate and gather their thoughts.

These are investments that take time and require a budget. Yet they are often seen as differentiators to potential recruits, proof that an organization cares about the wellbeing of its greatest resource.

When wellness starts from the top and it infiltrates every aspect of an organization—from office settings to events to healthy choices—it provides a foundation for more active and fit employees. No wellness program starts overnight, though. Building an effective infrastructure takes time and the right partner.

To find out more about how Hays Companies can help you implement a robust wellness program, contact us today. 

Key Resources for National Distracted Driving Awareness Month

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month. This national campaign, presented in tandem by several safety organizations, was designed to help bring awareness to the dangers of distracted driving, while simultaneously working to eliminate preventable deaths.

The National Safety Council reports that cell phone use while driving leads to 1.6 million crashes each year.

At Hays, we are committed to the safety of our employees and clients on our roadways. As such, we will be publishing a series of articles throughout the month of April focused on distracted driving and what you can do to end this epidemic.

This issue has remained close to our hearts as our very own Tom Goeltz (Vice President of Risk Management Services) has a personal connection with losing a family member due to an alleged distracted driver. To learn more about Tom’s story, watch this video.

Tom is also a legislative advocate for safe driving and was recently asked to testify on behalf of Minnesota’s HF 104 Bill in front of the House Transportation Committee meeting. The bill adds stiffer penalties for drivers caught using their cell phones on Minnesota roads. From there, it was approved by voice vote and sent on to the Ways and Means committee (learn more about the bill, here).  A companion bill is currently making its way through the Minnesota State Senate.

Join us in taking the pledge against Distracted Driving!

Remember: No matter what the distraction may be, it’s never worth a life. It can wait.

Looking for more resources on Distracted Driving?

Dave Wasson Awarded COPE Insurance Certification

Hays Companies is pleased to announce that Dave Wasson has been awarded the Chubb Cyber COPE Insurance Certification (CCIC) designation from Chubb and Carnegie Mellon University’s (CMU) Heinz College of Information Systems and Public Policy.

“We’re thrilled to see Dave complete the Cyber COPE Insurance Certificate program,” Hays Companies’ Senior Vice President Ryan Anderson said of Wasson’s recent designation. “He exemplifies our commitment to continuous learning in order to provide industry-leading cyber solutions for our clients.”

Wasson is among a group of select individuals that completed a seven-month certificate program covering industry best practices in cyber security risk management, governance and operations. The CCIC is the first organization of its kind, created as a partnership between Chubb and CMU’s Heinz College in 2018 and covers topics including cyber security foundations, risk and resilience management, effective incident response, cyber laws and regulations and custom insurance solutions.

“We designed this unique program to provide participants with an opportunity to deepen their understanding of the constantly evolving cyber risk landscape and to provide hands-on practical cyber security solutions,” said Bobbie Goldie, Senior Vice President, North America Financial Lines at Chubb. “Agents and brokers who have completed the program have demonstrated a comprehensive understanding of the cyber security landscape so they can help their clients manage their cyber risk exposures.”

The courses were provided by Chubb professionals and faculty from CMU’s Heinz College, comprising industry leading experts and practitioners in cybersecurity. This year’s pool of candidates was narrowed down to 40 graduates. The certification required residential sessions on CMU’s Pittsburgh and Washington, DC campuses and required a capstone project administered by the highest ranked information technology program in the country.

To maintain the designation, participants are required to attend two virtual sessions each year.

For more information about evolving cybersecurity risks or to speak to Dave Wasson or another Hays Cyber teammate, connect with us here.


Bruce Lyon Named to Board of Certified Safety Professionals

We are pleased to announce that Bruce Lyon, Vice President of Risk Management Services at Hays Companies, has been elected to the Board of Certified Safety Professionals (BCSP).

Founded in 1969, the Board of Certified Safety Professionals (BCSP) is recognized as a leader in high quality, accredited credentialing for safety, health, and environmental practitioners. BCSP establishes standards and certifies competency criteria in the professional safety practice.

In addition to his involvement on the BCSP Board, Lyon is the Advisory Board chair to the University of Central Missouri’s Safety Sciences Program, Vice Chair of US TAG 262 for ISO 31000, and member of the ANSI Z590.3 Prevention Through Design review committee. Lyon holds a B.S. degree in Industrial Safety and a M.S. degree in Occupational Safety Management/Fire Science from the University of Central Missouri. He also received the Certified Safety Professional Award of Excellence from BCSP in 2018.

To learn more about how we can assist with workplace safety, please contact us.  We’re here to help.

Industry Guide: Reporting Near Misses in the Construction Workplace

Most safety professionals agree that a facility or site audit would uncover at least one near miss condition or scenario at any time, on any day.

In the construction industry, near miss incidents are common occurrences where an accident was narrowly avoided. They’re also a precursor to more dangerous and expensive events. Tracking near misses can help companies reduce the number of incidents by monitoring when and where potential hazards take place. In Hays Companies’ new white paper, Senior Vice President Abby Ferri details:

  • How to start a near miss reporting program
  • Why it’s so important
  • The impact it could have on your company’s bottom line

Construction firms differ in their level of safety reporting sophistication. Some may need to start from the ground up, while others can quickly implement a near miss program. No matter where you are on the spectrum, treat near misses like incidents by recognizing and recording everything.

Click here to read the full white paper!

Paul Nelson Joins Hays Companies

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. (January 18, 2019) – Hays Companies announced Paul Nelson has joined its Dallas operations as Senior Vice President. Nelson brings a unique perspective and extensive construction risk experience to Hays’ Texas operations.

“Paul will play a critical role here in Dallas as we continue to grow our Property and Casualty division,” said Erik Templin, President – Hays Companies of Texas. “We are excited to add his valuable construction expertise and Property and Casualty resources to our clients in the Dallas market.”

He began his insurance career in 2006 and in that 13 years he has worked with middle market, large national and fortune 500 clients. Since 2014, Paul has worked closely with clients to measurably affect reporting program performance and provide detailed financial analyses.

He has extensive construction and wrap-up programs expertise in the where he most recently managed controlled insurance programs in the South region. Paul worked with owners and general contractors to implement program structure and placement, bidding strategy and contract and enabling language.

Paul moved to Texas after graduating from Brigham Young University. During his time in risk management, he’s been involved with the Association of General Contractors (AGC), the Construction Financial Management Association and IRMI. Outside of work, Paul is a volunteer for his church where he is president of the Young Men’s Organization.

“I’m excited to join the amazing culture here at Hays Companies and am looking forward to expanding our P&C practice,” said Nelson.

Nelson can be contacted via email at Want to be notified of new P&C seminars or thought leadership articles? Connect with us here.


Hays Companies is one of the fastest growing risk management, insurance and employee benefits advisors in the country. Our philosophy of delivering the highest-quality, customer-focused service has led to significant growth for more than 20 years. Today, the company includes 700+ experienced professionals in more than 30 locations throughout the United States. For more information, contact Andrea Field ( or visit our website at

Brown & Brown, Inc. Completes Acquisition of Hays Companies

November 16, 2018 – (Daytona Beach) . . . Brown & Brown, Inc. (NYSE:BRO) today announced the completion of the previously-announced acquisition of Hays Companies (“Hays”) by Brown & Brown, Inc.

Brown & Brown, Inc. is a leading insurance brokerage firm, providing risk management solutions to individuals and businesses. With Brown & Brown’s almost 80 years of proven success and thousands of teammates, we offer knowledge you can trust and strive to deliver superior customer service.  For more information on Brown & Brown, visit  Hays Companies’ current operations can be reviewed at

This press release may contain certain statements relating to future results which are forward-looking statements, including those associated with this acquisition; the appointments of those individuals currently employed by Hays to leadership positions with Brown & Brown after the transaction; and the integration of the current Hays operations with Brown & Brown after the transaction.  These statements are not historical facts, but instead represent only Brown & Brown’s current belief regarding future events, many of which, by their nature, are inherently uncertain and outside of Brown & Brown’s control.  It is possible that actual results may differ, possibly materially, from the anticipated results indicated in these forward-looking statements due to a number of risks and uncertainties.  These risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to: Brown & Brown’s consummation and integration of the announced acquisition, including adequately addressing any matters analyzed in the due diligence process; Brown & Brown’s ability to retain Hays’ clients following the transaction; the post-transaction performance of the operations acquired from Hays combined with Brown & Brown’s operations; material adverse changes in the business and financial condition of Hays, Brown & Brown, or both, and their respective clients; material adverse changes in economic conditions in the markets Brown & Brown serves and in the general economy; management’s decisions after the transaction regarding employment positions with Brown & Brown; the inability of certain individuals to fill certain positions with Brown & Brown after the transaction; changes to management’s strategy, including the future strategic decisions regarding its insurance carrier relationships and/or the products and services it offers its distribution partners; future regulatory actions and conditions in the states in which Brown & Brown conducts its business; competition from others in the insurance agency, wholesale brokerage, insurance programs and service business.  Further information concerning Brown & Brown and its business, including factors that potentially could materially affect Brown & Brown’s financial results and condition, as well as its other achievements, is contained in Brown & Brown’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.  All forward-looking statements made herein are made only as of the date of this release, and Brown & Brown does not undertake any obligation to publicly update or correct any forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances that subsequently occur or of which Brown & Brown hereafter becomes aware.