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Universal Unilink Interview with Steven Wright, Vice President of Irving Weber Associates, Inc.

Interview Transcript:

Marty Hartman:
Welcome to the Supplier Spotlight Interview. Today we have Steven Wright with Irving Weber Associates. Thanks for joining us, Steven.

Steven Wright:
Yeah, thank you Marty. Appreciate the opportunity.

Marty Hartman:
So we’ve got the attention of our members and our audience. Tell us what can IWA do for Universal Unilink members?

Steven Wright:
So IWA offers about 73 years of history on a national level. A professional insurance consultation with a full stable of solutions to help protect all of the Universal Unilink members’ businesses.

Marty Hartman:
So you’re specifically working in the business insurance realm as… And you don’t have anything to do with health insurance or that type of thing, it’s mostly business insurance?

Steven Wright:
That’s correct. It’s all commercial lines business and it’s all property and casualty related. And I’m proud to tell folks we don’t do anything in the health insurance arena because you really need to be specialized on that side.

Marty Hartman:
Well from conversations I’ve had with you and some of your clients, you do specialize and do a great job in specializing in business insurance. Tell us a little bit about what types of insurance fit under that category.

Steven Wright:
Sure, sure. So property and liability, which would cover a business’s physical buildings, the contents and equipment inside the buildings, the products that they may be selling. That’s on the property side. On the liability side, it’s your general liability for any damages or injuries that may be caused to their clients or the general public. We write quite a bit of fleet insurance for any autos that may be involved in the business for delivery or transport. Umbrellas that sit on top of businesses to give them an extra layer of protection. We have a big workers’ compensation program to protect the employees against injury and get them back safely on the job and productive again.

Steven Wright:
And then we offer variety of I’ll call them ancillary products or solutions that could be specific to businesses such as fiduciary responsibility, which goes to a directors’ and officers’ insurance, if they have a board. We offer cyber coverage. If there’s quite a bit of internet business going on or if there’s a concern about… Against any type of hack or penetration into their electronic systems. We offer flood insurance. Life insurance for the owners and executives of the company. So quite a bit of different things that we do for the business to protect them.

Marty Hartman:
So I’m sure that our listeners are saying, “I’ve got a lot of places locally that can offer insurance. Why should I be going to Irving Weber?”

Steven Wright:
Yeah, fair question. I think in a lot of cases it’s not uncommon to go to a local agent, which usually starts with a relationship and kind of evolves from there. And local agents are obviously valuable in any hometown or marketplace. The difference between us and the local agent is they’re typically a generalist, which means they do a little bit of everything. Right? So the local agent may insure an industrial laundry, they may insure a uniform supplier, they may also insure a hardware store and a pizza place and a bagel shop. And again, they have a smattering of business. Diversity is really their key. IWA is different because we’re really specialized and that gives us an advantage and some additional value for our clients because our program has been built on the commercial laundry industry since right after World War II. We got into business back in the 1940’s with an eye toward commercial laundry and have really specialized and grown to a national platform over those 73 years of history. I think that’s what separates us a little bit from the norm, if you will.

Marty Hartman:
So you’ve been in business for quite a while and you started in the fabric care business or segment. So what other types of clients do you work with?

Steven Wright:
So we work with… Fabric care typically assimilates with dry cleaners and laundromats and our textile advantage really assimilates with industrial laundries is on a larger scale, linen supply, uniform rental, food and beverage, hospitality, et cetera. But we also work with on the retail side, we actually have a strong block of business for office supply companies, promotional items, that type of thing. We have quite an extensive history there. And then on a little bit of a smaller scale, we do some other programs in the grocery and the restaurant and convenience store segments. But the bulk of what we do is built around industrial laundry industry and those that support that industry and supply to it.

Marty Hartman:
Besides insurance, what are the other services do you bring to Universal Unilink members?

Steven Wright:
Sure, sure. So I am a believer that risk management, right, which is kind of the larger picture that insurance kind of sits underneath, but risk management for a business starts with an overview of the operation. And not all solutions are made by buying an insurance policy. There’s risk transfer, there’s separation of exposures, there’s a lot of different recommendations that can be made to help a business protect against loss or even prevent loss before it happens. And that’s really the key is what can we do to assist our clients in minimizing their risk before it’s even necessary to go and file a claim with their insurance provider. And so some of our services include risk engineering, which is kind of an onsite walkthrough, depending on the complexity of the business. We have risk engineer services available, professionals in the industry who can tour a facility, walk through a plant, identify risks, or even do kind of a mock OSHA walkthrough a facility and kind of look to where there may be susceptibility for loss.

Steven Wright:
We do a lot of driver training. I mentioned before that we do a lot of fleet insurance for vehicles and keeping those drivers educated and safe and informed on the road is really critical so that’s done with regular intervals. We have forensic accounting services, which allows our specialists to take a deep look at matching up a company’s profit and loss statement or their balance sheet with their insurance language. Specifically to their business income and making sure that we’ve got the right limits set and we’ve got the right exposures identified and they also do a great job of post loss consultation to make sure that we’re working with their accounting team and the insurance company as a liaison to make sure that the claim is identified correctly and they get paid accordingly. So there’s quite a bit of different levels of service that we provide.

Steven Wright:
And then all the way down to even the simplest tasks of understanding risk transfer language such as additional insureds. A lot of our members enter facilities where they have to deliver a product. It could be a mat, it could be a uniform, whatever it may be. And they have specialized requirements from the property owners, insurance language before they can even set foot in the facility. And so we’re prepared for those scenarios. And we’ve got built in language in the policy that addresses those situations that our clients find a lot of value in.

Marty Hartman:
Well that goes back to what you said earlier about specialization and knowing the industry. So I’m sure that definitely helps.

Steven Wright:
Yeah.

Marty Hartman:
We hope members won’t need this, but how does the claims process work?

Steven Wright:
Sure, sure. We hope they don’t need it as well, but it’s inevitable in some cases inherent risk to the business brings claims. Many of our customers will consult with us if a claim is even questionable. We certainly have those candid conversations about not only coverage but the decision to make a claim or how a claim may play out, whether it’s an employee injury or it’s an accident out on the road. We do engage the insurance carrier, who has a great team of professionals to handle those claims and we kind of hold our insurer’s hands through the process if needed and assist them with documentation and act as a liaison between the claims adjusters and the customer to make sure that the claim is handled in a expeditious and fair way.

Marty Hartman:
So what else would you like members to know about IWA before we end the interview?

Steven Wright:
Certainly we’re excited about the opportunity to work with University Unilink and we thank you for that and we would like all the members to know that we have built the core of our company and our history is around… Again back to that word of specialists, around the commercial laundry industry, textile, linen, fabric care, supply distribution, anything affiliated with a typical Universal Unilink member. And our specialization will lend us to showing and demonstrating a difference between a common insurance program and one that is already tailor made and specifically built for the members’ businesses.

Marty Hartman:
So best way to contact you for more information?

Steven Wright:
Best way to contact me is to just give me a call. I’m usually available on my cell phone and it’s probably the easiest way to track me down. Would you like me to provide that number at this point?

Marty Hartman:
Yeah, sure. That’d be great.

Steven Wright:
Sure. It’s (631) 252-1172 and if anybody wants to have a conversation or even has kind of an Insurance 101 question, they’re certainly more than welcome to reach out and I’d be happy to help.

Marty Hartman:
We appreciate that offer to the members for getting more information. That’s great. I’d also like our members to check out the Irving Weber Associates page. Once you sign into the members’ site you’ll be able to get a lot of information there as well and be able to download flyers and watch videos about the services and products that you offer. Steven thank you very much for your time.

Steven Wright:
Thank you, Marty. Appreciate it.

Link to Original Article/Interview:  https://www.universal-unilink.com/irving-weber-associates-interview-with-steven-wright/

This interview, done by Universal Unilink, is posted here with permission.