March 26, 2019
Visions of Safety and Pictures of Success
by Lewis Fein
The construction industry needs more video cameras to prevent accidents -- and shows the insurance industry a path to progress.
Sight is the savior of the insurance industry. Where insurers were once lost, where they were once blind, they can now find their way because they can see the way to safety and success. That technology allows policyholders to see everything is the best insurance policy of all. That video cameras reveal what we cannot otherwise see, that we have the power to prevent accidents by avoiding the most egregious ones altogether, that I continue to say what I see—that I have written about this issue twice before—should inspire insurers, I hope, to acknowledge that what is essential to one industry, the construction industry, is also essential to the insurance industry. Specifically, video cameras are a necessity for crane operators and their fellow construction workers.
Video cameras are a necessity for all people at or near a construction site, because were a piece of equipment to fall and kill a worker, as it did in Bradenton, Fla.; because were a similar accident to happen again—that it will happen again is almost inevitable—insurers will have to pay tens of millions of dollars in damages, unless they accept the truth by seeing it for themselves: that construction is perilous; visibility (without video cameras) problematic; safety precarious.
Sight is not the problem. The inability to see without the help of video cameras is—and will remain—a problem, not because crane operators do not have perfect eyesight, but because no person can see what is not in his line of sight. The refusal to subsidize the purchase of video cameras, or to give policyholders incentives to buy and install these cameras, is the biggest problem facing insurers on behalf of the construction industry.
According to Chris Machut of HoistCam, lack of sight is no oversight. Which is to say crane operators cannot see what they need to see—what they have a right to see—if they do not have video cameras to assist them. “Far from increasing liability, video cameras lower the risk of accidents or injuries. In so doing, insurers can save more money than they spend regarding payouts to construction companies,” Machut says.
If insurers are reluctant to change, and they are, it is more a matter of operations than opposition. They run their companies like they underwrite their policies, with caution, which can cripple their ability to change, which can—and has—cost them the chance to stay ahead, which may cost them clients in many industries.
If insurers listen to construction workers, if they do more than listen, they will know where to look and what to see. They will see the images that crane operators see, courtesy of the video cameras on construction cranes, that make it less expensive and more efficient for these workers to do their jobs. If insurers embrace today’s technology—if they have even modest expectations about the present—they will nonetheless make tomorrow a vision to behold. That vision is worth the investment. That investment starts with video cameras. That vision is too great to ignore.