Welcome to the Inside Insight podcast presented by CR Solutions. At Consolidated Risk Solutions, we are taking our expert knowledge of the insurance world and using it to innovate the industry using technology, groundbreaking thinking and a personal touch. Join us as we talk to masterminds both inside and outside of CR Solutions about how the world of insurance is changing, and how we can be sure to grow along with it. If you have to manage insurance in your work, then you can benefit from the interviews, conversations and insights we’ll be exploring to elevate your business’s success.
INTRO (00:42 – 04:42)
Beau Lunceford: We are back with another episode of the Inside Insight podcast. I am your host, Beau Lunceford, joined by the amazing Trevor Casey. Trevor, how are you?
Trevor Casey: Beau, I’m wonderful. How are you?
Beau Lunceford: I am just excited to be here honestly.
Trevor Casey: You know what’s cool about this podcast is we’re kicking off National Safety Month, that’s what February is I believe.
Beau Lunceford: Congratulations, Happy National Safety.
Trevor Casey: With another SML Capital Advisors individual.
Beau Lunceford: And today is all about premium audits, correct?
Trevor Casey: It is and the only reason I brought up the National Safety Month is because SML does. Some of that safety stuff if you haven’t heard the first podcast with Andrew Masciantonio, go back and listen to it as well, three episodes ago, I believe. But today, we’re joined by his other half, Matthew Leuverink, who, as you said does the premium audit side of things and really touches over what a premium audit is, and how important it is to a project.
Beau Lunceford: Absolutely. And the scope of what SML does is so broad, I’m so glad that we split this up into two episodes, so people can really get the full understanding of the kind of services they offer and really why it is that they’re so special.
Trevor Casey: Absolutely. And it’s really unique to see a different side of the insurance world in this podcast, because most people are writing premium. They’re not auditing premium. And so they may say, “Hey, I understand the value of that. But I don’t understand why another individual might find the value in that.” Or maybe they’re looking at it differently. And they’re finding different value that maybe a broker or carrier or whomever may find. So it’s really unique to see how Matthew breaks that down. And then really one of the things that I didn’t even think about is how much COVID changed the auditing world?
Beau Lunceford: Oh, yeah. And that talks about that in this conversation that you’re getting ready to hear about what the impact of that had. I mean, everyone was impacted, obviously, in all sorts of different ways. But to hear it from an audit side is pretty nuts.
Trevor Casey: And you can see that it. Honestly, COVID hurt a lot of businesses. But it seems that it was almost a good thing for SML because it really rocketed them off into a new stratosphere, as far as their business goes.
Beau Lunceford: And from there, they have been able to really reach new clients, they’ve been able to service the current clients that they have even better because of the way that they’ve innovated in the space due to this horrible pandemic that all of us have experienced and are, in a lot of ways still recovering from.
Trevor Casey: Absolutely. So Matthew Leuverink is a very unique individual in the fact that he found SML Capital Advisors very early on in his career. And what I say by that is he’s been with there after college, and he stuck with them since then. I believe he mentioned in 2008, he did some kind of internship with them. As soon as he was done 2011, he joined in as an operation manager shot up, and now he’s a partner right in that company and just shows how valuable that resources that they’re putting out that they needed somebody so young and have grown him. But not only that, that he stayed there for 15 years almost now, and is still loving it every single day
Beau Lunceford: And that he’s continued to help them grow with an innovative mindset and to help build them into the company that they are today.
Trevor Casey: Absolutely. Matt didn’t give us much of a bio on himself. Since he really has only worked at SML, he doesn’t have a lot of career experience outside of that space. But he does have his Chris designation, went to Brock University and just had a child a couple months ago.
Beau Lunceford: We know some other people who have also had children recently that whichever.
Trevor Casey: Yes, we do, as I have as well. But anyways, this is an exciting new podcast to start this year.
Beau Lunceford: And let’s get into it.
Trevor Casey: Let’s see what he has to say.
Interview (04:46 – 21:06)
Trevor Casey: All right everybody, welcome back to another episode of the Inside Insight podcast. We are here with Matthew Leuverink of SML Capital Advisors. He’s the other half of Andrew Masciantonio, who we had the pleasure of on the first podcast. So welcome, Matthew, we appreciate you joining us today and giving us a little knowledge on premium audits.
Matthew Leuverink: Thank you for having me. Longtime listener, first time caller.
Trevor Casey: I love that. We love to hear it, “Get our listens up, and share this around those numbers count”. So Matt, give us a little intro on yourself and tell us a little bit about how you got to SML. And I’ll just pass the mic to you.
Matthew Leuverink: Well, thank you. I’ve been with SML since 2011, 2012. I am originally from where I still live there. I’m in Canada, I grew up about an hour north of Toronto. And I was lucky enough back in 2011, I knew the right people. And I was given a wonderful opportunity that I’ll be forever grateful for to be honest, to just do an internship. Go down to Long Island and do an internship with SML. And just kind of be a sponge. I was doing everything, a little bit of everything and just following people around. I did that for about eight months. And then they offered me a full time job. They also let me move back home to Canada, which was nice and just work remote. But I’ve been with them full time since 2012. I was official partner with SML in 2016, I believe. And now just is rolling with it. So a long time. SML is all I know. But it’s all I love as well. So I wouldn’t want it any other way.
Trevor Casey: That’s great. And just sounds like you joined an organization at the right time to grow quickly. I mean, within five years.
Matthew Leuverink: I was very lucky with that, and then just the people through like, you guys know Josh Rogoff. I mean, he’s a big mentor of mine, I look up to him and just learned a lot for a long time. I was just following him around and like a little puppy dog and listening to everything he said. And then when they brought on Andrew, who did a wonderful job on the podcast, as well, he knows his stuff. It’s great to learn from those guys.
Trevor Casey: Absolutely.
Beau Lunceford: You mentioned Andrew and Andrew got to talk to us on the podcast a lot about more of the jobsite safety side of things, and the risk management side of things. So we’re hoping today to hear more about the premium audit side of things from you today. So for people who don’t know what premium audits are, for people who are new to the audit space, tell us a little bit about what a premium audit is?
Matthew Leuverink: Absolutely. And you did a wonderful job on that side. So I hope I can do to SML justice with the premium audits. From a bird’s eye view in layman’s terms, a premium audit, the main purpose for an insurance premium audit is really to calculate the final premium at the end of a policy term. Obviously, it also gives insurance carriers an idea for that past year of the policy. If any major changes happen, did they hired 20 new people? Did their sales triple? Do they have more vehicles in there, like anything depending on the policy and the business itself, kind of idea of what has been going on? But that main reason is to then calculate that final premium amount. So what our auditors do is really we take those estimated exposures at the beginning of the policy term that policyholder provides, and then we compare it versus the actual and final exposures at the end of this policy term. Now, obviously, an exposure base is going to vary depending on the policy type is it going to be based off of sales, revenue, vehicle count whatever the case may be. But depending on that, we will take whatever documents we need, the source documents, anything that payroll, PNLs, income statements, go through that and make do a financial assessment really, and then put together our final findings. That’s my best kind of explanation what a premium audit is.
Beau Lunceford: No, I think that’s great.
Trevor Casey: So when we’re looking at a premium audit, who are the people that are actually seeking out your auditors for that audit to be done? And what kind of value are they receiving from having that final audit done on their project?
Matthew Leuverink: I mean, our clients essentially they’re all insurance carriers, you need that. It really is at the end of the policy term. They need that to determine, “Hey, do we need to add additional premium?” A carrier’s not going to like this for a policyholder. Well, is there a return premium that they may be paid too much, but for the most part that insurance carrier is going to be happy? They said we were going to do a million dollars’ worth of sales, that’s what we base their premium on. But they actually didn’t 1.5 or 1.3. So now we have to adjust and they owe us a bit more money. That’s the definitely the benefit of that and the premium audit itself.
Beau Lunceford: So is there anybody who is doing what you guys are doing in the premium audit space?
Matthew Leuverink: Absolutely. I mean, we have a lot of different colleagues or peers. I don’t want to say competitor, but there’s a lot of different firms that do premium audits. I mean, we’ve been doing premium audits since inception, 2007. I think what sets us aside is to go a long story short. When we started doing premium audits, it was mainly like majority of them were physical audits. So an auditor is getting in their car, they’re going to an office, or they’re going to a trailer on a job site, or even in some cases, to be honest, they’re going to someone’s home. Like, how many home offices are out there. So you’re going to someone’s home, and that kind of handcuffs you in a way, because you have to have people in a territory that can do physical, that are willing to travel a certain distance, that are going to and then who are also might be able to do a GL sales audit. But can I do a worker’s comp audit for a multimillion dollar company? Maybe not. So you have to kind of hand caution on what you can do. I would say, up until 2019, 2020, I would say probably 90% of our audits were physical, 2020 with the pandemic, obviously horrible, sad, horrible for a lot of families, people, I know that. I’m not going to take away from that. But it did kind of change the trajectory of this little niche service that we provide, because you still need that premium audit. You still need to do that. But you don’t want Jim Smith from SML coming and sitting in your office. I mean, like I said, sitting at your coffee table, looking at your home doing a premium audit. So that virtual audit kind of took over. And where SML kind of took that and ran with it is really making instead of sitting in an office, like what we saw on the physical audit side. Ideally, you’re going to someone’s office, you’re sitting with them, you’re reviewing all these documents, you’re talking but having a real meeting, but really what we did notice is when you’re doing a premium audit, they’re probably going to take you to a boardroom, you’re going to sit by yourself, they’re going to give you a box of paper, and you’re going to look through it or you’re going to an accountants office, or we have auditors who sometimes, they were just picking up information on someone’s front step. There’s not much of a value add there on the virtual side. And not only are you not having to travel and have specific people who can handle certain territories, but you can have auditors who have the experience and a lot, it’s in all different territories, and also make it an easier and less stressful process for that policyholder as well. So what we do is we set it up now almost something like we’re doing right now where you’re sitting on a team’s resume, whatever you can do, you’re reviewing those documents, you’re talking about the company and their operations and any changes that may have happened. But then we’re also providing that secure link and a server. So it’s very safe. People don’t necessarily want to know its delicate information. Its payroll, its P&Ls, it’s all different things with your company. So why do you want to send that this guy had never met? Well, let’s make you feel comfortable. Let’s provide you with the resources and the knowledge of how this is going to work. And then also make it a safe environment for you to give us that information. So it’s a lot quicker process. And I think it’s a lot more efficient as well.
Trevor Casey: Do you feel that switching over to that virtual audit has allowed you guys to expand your business much quicker? Because you’re not locked to a specific area per se having to physically go there? I mean, I know there’s Planes, Trains and Automobiles, but in regards to that, that takes time for travel, where like you said, a guy could do three states in a day virtually?
Matthew Leuverink: Absolutely. I think that the virtual change in the audit space is been wonderful. I mean, to your point, you can do more. You’re more efficient. And I think it’s easier to find people as well, people are happier to do the work. That’s the world we live in now. People want to work from home, people want to make money, but they also want to enjoy that work life balance. And when you’re not being on the road or having to travel all the time, I think it really is beneficial. It not only is it helped us do or complete more audits and hold more business, but it also helps us attract more experienced and better people as well. And I think that’s very important to the growth of SML. You want to have that team, you want to have people who are competent and enjoy doing the work, but you want it to be a good environment for them as well. And that’s where the virtual space has been great.
Trevor Casey: So speaking of the these auditors and I know that you said that you’re in Canada, everybody else for the most part, me being Andrew and some of your other partners are in the New York and metro area. Do you have auditors around? How do you guys source those auditors and how do you find those individuals that actually go out and do that? And if somebody was like, “Hey, I’m in Nebraska. I’m looking for an auditing job. Could they call SML and start hitting the ground for you?”
Matthew Leuverink: Absolutely. So the first part of your question, we do have, I would say at this point we probably have 60-70 auditors across the United States all different areas, I’m not going to name all the areas, but they’re everywhere. But we do always have an open, Indeed, LinkedIn, job posting at all times that just people can apply to. But I think that probably the most hits that we get are either from our website, you just go on our website and send in your resume, send in a little bit of bio about yourself, but that’s how we get a lot of resumes. And then also, just word of mouth. I mean, we’ve had people who have been with us for years, and then they tell their friends or their colleagues or whoever, this is a great place and we’ve had a lot of success with that as well. Just having that group of people who’ve been with us for a long time say, “Hey, this is a great place to work. Why don’t you reach out to Matt? Or why don’t you reach out to SML?” And that’s a big thing that we’ve had, but we’re always open, we’re always hiring, because we’re always growing. So I think it’s always good to just reach out to us, and you can reach out to me directly either LinkedIn or my email, it’s just perfect. We’re always ready to bring people on.
Beau Lunceford: So if somebody is interested in being a part of the SML audit team, what kind of background are you really looking for? What are some key things that you’re looking for in your auditors that make them ideal candidates for this kind of work?
Matthew Leuverink: Obviously, like a simple answer, you would always love someone who has 20 plus years of experience with an audit being a premium auditor that would be a simple answer. But, honestly, it’s not that anymore. Like, if you have some sort of background in finance, or accounting, is great, bookkeeping, anything like that. We’re always looking. Because what we’ve done is we’ve set up such a wonderful training program and platform for our team, where if you have some sort of even an interest, if you have interest in doing premium audits, I’m 32 years old, I’ve never been to a dinner party. So I was like, “Hey, I’m a premium auditor, that’s my email”. If you don’t see that very often, I don’t think it’s a job that many people know about. But I do think even in the insurance world, which sometimes sounds boring to work in insurance, it’s really not. I mean, being a premium auditor, it’s a great way to learn the industry. We have competitive pay. And it’s also something where you have the freedom to kind of work your own hours, do your job, and grow. Well, we have people who have been with us for years that are continuing to grow into bigger roles. I think that our training program and having these people who maybe don’t have as much experience, but getting them to shadow other auditors, or be on calls and learn. And then also the training and just the programs we’ve set up have been wonderful for internal growth as well. And maybe not necessarily having 20 years of experience. But getting up to a point where you can handle is though you have years of experience, because we have set it up for you to succeed.
Beau Lunceford: With the way that y’all are doing internal training and the way that you’re developing people, it sounds like a great deal. And also the experience, the exposure, the remote access, all that sounds like something that anybody would want to sign up for that has even the slightest amount of interest in this world.
Matthew Leuverink: Absolutely. That’s what we’re trying to strive for.
Trevor Casey: All right. So discussing the auditors that you have all over in these virtual audits, is there some kind of platform or service or product that you guys use to actually do these audits so that you keep track of them or share that information?
Matthew Leuverink: It’s a great question. So we have partnered with and this is from when we started doing audits, to be honest, we partnered with a company called Nexus Insurance Solutions, who really is a powerhouse in this space. It’s a great platform that we can not only complete the audit right up, but it houses all the information, all of our inventory, which is great on our side but then on the client side as well. It lets you have real time updates. You can contact an auditor directly through the system. You can see exactly how many audits are out there, what’s going on with a particular policy and where you’re at. And it’s just a great tool that we have a lot of feedback not only on the auditor side, and management side, but on the client side as well. I think it also brings us to that next level tool just make it easy and accessible for not only auditors and our team, but our clients as well.
Trevor Casey: Wow. So that really sounds like a really awesome software. And I’m sure they appreciate the shout out as well. If anyone ever from Nexus wants to come over and hop on the podcast, please let us know.
Beau Lunceford: We’re very software people.
Trevor Casey: Well, Matthew, we really appreciate the time that you took. We know you’re extremely busy, especially with how much you guys have going on. All of the people cooking in your pot there, it sounds like you have a lot of staff that you guys are constantly keeping up with and audits to boot. So we appreciate the time. Thank you so much for giving us an overview of what a premium audit is. If anybody is looking for any more information, I know he briefly spoke about their website, and how you can contact them on there. We will also drop in the show notes, a link to their website, as well as a contact information. So if you’re looking for some more information on a premium audit, or anything that Andrew talked about on the safety side, as well as possibly looking to do some audits yourself, all that information will be leaked at the bottom. So, Matt, again, thank you so much. We appreciate the time, stay warm up there in Canada, as you said down there earlier. You’re quite away from us and the other direction.
Matthew Leuverink: Thank you.
Trevor Casey: Awesome, and we appreciate it. And we’ll catch you on the next episode.
Matthew Leuverink: Thanks for having me guys.
OUTRO (21:12 – 23:55)
Beau Lunceford: I like talking to the SML team so much. They just know their stuff. And it all just rolls off the tongue, it is just so clear that both. They are passionate about what they’re doing and that they know what they’re doing.
Trevor Casey: Absolutely. And it’s so refreshing to see all the people that we have on this podcast with how excited they are about what they do every day. It’s not just people who are like, “I’ve learned this cool thing. And let me tell you about it. And I go home and I spend time with my dog.” Now these are people that are thriving in their driving for success. And they’re looking for those innovative solutions that are going to step the industry that much forward. And I really feel like you said that the SML guys are really grabbing the bull by the horns and innovating so much in the safety and premium audits base.
Beau Lunceford: Also, I really like how Matt mentioned that we are trying to create an environment where people are not falling backwards into insurance as a career so much anymore, that we’re trying to establish this precedent that people can choose insurance as a career, people can choose safety as a career and thrive in it. There’s opportunities to learn and grow and make money all those things exist. And people don’t have to like there are so many generations before, just find themselves suddenly doing insurance that instead, people at SML are creating opportunities for people to establish early on a career in premium audits, in jobsite safety, in the insurance realm.
Trevor Casey: Absolutely. And I mean, he speaks to that, they’re pretty much an open hire all the time. And we’ll put that information in the show notes if anyone’s looking to move into the audit space or just as looking for a career shift. But the fact that they have that and they have 70 auditors or somewhere around there that he speaks on, and it’s just continue to grow, just shows, one, how amazing their company is, and the fact that people are staying there, and they’re continuing to grow. But, two, just shows how important that space is, and how much value carriers are finding in it.
Beau Lunceford: Absolutely. Well, thanks again, Matt, for taking the time to talk to us to share your expertise, your history with SML, the kinds of things that you guys are doing. We really appreciate it. This was such a fun conversation to be a part of. And we really just appreciate and hope everyone gets to learn something new about SML and the importance of the premium audits that they’re providing and that anyone is providing and why it’s so important in a job site.
Trevor Casey: Absolutely. So that’s a wrap on this second episode of 2024. We’ll see you next time. Stay covered.
Thanks for tuning in to Inside Insight presented by CR Solutions. If you like anything that you heard today, subscribe, follow and rate the show so that other industry pioneers like yourself can find it. Maybe even share it with someone you think might benefit from this episode. Do you have a question that you want answered or a concept that you need explain, you can email us at email@example.com with the subject line “Podcast Question”, and maybe your question, we’ll make it onto one of our episodes. You can also submit a question via our website at c-r-solutions.com/podcast. There are no dumb questions, only opportunities to learn something new. Now that’s a wrap on this episode. Join us next time on Inside Insight presented by CR Solutions. Stay covered.