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Agri-Services Agency employee highlight: Ashley Nadeau, Senior Loss Control Analyst

Agri-Services Agency (ASA) has a long history serving the agriculture community. As an insurance agency founded by farmers over 50 years ago, ASA exclusively serves the agriculture community with the goal to help farmers, ranchers and agri-business owners access comprehensive insurance coverage at an affordable price. 

Offering a superior workers’ compensation program is a tool to help operations minimize risk and keep employees safe. “Our goal is to identify potential risks and help prevent accidents or losses within a business. Whether that is a large catastrophe or multiple, small frequency claims,” said Ashley Nadeau, Senior Loss Control Analyst for ASA. “While a lot of people might think the focus is on catastrophes, small frequency claims can be a big issue. They affect your company or farm in bigger ways, not just with higher premiums. If employees are regularly getting injured, you’ll have morale issues and potentially spend additional time and money on training a replacement,” she continued. “It’s important to understand that even if you haven’t had a large claim before, smaller ones can lead to something bigger if you don’t figure out the root cause.”

Based out of Syracuse, N.Y., Nadeau covers the Northeast region. “I put in a lot of time on the road, traveling out to farms or agricultural facilities. While I’m there, I recap their loss history for the last five years, discuss training needs and complete on-site inspections. I am looking for any  hazard that could cause a potential injury, it may even be one they might walk past every day without even realizing it’s there. This practice is one of the ways I bring value to the individuals I work with.” 

Sometimes, it can be difficult to connect with businesses about loss prevention and safety. “Business owners and operators can be wary of safety trainers or consultants,” said Nadeau. “Owners are worried they may have to drastically change their business, are concerned about premium increases,  or just hesitant to let an outside party walk through their farm. Change can be scary, but my goal is to make it as easy as possible for the business owner. I look for improvements that will help grow a business, and, long-term, potentially lead to lower premiums. This will all come from fewer claims and a safer environment,” she stated. But, according to Nadeau, “business owners must be open to loss prevention in order to make positive changes. That is what I love about the clients here at ASA. I work with farmers that are down-to-earth people. They value their employees and want to create a successful operation. I have less challenges with them because of that. They are used to having all sorts of inspections from OSHA to food safety, so when there’s a positive change they can make, they’re open to it.”

For businesses looking to reduce claims, training is key. “The type and amount of training needed depends on the business,” said Nadeau. “Getting all the employees together at the same time can be challenging — trucking for example, people are always on the road. There are different approaches to training – sometimes, shorter, more frequent talks once a week work well. Other times, making time monthly, quarterly, annually or before the start of a busy season can be helpful. If you’re working with seasonal workers, like the fruit industry for example, it’s good to have an initial training when they start, and then do corrective training if needed. The most important thing is to make training schedules that best fit your company structure and then stick to that schedule.” If a business is struggling with keeping up with trainings, ASA can assist with that as well. 

Training is necessary for a lot of reasons. “Take a tractor for example,” said Nadeau. “Tractors are a huge investment. The equipment is expensive and can be dangerous if used incorrectly. You want to protect the employee operating the machine, the equipment, and your property.” Ashley goes on to mention during training “whether it is a new topic every year or refresher content, at almost every training, there is someone that learns something new – even if they have been there for years and operated the same tractor for decades or are a new employee. It can be easy to forget, and it’s always good to have a reminder.”

Consultations with ASA Loss Control Consultants can lead to positive outcomes. “I’ve had a lot of businesses that I’ve helped and built relationships with, and I think that’s my biggest success since joining ASA,” said Nadeau. “They’ll call me and ask for advice whether I’m their agent or not. They’ll ask me about other things aside from loss control. It’s a privilege that they feel comfortable enough to call me to ask for help and advice whether or not it’s related to safety. I’m glad to make a difference in what they do.”

When dealing with a loss, it’s important to act quickly to gather the facts behind it. “When there is a loss, it’s really important to get as much information as you can,” said Nadeau. “Farmers and business owners should find out if there were any witnesses and talk to anyone that was involved in the accident. You want to report the claim as quick as possible, and document it well.” She explains, “reporting within 3-5 days can reduce the cost of the claim, and hopefully get the employee back to work quicker. Afterwards, it’s also integral to do a root cause analysis. It’s important to figure out why the accident happened and how to prevent it in the future. You also need to share out information with other employees who do the same tasks and retrain them.” 

When looking at preventing losses, hiring the right employee can also help. “I always suggest to look for integrity when hiring,” said Nadeau. “Poor integrity can cause a whole slew of things to go wrong. If an employee is being unsafe, don’t keep them because you’ll be short-handed. There are just too many long-term ramifications from keeping an unsafe employee.” 

For Nadeau, ASA has been a great fit. “I love ASA,” said Nadeau. “I couldn’t ask for a better team to work with; everyone is involved and ready to jump in and help. When coming to the team, the first thing I noticed is how nice and welcoming everyone was – it is enjoyable to go to work when you work with good people.”

As agricultural insurance experts, ASA offers comprehensive insurance programs design for farmers, ranchers and agri-businesses. We are your advocates — working to find the best insurance solution to help you minimize risk, protect your operation and secure competitive benefits for you and your employees. 

For more information, contact Agri-Services Agency at 1-877-466-9089 or fill out our contact form: https://agri-servicesagency.com/about/contact-us