Canadian Rental Association
CRA 1, NHL 1
By Tyler Olsen
May 9, 2011 - The Canadian Rental Association’s B.C. meeting on May 3 was a learning experience for all those in attendance -- even American Rental Association bigwigs like chief executive officer Chris Wehrman.
By Tyler Olsen
The Canadian Rental Association’s B.C. meeting on May 3 was a learning
experience for all those in attendance — even American Rental
Association bigwigs like chief executive officer Chris Wehrman. Wehrman spoke to her Canadian counterparts about the benefits of their
ARA membership before Phil Kelling of ARA Insurance Services gave a crash
course on managing everyday risks. The Canadians, meanwhile, gave
Wehrman and her fellow Americans some advice on who to cheer for in the
NHL playoff game between the Nashville Predators and the Vancouver
Canucks, which played in the background throughout the evening.
CRA B.C. president Jim Clipperton thanks the hosts of Tuesday's meeting, Rhonda and Bill Pedersen, while ARA CEO Chris Wehrman and ARA Insurance president and CEO Phl Kelling applaud.
But even the chance that they could miss a pivotal play didn’t dissuade
30-odd B.C. CRA members from meeting at Pedersen’s Rentals in Burnaby,
B.C. With Bill and Rhonda Pedersen as the gracious hosts, the guests,
mingled, chatted and ate a superb meal before Wehrman and Kelling took
Wehrman — who was visiting Vancouver for the first time — focused on
the Canadian Rental Association’s 40-year relationship with the ARA. "It has been a longstanding partnership of not only membership but all we
have shared throughout the years in expertise and people and leadership
and the events that we’ve had,” said Wehrman. “We’re very, very
appreciative . . . of being so fortunate to have this relationship with
Canada, our Region 10.”
ARA CEO Chris Wehrman speaks to CRA B.C. members
She said that 458 Canadians representing 216 stores attended The 2011
Rental Show in Las Vegas and that planning is already underway for the
2012 show, which will be held in New Orleans from February 5 to 8.
“The city is ready to go, we’re planning a terrific program for you,” she told the Canadians. “It’s going to be a great party.”
Wehrman said that American rental pros continue to look north in envy at the Canadian economy. “In the U.S. we say, ‘We need to move to Canada’ pretty often. We’ve
said that a lot the last couple years,” said Wehrman. That sentiment
continues as steady, but unspectacular, growth is expected to continue
at a three-percent rate. The west continues to lead while the Maritimes lag
behind. British Columbia has seen some of the fastest growth among all
Canadian provinces, according to the ARA’s figures.
CRA B.C. president Jim Clipperton laughs at a joke during Wehrman's speech.
At 7.7 percent, construction rental growth rates continue to outpace
that of tool rentals (5.5 percent) and party and event (4-5 percent).
“My message to all of you is, gosh, keep up the good work and thanks for
the membership we appreciate everything that the Canadian Rental
Association does,” said Wehrman, noting the many Canadians who sit on
ARA committees. “The leadership from Canada within the ARA is profound.”
Kelling followed Wehrman and spoke about the need and ways to manage the risk that confronts every rental manager.
While many think of insurance as the main bulwark against unforeseen
problems, Kelling said it should be considered an option of last resort.
While insurance is needed, it’s more costly than the prevention of
accidents, theft and fire in the first place.
“You want to protect the assets of your organization and protect the
financial statements of your organization,” he said. And while the
managers and owners at the meeting may be plenty aware of the need to
minimize risk, Kelling advised them that “the key thing to this whole
thing is getting you’re employees to think the same way.”
ARA Insurance president and CEO speaks to CRA members Tuesday at Pedersen's Rentals in Burnaby, B.C.
Kelling said there are five keys to managing risk: risk identification;
risk analysis; risk control; risk financing; and risk administration.
Identification is simple: “You can’t manage [risk] if you don’t know what the problem is,” said Kelling.
Risk analysis involves focusing efforts towards those area most
susceptible to frequent, or large, losses. Auto liability, for example,
comprises some 40 per cent of claims. But as far as claim severity goes,
lifts represent 8 per cent of the total — reflecting the danger of a
faulty lift and the high price to be paid when something goes wrong.
Most time should be spent on controlling risk. The first step is simple:
“You avoid it,” said Kelling. That means avoiding dangerous situations
where the chance of something going wrong is high. If that’s impossible,
one should focus on decreasing the chances that something will go
wrong. Other ways to control risk include duplication — insuring you
have backups for key systems or products — and transference, which
means either buying insurance or setting aside funds privately to cover
losses. But Kelling warned: “Don’t treat insurance as a substitute for
| Not hockey fans.|
Kelling noted that insurance is cheap today, at least when compared to
historic rates. It’s still more costly than preventing accidents in the
first place, but it can be the only way to ensure that a catastrophic
event like a fire doesn’t put your business’s existence in danger. It
also can make life a little more pleasant.
“If you’re one of those people who doesn’t sleep well at night, buy a
little more insurance,” Kelling advised. “You’ll sleep better.”
B.C. local president Jim Clipperton capped the meeting by thanking
Kelling and Wehrman and speaking about the way he has taken advantage of
ARA membership. He said he has encouraged his employees to take the
driver risk training course, and rewarded those who have with a
50-cent-per-hour raise. “The course is a real good addition to our drivers.”
He also helped a young mechanic he employs win $1,000 scholarships from both the CRA and ARA toward his education. “It doesn’t have to be a son, it doesn’t have to be a daughter, just
could be one of your employees, someone who’s going to school somebody
who’s trying to improve.”