Solving clients’ problems key to solutions-based approach at Howalt+McDowell

This piece is presented by Howalt+McDowell Insurance, a Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC company.

What keeps you up at night?

It’s a question that weighs heavily on Kira Kimball and the six members of her employer services team. As director of employer services for Howalt+McDowell Insurance, a Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC, Kimball and her team members are tasked with solving those tough problems that keep clients awake through consulting services, support tools and continuing education offerings.

Kira Kimball

The employer services division was launched two years ago to provide solutions that go beyond insurance products and policies.

“We don’t want to just be about insurance. We are really looking to be a strategic partner that can come alongside our clients and provide solutions that help them sleep better,” Kimball said.

Kimball conducted focus groups with various businesses and found a majority of concerns related to safety and compliance. In response to that need, the team was built out to include two safety and compliance consultants, Terry Lively and Glenn Carlson, who represent over 40 years of industry expertise.

“We entrench ourselves with our clients. When I am working with a customer, I don’t think of myself as a consultant. I think of myself as a member of their team. I want everyone on the team to succeed, and it’s my job to make sure my teammates are as safe as they can be,” Lively said.

image of Terry Lively

Terry Lively

Lively and Carlson perform risk assessments; develop safety procedures, plans and policies; present employee training; and position the client to assume less risk, reduce claims, ensure compliance and, ultimately, have safer, healthier employees.

These services augment the knowledge that Howalt+McDowell’s four-person claims consulting team has provided to clients for years. Through claims analysis and advocacy, the claims team provides support for employers to take their safety programs to the next level.

Highlighting the depth of Howalt+McDowell’s claims team expertise, Erin Williams, a senior claims consultant, is a featured speaker at the upcoming South Dakota Work Comp Summit scheduled for June 6 and 7 in Sioux Falls. Williams works with large accounts, analyzing claims data to facilitate risk management activities, and will be educating attendees on the basics of South Dakota’s workers’ compensation.

Image of Erin Williams

Erin Williams

“My prior experience handling workers’ compensation claims enhances my ability to assist clients and carrier partners with claims advocacy and problem resolution,” Williams said.

This is the eighth year Howalt+McDowell, in partnership with RAS, is hosting the two-day educational workshop. With an expected attendance of almost 500 safety and health managers, the summit features top experts in their fields and provides ample opportunity to network and learn about products and services from a variety of vendors. Visit to register or learn more.

According to Kimball, the long-term vision for employer services is to add colleagues to support other business functions, such as human resources.

“The beauty of being part of the Marsh & McLennan Agency family is that we have access to resources outside of our Sioux Falls office. To supplement our local staff, we can support client needs by engaging experts from other MMA offices in Minneapolis or St. Louis, for example.”

The addition of the employer services division to Howalt+McDowell’s suite of services supports the agency’s strategy of being a one-stop shop to provide the right solutions for each client’s unique needs.

“We are not going to present the client with a one-size-fits-all template,” Kimball said. “We are very intentional about getting to know what the businesses we work with want to accomplish and how they are going to measure success. This enables us to present a solution based on their needs, whether that be bringing Glenn or Terry in to consult on risk management, getting them set up on our web-based Risk Management Center, engaging data analytics to assess weaknesses and opportunities, or leveraging our agency and industry partnerships to provide additional resources.

“I like to think of us as having the ‘Mary Poppins’ toolkit; there’s a lot in there, and it’s our job to curate the right selection of items for each client and then help them make the most effective use of our offerings.”

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Solving clients’ problems key to solutions-based approach at Howalt+McDowell

“We don’t want to just be about insurance. We are really looking to be a strategic partner that can come alongside our clients and provide solutions that help them sleep better.”

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