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Safety Research Reduces Risk for All of Us


Safety Research Reduces Risk for All of Us

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), a non-profit research organization funded by auto insurance companies, has long been a leader in promoting highway safety. As we stop to give thinks on this holiday, let's thank them for the hundreds of thousands of lives they have saved.

IIHS was established 50 years ago and at that time there were 36,000 highway fatalities annually. Fast forward to 2008 where there are now three times as many licensed drivers, four times as many cars and ten times as many miles driven than in 1960 and the number of highway fatalities has actually gone down to 34,017. If you do the math, it means that 500,000 lives have been saved. Fifty years ago five people were killed per-100-million vehicle miles. That number is now 1.36, a reduction of 75%.













The insurance industry has had a public relations problem forever. Too few people understand the positive impact the insurance industry has on society today. In addition to IIHS there is also the Institute for Business and Home Safety. This is another organization funded by insurance companies to promote business and home safety. They are currently building a $40 million research and training facility designed to identify and promate effective methods of property loss reduction and prevention. This research will improve construction methods and materials, improve building codes and ultimately prevent losses that disrupt the lives of millions of homes and businesses.

More directly, insurance companies help businesses (contractors in particular), in the area of occupational safety and health. Workers comp insurers are the primary source of loss prevention expertise for U.S. businesses. In the early part of the 20th century, a manufacturing worker had a 25% chance of being injured on the job. Now it is 5%. Insurers along with OSHA have played a pivotal role in this achievement.

As we give thanks to an industry that is often taken for granted, we must also remember that it is our friends and neighbors who are employed by these companies. They are the ones who live in the trenches every day working hard to save lives and property and to help return injured workers to their jobs as quickly as possible. Without these skillful professionals, our lives would be diminished and our businesses less valuable.

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