And 5 Tips to Make Sure the Insurance Buying Process is Smooth
What Liability Do I Face That I May Not Realize?
Insurance Agents interact with businesses of all types and sizes on a daily basis. They work with business owners when they are starting a business, when they are up for renewal, and when they have to file a claim. These experiences expose your agent to many different ways a business might have to use their insurance policy. This experience allows your agent to understand risks that a business owner may not even realize they face. If you value your business than ask your insurance agent about those risks you may not foresee.
How Should I Communicate With You?
Ask your agent what their preferred method of communication is. If you need to get ahold of them in a hurry, ask how to best accomplish this. They may have a key employee who is the person to talk to when you cannot get ahold of them directly. It is helpful to know who those people are and what the process is to get ahold of the agent effectively. It is equally important to ask them what the process is throughout the year for you to communicate with each other (when you need to file a claim, when you are up for renewal, when you buy new equipment, etc.).
How Can We Establish Expectations?
Most business owners are very busy people and time is of ultimate value. The same can be said for your insurance agent. An insurance agent has to balance the needs of many customers. If you know at the beginning of your business relationship what expectations are, the more likely you are to avoid difficult situations in the future. This should go for what their responsibilities are, what your responsibilities are, when you should talk to each other, and what the process is at the end of your term. These are just a few areas that should be established up front to prevent problems down the road.
How Do I Report a Claim?
Knowing what the process is to file and process a claim is not something you want to be figuring out when your business is dealing with a loss. Do not be upset when your agent tells you that the carrier process the claims. Processing the claim is the job of the carrier. It is important to contact your agent throughout the claims process. They can help when an unfortunate event occurs like your agent is not living up to their responsibilities.
What additional Information can help you?
Your insurance agent can only act upon the information you give them. No one knows your business, inside and out, as well as you do. Communicate as much about your business as you can to your insurance agent as well as what you value out of your relationship with an insurance agent. this additional information can help the insurance agent determine what exactly are the risks that your business faces and it will help them come up with multiple packages to suit the needs of your individual business.
5 Tips for a Smooth Renewal
Honesty is Always the Best Policy
When it comes to protecting your business, honesty is always the best policy. Once you find an insurance agent that you trust (and you should not be partnering with an agent you do not fully trust) it is important to tell them as much about your business as is necessary. Do not ever conceal or lie about anything within your operations. At best it can cause a major headache for you when a claim is filed and in many cases it can cause a claim to not be covered. Having a long and honest conversation each year with your insurance agent is always the best way to properly protect your business.
Tell the agent what you can and cannot afford
You do not have to give the agent a number, but if you cannot afford an all inclusive package you need to tell them. It is equally wise to ask your agent what liability you are left exposed to by not purchasing a particular policy. Most carriers have Business Owner’s Packages designed specifically for each industry. These packages can usually be changed to meet the specific needs of your business. If you are cash strapped and cannot afford all the policies recommended, it is important to tell them this fact. This is also true if you have the ability to pay and you want to get as much coverage as possible. No matter where your business stands and what you value, it is always best to keep your agent in on these priorities.
Express to the Agent How Much Risk You are Comfortable With
In some business scenarios, you do not have to overdo it when it comes to insurance. This is especially true for startups or seasonal businesses. Now it is never a good idea to go under-insured, but not every business needs to take on every insurance coverage offered. Cyber liability is one coverage that may or may not be necessary for your business. It takes an in-depth conversation with your agent to determine whether you actually need cyber insurance or any other coverage. In addition to going without coverage, you can also save money by choosing a higher deductible.
Remember the Agent is Feeling You Out Too
Remember, the agent is feeling you out too. If you give the wrong impression of how you run your business, the agent may determine the risk is not worth the commission. This can make it difficult to find an agent who will partner with you. This can be especially difficult when you are looking for comprehensive coverage or you are looking for the lowest California Workers Compensation Rates. Always remember the agent may also be feeling out if your priorities are in line with the type of customer they want to partner with. Insurance is a business of maximizing risk. Insurance agents and carriers want to partner with businesses who rarely file a claim. If you have a negative claims history, you do not have any documentation of safety programs and you only want to discuss what the cheapest policies are; the agent may determine you are the type of business that is likely to file claims at a high frequency or claims that may be severe. If you put off this vibe during your interactions with the insurance agent, they may simply determine your business is not worth the perceived risk.
Periodically Reevaluate Your Risks
As businesses grow so do the risk they face. If you have finished a year in which you have taken on additional staff, bought additional equipment, or taken on a new property; it may be time to reassess the risks your business faces. This is why it is important to find an insurance professional with whom you can have a comfortable relationship. When you establish a strong relationship with your insurance agent, this relationship allows you to feel comfortable telling your insurance agent about all the aspects of your business that may present additional risks to your business. This is not something you need to do on a weekly or monthly basis, but it is something you should do when you are up for your yearly renewal.