What is a Certificate of Insurance?

When does a Business need a Certificate?

A certificate of insurance is a document that is used to provide info about specific insurance coverages. The certificate is issued to one entity and provides information about the insurance coverages another entity has secured. The certificates are usually required as part of a contract between a business, a contractor, and a subcontractor. A certificate of insurance can be offered for General Liability, Business Auto, Umbrella, and Workers Compensation.

Certificate of Insurance

What is Included with a Certificate?

The certificate of insurance includes the type of insurance coverage that has been secured, the limits of those policies, and the named insured.  The certificate will also include whether there is an Additional Insured or Waiver of Subrogation associated with any of the policies included in the certificate. It should include detailed information about the company or person who receives the certificate that includes full address, contact name, email address, phone number, and fax number.  When requesting a certificate be sent to another entity, the more information you provide the better.

Who Might need a Certificate of Insurance?

Typically a certificate of insurance is needed when a business hires a general contractor for a job or a contractor hires a subcontractor to perform a specific part of a job. The certificate is provided as proof the business or the general contractor made sure the contractor or subcontractor they are interacting with has coverage in place at the time the work was done. It is important to always ask a contractor for a new certificate every time you work with them. Just because someone had coverage in place in the past does not mean they still have coverage. If a business or a general contractor hires a business who does not have proper coverage in place, the business or general contractor will take on the liability for damages in most instances.

5 Things to Know When Insurance Shopping

Insurance Shopping is a wise thing for a business owner to do if not every year, at least every few years. It is not wise to switch carriers frequently based on a slight drop in premium, but it is wise to look around in an attempt to make sure your carrier is competitive with the marketplace. Here are five things to keep in mind when looking in to insurance shopping.

Digital Graphics implementing how a business goes about insurance shopping.

Understand the Value of an Independent Agent

An independent insurance agent is valuable to a small business owner because they are not attached to any one insurance carrier. The fact that they are independent allows the agent to give business leaders advice about each policy and each carrier. They can show you which policy offers the lowest premium and they can give you additional information about each carrier. Margins within the insurance industry are very small. When one insurance carrier is offering a similar policy for a significantly lower premium, there is usually a reason for the premium being lower and that reason is rarely because it offers more coverage or the carrier provides better service of that policy. An independent insurance agent can tell you what to expect when partnering with each individual insurance carrier.

Bundle Policies

Bundling policies is a good idea for a small business for a number of reasons. First and foremost, bundling all coverages with one insurance carrier in a BOP prevents there being gaps in coverage. A gap in coverage occurs when two policies that deal with a claim have exclusions pertaining to the particular claim. Bundling policies with one carrier allows the agent to make sure these gaps do not exist and your business is properly covered.

Do Not Prioritize Price

Price should be one of a number of factors to consider when deciding which policy and which carrier to go with. Margins in the insurance industry are very tight. When a business owner bases their decision primarily on price, they are taking the risk of purchasing an inferior coverage. When a claim occurs, the business should be prepared for less coverage when they decide to go with a significantly cheaper policy.

Analyze your limits

As your facility and equipment age, it is wise to speak with your agent about what exactly is the value of those pieces of equipment. If a piece of equipment is crucial to or business being able to operate, replacing that equipment quickly is important to the ongoing operation of the business. If this is not the case, it might be better to lower the limits of a policy. This is especially important when it comes to old vehicles or old equipment. If the business owns a vehicle that has a value that is similar to what the deductible might be, it might be better for the business to just deal without the vehicle or purchase a new vehicle. No matter what the situation is for your business, it is worthwhile to discuss lowering your limits with your insurance agent from time to time.

Consider an Umbrella Policy

An Umbrella Insurance Policy is designed to sit on top of all existing insurance policies when the limits of those policies have been exhausted. The coverage provides an additional layer of security to businesses that are at risk for being sued for damages to other people’s property or injuries caused to others in an accident. Many times adding an umbrella policy is a more cost effective way to add additional coverage to your policies.

5 Questions to Ask Your Insurance Agent

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.

How to Save in 2019 when Small Business Owners Shop Insurance

In 2019 There Are Several Ways to Save When You Shop Insurance

As most small business owners know, every dime matters when you own and operate a small business. Before making any major changes or making and major purchases, it is important to speak with every advisor possible to determine how these decision will impact your insurance premium. Savvy business owners weigh their options and move forward with the largest amount of information possible. This decision making process should be no different when it comes to purchasing shop insurance.  Here are five tried and true tips to help you save on commercial insurance and five tips you should try in 2019.

Shop Insurance

5 Tried and True Tips to Shop Insurance

Partner with an Independent Agent

It is always best to partner with an independent agent when it is time to Shop Insurance. The services done by an independent agent can be done by yourself or someone at your business, but depending upon the experience of yourself or your key employees, you are not going to be able to do it as efficiently as an independent agent can. This is especially true when it comes to the amount of time a business would have to spend acquiring quotes from multiple carriers and the knowledge an insider like an independent agent has within the insurance industry. An independent agent knows which carriers are hungry to quote a particular industry, which carriers are looking to quote a certain policy, and which carriers have better servicing when a claim occurs. This allows your key employees to spend more time running the business and allows the independent agent to shop insurance so you don’t have to.

Shop Around Your Policy

Once you have chosen an independent agent with whom you trust, it is important to have them shop your policy around to as many carriers as possible. This creates competition for your coverage and gives you options. It is not a good idea to switch carriers each year and it is not wise to make your decision on a carrier based solely on price. The margins insurance carriers make on policies are tight. If one carrier offers a price dramatically lower than all others there is more than likely a reason for it. An independent agent can help you determine which offer is the best, but it is important to first shop your policy around.

Understand your Experience Mod

The Experience Modification Rating of a business is the one factor businesses have control over that can impact what the pay for commercial insurance. Especially what the business pays for workers compensation insurance coverage. Underwriters at Insurance Carriers use the experience modification rating to determine if they are gong to offer a business coverage and what they are going to charge each business for premium. Keeping this rating low is important.

Safety Programs

Implementing an effective Safety Program is the primary way a business can keep their experience modification rating low. When effective a safety program can keep the number of insurance claims low and it can limit the severity of insurance claims when they do occur. A safety program does not have to be extremely time consuming. It can be as little as an hour meeting once a month or even a 15 minute huddle a few times a week.  No matter what type of program a business deems is best for their business, a safety program is the best way to lower the experience modification rating.

Return to Work Program

A Return to Work Program should be a part of any safety program. A return to work program helps inured employees get back to work faster and make them more likely to eventually return to full-time permanent work. Humans are creatures of habit and the longer an injured employee stays off the job, the longer they have to develop habits not associated with work. A return to work program can help your business retain these employees and limit the damage to your businesses experience modification rating.

5 Insurance Tips to Use in 2019

Consider Updating Equipment

If your business has certain types of equipment you depend upon; it may be wise to talk with your independent agent about all of the equipment your business owns and operates. Your independent agent should be able to help you determine which types of equipment are causing your premium to rise or fall. They may be able to help you determine when it is time to either limit the amount of equipment you own, upgrade the equipment you have or to sell outdated equipment.

Consider a Different Kind of Bundle

Bundling policies is always a good way to get additional discounts on insurance premium. If you are a small business owner; consider not only bundling all of your business and personal policies with one carrier, but try to leverage the policies of your employees as well. If you have a staff that needs health insurance coverage, it might be worth your while to get all of their policies added to your bundle.  When you ad in dental, vision, life, and supplemental income coverage; this can amount to a lot of premium. This is the type of situation an insurance agent loves. If an agent has the opportunity to sell multiple policies while dealing with only one person, they are much more likely to dig deep for all of the credits, debits, and discounts they have available.

Change your payment method

The payment method preferred will vary from carrier to carrier.  You may be able to reap substantial savings by paying your premium in full, paying quarterly, or by making a larger payment up front. Some carriers will give you a small discount for setting up payments through an electronic funds transfer. It is important to communicate to your agent, that you want them asking for any and all discounts offered. Insurance agents interact with customers from all walks of life. Not all of these customers value price as much as other customers. If you are a customer who does want to use every option possible to maximize savings, than communicate this preference to your agent.

Explore Every Type of Discount

There are a number of types of discounts insurance carriers offer.  Here is a list of discounts a business might be able to benefit from:

  • Claims Free
  • Safety Discounts
  • Bundling Discounts
  • Group Discounts
  • Loyalty Discounts
  • Paperless

Each insurance carrier is different. Some will allow you to ad on multiple discounts. Some will only allow you to take advantage of one or a select few. If you’re not sure about what discounts an insurance carrier provides, ask to speak with a representative who can explain the different policy combinations and available deals. Your independent agent should be able to find any and all discounts to meet your needs, but it is important to express to them this is a priority for you as a business owner.

Make your Workplace Ergonomically Friendly  

Ergonomically friendly working places are a long-term investment, but if executed properly they can help your business save immensely. Having an ergonomically friendly work station for each of your employees is a difficult situation. Each employee has their own unique needs. Some may be very tall while others may be very short. Some may be large while others may have a physical disability. Working with these employees to take care of their needs on the front end can eliminate a lot of costly insurance claims down the road by preventing repetitive use injuries. This will contribute to your staff being more productive and will lower what you pay for insurance because you will be filing less insurance claims.

What is a Ghost Policy?

Have you heard the term Ghost Policy?

It is typically referred to in regards to workers compensation insurance.  A Ghost Insurance Policy is a term used to describe a specific type of workers’ compensation insurance policy. This type of policy is issued to individual business owners that have no direct coverage value. It can be a great policy for small contractors and subcontractors who have no employees or subcontractors.

Ghost Policy

What is a Ghost Policy?

A Ghost Policy is a minimum earned premium policy. A policy of this nature commonly costs between $750 and $1000 annually. This is depending on the state the policy is issued and several factors related to the industry the business operates.  One major difference from a traditional workers comp policy is that a Ghost Insurance Policy has no payroll calculated into the premium.  It also excludes all owners from the policy.  This is where the term “Ghost”comes from.  Now the premium will vary by carrier and includes the state expense constant, There are minimum premium amounts required to administer a policy.

Why might someone want a Ghost Policy?

While many business owners might think it is a waste of money to purchase this type of a policy, but it may be a preferable alternative to going without coverage for a number of reasons.  A Ghost Policy enables a business owner to have a certificate of insurance issued.  Many contracts require a certificate of insurance in order to secure financing and to do business legally in many states.  In addition, a Ghost Insurance Policy can cost a fraction compared to a policy including the owner. Also, in most cases, a Ghost Policy provides employer liability protection in the event an employee is hired or a payment is made to an uninsured subcontractor. Uninsured Subcontractors are especially important to protect your self and your business from, even if you only interact with subcontractors infrequently. Trusting that a subcontractor is self insured is a good way to get your business in to a situation no business owner wants to be in.

Ghost policies don’t provide coverage, so why would I want one?

The biggest reason small contractor or subcontractors benefits from a Ghost Insurance Policy is to meet state legal requirements or to provide a certificate of insurance to another client or general contractor. Many other businesses, customers, and other contractors require an independent contractor to provide a certificate of insurance in order to enter into a contract with them. The fact that the business does not hire employees is inconsequential to them. They want to have a certificate of insurance in place to make sure they are not held liable for damages or bodily injury that occur within the contract. Many independent contractors do not employ any other people.  These contractors want to prevent high workers compensation premiums just to cover themselves with traditional comp coverage. Unfortunately, in some states these contractors are required to show some proof of insurance coverage. In most instances, a Ghost Policy will help them meet these requirements the most cost effective way.

Do you know the early warning signs of a Data Breach?

According to a report release by released by the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) and CyberScout, more than 1500 business were the victim of a Data Breach in 2017. The cost of these data breaches, according to a Cost of Data Breach Study administered by the Ponemon Institute, was $3.62 million. This amounts to more than a $5 Billion cost to the business community in 2017 alone. This is a risk that your business can protect by purchasing adequate Cyber Insurance, but there are additional steps that can protect your business from a data breach on a daily basis.  Here are six things every small business should do to prevent a Cyber Attack.

Data Breach Insurance is a must for all Small Businesses.

Hire people who know Cyber Security

If you are not technologically advanced, it is imperative that you hire someone who is and pay them well. The average price of a data breach is TKTKTK. Hiring a well-trained professional to protect your business is extremely important. Paying them a good salary is the best way to keep them from being poached by the competition.

To prevent a Data Breach, Watch for Unusual Behavior

If a computer program that you use daily starts acting up, investigate it for more than just a hardware or software malfunction. Any time there is an irregularity, check that system for any further compromises.

Investigate Suspicious Files

Any time malware is detected, or an employee reports opening a suspicious file, do not take any chances. In the American system of justice, defendants are innocent until proven guilty. Well in the realm of cyber security, it is always best to assume the system is infected until proven other wise.

Run Scans to prevent a Data Breach

Anti-virus and anti-malware programs need to be up-to-date. Someone within your business should run vulnerability programs to look for missing protections or other security risks.

Check Your Credit

Customer information is not the only confidential information on your businesses server. There is plenty of information about your your business and the employees.  If you are a small business owner you should keep a tight watch on both your business and personal credit history. A drastic change in either of these reports can show your business has been compromised.

Monitor Computer System Communication for signs of a Data Breach

Your or your IT representative should regularly monitor communication patterns on your network. If use see an employee’s computer transmitting large amounts of data, especially outside of the network, it could be a sign of a hack.

 

Do you have a child heading off to college?

You better talk to your Insurance Agent about your new College Student.

Raising children can be an amazing experience, full of milestones and accomplishments. None are larger than graduating from high school. When your child does graduate from college, if they are planning to head off to college, you better sit down and talk to your insurance agent about how to most effectively navigate the next five years of your child’s life. Here are six tips for taking care of your child while they are away at college.

High School Graduate walking across the podium shows the need for talking with an insurance agent about how best to insure your college student.

Contact Your Insurance Professional

If you have an insurance agency that you partner with you should contact them around graduation time if you have not already done so. You will need to discuss what options you have for both their car and health insurance, as well as what behaviors you need to let your child know about related to risk management and insurance.

Understand the Risks Your Students Faces

It is important to talk to your teen about the risks they face when living away from your house out on their own. It is equally important to talk to them about the costs associated with their actions and what repercussions they will face if something happens that causes insurance rates to go up.  Teens often forget that the cost of owning a car includes auto insurance. Explain what a driving infraction is and how it impacts the rate you pay for insurance with numbers and concrete examples.

Shop Around

The best way to shop around for better price and coverage is to partner with an independent insurance agent. Many agents partner with one insurance carrier (captive agents) and some partner with a select few insurance carriers. This limits the amount of policies they can find for your businesses unique insurance needs. Most independent insurance agencies partner with ten or more insurance carriers. Some partner with even twenty or thirty carriers. From your perspective, the more the merrier. This is because you can call one agent and they can come back to you with numerous quotes from multiple carriers. This causes more competition and can get you better coverage at rock bottom rates.

Is your teen going away to school and are they taking a vehicle?

When your teen heads away to college, you may be eligible for lower premiums if they leave the car behind. In some cases parents will do this for the first semester or even the first year as a trial period. Once the child shows some responsibility and hopefully good grades the parents allow them to take a vehicle away with them. No matter what you decide to do for your child, it is important to keep your insurance agent and carrier in the loop.

Keep Your College Student on Your Own Policy

In most cases, it is less expensive for parents to add a college student to their insurance policy than it is for students to purchase insurance on their own. Multi-vehicle discounts are available when insuring your college student’s car with the same insurance company.

Increase Your Liability Insurance

When a college student gets into a car accident, the state minimums for liability insurance are not always enough to protect your and your child if they are sued for damages.  If you have a minimum policy with $15,000 for damages and $20,000 for medical; the damages from a serious accident can be more than this amount fairly easily. Many vehicles on the roads cost more than $15,000 and a weeks stay in a hospital can total $20,000.  If your college student is found to be negligent in the accident and the damage exceeds the limits of your policy, you can be held financially responsible for the remaining damages. Raising your liability limits may increase your premium by a few hundred dollars a year, but it may save you thousands when your college student causes an accident.

Ask about a discount for Good Grades and Driver Training

If your child is a good student or they have up to date driver training, it may be worthwhile to mention this to your agent when purchasing coverage for your college student.  Most carriers give a discount to students who maintain at least a “B” average. Another way to earn a discount is by having your teen take a recognized driver training course.

When does a Business need Hired and Non Owned Auto Insurance?

Hired and Non Owned Auto Insurance is a type of insurance policy that many businesses need and far too many fail to secure. According to the International Risk Management Institute, Hired and Non Owned Auto Insurance is defined as; ‘an auto that is used in connection with the named insured’s business but that is not owned, leased, hired, rented, or borrowed by the named insured’. In layman’s terms this is an insurance policy for a business when an employee of that business uses a vehicle for business purposes that is not owned by that business. This could be an employee driving their personal car for business purposes or it could be an employee driving a rental car while travelling to a conference representing the business. The insurance policy will cover bodily injury and property damage to third parties damaged by an accident that is the fault of your employee.  This policy can be purchased as a standalone policy or as an add on to your commercial auto or general liability insurance policies. Here are some things you need to know about this coverage if you own a small business and have employees who use vehicles the business does not own.

You can purchase it as a standalone policy, or you can add it on as a rider to your General Liability Insurance.

Two cars have crashed wrecked into each other at intersection with very upset man driver looking at the severe damage with wrong way sign in background. If he is driving for work, his employer needs hired and non owned auto insurance.

What exactly does Hired and Non Owned Auto Insurance Cover?

Hired and Non Owned Auto Insurance covers some damages for cars that employees of your business use but the business does not own those cars. These vehicles include rental vehicles, leased vehicles, and employee personal vehicles. The policy covers specifically the damage caused to third parties, but not always the damage to the vehicle your employee is driving.

Examples of when you need this coverage

  • You send an employee on an errand to pick up supplies in their own vehicle.
  • An employee rents a vehicle on a business trip.
  • You send a limo to the airport to pick up an important client.
  • An employee runs out to get coffee or pick up lunch for everyone in the office.

Rental Car Agent with a business man renting a car. THe business man is asking if they offer Hired and Non Owned Auto Insurance.

What is not covered under a Hired and Non Owned Auto Insurance Policy?

A Hired and Non Owned Auto Insurance Policy does not pay for physical damage to your employees vehicle. That damage would be covered by the employees personal auto insurance policy.  It also will not pay for the repair of a rental vehicle that is damaged by in an accident that is caused by your employee.  It does not cover accidents that occur during a commute to work, unless the employee is using a vehicle rented by the business. Another scenario that is not covered by a Hired and Non Owned Auto Insurance Policy is when an employee is running a personal errand during work hours, but they are not doing business operations.

What are the differences between Hired and Non Owned Vehicles

Hired Vehicles refer to car services like a taxi or limousine and rented vehicles your employees use for business purposes. Non Owned Vehicles refer to vehicles that are used by your employees that are not owned by the business. The most common example of this is an employee using their personal car for business related travel.

5 Industries who can benefit from Pay as You Go Workers Comp

Pay as You Go Workers Comp is a great program that many insurance carriers offer to help businesses get insurance in place without the burden of a large lump sum payment. For many businesses, it is not in their best interest to tie up cash in a large payment just to get a workers comp policy in place.

pay-as-you-go-workers-comp-insurance

Landscaping

Landscaping can benefit from a Pay as You Go Workers Comp Policy because of the seasonal nature of the work involved in landscaping. No matter where you operate, there are more than likely certain times of the year when a majority of the work is done. For most businesses, this is in the Summer when grass and other plants are growing like crazy. Even if you offer Winter Snow Removal Services, that time of year will more than likely be less busy than other times of the year. Pay as You Go will allow you to pay your premium each month based upon the previous months payroll.

Hospitality

The Hospitality Industry includes all businesses that cater to people who are travelling. This can include hotels, motels, bed & breakfasts, bars, and restaurants.  The nature of this business is dependent upon the weather and the Summer Break from school. Because children are free from the daily routine of school, many parents decide to take them on vacations. While these people are on vacations they typically have lots of disposable income. Because of the seasonal nature of this industry, Pay as You Go Workers Comp can allow business owners to pay their premium during the busy time when they have cash on hand and pay less during the slower time of the year.

Construction

Construction is another business that because of the weather and the outdoor nature of the job, it has slow times. If these slow times are causing your business to have less cash coming in, Pay as You Go might just be a great option to help construction businesses keep coverage in place while keeping premium payments to a minimum.

Food Trucks

Food Trucks are booming in popularity all over the country. Most cities now have numerous Food Truck Friday Events and sporting events are beginning to see more and more trucks compared to just a few years ago. Because this business is located outside, it is somewhat dependent upon the weather. If the truck is located in a sports town, it can even be based upon the success of the professional teams in your area. With the Pay as You Go Option, you can pay a higher premium during the months when you have cash on hand and less when the business traffic is slow.

Farming

Farming is another industry that can be both seasonal and cash-strapped for several different reasons. Some family owned farms depend on government programs for part of their revenue. Those payments are usually sent out at one or a few times per year. During those times in between, some farmers may lack cash on hand to make large lump sum payments for things like commercial insurance. A Pay as You Go Option can help these family farms by allowing them to pay their premium monthly depending upon the work they do each month.

Why should someone choose an independent agent?

4 Reasons why you are better off choosing an Independent Agent.

Choosing which businesses to partner with are important decisions for any business owner, no matter what industry they operate in. Finding another business to provide the products and services you depend on is essential to your success.  No decision is more important who you decide to purchase insurance from. There are many ways a business owner can go about this process, but one of the most effective for many businesses is to partner with an independent agent. Here are 4 reasons why you should choose and independent insurance agency the next time you are looking for insurance coverage.

An Independent Agent Works for You

When you partner with a captive agent (an agent who works for only one carrier) they have a partnership with that carrier and that carrier only.  They work for you the business owner, but they also are equally looking out for the best interests of the carrier as well. An independent agency, who partners with multiple carriers, has more of an incentive to keep you the business owner satisfied in order to continue to win your business in the future.

An Independent Agent gives you choice

When you partner with an independent agent you will have the choice of which insurance carrier you would like to partner with. Most independent agencies partner with between 10 and 40 insurance carriers. This gives them the ability to shop your policy around and make the carriers compete for your business. An insurance agent who is a partner with only one or a few carriers, is not able to obtain quotes from as many carriers. In most cases, this causes them to not be able to get as thorough coverage and it may not be at the best rate. When an independent agent partners with many agents they learn the ins and outs of each carrier. They know which carrier is better at the claims process, which carrier is more likely to give additional credits and discounts, which carriers like for you to have a safety program in place. They can advise you on which carrier might be a better match for you based upon what you value. The best match for you may not always be the carrier who offers the best price. They can help guide you through that process with the most thorough and unbiased information.

An independent agent is a partner with an insured, who has their best interst at heart.

An Independent Agent can be your advocate

An independent insurance agent can give you unbiased advice about the coverage’s you are looking to secure. They can give you advice about all the companies you are considering. They can tell you which companies are the best during the claims process, which companies more than likely offer the cheapest rate, why you might want to pay additional premium for the services of a particular carrier.

An independent agent can also be your advocate when you have a problem regarding your insurance policy. These problems can arise when you have a billing question, you buy new property or equipment mid-term, when you need a certificate of insurance for another business you are partnering with or even when you have a claim. This is especially important in the event you have a claim, and all business at some point have to file a claim. If your carrier is not living up to their obligations your agent can hold them accountable on your behalf.

An Independent Agent can save you time and money

Depending upon what you value in the insurance quoting process, an independent agent can help you save both time and money. For some business owners their time is precious and the most important aspect of the insurance buying process is to have the process over with as fast as possible. If this is the case, you can express this to your agent and they can search the policies for you after a 5 or 10 minute conversation. They can get you a quote from as many as ten carriers with minimal time. Partnering with a captive agent means you have to call each carrier individually.

For many business owners, their time is better spent running their business than it is trying to save additional money on premium. Some businesses may have a premium amount that is so small it may not be worth their time to spend an additional few hours to find a 5 % savings on a $500 policy. In the end this would only save them $25. On the other end of the spectrum, a large business with a $75,000 policy may block out as much time as a half a day or even multiple days to find the best insurance policy for their business. In this instance a 5% savings would add up to $3,750, which is a months worth of salary for one of their employees, it could be a $500 bonus for 7.5 employees, or it could be a winter vacation to Florida for the owner of the company. No matter what you as a business owner value, an independent agent can save you time and money by having them do the searching for you all at one stop.