Items needed to get a quote on Workers’ Comp and General Liability Insurance
Many times while talking to a prospect and gathering information I get the question “why do you need that, I just need a quote”. Agents can usually give you a business owner a phone indication depending on the state you are calling in reference to, but that is only an indication and not a formal quote. Any agent can easily go into detail about why they need an address and Employer Identification Number (EIN). Sometimes the business owner on the other end of the phone does not want to give out the information. At that point an agent has to say, unfortunately I cannot get you a quote unless I have your EIN and other needed information. This is a good piece of information to have if you are looking for a quote on workers’ compensation or general liability insurance for the first time. Below are all the basic questions any agent will ask while on a phone quote. These are also the questions you will get frequently via email when an agent needs more information on a submission sent in to me.
- It is very important that we have the correct name and spelling of the company. The way the company is formed is also crucial for Officer & Partner Exclusion Regulations per state.
- Phone numbers and email addresses are very important for the agent working on your quote and the future insurance carrier. Many carriers require agents to enter an email address upon quoting and or binding an account. This is typically for billing and information delivery.
- Mailing and physical addresses: Many times this is a PO Box for a mailing address and that is acceptable. However, a physical address is needed for the application and auditing purposes. In some cases there are multiple states and different mailing addresses. Your agent will need to know where to mail important policy information. Which address it needs to go to needs to be specified.
- Years in business: If you have been in business 5 years but are just now needing work comp or liability insurance our insurance carriers are going to want to know why. If you are a new venture and hiring employees for the first time, agents have different options for you than a business that has been in operation with employees and no workers comp coverage. All of this needs to be known to get an accurate quote.
- Federal or Employer Identification Number: This number is very important for many reasons. This number acts as the Social Security Number for your business. This number also acts as a way for each agency or agent to identify they are working on your account specifically. For instance if you call four different agents and they all have the same insurance carrier appointments then it’s first come first serve. Meaning the agent that enters in your information first will have the ability to present the quote. The other agents will be “Blocked” from the market. This EIN will also follow you with the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI). This will show what class codes you have used in the past as well as any past audits out for your company. On a side note please give any and all information to your agent. If an agent asks if you have ever had a Work Comp policy and you say no never, the carrier will have record that you have had a policy before. This makes for a very uncomfortable conversation for all involved.
- Officer and owner information: I cannot convey in words how important or vital this piece of information is. Depending on the state and how your company is formed determines what officers/ partners & percentage owned will allow some exclusions. I have seen this go many different ways and usually the head ache could have been detoured with correct owner information.
- What are the estimated annual wages for each department (office, field, sales): Workers’ Compensation Rates are based solely on Payroll. Your payroll times the rate of the class of business per 100 in payroll. We as agents understand that if you are just starting out this can be a hard number to decide on. Take it with small numbers first for instance how much money per hour?, how many hours a week?, and how many weeks will the employee be working for you? This number will give you a real number that you can give the agent to quote with.
- Detailed description of operations: Agents need to understand what your business is doing on a day-to-day basis. Telling your insurance agent I have a construction business does not give us a lot to go on. What kind of construction? Commercial or residential, new build or existing? Are you an artisan contractor? Or maybe you own a machine shop. What are you machining? All of the questions we are asking are so we can get you the most accurate quote.
- If you have a Workers Comp policy in place, agents are going to need a copy of your Loss Runs or Claims history along with an Experience Modification Number (if you qualify for one). You can obtain both of these documents from your current carrier and you do not have to call your agent if you do not want to. Along with this information if needed a supplemental application will be sent to you to be filled out, signed and returned.
Always remember insurance agents are here to help you get the coverage you need. If at any point, do not be afraid to ask questions. Many times this is the first time making a call to inquire about work comp insurance and there is a lot to know before actually purchasing a work comp policy.