Obtaining the right insurance for your business is one of the most important decisions you have to make when starting a company.
- How can you be sure that you are getting the best rates, and the coverage that will support your company in its growth?
- How do you know if this insurance broker is trustworthy?
- How much does it cost to get all these different quote comparisons from various companies?
- How long does it take to get these quotes anyway?
When evaluating which business insurance broker or agency to connect with, there are certain qualities to look for:
1. You want an independent insurance broker who works with several major carriers rather than one who only works with one carrier. As a general rule of thumb, aim for a minimum of three insurers. Two are not enough, and five is ideal to compare rates and coverage options.
2. An insurance broker with experience in your line of business, and who is knowledgeable about the industry, will be able to ask the right questions and help you identify risks that might otherwise go unnoticed. How long has this broker been in business? How many years has he or she been doing business insurance – say specifically small business insurance? How many clients does this broker have – again specialising in your particular niche market?
3. A trustworthy, ethical individual who understands not only how policies work but also has knowledge about what businesses need as far as coverage goes. How long has he or she been working for his or her firm? How many policies has this broker or agency sold to companies like yours? How long has the insurance firm been in business? How many policies does it place annually? How much of this business comes from referrals and word-of-mouth as opposed to being a result of advertising, direct mailers, telemarketing, etc.?
4. How does this broker or agency communicate with its customers? How often does it make contact via phone, email, etc.? How are new clients and renewal policies solicited?
5. How well do you like this person whom you will have to work with? How easily can he or she explain complex matters in simple words? How well does this broker seem to know your industry-specific risks? How much does he or she charge for his services? How often can you expect this person to make contact with you (i.e., how much time will it take from the beginning of the process until you get coverage)? How long have clients worked with this insurance advisor?
6. How big is the insurance brokerage and its internal staff? A large firm should be able to offer more than one point of contact if questions arise or something goes wrong, and larger firms tend to offer more premiums as well – that means more business for the agency. Larger agencies also tend to provide training opportunities for their employees and offer a multitude of services.
7. Are marketing materials easy to understand and how useful are they? What is your overall impression from just looking at these documents if any? How readily available will quotes be? How quickly can you get an answer to a question once you’ve called for information.
8. What is your tolerance level when it comes to follow-up calls, paperwork, phone tag, etc.? How much time do you want or need to commit to finding coverage that fits your needs – before AND after you buy the policy(s)? And last but not least, How much of a deductible can you afford?
If your business currently has adequate coverage but is at risk for not having enough if it experiences growth or unforeseen events, buying additional insurance protection may be your best option. If you have one or more exposures that fall under “high risk” then insurance will not only cover the cost of repairs, but will also protect your company from paying out-of-pocket expenses in time and money lost during the claims process – potentially saving your company thousands of dollars in operating costs.
As always reach out for a chat if you have any questions here