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The Relationship with your Insurance Agent Matters

Aug. 11, 2014

As my 22nd year in the insurance business comes to a close I’ve been reflecting recently on the topics that are most important to my clients, both current & prospective.

Two topics stand out more than any others; Price & Service.

Although price & service are important, what I have found is most important to any business owner is having the right coverage in place should a loss occur.

Understandably, business owners don’t want to pay too much for that coverage.

Business owners also want someone there to handle any concerns they may have as the claims process moves along.

Unfortunately, many business owners view insurance as ‘just another monthly bill’.

In addition, they don’t like to spend much time out of their already busy schedule talking with their agent or a new agent that wants to provide a quote!

I say it is time well spent.

How do you know what is the proper coverage for your business?

How much is enough?

How much is too much?

Every time something changes in your business plan, you should be contacting your agent.
It may only require a two minute phone call.

More importantly, it may require a face-to-face discussion to address how big of an impact it may have on your insurance program.

In a perfect world, all of my clients contact me during the planning stages of any change to their business.

That way they have a full understanding of the impact on their insurance program before implementing changes.

Have a pizza parlor & now you want to add delivery with teenage drivers using their own vehicles?

Big bucks!

You specialize in windows, doors & siding but want to add roofing?

Big bucks!

You do auto body repair, but business is slow so your turning one of the bays into general repair?

Not a big deal, but hey, let’s talk!

Questions we will answer include but aren’t limited to:

How does this impact your Worker’s Comp?

How does this impact your GarageKeepers Liability?

Whatever the change, no matter how big or how small of a change, always consider how your insurance program will be impacted & contact your insurance advisor.

Claim time is a bad time to find out a small change in your business is not covered.

When reviewing an insurance program for a potential business client, it is my job to gather as much pertinent information about your business as I can; what you’ve done in the past, what you are doing now & what your plans are in both the near & long term future.

Once I’ve compared your goals to the coverages already in place, then I can make recommendations for coverage that make sense to you.

Oftentimes those recommendations are reflective of what has worked for other clients in that same line of business.

Most conversations begin with something like this, “Mrs. Businessowner, now that you’ve added catering to your restaurant would you like to insure your equipment & products while they are on the road or at a temporary location?”

From there, the discussion moves into what types of things can happen; theft, auto accident, spoilage etc.

We will also discuss risk management techniques to reduce the potential for loss as it relates to this new aspect of their business.

Then we can determine the potential financial loss to the business if something unexpected occurred & compare that to the price of adding the appropriate coverage to their policy.

If it makes sense to do so, we move forward with the coverage enhancement. If not, the file is noted & we’ll revisit the issue in the future.

I will be discussing some very specific topics in the coming months that I hope you find interesting & get you thinking.

Some will cover a specific coverage; say Data Breach or Cyber Liability.

What is Cyber Liability you say?

Hint: If you take customer information & keep it on file or have a website for ordering, this one’s for you.

Others topics may be a little more broad like property because it’s more than just your building & contents.

Liability - do you even know how many different ways you can be sued these days?

In addition, I plan to cover things like Concealed Carry in Wisconsin & how your insurance is impacted.

I’ve also got plans to cover Employment Practices Liability & Employee Benefits Liability among others.

My goal is to help my clients understand their insurance program enough to ask questions of me at the right time.

They don’t need to be an expert in insurance.

They need to be an expert in what they do. Remember, insurance is piece of mind. That is what I try to provide on a consistent basis to all of the people I take care of.

Bottom line is this: You SHOULD value the relationship with your insurance advisor as much as the relationship with your banker, accountant or attorney & consider them an important part of your ‘team of advisors.’

When you spend the time necessary so your advisors better understand your business, they can in turn, provide you with the proper advice.

Minutes in a meeting are a lot better than hours of headaches in the future.

When is the last time you sat down with your insurance advisor?

P.S. If you missed my introductory article on July 10th, take three minutes and look it up it’s a good read.

If you should have any questions, please contact me at (414) 327-3800, jim@thehouseofinsurance.com or go to www.thehouseofinsurance.com

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