Why insurance customers should take more control of their insurance process
by Scott Carroll, EVP & Program Director, Take 1 Insurance
Between 60 and 90 days before the anniversary of an insurance policy, an insurance agent will usually sit down with their client to discuss any changes in the customer’s business or market sectors, to see if their insurance needs have changed, before drawing up a new policy quote. Agents and brokers in various industries and markets are supposed to have a good amount of knowledge and insight into the companies and markets they work with, but the reality is that the customer, the insured — you — know more than anyone else about your company and your markets. Getting the best insurance coverage really depends on how good the information they get is, and no one knows your story better than you.
You take control of the insurance process by putting forth your own narrative, instead of letting the agent drive the dialog by asking generic questions. For instance, consider what might have changed at your company in the last year. New equipment, new technologies? How do they impact potential liabilities for your employees and customers? Were there any losses during the year? What kind were they — anything from theft of equipment to being unable to do business because a pipe burst — how did they happen and what did they cost to fix? And as important, what new processes and procedures have you put in places to make sure they don’t happen again? What you’re really doing here is looking back and evaluating your own risks, the same ones that you’ll essentially be asking an insurance company to take on in the event of a loss.
You’re also the best person to tell an agent about changes in your industry’s environment. Have there been any significant new regulatory or legal changes that could affect liability? Has the industry or sector experienced an economic downturn, or has it seen a spike in demand? (Sometimes too much business can be as challenging as not enough, stretching your manpower and other resources that could lead to problems as you work harder to meet increased demand.)
On the other hand, have you implemented new policies, initiatives and procedures that have enhanced safety? Have your colleagues and employees taken and been certified for new qualifications that can reduce various kinds of risks? Have you improved your company’s security systems, which will reduce the chances of theft (or what the retail industry euphemistically refers to as “shrinkage”)? These are the kinds of things that tell an insurance company that you’ve been proactive in reducing risk for your company in the last year.
They also comprise the kinds tales that your insurance agent needs to hear, and that he or she can relate to the others in the process who will help assemble the most relevant insurance products and most cost-effective premium structures for it. It’s a story no one can tell better, and it can help assure a very happy ending.