Whether you use the term agent, broker or consultant, all refer to a licensed insurance professional. It goes without saying that your agent should provide necessary certificates of insurance, return phone calls promptly and begin the renewal process at least 60-90 days in advance so changes to your company’s operations, exposures and payroll can be discussed.
In addition, your insurance consultant should be devoted to providing personalized service that is unique to your business and beneficial to your bottom-line. Beyond the bare necessities, look for an agent who provides additional services, such as:
Liability and Workers Compensation Audits: Your agent should be involved during and in the final review of all audits. This ensures accurate data is being used by the audit departments. Audits often result in a different level of exposure than originally forecasted and can result in additional premium or lower return of premium. Your agent should check the common areas for discrepancies such as classification of employees, sub-contractor used, increased or new liability exposures. Expect your agent to thoroughly study and review the audit and submit any disputes with the supporting facts.
Experience MOD Audit: Each year an employer’s workers compensation experience MOD is calculated. This number, the result of three years of data, is used to determine the expected claims for your company. If the data used is inaccurate, then your score can be negatively affected which can impact your final pricing, contracts and future jobs.
Each MOD is calculated 90 days prior to the policy effective date. Your agent should be discussing and reviewing all reported claims and payrolls to validate the accuracy of the calculation.
Increased Risk and Industry Discussions: Insurance is not something that should only be discussed annually. Risk and exposures facing a business can change throughout the year. Your agent should be discussing and educating you on things such as technology threats, labor laws, and company growth throughout the year. Each business is unique and a strategy should be tailored for each client.
Proactively Reducing Expenses: As for-profit businesses, most carriers seek to receive annual rate increases, usually trying for a 3%-8% increase, on average. This increase can be higher for some and lower for others based off industry cycles, your claims, and more. Your agent should work with you to develop and implement a strategy to keep these rising costs in line.
Reviewing and Recommending Best Practices: An experienced agent works with dozens of clients which often allows them to form relationships with professionals across different areas of expertise such as human resources, finance, safety, compliance and technology. Their involvement with other companies allows them to learn various industry best practices that work to decrease risk and exposures. Your agent should routinely review your handbooks, safety manuals, policies, procedures and contracts to provide insight and recommendations based on these best practices.
Maximizing Loss Control Services: All carriers have a loss control department and personnel in place to work with the insured to minimize the chances of a claim occurring. Naturally, the more risk they accept or assume they have, the higher the policy premium the insured will pay. A great agent will work with you to identify your areas of exposure and then implement loss control services to address these areas. Your agent should also build and maintain a document that includes all claims management, policies, procedures and improvements your business has completed which can further improve the carrier’s comfort with your operation and assist with underwriting pricing structure.
Policy Delivery and Review: Your agent should sit down with you for an in-person, comprehensive review of the binding insurance policy not just the proposal. This review should outline the entire policy with special focus on the coverage language and the policy’s conditions and exclusions forms. A policy written just five years ago can be significantly outdated with lack of coverage or no coverage at all. Your agent should help you realize errors in your policy prior to a claim.
These are few examples of the service you should receive from your insurance agent. Don’t settle for the minimum. Be on the lookout for someone who provides great attention to detail and shares his or her expertise to make recommendations on a unique strategy for your business. If it is time to review your policies or find a trusted agent to benchmark where you currently stand, please consider contacting me at 610.966.1315 for a no obligation discussion.
Insurance products offered through Univest Insurance, Inc. are obligations of the issuing insurance companies, not obligations or deposits of or guaranteed by any bank and are not insured by the FDIC or any other agency of the United States.