Some business owners view insurance as a commodity that is purchased annually from a vendor only visible during the renewal process who provides offerings differentiated only by price. However, is it prudent to relegate the financial well-being of your organization to the lowest bidder?
Insurance is a vital tool to protect the long-term financial health of an organization by transferring risk. The lowest price can often mean inferior coverage that cannot adequately respond to a catastrophic event which can cripple an organization and even force it to shut down permanently, depending on the severity of the loss.
Given the importance of having proper coverage, here are eight things to consider when choosing a business insurance agent:
1. Direct Writers vs. Independent Agents – Insurance coverage can be secured from an insurance company in two ways. Direct writers have their own employees, exclusively representing them in the marketplace, compared to independent agents who are agnostic, representing the insured to multiple insurance companies.
2. A Partner to Grow With – Careful consideration should be given to partnering with an agency that complements your organization and projected growth. You want to work with an agency that is the right size today, but also has the capacity and expertise to accommodate your future growth.
3. Insurance Company Partners – Select an independent agency that can provide you with access to a wide range of insurance companies. Ensuring that your program is strategically marketed to a diversified group of both regional and national insurance companies. An agent should provide a clear explanation of the recommended insurance companies’ coverage, approach to claims, and current appetite for your industry in addition to the standard limits you should carry.
4. Technical Knowledge & Credentials – It’s important to have a clear understanding of the agency and the team members who will work on your account. Ask questions that will provide insight into their background, education and industry expertise. Do they hold advanced degrees or industry designations? This could signify a higher level of expertise and competence. Ask insurance related questions, perhaps from past experiences that were challenging, to understand how the agent would address the same situation.
5. Agency resources – Service is what differentiates a great agency from the others. An agency should be accessible, responsive and a resource to your organization. Services to consider include loss control, claims management, claims analysis and coverage review.
6. Proactive vs. Responsive – An agent should design a tailored program reflecting today’s business needs in addition to actively engaging with you throughout the year to ensure that the program is keeping pace with your evolving needs. For example, the purchase of new equipment, vehicles or real-estate improvements could potentially require changes to your program to avoid gaps in coverage.
7. Expectations – An agency should handle more than the administrative aspects of a program. Acting as a business risk consultant, it should provide ongoing analysis and evaluations of a business’ needs working in conjunction with the insured, the insurer and the agency’s in-house resources.
8. Personality Traits – Ultimately, you want to select an agent who you want to work with. Someone with a high level of integrity, who is passionate about what they do and will put the needs of your organization above all else.
An organization that views their insurance agent as just a vendor of insurance is not maximizing the resources that are available to them. The insurance company is the one that sets a price. The right agent can represent your interest in the marketplace, institute risk management strategies to drive down cost and provide outstanding service that allows you to focus on running your business. This will leave the demands of the risk management and commercial insurance program to a trusted partner who acts just like a member of your own internal team.
To have a conversation about how the Univest Insurance team can help protect your business, contact us at 800-220-3077 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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