You never know when catastrophe might strike. One minute, everything is running smoothly, and the next, you’re dealing with the aftermath of a fire, theft or natural disaster.
Protecting your company is essential to your long-term success as a business owner. Whether you own a small business or a large corporation, there are many risks that you face daily.
In those moments, having commercial insurance can be a lifesaver, providing a safety net to protect your business and its assets. However, simply having commercial insurance is not enough. The worst time to learn you are underinsured is after a loss.
Keep reading to discover how working with commercial insurance brokers familiar with your industry can simplify your insurance process and ensure you’re properly protected before a disaster strikes.
Protect your business with commercial insurance
Before diving into the benefits of working with a commercial insurance broker, let’s start with the basics.
Commercial insurance is a broad term covering various insurance policies and products that companies or business owners can purchase to transfer risk to an insurance carrier. It protects businesses from financial losses due to unforeseen events such as property damage or liability claims.
There’s no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to commercial insurance. Certain types of insurance coverage may be necessary depending on your operations and location. For example, property coverage, crime coverage and general liability insurance are common types of insurance coverage that most businesses need. A dealership might require a more specific coverage type for open lots or physical damage to its inventory, while a medical practice might need malpractice or errors and omissions (E&O) insurance.
The importance of commercial insurance cannot be overstated. While financial institutions or government regulations may require it, commercial insurance is a way to safeguard a business against potential losses or liabilities.
From understanding the different types of coverage to navigating the underwriting process, it’s easy for business owners to get lost in the jargon. This can make them feel like they’re not getting the necessary coverage, but that’s where a commercial insurance broker comes in.
The benefits of working with a commercial insurance broker
With their expertise in the insurance industry, commercial insurance brokers are equipped to help businesses navigate the complex world of insurance policies and regulations. They are licensed professionals who advise clients on the types and amounts of coverage needed and act as a liaison between an organization and the insurance company. Let’s explore some other benefits of using a commercial insurance broker.
#1 – They understand your risks
Agents have the knowledge and experience to identify and analyze your business’s specific risks. They’ll work with you to develop strategies and policies to mitigate risks and protect customers and your business from potential losses.
For example, suppose you own a construction business. You know construction has unique risks, such as on-site injuries, property damage, tool theft and equipment breakdown. An insurance agent who understands the ins and outs of construction can provide coverage options tailored to your specific needs, giving you peace of mind and protecting you from financial loss.
But insurance agents don’t just provide coverage. They also offer impartial advice and can help you conduct regular reviews and implement best practices for risk management. For example, they may recommend safety training for your employees or loss control measures to minimize the likelihood of accidents or damage.
Benefit #2 – They have access to a wide range of insurance products
A broker has relationships with multiple insurance carriers and can provide clients access to a wide range of insurance products. This allows businesses to compare coverage options, ensuring they get the best protection for a competitive premium.
Benefit #3 – They’ll personalize your service
By getting to know your business, they can recommend coverage options customized to your exposures.
Not all businesses are the same, and each industry has unique nuances and specific work scopes requiring tailored insurance solutions. For example, while electrical and HVAC contractors may seem similar, their risks can differ vastly.
Benefit #4 – They can save you and your business time and money
The most significant benefit of working with a commercial insurance broker is saving time and money. Brokers can shop around for coverage options, finding the best terms at the right price. It’s especially valuable for small business owners who don’t have the time to do this themselves. They can also help businesses avoid costly coverage gaps or overpaying for insurance policies they don’t need.
Benefit #5 – They’ll help you with your claims
In the event of an accident, a commercial insurance broker works to analyze the situation and advise on the appropriate course of action to take. They provide guidance and assistance, support in compiling the necessary paperwork and act as an intermediary with the claims adjuster. They can also help ensure that the claim is appropriately assessed and that businesses get the maximum compensation they deserve.
Finding the right insurance company for your business
Of course, not all commercial insurance brokers are created equal. But how do you go about finding the right one?
Start by doing your homework. Look for an experienced and reputable agent specializing in your market niche. For example, if you run a restaurant, find someone who understands the unique risks, such as foodborne illness or liquor liability. And don’t forget to check their credentials and reviews from previous clients.
Once you’ve narrowed down your list, don’t be afraid to ask questions. A knowledgeable insurance agent should be willing to take the time to explain the best insurance policy and coverage options available to you and help you evaluate your risks.
Some helpful questions to ask include:
- What types of coverage do you recommend for my business and why?
- How will you help me manage my exposure risk and avoid losses?
- How often will you review my coverage to ensure it remains up-to-date and adequate for my needs?
Remember, finding the right insurance agent takes research and a willingness to ask questions. But by doing your due diligence, you can rest assured that your business is protected.
How to get the right coverage for your company
Getting the right coverage can feel overwhelming, confusing and frustrating. There are many types of coverage, exclusions, limits and deductibles to research and consider, and each insurer has its own underwriting guidelines, pricing models and policy forms. Once you’ve found a broker you trust, you can start working together to identify the right coverage for your business.
Let’s start with the matter of minimum insurance limits. It’s common for some insurance companies to sell policies with minimal coverage amounts because the premium cost is much more attractive to buyers. However, you could be underinsured if your claim exceeds that limit. That means you pay for any extra damage or repairs out of your pocket. And if you can’t pay, it could become a legal issue.
In fact, nearly 75% of small businesses don’t have enough insurance to cover their losses.
Here are some other tips to help you work effectively with your broker:
- Be open and honest about your business risks. While a broker may have extensive experience in your industry, they need to understand your specific exposures and operations to find the right coverage.
- Consider endorsements or additional coverage to provide even more protection for your business. Endorsements are additional coverages that can be added to an existing policy. Endorsements can offer more coverage for specific risks not adequately covered in the original policy, such as foreign liability, product liability and earthquake coverage. They can also add extra coverage for property damage or bodily injury or provide coverage for additional business activities.
- Don’t wait until a loss occurs. Be proactive and reach out to your broker to regularly review your coverage. They can help you identify emerging risks and ensure you are protected with the right type of coverage. Doing this will give you peace of mind and help you prepare for unexpected losses.
Keep in mind that the insurance broker-client relationship is ongoing. As your business grows and changes, your insurance broker can fine tune your coverage to make sure you’re always protected. And don’t be shy about asking them how the latest industry happenings could impact your coverage. If your business operates in a fast-moving field, like tech, this is especially important stuff to stay on top of.
Overcoming the complexities of commercial insurance
Commercial insurance isn’t fun but an essential investment for any business owner. By working with a broker who understands your industry, you can save valuable time and money and receive personalized service tailored to your needs.
With more than 130 years of experience, Crane Agency is a trusted partner for business owners seeking commercial insurance guidance. If you’re looking for a partner who can help you navigate the complexities of commercial insurance, contact us. Take the first step towards peace of mind by finding a broker who speaks your language.