It’s an annual event, like a birthday, although there’s no cake.
I’m talking about that time of the year when you renew your business insurance policies and, as perhaps you might at any birthday, it’s a good idea to stop and reflect.
Things change, times change, vendors change, operations change, government requirements change, client expectations change. So ask yourself, how are things different today in your business and are your insurance policies right for the circumstances you’re in today?
Failing to review things can put everything you’ve worked so hard to build at risk.
With all of that in mind, here are eight questions to consider as you approach your policy renewal date:
1. If your business has added staff, added office space or operations, congratulations! Now let’s talk about what additional or special coverages you might need at renewal. Don’t leave yourself uninsured or under-insured. Insurance carriers consider company size, revenue and funding among a long list of factors when quoting your premium. So if you’ve grown rapidly in the past year (again, congrats!) don’t be surprised if your insurance costs increase.
2. Have you entered into a joint venture, partnership or LLCs? As you grow your business, new exposures develop, so, again, a good reason to make sure coverage is properly adjusted at renewal.
3. Has your insurance carrier performed a risk control survey of your company’s operations and issued formal safety or loss prevention recommendations? Be sure you have addressed these issues and documented your compliance.
4. Do you have coverage to help carry you through the period following a fire or other loss, when you may not receive income from your customers? Business income insurance bridges that gap to help you pay bills and key employees until you are able to reopen.
5. Have you reviewed “loss runs” with your agent to confirm your claim records are correct and updated? Be sure that any conditions that caused claims have been addressed and solutions have been forwarded to the carrier for underwriting consideration at renewal.
6. Do you rely on networks, computers, and electronic data to conduct business? Do you handle or store sensitive customer data? Traditional coverage forms, including Property, General Liability, Crime and Errors & Omissions, typically do not adequately cover the information and network security risks of modern business operations. You may need to consider purchasing cyber or data breach coverage.
7. Do you have strong safety programs and risk management oversight? If you believe in your risk management and safety programs, then accepting higher deductibles could yield premium savings.
8. Do you have the right coverage in the event a customer sues? Even if you are not at fault, defending your reputation still will cost money. For example, General Liability does not cover claims arising out of the delivery of professional services. To address those exposures, talk to your agent about Professional Liability.
Finally, while it can take more time than eating birthday cake, the best business insurance advisors will be able to work through renewal with you fairly painlessly. That’s why renewal also is a good time to evaluate whether your broker is a good fit. If the process feels a lot like filling out college apps by yourself — overwhelming, complicated, and frustrating — it might be time to shop for a new broker.
Morgan P. Mahoney is Associate Vice President, Commercial Lines, at CCIG. Reach him at 720-330-7926 or Morgan.Mahoney@thinkccig.com.
CCIG is a Denver-area insurance, employee benefits and surety brokerage with clients nationwide. We do more than make sure you have the right policy. We help you manage your long-term cost of insurance with our risk and claims management expertise and a commitment to service excellence.