What to expect from a business insurance broker during COVID-19? It was business as usual until March 2020. Successful companies worked with a business insurance broker to protect their operations. Face-to-face meetings were the norm as insurance experts helped guide business owners through the complex world of commercial insurance and commercial insurance companies. Then, everything came to a screeching halt. Some businesses had to suspend their businesses temporarily; others adapted to scaled-down operations, while others saw no change and thrived with COVID-19. Most agree that social distance in our homes during this time was the right thing to do, but what does the new usual look like for businesses and their business insurance policies?
The chances are that for the foreseeable future, business insurance renewals will become increasingly ‘hands-free.’ Businesses will work on renewals with little or no ‘face-to-face’ broker meetings. So how will business owners get the insurance advice they need in these fast-changing times? We are happy to tell you that this does not have to be as bad as it sounds or looks, but you must consider a few things before selecting your commercial insurance provider. In other words, in the post-COVID-19 world, you should choose your business insurance provider very carefully.
Speak with An Expert – Not Just A Website
Today, more than ever, it important to work with an experienced commercial insurance broker. With the world changing so quickly, now is not the time to rely on insurers or brokers who hide behind the quoting algorithms of their website. Ask yourself, are these providers going exclusively online because it’s better for you or better for them? Your business will likely change over the coming months, and your insurance will need to change as well. When working with a dedicated business insurance specialist, you gain the best advantage to ensure you purchase insurance that is the right fit for you and your business.
Don’t Limit Your Choices
There are many commercial insurance companies in Canada, each with a different focus, policy coverage offering and wordings. Direct insurance providers and insurance agents only represent a single insurance company, while some insurance brokers represent a minimal number of insurers. Limiting your business insurance choices to only part of the market can result in limited coverage options and paying too much for the business insurance coverage you are receiving. Before working with anyone, ask about how many commercial insurance companies they commonly represent. If it’s less than 20, you should look elsewhere.
It’s great to have an expert business insurance broker, with regular access to over 20 commercial insurance companies, but can they serve you in the COVID-19 world? Some commercial insurance brokers have embraced technology for many years. They offer advanced telephone technology to ensure your calls are responded to quickly, 24-hour emergency claims support, video conferencing, electronic policy delivery, and document signing. If your broker is still trying to manage your business insurance by their cell phone, face to face meeting, printed applications for signing, fax, or even traditional mail, maybe it’s time to look elsewhere.
Don’t Blindly Accept Your Commercial Policy Renewal
The market is changing, and so are the business insurance premiums and coverage offers from many insurance companies. Many insurers are looking for business, so now is a great time to shop the market. At the same time, insurers are changing their focus and coverages, so you need to be careful when switching from one insurance company to another. The right commercial insurance broker can identify your coverage needs, and recommend the best coverage, and insurer for your business.
Some commercial insurance brokers have invested in their business, adopting technology over the years to better serve their customers. They are taking a proactive approach to managing renewals by calling clients and reviewing coverage every year. While this renewal cycle won’t be the same for some, you should deal with a commercial insurance broker who knows how to transact remotely. When used correctly, their remote tools should allow business owners to have a closer relationship with their insurance broker.
When Shopping for Commercial Insurance, Some Preparation Helps
Different businesses face different obstacles when sourcing insurance coverage, but with some preparation, you can easily navigate the renewal process. Being prepared with this necessary information is essential. Here is a quick list of what you can expect to provide for most insurance renewals.
Commercial Package Policies
- Gross sales
- Total employees & payroll
- Lease agreements or appraisals
- Building information
- Year build, construction type, square footage and updates for all utilities if the building is over 20 years in age
- Pictures of the building and building systems
- Property values for: stock, equipment, tools, Improvements made to your space that you lease or the current building value for reconstruction if you own the building
- Lists of products available for sale/list of services you provide
Commercial Automobile Policies
- Vehicle list with drivers and their license details
- Vehicle usage details including one-way distance travelled and annual mileage estimates
At times, other information might be requested, but the above gives you an excellent start for being prepared for renewal questions or potentially changing insurance providers. Most insurers are ready to talk about your coverage 60 days before renewal. Having this information ready early during COVID-19 will make your renewal process more manageable and allow for insures to make the necessary accommodations for your business needs.
For more tips to make your insurance process easier, feel free to check out isure.ca.