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Dec Issue: Prairie Business Article

2016-12-01 08:00:00
 
DEC. 2016 ISSUE
Link to the issue online: http://prairiebusiness.epubs.forumprinting.com/publication/?i=362931

 

What you need to know about choosing an insurance provider

BY Richard Penning

 

As we look ahead to a new year, now is a great time to take stock of your existing expenses and get a jump start on changes and new additions that might be beneficial to your business. Insurance may never top the list of “exciting” changes a business owner can make, but in fact it is one of the most critical components of business and is well-deserving of your attention.

 

Having a great insurance provider can be your salvation in times of need and provide constant peace of mind. Conversely, a mediocre insurance provider can ultimately cost you more money and countless nights of lost sleep. Unfortunately, many business owners don’t realize there is a difference until it’s too late. To help avoid a potential catastrophe, here are a few red flags to be on the lookout for when choosing a provider.

 

Red Flag: The agent doesn’t speak your industry lingo. Every industry and business has unique needs and considerations, so it’s helpful to have an insurance agent who understands your specific area of business. Generalists are much more likely to miss coverage specifics in policies, leaving you at risk.

 

Red Flag: An agent says he/she only needs a copy of your current policy to provide a quote, and promises a fast turnaround. A copy of your current policy is a good starting point, but businesses and policy offerings change over time so it’s important for agents to properly assess a client’s business needs at the current time in addition to reviewing their existing coverage. For example, cyber liability was rarely discussed just 10 years ago, but it is now an important component of many business insurance portfolios. Great agents ensure their clients have access to the most current products and take time to thoroughly review current needs and options.

 

Red Flag: The agent doesn’t ask questions. Without getting to know you and your business, it’s nearly impossible to provide an insurance policy that offers appropriate coverage. When you have a conversation with the agent, does it feel like you are being sold something, or being told what to do? If so, you are not speaking with an insurance agent who has your best interests in mind. A great insurance agent serves more like a consultant than a salesperson. They ask questions, listen to your input, and help solve problems. If the agent doesn’t ask about your business model, your customers, your competition, your risks or your long-range plans – they probably don’t care and won’t offer a plan that takes any of those factors into consideration.

 

Red Flag: Cost is the first thing mentioned. We’re all money conscious, but the old saying “you get what you pay for” is indeed very true when it comes to insurance. Great insurance agents discuss coverage options first, and then work with the client to develop a policy that fits their budget. If an agent promises to find you the cheapest quote on the market, don’t expect your policy to be solid, and don’t be surprised when the agent offers little help in times of need.

 

Finally, one of the best things you can do when exploring your insurance options is to ask your colleagues for referrals. Where do they buy their insurance? Does the agent you’re meeting with have a solid reputation? Does the agency have longevity in the community? The answers to these questions can be great indicators as to whether the agency is worthy of your time and business. Remember – you’re the customer and a great insurance agency is there to serve you and your needs.

 

Author info:
Richard Penning
Vice President, Agent
Warner and Company Insurance
rpenning@warnerandcompany.com
701-237-6414