HOW TO FIND THE RIGHT - COMMERCIAL INSURANCE BROKER
[ Article was originally posted on www.insuranceproaz.com ]
Think for a moment what a huge role your business plays in your life. It is the way you provide for your family, fund your lifestyle, prepare for the future, use your talents and expertise and talents, support you employees, serve your customers, and contribute in your community. Your business is the way you are able to accomplish and enjoy all the other parts of your life.This is why it is so critically important to protect your company, protect yourself, protect your employees, and protect your customers.
This makes having the right commercial insurance so much more important than anything else you put in place for your company.
At first glance, insurance can seem like any other commodity, but when you really consider what is at stake and what it is protecting, you can see that it is so much more than a commodity.
Your commercial insurance is a vital requirement to conducting business; it allows you to protect your bottom line and prevent catastrophic financial losses which can occur if damages or injuries happen to your clients, your employees, or any of your company’s assets.
When you start a business, there are lots of risks involved. Many significant risks can be mitigated through obtaining the right commercial insurance.
In order to get the right commercial insurance, it is important to first start with the right commercial insurance broker.
If you get the wrong broker—one who is inexperienced, inefficient, uninformed and uninterested about your business, or one who is incompetent and unconcerned with details—you put your business, your livelihood, and your reputation in jeopardy.
Your commercial insurance broker should be a trusted part of your company’s team. They should treat your business as if it was their own and they should have a vested interest in making sure you are always properly protected.
In this article we will talk about important characteristics to look for in your commercial insurance broker. We will help you know what questions to ask, the signs of a great broker, and everything you need to know in order to find the right commercial insurance broker for your company.
WHY CHOOSING THE RIGHT BROKER MATTERS
Before we talk about what to look for in order to find the right insurance broker, consider why you would want to take the time and effort to find the right broker.
Not all commercial insurance brokers are the same.
They all have different experience, education, and expertise.
As you work to find and choose the best commercial broker for you, think about what qualities are most important to you and your company.
This decision will affect your business and allow you to manage your risks, so it is worth the investment in time and energy to find the right one.
Make sure you are picking a good insurance professional who knows their business and values integrity and service, as opposed to just picking a good salesperson. As we’ve said, your business depends on it.
Think about the way you choose your insurance agent in the same way you select a doctor or accountant. You can ask yourself the following questions:
What is their track record?
How many experience do they have?
Are they specialists in the insurance areas you need?
Do they actively pursue additional training and continuing education?
Do you trust them?
Do they listen to you?
Do they want to understand your biggest risks and concerns?
Just as you would take your time, do research, ask for references and recommendations,and ask lots of questions to find the right doctor, accountant or lawyer, it is also smart to select your insurance broker for your business in the same way.
WHAT QUESTIONS SHOULD I ASK TO
FIND THE RIGHT COMMERCIAL INSURANCE BROKER?
1 What Type of Carriers and Coverages Does the Agent or Broker Offer?
Knowing the company or companies your broker represents is probably the first question you should ask when looking for the right commercial agent.
There is a big difference between an independent broker and a captive insurance agent.
Remember that captive agents work for only one insurance company; they are only able to sell this one particular carrier’s products and they are loyal to this carrier regardless of whether or not these products are a good fit for you and your business.
On the other hand, an independent insurance broker represents many different insurance companies. This automatically gives you, as the customer, more policy options, premium prices, and coverage options. Most importantly, being an independent broker allows your broker to keep your needs as their top priority.
Insurance carriers vary in their ability to reliably protect you from risk. The best brokers work with only the best insurance companies. You can learn a lot about your broker simply by asking what carriers they represent.
You want to select a broker that works with A-rated insurance companies.
Insurance companies ratings are public information and you can access this information on credit rating websites, such Standard and Poor’s and A.M. Best.
It is worth your time to investigate the quality of the work and coverage that these companies provide because insurance is only as good as the reliability of the company behind the policy.
While you are learning about the carriers your broker represents, you can also learn about the various insurance products your broker offers.
Do they have a large selection of products to keep you protected in all the ways you need?
For example, do you need cyber liability, worker’s compensation insurance, or commercial auto policies?
Is your broker knowledgeable and equipped to provide you with all the policies you need to be properly protected?
Don’t overlook thinking about this in terms of how you want your business to grow as well.
Does your broker offer the insurance products that can meet your needs now and in the future?
Can they grow with you and continue to provide the protection you need without interruption or gaps in coverage?
Look for a broker who has access to the full range of commercial insurance products so that as your business grows and expands your insurance coverage can change as well.
2 What is the broker’s education and licensing level?
While you need a license to be able to sell insurance products, these requirements vary from state to state. Most states require brokers to have a license and many states also require agents to maintain continuing education requirements to sell or service insurance.
In order to protect yourself and your business, be sure to look for a broker that has all the appropriate licenses to accommodate your company’s operations.
Think about where you do business and if you do business in more than one state, check to make sure that your broker meets all the license requirements where ever you do business.
The insurance industry is always changing. For example, ten years ago there weren’t really any cyber liability policies in place. Today they are a critical piece of protection for many businesses.
You want to choose a broker who keeps up with changes in the industry, participates in continuing education and takes advantage of ongoing industry training.
Experience can make a big difference in your broker’s ability to protect your business, but staying up-to-date with changing insurance requirements and industry trends is just as important.
3 What is the broker’s reputation?
Another way to find the right commercial broker for you is to investigate the broker’s reputation. Today, you can find out lots of good information about a broker’s reputation online.
Before choosing a broker, investigate the broker’s reputation through reviews and testimonials and by reading about the experiences of other people with this broker.
Good brokers will have plenty of reviews to read.
In addition to the reviews found on the broker’s website, you can check the following sources for more reviews and feedback from other clients:
Better Business Bureau reviews
Feel free to talk to the broker and ask them for references or testimonials from other clients whose businesses are similar to yours.
As you do your research, consider the overall rating of the broker and their agency.
Does their website offer helpful content for their clients?
As you consider all of this information, ask yourself if the information builds your trust in the broker and make you proud to have them as part of your company’s team.
4 Does the broker understand you, your business, your industry, and your concerns?
Not only is it important for your broker to understand the ins and outs of the insurance industry, it is also very important they understand your business and your industry as well.
You can determine this by seeing how interested and curious the broker is about your business and learning all they can about the way you conduct your business and the risks involved.
Your business is unique. Your work is specialized. And that means that your insurance needs are just as unique. Your broker will be your partner in minimizing risk, and so it is vitally important that they understand the nature of your business to make sure you have the right coverage.
The right broker asks questions. They find out where you need protection and coverage. The right broker is much more interested in making sure you have the coverage you need and periodically reevaluating that coverage, rather than just handing out the same, standard commercial policies with general liability coverage to all of their clients and never thinking about it again.
While a broker can’t know everything about every industry, they should be invested and curious enough to do their due diligence in order understand your insurance needs.
Always choose a broker that cares enough to ask questions and learn about your company.
5 Is the broker knowledgeable?
As important as it is for the broker to be curious and interested in your business, they need to know everything about their own business as well. You are relying on their expertise to protect you.
You are depending on their knowledge and their experience to guide you and help you make decisions. The stakes are high. Make sure you choose a broker who is incredibly knowledgeable and experienced.
There is a lot to know about insurance. If your broker doesn’t know their business, it’s easy for you to receive inadequate coverage that won’t protect you when you need it.
Every insurance policy and carrier has their own peculiarities and nuances. So you need a broker who knows their stuff and is always current on changes in the industry and in specific policies. As the saying goes, the devil is in the details.
Your broker should be able to tell you the differences between carriers and their claims reputations. They should be a resource to you as you make your coverage decisions.
They need to be able to explain the various policy options you have, show you the best ways to protect your business from risk, and discuss the best carriers to help you do that.
You don’t need to be an expert on insurance; that’s your broker’s job. And you when you find a knowledgeable broker you can rest easy knowing that they know all the things you don’t.
6 Is your broker responsive?
Ask yourself the following questions:
Does your broker take the time to ask you questions about your concerns, needs and priorities?
Is your broker willing and able to answer all of your questions?
Does your broker return your calls promptly and solve problems quickly?
How does your broker handle the claims process?
Your business should be among your broker’s highest priorities. You should not have to contact
your broker more than once to get answers to simple questions, make changes in coverages, initiate renewals, or get Certificates of Insurance (COIs). Response time can be indicative of the care the broker takes in their business in general.
Your broker is there to make doing business easier, not harder and this means fast, efficient, and professional service should be the standard.
The right broker will keep you informed on the renewal process and all the changes that might apply to your policies or business, not the other way around. They are proactive in making sure there are no gaps in your coverage, making you susceptible to risk. Again, a good agent cares about the details.
Not only that, but the right broker will be happy to give you access to many different quotes from a variety of carriers. If your broker isn’t willing to do the work to offer you a variety of quotes and options on limits, coverages, deductibles, and premiums, they are not the right broker for your business.
FIND THE RIGHT COMMERCIAL INSURANCE
BROKER AT INSURANCE PROFESSIONALS OF ARIZONA
I can say without question that Insurance Professionals of Arizona has the very best commercial insurance agents in the business.
Our brokers are incredibly knowledgeable and have years of experience. Over the years we have helped clients,who were woefully underserved by other agencies, get the right coverage for their company’s unique needs.
Unfortunately, we have seen too many people pay for insurance that was completely wrong for their type of business.
When they had losses and needed to file a claim, their policies were worthless. We never let that happen to our clients.
We work with the very best carriers and because we are independent brokers, we offer our clients hundreds of insurance products to choose from.
No matter what your needs are, from general liability to business property to cyber liability, we can protect your company from the unforeseen threats and risks you face as you conduct business every day.
When it comes right down to it, we know that you don’t want to have to think about or worry about your commercial insurance at all. You just need the right protection when something goes wrong.
This is the advantage of choosing the right commercial insurance broker. They do their job, so you can do yours. At IPA, this is our goal with every one of our clients.
We understand that your business is important to you. You have worked hard to build and create it and we are here to help you protect it.
Our brokers want to help you make sure that nothing ever interferes with your ability to do business, support your employees and serve your customers the way you want to.
At Insurance Professional of Arizona our job is to take care of all the details regarding your commercial insurance so you never have to.
Your business should have the right insurance coverage and it starts by getting the right commercial insurance broker.
Contact us today so we can evaluate your current coverage and make sure you’ve got the right protections in place. When you choose the right commercial insurance broker, everything else takes care of itself.
We’re here to help! Call us today.
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