Once a year, every business makes a critical decision that affects their day-to-day operations for the rest of that year. That decision: Who is going to be my insurance agent or broker? In most cases, businesses go with the status quo, they keep going down the same path, so they can get the same results and the same returns as last year. This is understandable, especially in the “new normal” conditions during this pandemic.
While “playing it safe” may be understandable, the really successful businesses in today’s world aren’t “playing it safe”. The successful businesses are looking to gain an edge in every way they can, and that decision you make every year should provide you with a lot more than just an invoice for your premium. As a business owner, here are three questions you should ask when choosing your broker:
What are my goals moving forward?
Are you looking to expand? Are you thinking about adding new operations to your business? Many businesses talk with their board and management before expanding operations, but a lot of businesses don’t call their broker until the changes have already been made.
Who does my broker know?
Many businesses don’t even think about this aspect of purchasing insurance plans. When choosing your broker, you should know whether their agency works regularly in your particular specialty. This is for a myriad of reasons, the most obvious being that if your agent doesn’t know your business and industry, how do you know that he will be obtaining a policy that will provide the best coverage?
While this is important, most agents (even ones that don’t typically work in your field) can obtain a policy that gets you the correct coverage. The more important aspect is that if you’re not working with an agent who is familiar with your industry, you are cutting yourself off from other valuable resources agents can bring to the table.
Insurance in the energy sector is one of the areas that I specialize in. While I certainly know all the coverages you need when obtaining a quote, that’s not the only way I help my clients. One of the ways that I provide value to my clients is by making important introductions to potential prospects, partners, and resources in their industry.
For example, I have clients in the energy sector that are in need of capital, and I also have clients in that industry who are looking to invest. Because I am in regular communication with my clients, I am aware of their needs and their capabilities, and I can help them grow their businesses by making these mutually beneficial connections.
Having trouble with your current service contractor, and don’t know another dependable one? You should be used to calling your agent for a referral. If you aren’t, you may be with the wrong one.
What are my needs as a client?
Perhaps one of the more overlooked questions in any meeting between insurance professionals and business owners is: What are my actual needs?
The traditional relationship between insurance broker and business owner is that the business owner needs insurance and in a very transactional experience, akin to going to the grocery store, the insurance broker provides a sale price, and said business owner purchases the insurance. The issue with having a transactional relationship with your broker is that insurance is not a transactional product. Your policy evolves over the course of the year depending on what you’re doing, and if you treat it as a transaction, you could end up with missing coverage.
Did you add equipment to your operation? Did you add services in your field? Did the economy change and now your accounts receivable isn’t looking like it is going to collect? Are you planning on expanding, buying, or selling businesses? A transactional experience doesn’t work for businesses that are changing every quarter.
It’s important to ask yourself: What are my plans this year? What are my plans in 5 years? What do I need to accomplish those goals? You should have the kind of relationship with your broker that allows you to present those needs. Present them all, even the ones you don’t think they can help with.
With the right broker, you might be surprised at the connections they have to help. They may have seen some of the obstacles before and found solutions for them or know who has the solutions for them.
Insurance shouldn’t be a call once a year from your agent in which he gathers the renewal information and sends a bill. If you’re looking for a true partner, one that is looking to help grow your business and be an asset, then fill out the form below. I may not be the best fit for you, but I look forward to putting you in touch with the one that is.
Article by Andrew Mudge
Andrew has been working with companies to solve complex issues in the financial, human resources and insurance space since 2014. He frequently works with manufacturing, oil and gas, assisted living and contractors, but is comfortable with all types of businesses. Fill out the form below to get in touch with Andrew Mudge.
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