Contributed by Rob Tockarshewsky, USI Insurance Services,

There is an old adage:  ‘Failure to plan is planning to fail…’  No one ever sets out to fail, yet more times than not, failure may be the end result.

Providing insurance & risk management services is similar to alarm companies providing security & fire alarm systems and services.  How so?

When designing a security and/or fire system, you start with the basics.  You interview a company owner or the homeowner to understand what they believe they need.  You ask probing questions as to what is most important the client wants to protect?   From there you design a system to best fit the needs of your client, factoring in a wide array of considerations such as costs constraints, property characteristics, existing or needed infrastructure upgrades, etc.  Additionally, items not discussed initially, but based on your experience you know may be needed – smoke detection, surge protection, camera analytics, etc. may be included. You design a system using an optimal number of cameras to ensure full coverage. You check & then recheck to ensure the access control system installed works seamlessly with the intrusion system.  You suggest central station monitoring /response that works best for that property and in that locale.

The same detail is needed when working with your insurance broker or agent.  Purchasing insurance coverages is your way of protecting your business; Purchasing security/fire systems and services is your client’s way of protecting their business/home.

The better insurance brokers and agents spend their time developing a ‘risk profile’ for you & your business that will help get you better rates and expanded coverages. They will ask questions about your current & future business model, understand any risk mitigation activities your company engages in (i.e.  Safety courses for drivers, computer access training for operators, protocols for updating IT systems and software, heating/cooling systems upgrades, etc.).  The more information you provide them, the better they will understand your business.  The better your broker understands your business, the better they can work with the insurance underwriters to tailor policy wording and language to ensure the risks specific to YOU and YOUR COMPANY are properly covered.

Some of the DO’s and DON’Ts when purchasing or renewing your insurance policies:

  • DO ensure that the policies you are purchasing provide coverages for the risks that are specific to YOU and YOUR TYPE OF BUSINESS.
  • DO review your policies regularly and not just at renewal times.
  • DO provide as much information as possible about your company operations to your broker,
  • DO ask your insurance professional how they plan on marketing your business to the various underwriters.
  • DON’T assume you have coverage simply because you have a policy for that type of risk (i.e. just because you may have a Cyber Insurance policy does NOT mean all types of Cyber breaches will be covered should a Cyber event occur).
  • DON’T assume you have the right sublimit in place should a claim arise. Work with your broker beforehand to put together a proper Business Interruption expense sheet.
  • DON’T assume your broker or agent automatically has updated your coverages when your business model changes (i.e. merger / acquisition; new contractual agreements w/ clients, etc.).

Being a member of the TMA means you have trusted resources and subject matter experts a phone call away.  No different than a lawyer, accountant, or consultant, an Insurance professional works on your behalf to protect your interests. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.  And do always remember ‘Failing to plan’ quite possibly will mean ‘Planning to fail’ as it relates to insurance matters.