By: Stan Creech
Insurance isn’t something we shop owners think about very often. But at least once a year it’s extremely important to sit down with your agent and thoroughly review the policy. Policy conditions and coverage can change over time from the provider, as well as changes in the shop’s needs and liabilities.
I recently sat down with David Coury, Senior Account Executive for the IGO Insurance Agency located in Raleigh, to discuss key things that every shop owner should consider when renewing insurance.
First let’s start with the Agent. Is he/she independent or branded? By that I mean is the agent selling for a big name like All-State, State Farm, Farm Bureau, etc. They are sometimes referred to in the business as “Direct Writers”. Those branded agents usually only sell that one product and are restricted from reaching out to other good underwriters to explore options. An “Independent” agent has flexibility to reach out to search for products that may be better suited to service your business. Also is your agent local? Are they easily accessible should you need to meet with them? How many years experience do they have? Does your agent sell commercial and personal insurance? If so you want to consider an agent that is more focused on the commercial side. Does your agent have any accreditations? There are several insurance related to watch for. AAI: accredited advisor for Insurance. CPCU: Charter Property & Casualty underwriter. CIC: Certified Insurance Counselor. Ask how many years of experience the agent has selling commercial insurance. These accreditations are important for agents to have and are not easy to acquire. A good agent should always sit down at least once a year to review your current policy and any changes from the underwriter. Also if your insurance needs have changed in the last year.
Business interruptions. In the event of natural disaster such as a tornado, hurricane, fire etc. are you covered while the shop is down? This is a big item that we all need to review including the fine print. The verbage can be tricky. A policy may state that it covers business interruptions but what does that mean? It may be for a limited time, or has exclusions and limitations you should be aware of. Does it cover payroll? For how long? It’s no secret that payroll is our biggest expense!
Another example of coverage you should review is employees’ personal tools. Some companies will claim and state in the policy that employees’ tools are covered, but when you read the fine print it will have limitations of $5,000 to 15,000 per claim or event. Some policies even exclude theft. Endorsements can always be added to increase coverage on tools. Utica is one really solid insurance company that includes theft coverage for employee tools.
Loaner vehicles are another area to review coverage. Utica and Donegal both cover loaner vehicles in their policies. But honestly, this is a sticky subject that’s best discussed in detail with your agent for clarification.
So when your shop insurance renewal comes around, talk with your agent to verify coverage in case your liabilities and exposure to risk have changed any since the last renewal. Cyber liability and identity theft are good examples of how a business landscape can change over time.
If you have any questions about IGO Insurance and the products they have to offer, reach out to the team at (919) 782-1560.