How can businesses save money in today’s insurance marketplace?
These last several months, we’ve worked with a lot of our carriers and a lot of our customers to reduce the costs and reduce their exposures. And as you know, because not everybody has the same sales and payroll and they’re pretty big drivers of insurance costs – so, we reduce those costs, and reduce those exposures with the insurance companies and help them reduce their overall exposure and financial outlay for cash. Everybody wants cash. That’s very critical at this time of year.
“If you have fewer employees now because of shifts in your business, then it’s going to change your insurance coverage. Make sure you are looking at these things when changes occur.”
Several of our carriers gave rebates and money back mid-policy. They knew the utilization of their vehicle and other things were down. So, they were able to give credits before the end of the policy period.
The marketplace is pretty soft. You definitely should rely on your agent to get out there and shop your insurance costs, especially if you’re a business with between five and 25 employees. There are a lot of carriers that are looking for business, they’re dying for business, and they’re going the extra mile to reduce your costs and give you a better product.
Everybody’s insurance comes up once a year, from a personal line standpoint to a commercial line standpoint. So, you should always test the water and see what’s out there. There are a lot of new carriers popping up in our marketplace. It’s good to get a number and keep everybody honest.
“Take the time every year to look around at what’s available and look at what your policy covers.”
What services are you providing your clients?
After yesterday’s hurricane, right now, I’m in claims mode. I have a couple of people with some claims due to the hurricane that went off the east coast rather quickly. I’m in the process of helping a client that had a roof on their condo unit that blew off. And I’m in the process of helping out from a coverage standpoint. You definitely want to look at a personal umbrella or business umbrella to give you that extra layer of liability protection. It’s a very litigious society that we’re in. Having somebody defend you and help you out is pretty critical. So, that’s what you’re getting when you buy extra coverage in those areas.
One of the toughest parts of my job was telling my clients that there was no coverage for Coronavirus. Because it is a pandemic, because it is related to a virus and an illness, there wasn’t a lot of coverage. This broke my heart for business owners that didn’t have business income that would cover these losses, the downtime, and the closures of their facilities. That was one of the toughest things during this pandemic has been affecting me has been telling my clients: No. A lot of my job is telling clients and providers, “Hey, we could do this, or we can do that…” and making them whole on the bottom line when something bad does happen. But, unfortunately, there isn’t a lot of coverage out there for this yet. But I think it’s going to be something you can buy in the future – and that’s exciting.
“Change is happening in all businesses – including insurance. While there is currently no coverage that helps businesses cover costs and expenses due to a pandemic, the insurance industry will adapt and change to meet the needs of customers in the future.”
What can you do for businesses, and do you specialize in certain industries?
I’ve spent a lot of time really focused on relationships.
In the old days, I did a lot of cold calling, but now, being in the business for over 25 years, you develop relationships. You develop centers of influence that help guide you to the right people.
I like to try to simplify insurance for my customers and be that person. So, my relationships are what lead me into a lot of these accounts, and then I become an expert by listening to them talk about their business. I do the research about their business and the correct insurance is needed.
And then, I look at what they have, and sometimes it’s not right for them. I invest a lot of time with my business owners, learning as much about their businesses as possible to make sure that the insurance that they have, and that they’ve been buying it for years, actually fits their business. And a lot of times, it doesn’t, and I fix those problems.
I’m working with a client right now in Frederick, and they’ve been with their agent for a long time. I came in and noticed that they didn’t have pollution coverage. And, with their business and what they’re doing, and the exposures that they have, pollution is a big concern to their neighbors. If somebody gets sick, and the neighborhood or the water gets contaminated, that’s a huge exposure. It would probably put them out of business. But for $15,000 a year, a little over $1,000 a month, they can solve that problem and have somebody defend them and fight the claims and represent them in a court of law. So, it’s well worth that premium.
We’re trusted advisors. You’re not just playing a commodity. You’re buying claims rep. You’re a risk manager. You’re buying a company that will stand with you or next to you when you’re facing a claim. You have somebody who’s going to defend you, and that’s what I am. I’m a trusted advisor.
“Your insurance agent is a trusted part of your team. Like others in your expert network, rely on them to bring you their knowledge and skills.”
3 Action Steps
- Have your insurance policy assessed at least once per year to make sure it fits all of the needs of your business.
- Inform your insurance agent of changes occur in your business so adjustments can be made to your policy.
- Make your insurance agent a trusted advisor and part of your expert network.
Be sure to connect with Kieffer Rittenhouse on LinkedIn.
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