Author: Arthur Bogle
For most people, reading and understanding insurance contracts can be a daunting task. Understanding your coverage and how it compares to alternative options available is important as it can have a significant impact on your financial security. Having a representative to assist you can save you valuable time and money. Things to consider when choosing an insurance broker:- 1. Agents vs. Brokers There are two different ways to get insurance from an insurance company. Direct writers i.e agents of the company are hired by insurance companies as their own sales people to write exclusively for them; they work for the company that employs them. Independent brokers work for the insured, not the company. However, they have contracts with multiple insurance companies and can usually offer you more options. As Commercial entities require more specialized technical knowledge, brokers are better suited to handle such accounts, and this is why a significant majority of Commercial Policies are placed through brokers. 2. What type of insurance do you need? Some brokers will offer many types of insurance and some will be limited in their offerings. For example, some might only offer personal lines insurance whereas others will offer both personal and commercial lines. If you own a business and are looking for an agent to write your commercial insurance, you want to make sure they have some experience with your industry. 3. Technical Knowledge & Credentials: You should always ask the account executive about their experience before trusting them as your insurance advisor. One indication of their technical knowledge is if they have letters after their name. These letters stand for professional insurance designations that signify a higher level of experience and competence. Some of the more common designations are CIC, ACII, CIP, CPCU, ARM and CRM. Other things to look for are years of experience and education. 4. Questions to ask: When deciding on which brokerage you want to work with Some good questions to ask them are: o How many staff do you employ? o What is your reach? Can you access overseas markets? o What is your experience in my industry? How many years have you been writing this type of insurance? o How long have you been in business? o How many companies do you represent? Which ones? 5. Do your homework: Before selecting a brokerage, you should first do your homework on the company as well as the account executives. Your first step is to google the brokerage- Are there any news articles about them? Have they faced any lawsuits? Are there any reviews? Have a look at their website. Is it professional? Are there any testimonials? You may also want to look at their social media pages (Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Twitter, Instagram) for reviews and educational content. 6. Service Expectations: A good way to gauge if the account executive can live up to your expectations is by asking them for a quote before you commit to doing business with them. This should give you a good idea of how efficient they are (how fast they can get you a quote), how thorough they are when explaining what coverage you’re afforded in the policy, why the price varies if more than one quote is provide. Just as it is important to understand and consider your coverage when placing your coverage, it is important to evaluate your service provider up-front. This is who you will be relying on to assist you when you have a claim, which is a stressful time under the best of circumstances.