Finding the most-qualified insurance advisor for your business requires more than feeling a vague connection developed over an afternoon spent on the golf course.
Here are six tips you’ll want to think about in choosing the best advisor for you:
- Consider their experience. Closely. Do they really know your industry? The best advisors know much more than the ins and outs of property and casualty coverage. They’ll be specialists in your niche and will have worked with other companies in your industry. That means they’ll have a good understanding of at least some of the nuances of your operations from the very get-go, and, consequently, a better understanding of the exposures and risks you face.
- Ask about their firm’s experience in risk management and claims handling. Be sure you’re not about to hire a broker who can’t help with safety training, regulatory compliance and won’t be at your side when it comes to resolving a claim with the insurance company, especially in more complex cases. Plenty of brokerages can sell you coverage but are nowhere to be found when things get bad.
- Understand how the advisor will go about determining the coverage that’s right for you. You want someone who asks you lots of questions to ensure you’re properly insured. Shopping based on price alone could easily leave you inadequately protected. You’ll want to make sure you have the right coverage lines in place with the right limits and the right insurance carriers. Avoid advisors who’ll promise to get you a quote on premiums without having done careful due diligence on your operations, existing coverages and a thorough analysis of where you may be under-covered.
- Consider their credentials. Do they have the professional insurance-industry designations that suggest they’ve accrued the education and experience needed? Look for an insurance advisor with advanced designations such as Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) or Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC).
- Have more than one face-to-face meeting before you sign on the dotted line. You want to choose someone who’ll make the process easier, someone who answers all of your questions without hesitation and someone you can trust to tell you what you need to hear. A business partner, in other words. Avoid advisors who rely on confusing insurance industry jargon.
- The best advisors work for brokerages with deep, long-standing relationships with the best insurers. They’ll have the clout and leverage to stand up for you when it comes time to negotiate rates, claims and more. If your would-be insurance advisor touts carriers that aren’t winning top marks from the financial rating agencies, that’s a red flag.
The bottom line here? Finding a new insurance advisor isn’t (and shouldn’t be) easy. A pleasant golf outing never hurts, but it takes more than 18 holes.
The Mahoney Group, based in Mesa, Ariz., is one of the largest independent insurance and employee benefits brokerages in the nation. For more information about business insurance coverage, contact us online or call 480-730-4920.
This article is not intended to be exhaustive nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as legal advice. Readers should contact legal counsel or an insurance professional for appropriate advice.