For the price sensitive client, now is the time to seek out services that actually differentiate between a good and a great commercial insurance broker.  With the insurance industry seeing a continued soft market, buyers have an excellent opportunity to consider services as well as price.
However many agents and brokers have few, if any, ancillary services that can really set them apart from their peers.  Reasons for this lack of service may be placed in two camps.
  • First, many buyers have not requested assistance with loss programs, risk control, or claims management to the level they may need as the market continues to offer competitive pricing to risks with even poor loss records.
  • Second, agents and brokers have kept expenses to a minimum with smaller staffs and fewer service offerings.  As premiums have decreased in the soft market, so too have offered services.
What does this mean to you, the commercial insurance buyer?  Well, a lot when the market hardens and price increases as does underwriting scrutiny.
Economic cycles are like the hurricanes.  It’s not a matter of if, but when.  The same holds true with soft and hard insurance markets.  I am not predicting the next hard market, but I am saying that those commercial insurance buyers that put little thought into the level of risk or loss records over the past several years, may find it difficult to or even impossible to offset the premium costs when the market turns.  Companies can begin the service cycle on hazard identification and loss reduction by using the offered services now, while the cost to do so is low.  Ask your broker or agent about the services related to risk control, claims management, appraisals, actuarial analysis, and risk audit to adjust current direction in anticipation of changing market and economic conditions.  Services that your broker or agent should be able to provide include, but may not be limited to:
⁃ Risk Control surveys
⁃ Loss analysis
⁃ Open claims reviews
⁃ Actuarial analysis
⁃ Risk profile
⁃ Property assessments
⁃ Industrial Hygiene surveys
⁃ Fleet program audit and review
⁃ Safety program audit and reviews
⁃ DOT survey
⁃ Environmental assessments
⁃ OSHA audits and assistance
⁃ Ergonomic reviews
Getting the lowest price doesn’t always translate into the highest insurance program quality.  Same with services.  You get what you pay for, or in this case, you get what you ask for…Now, go and ask.  You’ll be surprised on what a difference it makes to your program and the underwriting quality of your respective risk.