Business Insurance can be very complex, so it may take some patience when it comes to getting an insurance quote. Typically when companies contact me for a quote, one of my first responses is, tell me about your business. If it's a common, low risk, small business that fits into a pretty little insurance classification box (and there are no claims/losses), you might be in luck and turnaround time will be quick. When I say quick, I mean within 24 hours for a BOP or General Liability quote. I would say 70% of the businesses I work with in the Austin area are very unique and/or are requesting multiple insurance policies, so it may take more time. Below are some factors that can impact turnaround time:
- Incomplete Applications
Underwriters can be quite picky when it comes to incomplete paperwork and unanswered questions. I had an underwriter tell me incomplete apps go to the bottom of the pile. They made it sound like they were an elementary school teacher and treated it like incomplete homework. Your agent should guide you through this and make sure they don't send them off incomplete apps.
- Expiring/Renewal Date
Some underwriters work off your x-date (expiring date), so if your renewal is 2 months out and you need a quote next week, you might not hit that deadline.
- Claims and Losses
When it comes to claims, sometimes management and senior underwriters need to get involved and review Loss Runs. This can take some time, which will delay the quote.
- Multiple Policies
Need a BOP, Umbrella, and Commercial Quote? It may take a few days to quote, especially if you are working with an independent agent. A captive agent can probably get this turned around much quicker. Quoting with one market versus multiple makes a difference. I like to tell people the more time we have, the more markets we can reach.
People get frustrated when underwriters come back with questions, which is a normal response. To them their business makes sense, but getting an underwriter to wrap their heads around it can be a challenge. Going back to what I said initially, try to have patience. Understand that questions are good. Think about it this way, the more questions they ask, the more they will understand the risk and can properly classify your business. If you would like a Business Insurance quote, or are in the Austin area and want to meet with an agent, feel free to contact me.
Commercial Insurance Agent
When it comes to Business Insurance, every policy has policy conditions. Below are the Common Policy Conditions of the Commercial Package Policy (CPP). The common policy conditions address cancellation of the policy, changes in the policy, examination of the insured's books and records, inspections and surveys, premiums, and transfer of the insured's rights and duties under the policy.
The insured may cancel the policy at any time by mailing or delivering written notice of cancellation to the insurance company. If two or more insured's are listed in the declarations, only the one listed first (first named insured) can give notice of cancellation.
The Common Policy Conditions include a clause relative to making changes to the policy. It states that the policy constitutes the entire contract between the two parties. It can only be changed by written endorsement issued by the insurance company. Such changes may be made with the insurance company's consent, upon request of the first named insured.
Examination of Books and Records
The insurance company reserves the right to examine and audit the insured's books and records relative to the policy at any time during the policy period and for up to three years after the termination of the policy. This provision is included because many commercial property and liability coverages are issued with estimated premiums. The final premium is actually determined after the policy expires based on reported values from the insured by the audit called the Premium Audit.
Inspections and Surveys
This provision gives the insurance company the right to inspect the insured's premises and operations at any reasonable time during the policy period. These inspections are important in determining the proper insurability of the insured's property and operations. The insurance company may inform the insured of the results of the inspection and may recommend changes. However, they do not have the duty or obligation to do either.
The insured named first in the declarations (first named insured) is responsible for the payment of premium under the policy. Also, any return premium under the policy will be paid to the first named insured by the insurer.
Transfers of Rights and Duties Under the Policy
The insured cannot transfer any rights or duties under the policy to any other person or organization without written consent of the insurance company. For example, if the insured sells a business or property, or both, the policy cannot be transferred to the new owner without written consent of the insurance company.
If you have any questions about these Common Policy Conditions or need assistance finding them in your policy, please feel free to contact me. Also, if you have questions about anything else pertaining to Business Insurance, as always, I'm happy to help.
Commercial Insurance Agent
Agent of Record Procedure
What do you do when you have the perfect insurance company to match your needs, but not the perfect Business Insurance agent? Or maybe you’re not sure about your insurance company and not happy with your agent? This comes up a lot in the Insurance world, so what is the solution? An Agent of Record (AOR) or a Broker of Record (BOR). It’s a form that you, and your future agent, fill out and submit to the insurance company. Below are some things to consider when considering an Agent of Record for your Business Insurance and the process to have it completed.
Insurance companies typically will not accept an Agent or Record mid-term. Meaning, they must be submitted to the company near your renewal/expiring date. In most cases, no earlier than 90 days and not after the renewal/expiring. Each insurance company is different and may require different information. Most will require the form is done on company letterhead, though.
Once filled out and submitted, the insurance company is going to notify your current agent that you’re essentially requesting a new agent. For an example of what an Agent of Record Form looks like, please see below. They will typically give the other agent (your current agent) an opportunity to contact you to make sure this is what you want to do. It’s called a rescinding period, which is usually 5 days. During this time period, you might get a call from your agent asking you what they did wrong and beg you not to leave them. This might sound funny, but at this point, are you prepared to divorce your agent because that is what you’re doing.
Once completed, your new agent will have full visibility of the policy. This is a great time to do a policy review and is a great way to get to know your new agent and get their recommendations. I suggest getting together over coffee or lunch and sitting down together. Maybe the current policy isn’t right for you, or maybe things have changed since the inception of the policy. Policy reviews after the AOR can uncover things like, lack of property coverage, wrong locations and even businesses that have been classified wrong.
The Agent of Record process doesn’t happen overnight, so you will need to have patience. Insurance companies may have rescinding periods of 5-7 business days. Then it can take several days for the agent to get full visibility of your policy. If you’re not happy with your current agent, and not happy with your insurance company, I still recommend going the Agent of Record route. This will allow your new agent to do a side by side comparison. Maybe there's nothing wrong with the insurance company and the policy fits your current needs. I’ve had cases where the insured thought they didn’t like the insurance company, but it turned out the agent had extremely poor communication skills. For example, an insurance company conducted an audit and found the insured wasn’t classified correctly. They re-classed, which caused a re-write. It turned into a billing nightmare and lots of confusion. All the while, the agent never communicated any of this to the insured.
If you have any questions about the Agent of Record process, or have Business Insurance questions, please let me know, I work with a lot of businesses in the Austin, Cedar Park and Round Rock area. I'd love to meet you for coffee or tea and hear about your business. As always, thank you for taking the time to visit the site.
Commercial Insurance Agent