How to make your company stand out to your insurance carrier Featured

8:00pm EDT June 25, 2010

Whether you’re a child at school or a successful business owner, everyone wants to stand out. People who are special or different than their peers stand out in a way that makes others take notice.

If you can make your company stand out to your insurance company, you may find you get better coverage and pricing, and the peace of mind that comes from knowing that your agent knows the ins and outs of your business as well as you do.

“When your carrier and agent understand the entire scope of your business, they will be able to make the most accurate recommendations to match your specific needs,” says Amanda Shults, chief marketing officer of Clark-Theders Insurance Agency Inc.

Smart Business spoke with Shults about how to make your company stand out to your insurance carrier.

Why is it important for companies to stand out to their insurance carrier?

A company should stand out in a way that allows the carrier to see it as different from other companies and different from similar risks, or its competition. Just because you’re a roofer doesn’t mean you want to be lumped together with every other roofer. You have unique qualities and circumstances that make you different from your competition.

It’s important that the company makes its circumstances and operations clear not only to its agent but also to the carrier through risk control and by submitting comprehensive information. Ultimately, this allows the agent, the company and the insurance carrier to work together as partners to mitigate and understand the actual risk.

When the insurance carrier has a complete understanding about the company’s operations, the carrier can work with the agent to properly align the coverage it needs in a way that is the most cost effective and efficient for the company.

How can a company make itself stand out?

From an operations standpoint, provide any information requested by the carrier — the more, the better, because it helps the carrier gain a deeper understanding of the company.

Also, show a carrier that you are proactive in preventing losses, that you take a proactive risk management approach to everything you do and that you see the insurance carrier as a beneficial partner instead of a burden — not just something you have to maintain.

How can executives ensure their companies are doing all that they can to stand out?

Executives should work with their management team to make sure it understands the important role insurance plays to protect the company. There should not be just one person in a company that deals with the insurance while everyone else is disconnected.

The entire management team should be engaged in the role it plays and in how it can help the company stand out from an insurance perspective. Through policies, procedures and controls, executives should make sure they have everything in place to be proactive in mitigating risk.

And from a company culture standpoint, employees should know that insurance and risk management are important for their safety and for the success of the business.

In addition, executives should meet face to face with their carrier representatives, the people who underwrite the account. When you meet face to face, you get to know people better and can ask questions and gain a better understanding.

Why is it important for the whole management team to be involved?

You want them to understand the role that insurance plays so managers can look at each of their divisions and ask, ‘What are we doing to help manage and mitigate risk, to be safe and efficient, to make sure our policies, procedures and controls for our specific departments are things that will ultimately help improve our risk profile?’

Also, by creating a safer, healthier work environment, you’re going to improve morale. People will feel cared for. If you have a culture that is safety driven, employees might bring ideas or suggestions to the table. If the management team can communicate it, it can really have a positive impact on insurance from a coverage or pricing standpoint.

How can your agent help you stand out?

The agent is an important part of the relationship, the one who connects the carrier and the company. All three parties need to work together to get the best results.

Make sure that relationship extends beyond the agent to the company. A lot of people think the relationship is with the agent, that the agent can jump from carrier to carrier and that there isn’t necessarily a value in the relationship with the carrier — that it is more of a commodity to get limits and pricing. That is not the case.

You should want a long-term relationship with the carrier, as well as with your agent.

What are the benefits of being a stand-out company?

Companies that are noticeable to their carriers through their actions should expect a consistent, positive relationship with a carrier that fully understands the risk of the insured, as well as the proactive attitude of the management team to mitigate risk.

They also get better pricing than they would otherwise, and possibly better coverage, because when a carrier understands the entire scope of a business, it will be able to match the coverage they need. A company will get more flexible underwriting; it’s going to improve the bottom line.

As a result, you’re going to feel more comfortable and confident that if the worst happens, you are protected and you have people who know you and will be there for you.

Amanda Shults is chief marketing officer at Clark-Theders Insurance Agency Inc. Reach her at (513) 644-1278 or ashults@ctia.com.