I’ve had the same agent for my personal insurance since 1971. I haven’t compared his rates to others for years even though I’m sure some would be cheaper. The reason I don’t is—I trust him and I know I can count on the team when I need them. I can’t think of anything more important, in times of need, than people you can count on, can you?

Choosing Insurance Starts with Choosing an Agent

An Insurance agent, or broker, may be as critical to the success or failure of your operation as any professional including attorneys or accountants. Choosing the wrong one can be costly.

How to Choose an Agent

• Begin by checking with your State insurance regulatory commission for example,
Indiana Department of Insurance Consumer Services
• Use your local Better Business Bureau to check out the company.
• Ask for recommendations from businesses similar to yours with approval to contact them personally.
• Find out if they represent many carriers or are captive to one company and how this may affect premiums and coverage
• Who is your contact person? If you have an immediate need who will be available to help?

What to Ask Your Agent

Think of your agent as a professional advisor.  I doubt if you would make a decision about tax law without seeking advice from a lawyer and possibly an accountant, so why would you make insurance decisions without seeking advice from a professional?  You should seek your agent’s advice on anything and everything involving insurance.

What Types of Coverage do You Need?

• Are you a specialized business with particular needs?
• Will you need vehicle and property insurance?
• How much general liability coverage should you carry?
• Do you need workman’s compensation and health insurance?

What is the risk assessment of your business? How will it be underwritten? Where are you exposed? What’s the right mix of premium verse deductible and what are the risks? You should discuss this and more with your agent.

Other Coverage to Consider

• BOP (Business Owners Policy) – A BOP combines several types of coverage into one package geared to your business’s needs. The SBA (Small Business Administration) offers an explanation in this article 5 Tips for Buying Business Insurance.
• Fidelity Bonds – Fidelity bonds cover employee theft and embezzlement.
• Business Interruption – Covers when your location is unable to support your business due to damage, weather, or acts of god.

This post is only the tip of the iceberg. At best it heads you in the right direction, gives you points to consider, and informs you of where to begin the conversation. If you take nothing else away—let it be this. Finding a trustworthy professional Insurance agent is the key. Do you have an agent you trust? How did you determine they were a good fit?

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