Don’t just renew: a guide to reviewing your business insurance
When it comes time to renew your business insurance policies, a lot of business owners only give the renewal notice a brief glance, not really paying attention to make sure it’s the best cover available. The problem with this approach is that you can end up underinsured or with the wrong mix of insurances. In the current hard market cycle of the insurance industry, where premiums and excesses are rising and the number of insurers offering quotes are reducing, it’s more important than ever that you not only renew your policies, but that you review them as well.
A review will help you to make sure your key business risks are insured for the next 12 months. However, a detailed review takes time and understanding of the insurance cover available that is appropriate to your business, especially if you have made significant changes over the past year. The best way to approach this review is to engage the help of an insurance professional, who can quickly assist you to identify key insurable risks, ensuring you achieve the best possible insurance premium costs and covers.
If you haven’t reviewed your insurance policies over the past 12 months, here are five steps that will help you approach the renewal process with confidence.
1. Collaborate with your insurance specialist
The right insurance adviser is a specialist, with detailed knowledge and insight into your industry and the key business risks and the type of cover you require. It’s important that you talk to your insurance adviser regularly, advising them of the changes, discussing major plans and any incidents, so they can provide you with advice that will help in planning and managing key risks and any claims. This is guaranteed to pay dividends when you renew your policies or make a claim. Your insurer also needs to be informed at these changes, called the Duty of Disclosure, along with information of any incidents or claims.
2. Start your review early
To ensure you get the best insurance outcomes, you need to start talking to your insurance professional at least four to six weeks before your renewal. That’s because the more time you have to collaborate with your insurance specialist, the better your outcome. There are often questionnaires to complete, possibly property surveys to be obtained and discussions with the underwriter. On the other hand, if you start the review only a few days before, underwriters may not have time to quote or key questionaries or information may be requested and there is no time to provide these before renewal. A review made in haste is likely to miss important points, leaving you with inadequate cover or under-insured, possibly resulting in significant financial risk or loss.
3. Document changes to your business
To provide you with the best cover for your business, your insurance specialist needs to know how your business has changed over the past 12 months. Have you purchased or sold any major assets or equipment? Have your operations changed? Have you started exporting or holding stock at home? Are some employees working from home? Have you moved premises or leased new buildings? Have you increased or decreased the use of contractors in the business? Answers to these and many more questions will guide you as to whether your business needs to review your existing insurance cover and if these need to be changed or if the price is likely to increase or decrease.
4. Document your risk profile and risk management processes
To find the best business insurance cover, at a competitive price, you can also review and manage the key risks typical for your industry and your own business. Your insurance professional can assist you with this every year or two. The more you can show the insurance underwriters that you are managing your risks, the better the deal your adviser can negotiate on your behalf. This is really important in the current hard market, as insurers can often be very selective in the risks they underwrite. In addition, the better risk managed the business, the less likely there will be claims, which means less time dealing with assessors or rebuilding your business. Your insurance adviser works for you and will ensure the best business insurance cover for your business.
5. Compare policies and providers
Your insurance adviser will compare insurers and policy coverage, which can vary a lot from company to company. Something else your adviser considers if the speed that they settle and pay claims. The ultimate aim is good quality coverage, for your business at competitive premiums. This is a balancing act between premiums, excess payments, coverage and exclusions. Comparing these variables can be complex and time consuming. Your insurance adviser is a professional that works in your best interests, helping you achieve an optimal outcome.
For help reviewing and renewing your business insurance policies, contact Lewis Insurance Services on 07 3217 9015 or send us an email by clicking here.
This article was published by our AFSL Licensee, Insurance Advisernet Australia P/L, www.insuranceadviser.net
This information and any accompanying material does not consider your personal circumstances as it is of a general nature only. You should not act on the information provided without first obtaining professional financial advice specific to your circumstances and considering the Product Disclosure Statement.