How to help your small business insurance broker work for you
As a business owner, do you want to increase sales or improve customer service? If so, then you should consider applying for insurance. Insurance is a way to cover your property against damage caused by natural disasters, fire, theft, etc. It also helps protect your assets from losses due to lawsuits, employee injuries, etc.
Who is an insurance broker?
An insurance broker is someone who works on behalf of clients who need insurance coverage. They offer professional services to help business owners obtain a wide range of coverage from various insurance companies for their businesses. They can help you choose the best policy at the lowest cost. They find insurance policies and negotiate rates for them. Brokers in the insurance industry typically have a license to sell insurance products, which means they must follow certain guidelines when selling insurance.
What does an insurance broker do?
Brokers usually specialize in one type of product. For example, some brokers focus exclusively on commercial insurance while others focus on property insurance for any property damage, some as well offer personal lines insurance. They also provide professional advice to their clients. Some brokers also specialize in providing business insurance solutions to specific businesses such as restaurants, retail stores, construction companies, etc.
Brokers generally perform several functions including:
• Finding new customers
• Negotiating lower premiums for their clients
• Helping clients understand how to use their insurance coverage
• Providing ongoing support after the sale
There are two main types of insurance brokers: independent agents and brokerage firms. Independent agents are typically licensed to sell only certain policies, such as auto, home, life, health, or annuities. Brokerages are usually owned by multiple insurers and offer a broader range of policies.
How then can you help your small business insurance broker work for you?
Communication is key
How can you ensure that your commercial insurance broker works as your trusted adviser and thus provides the type of insurance guidance that will really help your small business succeed in today’s competitive marketplace? Here are five ways to communicate effectively with your broker:
1. Be open and honest about what you want. Your broker may not be able to deliver everything you want but he/she will certainly try to meet most of your needs. You should be willing to share information about your company, its operations, and your goals. This will enable your broker to make sound recommendations based on facts rather than guesswork.
2. Ask questions. An insurance expert will ask lots of questions. He/she wants to know if you have any special concerns or unique situations. The more you tell him/her, the more likely it is that your broker will recommend appropriate solutions.
3. Listen carefully. Make sure that your broker has all the answers before making decisions. Don't assume that because your broker knows something about the insurance policy, he/she understands your particular situation.
4. Share your vision. In addition to asking questions, you should also share your vision for your company's future. If you envision growth, your broker will be eager to assist you in achieving this goal. If you envision stability, your broker will be happy to help you maintain this status quo.
5. Provide feedback. It is important to give your broker regular updates about changes in your business environment. These might include new employees hired, new equipment purchased, new locations opened, new products offered, new services provided, etc
Your broker probably won’t be able to do everything you want but he or she will certainly try to meet many of your needs. To get the best results from your broker, however as a business owner, you must be prepared to take responsibility for yourself and your business.
Here are six tips for being professional when dealing with your broker:
• Treat your broker as an employee. A good broker will treat you like a valued customer. He/she will listen to your ideas and suggestions and will respond promptly to your requests.
• Follow up. After you've made a request, follow through on it. If there is a problem, let your broker know immediately. If you don't hear back within 24 hours, call again.
• Keep records. Always keep copies of correspondence between you and your broker. This way, you'll always have proof of your conversations.
• Do your homework. Before meeting with your broker, research his/her background. What companies does he/she represent? How long has he/she been working in the industry? Is he/she licensed? Does he/she have experience in your type of business?
• Know your rights. Understand your broker's role and responsibilities under state law. For example, brokers cannot sell policies without a license; they are required to disclose certain fees and commissions, and they are prohibited from misrepresenting their credentials or authority.
• Be patient. Sometimes, it takes time to build a solid relationship with your broker. But once you do, you'll find that you're getting much more out of your insurance coverage than you ever thought possible.
Get ready for success!
If you're looking to grow your business, here are three steps to prepare for success:
1. Take charge. You need to make sure you understand what's involved in growing your business. Your broker can help you by providing information and resources that will enable you to make informed decisions.
2. Get organized. Once you know what you want to achieve, you need to organize your efforts. Don't just sit around waiting for things to happen. Make plans and then put them into action.
3. Stay focused. Remember, you're not going to see immediate results. And if you expect results right away, you may become frustrated. Instead, focus on one goal at a time. Then stay focused until that goal is achieved.