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It is that time of the year again where we see our insurance agent come into our store just a few days or the day before our insurance renews for the next year, they sit down at your desk, ask you to sign for renewal for the next year, they may tell you a little of what is changing but they don’t go over any of your coverages other than to tell you that you are covered and good for the next year when will be the next time you see or talk to them again.

Even though this process doesn’t feel right to you, they have been your agent for years and you can trust them that they are looking out for you and your business.  How many of you experience this same thing year after year?  How many of you have had the same agent for 10, 20, 30 years or more?  How often have they come in and reevaluate your business to make sure that you are properly insured so that your business is safe in case something would happen that could wind you up in a lawsuit that may jeopardize your business?

Nobody likes to talk about insurance because usually when you are talking about insurance that means that more money is coming out of your pocket and let’s be honest, most people don’t understand all the coverages and what they are for.  We just know that we need insurance, but we usually leave it up to our agent to take care of it for us.

Let me tell you about the experience that I went through in my family’s business.  My father had been using the same insurance agent that my grandfather had used for twenty plus years.  The first few years after I came back to work in the business I watched and observed the process every year that we went through when it came to renewing our insurance.  Every year a couple of days before our renewal was due, our insurance agent would come in and sit down and have my father sign the renewal policy for insurance for our business.  There would be no explanation of our coverage and limits, just some smooth talking and bs with my father that he was covered, and my father would sign it and our agent would leave and we would be covered for another year.

I had a conversation with my father the second year after witnessing this process and asked him how he felt after the agent left our store.  He would tell me that he didn’t like dealing with insurance, but it was part of the business and he only saw the agent once a year and that he trusted him that we were covered.  I asked him if he had ever priced our agent to keep him honest or to see if we were covered properly.  The answer was no, and the question actually irritated my father because he had been doing business with this agent for years and he trusted him.

I asked my father in another way before I left his office how it made him feel that our agent would come in a day or two before our renewal was due, give him no notice that he was coming in or that we were up for renewal, put the paperwork in front of him and ask him to sign without explaining our coverages or if he thought we needed to increase any coverages in certain areas, then he would leave once he got the signatures or the renewal and we wouldn’t hear from him again until the next year at the same time.

I didn’t ask anything else or put my two cents in.  I let my father think about it for a few days and he came into my office about a week later and said it had been bothering him how our agent had been dealing with us for our insurance every year and he had been so busy with the business he never took the time to truly think about the process and how messed up it was.  He asked me to contact a couple of different insurance agents that I knew and wanted to quote it out the next year.  My father contacted our insurance agent and let him know we were bidding out our insurance the following year and whoever had the best coverage and price is who we would go with.

I won’t go into a lot of detail, but we had a different insurance agent and carrier the following year.  We were severely underinsured, and we were paying more for less coverage with our former agent.  With the new insurer we had the right coverage, and we were paying less for more coverage.  The new insurance agent sat us down and explained in detail all of the different coverages so that we understood exactly what the coverages were and why we needed the amount he/she was recommending.

If we would have had a major claim happen under the previous coverage, for example an employee gets in an accident and there are fatalities and the employee is found at fault, we wouldn’t have had enough coverage to pay the settlement or lawsuit and it more than likely would have bankrupted our business.  So, when you come around to that time of the year again when it is time to renew, please make sure that you are doing the right thing for your business, your employees, and your family by making sure you are insured properly.