by | Small Business |

If you’re thinking about New Year’s resolutions for your business, they might be related to expanding your territory, dealing with a personnel problem, organizing the stock room, etc.  In other words, you may be thinking of things related your day-to-day operations.  I’d like to give you another possible resolution that will help you if you are ever in need of the services my industry offers:  Spend half an hour going over your insurance policies and ask yourself, “Has anything changed in my business or the external environment in which I operate that might affect my coverage?”

I know, I know, I can hear it now:

“I’d rather get a root canal than look at an insurance policy.”
“Nothing has changed, so I’m sure it’s fine.”
“That’s what my agent gets paid for.”
“That stuff isn’t even written in English!”

 Fair enough. I won’t argue those points (although I’ve had a root canal and it ranked pretty high on my life list of bad experiences).  As a small business owner, you get paid to do what you love, what you’re good at, and what you’re trained for.  You want to sell flowers, do electrical work, treat patients, or any other skill.  Anything that takes time away from the business of your business had better be worth it.  This is worth it, and here’s why:

It doesn’t take much to trigger a change in your insurance needs. 

Did you increase or reduce staff this year?  Buy or replace another vehicle?  Start carrying a new product line?  Create a website?  Did you change locations or expand into the vacant space next door?  Buy any new machinery?  Did you start working outside your normal territory, or out of state?  Even things that seem minor can affect your coverage needs.

The insurance marketplace is always changing. 

We’re constantly reacting to things that happen in the market, in the economy, in the weather or in the halls of government.  From excluding coverage for drywall sourced from China to creating new products that address Cyber Liability, this industry never sits still.  You don’t necessarily need to keep up with our changes, but if you make us aware of your changes, we can connect the dots.

Looking at the “Declarations” pages isn’t that painful. 

They’ll be clearly labeled as “Declarations” and are some of the first pages in that stack of paper we sent you.  These will show you what locations we think you occupy, what states we think you work in, what vehicles we think you own, how much payroll and sales we think you have, how much coverage we’re providing for your building and its contents, even where we’re sending your mail.  All of these things affect not only how we’ll handle claims that you might have, but how much we charge you.

Your agent has your best interests at heart but no one knows your business like you do.

If you sent your agent—once a year—a simple list of what your business looks like compared to last year, they will be able to quickly determine whether your needs have changed.

These are just some of the reasons why this resolution is worth your time.  Here’s the bottom line:  Your agent and your insurance company want you to be satisfied with our response if you suffer a loss.  That’s when we truly earn our reputation.  Sure, we help straighten out billing problems, provide ID cards for your vehicles, generate Certificates of Insurance, and handle other administrative tasks.  You need that kind of service to make our relationship work smoothly.  But if a loss occurs, it may be one of the worst times for your business—and for you personally.  If your coverage isn’t structured to meet your needs, the outcome might not be what you expected when you paid the bill.  If you walk away unsatisfied, then no one wins.

So in the adapted words of Jerry Maguire, help us help you.  Make a New Year’s resolution to blow the dust off that file marked “Insurance” and spend a half hour giving us some thought.  That small amount of time might pay off in real dollars and a real reduction in stress when the unexpected happens.

Acadia is pleased to share this material with its customers.  Please note, however, that nothing in this document should be construed as legal advice or the provision of professional consulting services.  This material is for general informational purposes only, and while reasonable care has been utilized in compiling this information, no warranty or representation is made as to accuracy or completeness.  Distribution of this information does not constitute an assumption by us of your obligations to provide a safe workplace. Maintaining a safe workplace in accordance with all laws is your responsibility. We make no representation or warranty that our activities or recommendations will place you in compliance with law, relieve you of potential liability or ensure your premises or operations are safe. We exercise no control over your premises or operations and have no responsibility or authority to implement loss prevention practices or procedures.

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