With insurance rates continually on the rise and increasingly complicated regulations, it can be one of a business’s biggest cost outlay and headache. Therefore it is critical to make sure you pick the right insurance professional to help guide you through this process and to be your ally and champion.
Let’s say you are a physician with a medical practice. Your patients trust and depend on you to provide them with the best care for their particular symptoms and diagnoses. You provide a physical examination, send them for additional tests if necessary, and assess their needs in order to develop a treatment plan.
When you work with your insurance agent they should do a preliminary analysis of your needs much in the same way that you do with a patient. The insurance should be designed to cater to your specific business and your particular specialty needs and provide you the best coverage at the lowest possible premium.
An insurance agent that you trust can be a huge asset. Not only can they do the legwork for you to find a well-suited insurance company, they help shop for the best rates, and most importantly, explain the ins and outs of your plan. How do you find a reputable agent? Check credentials with your state’s licensing board. Make sure they have proven experience in your industry. Chances are if they do, they will have a good handle on any special insurance needs and watch outs that are particular to your business or medical practice.
Once you identified the possible agents, here are some questions to consider:
- What is the motive of your insurance agent? Especially consider how your insurance agent is being compensated for their work. Is he/she being paid by the amount of commission dollars brought into the agency?
- Does your insurance agent understand your practice and uncover potential ways to reduce your premium? An insurance agent who is knowledgeable in your specific industry will know many of the ins and outs that pertain to your line of work and should be able to efficiently help you navigate to get to what is pertinent for your business.
- Does your insurance agent obtain all eligible credits to reduce your premium? With the constantly changing regulations, you need someone up to-date to make sure you are getting everything your business is entitled to keep your premiums low.
- Does your insurance agent keep you up-to-date in offering ways to reduce your risk exposure? This is particularly key if you work in a high-risk industry such as physicians who must carry malpractice insurance or contractors who need to carry workers compensation.
- Does your insurance agent handle multiple insurance lines or does he/she specialize in the coverage you need and keep up with training in that specific area? Someone current, knowledgeable and an advocate for you is a true asset to your business.
- Is your insurance agent on your team? Does your insurance agent represent your best interests or the insurance carriers? Are they independent of the insurance carriers and therefore free to shop multiple carriers for the best rates? Does your insurance agent advocate for you?
Advocating for clients and meeting their needs is a great quality to look for in an insurance agent. Recently, a physician was being added to a practice and required malpractice insurance to be able to start right after a holiday weekend. The agent he contacted not only worked after hours and was willing to communicate back and forth with the client during the holiday weekend in order to obtain the right information so that the underwriter would have a full submission waiting for him on Monday morning. Because the submission was thorough, the underwriter was able to quickly review the information and provide approval enabling the new physician to start with the practice right away. This is an example of having an insurance agent who is on your team, willing to go above and beyond to get you the right coverage at the right price when you need it. In today’s increasingly complicated world of insurance, having an ally can make all the difference.
Michelle Marie Perron is principal of Perron Insurance Services, a Hampton-based insurance firm specializing in physician insurance needs and passionate about protecting your practice’s health. For information visit www.perronservices.com, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 603.926.1318. You can also follow her on Twitter @perronservices or Facebook at Perron Insurance Services or LinkedIn www.linkedin.com/in/michellemarieperron.