Although we know each other well – How well do we know each other?
Vice President, Client Executive
I have had the privilege of getting to know many of our clients over a number of years. Understanding their business, learning about their corporate structure and creating relationships with the people who run these businesses is very interesting to me. It is also very important from a risk management and insurance coverage perspective to have detailed knowledge about how clients operate their businesses. The more knowledge we have, the higher the level of service and support we can bring to the table.
That desire for understanding and information is a two-way street, especially now in the changing business landscape impacted by the drop in oil prices and changes in government either provincially or nationally, or both. Many business leaders are looking for new opportunities which may not have been considered before, or looking to expand existing operations to new territories, or shrinking down the scope of operations in order to conserve resources for better times ahead. When businesses embark on a change of strategy or change of course, there are many considerations and consultations to be taken into account. One of these is with your broker, so that he or she will know what is happening in real time, rather than having to wait for the next renewal meeting.
One of the insurance broker’s jobs is to represent the client’s risk profile to insurance underwriters. When a business experiences a significant change to its profile, it may have significant implications to their insurance program. Some changes can actually cause difficulties in obtaining coverage.
Here are a few examples of situations that require real time communication:
- Creating new companies that will undertake new business ventures. Sometimes it is obvious that an operation needs to be added to the program. Other times, it may not be as obvious, such as when a company sets up to purchase land assets or becomes a subsidiary of the operating company. Give your broker a call whenever a new entity is incorporated to avoid gaps in coverage.
- Expanding into new provinces or countries. Each geographical change is impacted by local laws and possibly subject to limitations under an insurer’s definition of the territory in which it is licensed to operate.
- Extreme reductions in operating revenues. If you notice that the downturn is severely impacting your revenue stream, call your broker to discuss the situation. Some policies are adjustable and giving the underwriter a heads up before expiry is helpful in negotiating year-end adjustments.
- If you are buying or selling property, equipment or other assets, it is better to let your broker know upfront so that the changes are recorded and underwriters are advised. Many clients have blanket coverage allowing for an annual adjustment. However, by letting their insurance broker know of the changes on a regular basis, they ensure the broker has access to an up-to-date schedule at all times. Furthermore, the broker is able to handle the annual adjustment in a much timelier manner.
- Corporate Organizational Charts are important information for brokers. We encourage you to share this information with them so they can ensure that all the companies you are operating are properly insured under your program.
Many Insureds are undergoing major strategic and operational changes within their organizations, the more reason to continue having conversations, meetings, consultations, reviews, to allow their broker to really “get to know them very well”.