Slow and Steady Wins the Rates
A lot of companies hurt their pricing in the long run in the way they shop for insurance. If insurance is looked at as a commodity, it'll be bought as a commodity - racing from one broker or carrier to the next in hopes of seeing at least a 10% savings to make the jump from one program to another. But with the inherent expense of risk management, it shouldn't be a commodity. It should be bought with a thoughtful look on how to truly lower costs long-term.
Align with the Correct Broker
Your insurance broker is by far your best source for safety and claims expertise, often included at no extra cost in their commissions/fees. And safety and claims handling are by far your most important tool to obtain huge savings on your program long-term, instead of merely 10% for shopping aggressively year-to-year. Thus, not every cheap program is the best for you. In fact its sometimes the opposite. Long-term savings are best aligned with a superior and typically more expensive broker, which offers safety and claims expertise. To find the best brokers be proactive! Dont just wait for calls and work with the guy that makes you laugh on a cold call, proactively look for a broker that knows your industry and your risk management concerns. Ask your peer companies or trusted advisors for recommendations. Do some research on the internet for the best brokers in your area, or at the very least, ask the brokers you currently talk with to demonstrate real expertise through industry book size (personal and company-wide), safety and claims personnel/hours available to you, carrier/program choice, and real client recommendations about safety and claims expertise.
After aligning with the correct broker(s), it's crucial to discuss your past losses in detail and help explain why they happened and what you've done to change operations to limit future claims. All carriers look at past claims and use that as the #1 factor in doing their guess at your future claims that they're going to be covering. It's actually more important than your industry peer losses because similar companies can have drastic differences in losses due to different risk management principles. Work with your broker to put together written, detailed explanations of your losses. Check on their work to make sure it's satisfactory to you; many brokers neglect this crucial piece.
Tell Your Company's Story
Make your companys story personal so the underwriter cares and wants to win your business with a lower price. Many times an underwriter will get a description of your operations as simple as widget maker, $25M revenues. They will have far less incentive to work on a low, winning quote than if you and your broker give them a detailed description of operations, including pictures and company history or plans for the future. Again, get a copy to make sure it's acceptable to you.
Meet with the Underwriters
To make your company even more personal to the underwriters, meet with the important ones personally. Invite them out to your company to see the operations. Once they meet you and shake hands they'll have even more desire to write your business at the best price they can possibly offer.
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