Chapter 4: Insuring Your Independent Brokerage
Independent Stock Brokers and Insurance Agents: How to Find Small Business Insurance
Now that you know which business insurance policies can insulate you from staggering financial losses, it's time to seek out coverage. Unless you sell small business insurance for a living, you may not know where to begin. And considering that not all insurance companies offer policies for one-person operations, you may end up spinning your wheels.
But once you know where to look, you'll be able to find the right business protection plan. You can start your search by…
- Finding insurance by yourself.
- Finding insurance with an agency.
Learn more about each option so you can decide which route is best for you.
Finding Small Business Insurance on Your Own
If you have the time and the right contacts — as an insurance agent might — finding small business coverage on your own might be a piece of cake. For everyone else, expect to do a bit more legwork.
Unfortunately, you may not be able to purchase business insurance from the same company that provides your personal policies. So your first step is to make a list of business insurance carriers that…
- Are familiar with insuring independent contractors and / or small-business owners.
- Have experience insuring professionals in your field.
- Are financially solvent.
- Have excellent customer-service reputations.
You may want to first ask colleagues if they have recommendations — but don't take their word alone. You need to take the time to…
When compiling a list of potential insurance providers, be sure to vet companies based on their solvency, accreditation, and history of complaints.
- Do your own research. Would you trust just any old company with your business investments? Of course not — that's why this step is so important. Take recommendations from your colleagues, and then put those insurance providers through the paces. There are online tools available to help you research insurance companies, verify their accreditation , and view their history of customer complaints. Use A.M. Best's Provider Search Tool to get started.
- Call and compare. Once you have a list of several reputable insurance providers, give each a call and ask about the types of policies they offer. It's important to remember that insurance providers are not interchangeable. Their coverages, prices, and options will differ. And there's no guarantee that any one provider will carry all the policies your business needs. Don't forget to ask questions about their experience insuring independent contractors in your field. If the agent doesn't seem familiar with your profession, you'll know to cross that company off your list.
- Collect quotes. After you've narrowed down your list, it's time to ask for quotes. Don't be surprised if your quotes vary from provider to provider. That's why this step is so important — you don't want to end up paying more for coverage than you have to. By the same token, you also don't want to end up with more or less coverage than your business requires.
- Be suspicious of rock-bottom rates. Yes, insurance quotes do tend to vary, but you should still be skeptical of the cheapest policies. There's probably a reason for those low rates — for example, they may exclude some of the coverages you need.
If all this sounds like it might be difficult to fit into your busy schedule, you're not alone. For most small-business owners, simply wading through all the legalese and insurance jargon would take hours. So if saving time (and possibly money) sounds more like your wheelhouse, consider teaming up with a licensed small-business insurance agent to find your insurance policies.
Finding Small Business Insurance with a Licensed Agent
As a broker or agent, you know firsthand how beneficial it can be to have an expert on your side when navigating unfamiliar waters. Just as you help match clients to personal insurance or investors to investments, a licensed independent insurance agent — such as those at insureon — can help connect you with adequate small business insurance coverage.
When looking for an insurance agent, be sure to seek out one who…
- Specializes in insuring small businesses, including those run by independent contractors.
- Specializes in insuring niche-industry professionals, like brokers and insurance agents.
- Works with A-rated insurance providers.
If you are an independent insurance agent, you already know the benefits of working with someone like you who has the savvy and experience to find quality products. But everyone else may want to know that working with an agent can…
Working with an independent small business insurance agent can ensure you find the most competitive rates around.
- Save you money. There are two types of insurance agents: captive and independent. When you find insurance on your own, chances are you'll work with a captive agent. They represent one insurance provider and can only sell that provider's policies. On the other hand, independent agents work for themselves and can sell the policies of many different insurance providers. This gives them an edge. With all those insurance providers and policies at their fingertips, they can easily find you the most competitive rates available.
- Save you time. Think about how long it would take your average client to make their own trades. If it were possible, they might never be able to "pull the trigger" because they wouldn't be able to tell if they were making the right decision. While finding business insurance might be a tad less complex than navigating the stock market, it's still no walk in the park. But an insureon agent can find the appropriate policies for you in one afternoon. Plus, insureon gives you the option of filling out an online application so you can review the quotes at your convenience when they arrive in your inbox.
- Give you more options. At insureon, our agents are trained by industry. That means your agent will already understand your risks and insurance needs. Additionally, they have relationships with A-rated insurance carriers who offer products specifically designed for your profession. All these factors mean you can rest assured that you're receiving the tailored coverage you truly need — no bells and whistles, no extra fees.
- Offer you more accessibility. Insureon agents provide clients with a real, human connection. When you work with insureon, you can call us up and speak to a live agent any time during regular business hours — no robots, phone trees, or automated systems. If you have questions about your coverage, an insureon agent will be there to talk you through it.
Regardless of which route you take, be sure you assess your business's most pressing risks before searching for coverage. You'll also want to gather your business information, such as your revenue, the square footage of your commercial office space, client contracts, etc. Most insurance applications require this information so your quotes are as accurate as possible.
Next: Part 1: Keeping Insurance Rates Low: Risk Management Tips for Agents