Business Insurance Agents

Insurance was a very scary topic for us this year. As many of you know, the cost of business insurance has skyrocketed since 2001. Our workers comp, auto, and liability insurance costs have ballooned to 10% of sales, which seems incredible to me, particularly since we have nothing really bad on our claims history.

However, this year, at renewal time, the problem went way beyond cost. As background, much of our business is in running campgrounds. Campgrounds have the same liability problems as any public contact business, in that there are more and more people out there who, if they slip and fall on your property, will try to get a financial windfall out of it by suing you. This is multiplied in campgrounds, as the possibilities for a customer hurting themselves accidentally are multiplied over a more controlled environment, like a store.

Now, leave aside for a minute the justice of whether or not we should be responsible if someone pulls their hamstring climbing a tree in our campground. Even when most of these cases go nowhere, they generate defense costs. So, liability rates have been going up.

One of the things I have learned about the insurance market, though, is that carriers pick and choose what industries they want to be in. And, the industries they don't want to be in are those that are relatively small but have higher liability potential -- too much risk of loss for too little income. Unfortunately, this seems to include campgrounds.

So, just a few weeks away from the expiration of our old policy, my old agent tells me that their underwriter will not write us for the next year. Either in our liability policy (for reasons above) or for our auto policy (because we have a lot of older drivers) or for our workers comp (same issue, older workers).

I was therefore faced not with a huge cost increase, but with the prospect of no insurance, which would mean shutting down my business (beyond the stupidity of operating without insurance, my contracts forbid it). My insurance agent at the time had no other alternatives.

This is when I learned a huge lesson - there is a big difference among business insurance agents. Many have only one or two underwriters they work with, and if those underwriters drop your line of business, you can be out of luck. It is desperately important, especially if you are in a tougher than average business to insure, to have an agent with access to many underwriters and sources of insurance.

In the end, I pieced the workers comp together state by state through many agents, which was a total pain. Finally and at the absolutely last minute, for the liability and auto, I found an agent who really knows what he is doing. He got me quick fix policies for these to keep running, and then has found better policies over time to replace them. We have had great discussions about trade-offs in liability coverage (since every policy is different in the small exceptions that they make in their coverage). By the way, I don't know if they are even looking for more business, but if you are in a crisis, particularly if you are in the southwest, you might try these guys.

  • Freddy

    Hello,

    I'm doing a report on the insurance industry. Specifically, on direct insurance providers v. buying from an agent. What I want to find out is the advantage agents have over direct providers or the value add they give consumers, that direct providers can't.

    Talking to an insurance agent I recently found out that too much lint in the dryer is the number one cause of home fires. Or that homeowners' might not cover new purchases that weren't listed when figuring out the homeowners' policy. I was hoping that agents here could give information similar to this. Information that consumers would not know, but that is important.

    I would very much appreciate any help here. Please, email me if possible as I am kind of have a deadline.

    Thank you very much for your help,

    Freddy

  • Debra Riley

    153005: Hey, does anyone know where I can find a list of gas stations with low prices in my area?

  • I totally agree with what you're saying. I wish more people felt this way and took the time to express themselves. Keep up the great work.

    Brian Fitzpatrick
    http://www.insuranceboatbargain.com

  • Yes that is correct. I liked your comment. I too belong to the same profile and this was of great help.

    Jessica Towery
    http://www.directlineinsurancecapability.com

  • Thanks for this great post. You've got some really good info in your blog. If you get a chance, you can check out my blog on insurance cost at http://www.insurancecost4less.com

    Andrea Jasperson
    http://www.insurancecost4less.com