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Biz Tips

Questions to Ask My Insurance Agent About My Insurance Policy
By Phil Wilder - American Specialty Insurance & Risk Services, Inc.


With so many options these days for insurance coverage, it is essential to ask the right questions of your insurance provider. I want to take the opportunity to review some of these important factors.

ARE YOU AN INSURANCE AGENT OR INSURANCE BROKER?
An insurance agent may only work with one insurer. A broker will work with multiple insurers. They will have the ability to compare costs with different companies as they evaluate your business needs.

WHAT IS YOUR AREA OF EXPERTISE?
This will depend on your area of need. If you require multiple policies, you would most likely prefer a broker who deals with workers compensation, real estate or medical/health care. Other brokers will focus on commercial insurance.

WHAT IS YOUR EXPERIENCE?
Find out who you will be dealing with. Knowing who will be handling your account on a day-to-day basis is very important. Many top producers have decades of experience, however, they may easily pass off your file to someone new to the industry. If you are able to build a relationship with the insurance “team,” you will be better off.

WHAT IS YOUR REACH?
If you are only working on a local level, you may prefer a local agency. If your scope is national, then you will need a company that is licensed in multiple states, or nationwide. Be sure to ask if your agent or broker is licensed in the states where you have exposure.

WHAT’S COVERED & WHAT’S NOT?
Participant injuries, parent injuries, property damage, advertising injuries, employee injuries, the list goes on and on. There is no single policy that will cover everything. Be sure to ask what coverage can be beneficial to your business.

EQUIPMENT & CONTENTS COVERAGE
There are several ways to cover your equipment and contents. An Inland Marine policy would be one of the most popular. You will also want to ask your insurance representative about Plate Glass coverage, Crime insurance, Tenant Improvements & Betterments coverage, Business Interruption insurance and Equipment Breakdown coverage.

ARE MY POLICY LIMITS SUFFICIENT?
Coverage limits vary depending on insurance company and your business size. Your lease will also play a large role in determining what limits you decide on. Be sure to discuss this before buying your policy.

SHOULD I SUPPLEMENT MY COVERAGE WITH AN EXCESS OR UMBRELLA POLICY?
Excess insurance can supplement your main or underlying policy. You may be required to obtain higher limits by your landlord. You can purchase higher limits in increments of $1 million.

ARE PAYMENT PLANS AVAILABLE?
There are pros and cons when it comes to payment options. If you choose monthly installments, what is the finance charge? Fees can end up costing you in the end. Be sure to ask about finance company charges, or payment plan fees that some companies impose.

WHEN SHOULD I DOCUMENT AN INJURY?
An injury needs to be documented each and every time. My rule of thumb is to document everything from a bee sting to a broken ankle. You should keep an Incident Report log that can be used to document injuries. Witnesses, dates and times should be included, because you never know when a lawsuit will arise.

HOW CAN I SUBMIT A CLAIM?
Most companies will provide a Claim form as part of your insurance policy packet. These can easily be submitted to your broker, or directly to the insurance company. Be sure to review the claims process and ask how to make it easier.

WHEN SHOULD I SUBMIT A CLAIM?
You should always submit a claim as soon as possible. The sooner you can give the insurance company notice, the better. Even if you are simply threatened with a lawsuit, make contact with your broker or agent as a precaution.

OTHER FACTORS:
    WHO OWNS THE BUILDING?
    Every agent and underwriter should ask this question. We cannot assume the gym owner is leasing the premises. Gym ownership is becoming more and more common, and with that comes the need to insure your building properly. However, if you are leasing the premises, the Lease Agreement needs to be reviewed in detail.

    ARE ALL OF MY ACTIVITIES COVERED?
    One of the most important issues a gym owner may have is making sure all of their offered activities are covered. These days, gymnastics studios offer a variety of activities, and not all policies will cover everything you do. You need to ask questions. Many policies will exclude coverage for popular activities such as parkour, free-running, urban gymnastics, ninja warrior activities, bounce houses, etc.