What a difference a year makes?

It was not that long ago, or so it seems, that we were in the midst of a severe recession and it was so very difficult to find work – profitable work – to handle. Most of my efforts were spent in planning, looking ahead, researching and continuing to learn about this interesting (yes, I did use that description) and ever-changing business of Insurance and Risk Management. During the last half of 2010, it seemed that something changed and the first month of 2011 indicates that I am looking at the best year I’ve seen in many. Don’t ask why because I was taught to only change bad behavior, not good habits and that’s what I plan to do – continue with my exceptional behavior and results.

What are we seeing in the Canadian, particularly Ontario, Commercial Insurance marketplace? As I have found out, it is not worthwhile for businesses that are doing anything different (hmmm, what do I mean by different? OK – stores and offices) to try and obtain their best coverage and premiums from smaller insurance brokers.

Examples include Accountants who require Errors & Omissions insurance like one I insured this week. They had office insurance with a broker who was able to offer as “normal” a policy as anyone (I use this term because I do feel offices are easily written by most people in our industry) and their E&O coverage through another broker. This other broker was familiar with a Lloyd’s market offering such coverage and both brokers are losing because they missed the chance to cross-sell the client. Where else have they missed that I have not? The firm has referred a client, a manufacturer, to me who has already purchased one policy and will be moving another five or six policies during the course of this year and I plan to cross-sell personal insurance to the accountant, too.

If you’re in the Engineering or Architectural sector, we now have an eager market offering coverage and would enjoy quoting on your businesses, including Errors & Omissions Liability.

Another example is a large developer/investor in properties who was never offered personal or commercial umbrella insurance by their prior agent and brokers (yes, they were insured with multiple firms). I have met with the client on numerous occasions to discuss the many different exposures they face and have moved most of their business during the past six months with the balance to come during 2011. The client even made a phone call to a business partner on one of their projects to introduce me and insist an appointment be given to me. Saving the client 20+% from their prior year’s insurance costs did not hurt, either, especially when they were paying in excess of six figures. We have now developed a program for this class of business and have been insuring several other property owners in this field of endeavor.

For anyone in the pursuit of unique business opportunities we can obtain superb coverage for you. I wrote a golf simulator’s insurance at rates that were exceptional, especially when compared with what he had been offered elsewhere. I am working with another insurance broker who is unable to offer coverage to two of his clients in construction due to a lack of competitive markets with other brokers, one being a residential multi-family project and the other performing single family renovation and remodeling. A new client, whom I have known for many years, has placed their High Value Home (with some unique requirements) through me. As noted in a prior blog or one of my social media announcements, I have written a Flea Market Vendor, Student Housing properties, a Residential Mover and many different types of business entities.

With the markets we have available to our brokerage, we can write Martial Arts Studios, Fitness Clubs, Tanning Studios, Hobby Clubs, Spas, Vacant Properties, Sports Bars, Franchises, Cargo, Marinas, IT Professionals, Contractors Pollution Liability, Directors & Officers Liability – the field goes on and on. Just let us see what you do and we’ll do our best to offer a package of protection that you will be pleased to purchase.

I attended a seminar this week and was astounded to hear my competition discuss how difficult their lives have been – being declined and policies being non-renewed, rates increasing, etc. If you’re not thoroughly pleased with your policy/provider, I suggest you contact me immediately at larryewinsurance@gmail.com .

Have a great 2011! I know I am and will be.

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