Archive for October, 2012

Social Media and its impact on your business and mine!

October 26, 2012

Coming through one of my busiest seasons in several years offers some unique insights as I continually review what I do correctly and analyze how to improve.  Does Social Media have any impact on the “why” I have been successful recently?  YES, unequivocally! 

 

What I see, however, are people who want value but expect to pay the lowest insurance premiums for what they buy, meaning they usually obtain less than they want.  Unfortunately, what is so easily forgotten is that there are many differences between insurance policies and that cost should only be 1 factor!  What else should be considered?  How do “you” determine who you should be buying from and what you should be buying?  Do you like the salesperson or do you “trust” the individual advising you?  What should be important to you, believing the provider of your coverage or asking questions and evaluating the honesty and integrity and knowledge of that person?  How should you evaluate that person and the professionalism exhibited?    

 

One new client asked that I quote a second insurance policy because he valued my opinions.  What he didn’t know (and, apparently, hadn’t been explained by his prior insurance broker) was that the insurance company he is insured through increased his premium when he purchased the building from the previous owner.  This was due to the added risk that his “operating” business, as a tenant in the building, had on the property’s insurance. 

 

What value did I offer to this client?  We discussed Risk Management to reduce his potential for any insurance claim and also various deductibles, necessary and optional coverage, etc. to lower his insurance premiums.  I found many other insurance companies did not want to quote the building insurance and suggested that he be happy with what he had and he appointed me the broker for his business.  Knowing he will implement some of my suggestions will permit our brokerage to shop his renewal in subsequent years and maintain lower pricing for his insurance, a win-win for both of us. 

 

As for his “operation”, isn’t it nice that I can promote his business through my own online activities?  When my competition is reluctant to have an online presence on Twitter, Google+, Facebook, LinkedIn and Pinterest – well, how many of your customers or potential customers are using Social Media now?  Wouldn’t you like to connect with them or have someone, maybe a business partner, promote you to other businesses, increasing your sales and profit?

 

As an insurance broker, I know there are major differences between the “intermediaries” (insurance salespeople) and not just insurance companies and policies.  Offering my various and large online networks should assist you, especially in comparison with my competitors who are not online in any manner.  Additionally, I try to find information of importance and interest to you and disseminate in a timely manner so that you understand the many opportunities and various risks you are or may face in your business at the present time or in the near future.

 

Some of these risks include Occupational Health & Safety, Employment Practices, Human Rights Legislation, Business Continuity Planning, etc.  I am on the mailing lists of various law firms, consultants and governments, agencies and regulators to help you!  Some of these issues may involve insurance but many may only, indirectly, due to the changing environment concerning “risk”.  Imagine using contract workers, for example.  What if the employment agency doesn’t submit EI or W/T?  Do you know you can be held responsible, individually?  What can you do to avoid this?  Should you purchase additional insurance protection to cover in the event of something like this? 

 

Let’s talk!  If your insurance provider is not offering suitable professional assistance to you, maybe you need to make an immediate change?!

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Errors & Omission (E&O) or Malpractice (Professional Liability) Insurance

October 26, 2012

Attending a seminar is always of value to me, even if I don’t receive “continuing education credits” (in this case, I did and it is a necessary part of my annual license renewal as an insurance broker) but there are many times I choose to attend seminars, webinars, etc. for general knowledge and the amount of information that is available online is phenomenal so why not use what I can to learn more and share with my clientele?

 

On this particular occasion, however, I attended one, in person, and was lucky enough to see several people I’ve known for many years and, subsequently, had a chance to converse with some of them.  What I find strange, though, is that insurance companies should truly understand the broker audience they have and relate to them.  To talk about products that are so far above the level of knowledge of the broker audience and then suggest that those brokers should be submitting that type of business is not just ridiculous but amazing. 

 

I was asked a question by one of my many online friends to define “good customer service” and I used the above situation to enable me to respond.  Why?  The questioner was a paralegal and the type of product discussed at the seminar was Errors & Omissions (E&O) Liability Insurance which most of the insurance broker audience will rarely sell so how much knowledge and experience will that salesperson truly have?  I have many clients who need and buy E&O and we shop the various markets for them to locate the best available coverage and pricing.  These clients range from Property Managers to Environmental Consultants to Contractors, Manufacturers, Alarm Installers, Bio-Tech, Business Continuity Planners, etc. and you can now see the wide range of my expertise.   

 

Someone once told me that the greatest reason for seeing a “malpractice” (errors/omissions) suit/claim is that YOU aren’t meeting a client’s expectations!  How many businesses set, as their business goal, to “meet or exceed the customer’s expectations”?  Well, it is obvious to me that there is a gaping discrepancy here and it is not because “we” aren’t, in many cases, doing “our jobs” but understanding what the client anticipated being delivered.  AND, the big item to remember is that anyone can sue for this (whether any of us are truly guilty or not) and legal defense costs mount very quickly! 

 

That is the reason for so many lawsuits in the areas of Professional Liability – we all think we know what is best for the client but there is a complete breakdown in communication between what our clients want, expect and what we are delivering!  This is why it is imperative that “we” buy Errors & Omissions (E&O) Liability Insurance because just imagine the cost a lawyer will bill you when you feel you are innocent and he still needs to defend you in a court of law.  How many hours of work will be necessary to spend on your file (and invoice you for)?  What is the going rate for a good lawyer in this specialized area of law? 

 

I hate to say that E&O insurance premiums are significantly lower but…isn’t it time for us to now discuss?

Looking for a true business partner who is interested in helping YOU succeed?

October 25, 2012

When navigating Highway 401 recently, I thought about work.  For me, this is easy and I soon forgot about the stresses of rush hour traffic on a Friday evening.  Driving 350 kms to visit my wife’s family, knowing that I’m going to enjoy a weekend feast fit for a king, also helped; anyone who knows me knows my appreciation of good food accompanied by some fine wine.

 

I can identify almost anything with the business of Risk Management and I saw many drivers who were distracted, inattentive to the point that if I was a member of our “illustrious men in blue”, it would have been so very easy to ticket drivers for violations other than speeding.  Glancing, as a defensive driver, makes it easy to see what vehicles I should avoid – the drivers who tend to stare at their laps instead of the “stop and go” traffic indicated to me that someone is paying closer attention to an electronic device (maybe a Blackberry?) or similar item.  Yes, I did see several drivers looking down for extended periods of time instead of through the windshield.

 

But that is not the reason for writing this.  I realized the last while that I have not been blogging and this has me wondering why?  To begin with, I don’t have a shortage of ideas – on the contrary, I have an abundance of thoughts that could be written about.  So what is my problem?  Is it time management?  I know that I need to set aside time – each day – to write for just a few minutes.  But this is the key item here!  Tweeting and posting to G+, FB, LI, etc. a lead-in to my blog takes much more time than just authoring the original article.  Pinterest is a fabulous tool but, somehow, I need to use it to increase my online visibility even more.  My “learning” about Social Media seems to be the true obstacle but I hope a manageable one that I will overcome in the very near future. 

 

I work with Canada’s “oldest insurance brokerage” but the 21st century brings so many opportunities that I need to relate how to use these technologies in my own business – identify my Vision, develop niches and work with those people and businesses who want my specialized skills and training to reduce their “total cost of risk”, not just their insurance premiums for this year but the risks of operating their business for the short and long term.  I live and work in “Canada’s Technology Triangle” and this means that my own knowledge and training has been focused on IT, Start-Ups and cutting-edge business ideas from Life Sciences to Bio-Tech and Environmental Industries.

 

If you think you have a business that is leading in your field, let’s discuss!  I will work with you to determine what your expectations of an insurance broker may be but also identify areas in which I can assist you with increasing your sales, profits and value.  Isn’t this what you really want from all your business partners? 

 

As an insurance broker/risk manager, I will be your partner because I don’t earn any income/profit from you if you don’t succeed!  As a business partner with you, we both derive benefit – mutual and beneficial, and isn’t this the best way to work with each other?