Archive for the ‘Franchising’ Category

Commercial Insurance (for a wide range of industries and business classes)

January 18, 2011

Discussing insurance and thinking of selling insurance always seems easy for me, natural, but when I review the many different types of risks that can be insured, I almost stop in bewilderment!

For example, I was just reviewing an e-mail from one of our markets and here is a sampling of the unique classes they insure for us:

  • Individual personal trainers;
  • Fitness studios;
  • Mixed martial arts;
  • Injectable treatments like botox and collagen;
  • Lipo-laser operations;
  • Laser hair reduction;
  • Teeth whitening;
  • Tanning salons

If that is not a diverse enough sampling, I am happy to try:

  • Demolition contractors;
  • Environmental remediation and abatement;
  • Restoration and emergency spill response;
  • Environmental consulting and assessment.

Or maybe:

  • IT consultants;
  • Website developers;
  • Network support services;
  • Software developers;
  • Data storage/retrieval services;
  • Web hosting services;
  • Computer training.

And if that is not your “cup of tea”, how about:

  • Builders risk and wrap-up liability;
  • For-profit and not-for-profit directors and officers liability;
  • Professional errors and omissions/malpractice liability;
  • Environmental liability;
  • Surety including bid and performance bonds;
  • Trade credit/accounts receivable;
  • Employee dishonesty/fidelity bonds;
  • Product recall expenses;
  • Umbrella liability;
  • Contingent business interruption of a customer or supplier;
  • Franchising, nationally and internationally.

If you are operating a business in Ontario, CANADA – why worry about finding a suitable insurance provider? Avoid worry, save time and guarantee yourself peace of mind by dealing with knowledgeable and reputable providers – broker(s) and insurance companies. Don’t look further than here – A-rated insurance carriers with Canada’s oldest insurance brokerage. We specialize in Commercial Insurance so you don’t need to do the same!

If you operate a franchise in Canada that has franchisees in Ontario, we can provide coverage nationally and internationally, for you. There are many different types of policies available and we have the necessary experience to recommend the one best suited for you.

I can be reached at larryewinsurance@gmail.com

I hope you have as wonderful a year as possible. I am certain to do the same.

Thinking “Outside the Box”

November 15, 2010

Having just completed my President’s Message (Guild of Industrial, Commercial & Institutional Accountants) for the Christmas Season (yes, it is early – at least for me, I don’t try to think about Christmas until December), I decided to digest this week’s numerous events.

I heard an excellent presentation by Faith Seekings at the Toronto Chapter of CIM’s AGM (for anyone who doesn’t know, CIM is the Canadian Institute of Management) with whom I am fortunate to be connected by LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, as well as personally. I highly recommend her for anyone looking to synchronize their marketing efforts to show some level of uniformity from a website to business cards to stationery, brochures and corporate image.

Yesterday, I also heard someone whom I have wanted to see in person for awhile, now – Wolfgang Jaksch – and the introduction by MediConsult of their new iMRS which will be available in North America in early 2011. My wife has been treated by a health professional with the current MRS offering and I try to keep an open mind concerning anything in life so that “electro-magnetic resonance” is, obviously, something I want to know more about. Wolf even ended his presentation with an introduction to a new online “health network” – www.wellaxy.com – and I wish to promote this site for good health and health-related exchanges of information.

What else is happening, from a business standpoint? It seems that my best month for new business in 9 years (yes, September was amazing) has been the catalyst for some “good luck”, though hard work seems to be the oxygen that ignited the flame. I have been attempting to close a deal for a home builder and was introduced to a realtor who also has need of commercial insurance. Then another home builder and I spoke about insuring “common elements” for a condo complex they are constructing – seems that their insurance broker may not have known it possible to insure (what other reason for the lack of service since it took them so long to provide a reply).

One account on which I have been working has added 6 other properties to insure and a former small business client of mine has asked me to quote on his business again. Recently, I insured a flea market booth for a long-time acquaintance of mine who then proceeded to provide me with a directory of listings to assist me in my solicitation efforts. Another source of business referred prospective clients to me, a new business associate has asked me to work with her on some clients and a member of the Guild of ICIA & CIM has asked me to prepare a quote for a new business of his.

Whether it be general commercial property/liability, commercial auto, Directors’ & Officers’ Liability, Builder’s Risk, Liquor Liability, Group Home/Auto or something as unique as “franchises”, “student rooming houses”, “hot dog carts”, “chip wagons” or Specialized Liability (including Product Recall and Errors & Omissions), I am ready to discuss with you.

My spreadsheet of activity for 2011 is quite substantial – including “hot” files and “cold” files that I hope to move into the warmer category during the next year. What is the reason for much of this activity and confidence? In the past, I felt that I needed to quote “apples to apples”, even if I did not agree with the coverage and deductibles. With limited markets available, it meant that I was unable to provide suitable quotes to a prospect to enable the closing of a deal. Now, our carriers are numerous – enabling us to offer reduced premiums and better coverage in most cases, allowing me to provide terms that I feel are the best for the client’s long-term insurance needs.

Why should a client have low deductibles ($500 or $1,000) if the business is most suited to $5,000 or $10,000 (or higher) deductible – yes, premiums will be lower but the client will not be faced with considering his/her filing a small claim that might mean a policy being non-renewed or having terms amended and fewer insurance companies wanting to insure that client. As the client’s “risk manager”, I might be making the decision but am expert enough to realize it is in the best interest of that client. That is a big difference, the difference from prior packaging and presentation. Confident, yes! But better yet, experienced and certain – not thinking inside old parameters but “outside the box”.

Contractual Liability and/or Compliance?

June 18, 2010

Attention!  Accountants, Lawyers, Lenders, Business Executives, Managers and Owners!

Having spent 2+ years reviewing $1.5+B in Commercial Loans provides one with an insight into the insurance industry that even an insurance professional would never normally experience.

What do I mean?  Well, with nearly 20 years in Retail Commercial Banking in both Canada and the USA, I knew that banks do not fully (and never will) comprehend the Commercial Property/Casualty Insurance business.  Yes, I did have some insight into the wonderful world of insurance, having grown up at the dinner table with a father and older brother discussing the intricacies of their day’s activities – Lucky Me!

So that just made it easier to enter the field when I decided that I needed a change and I now have spent 20+ years in this sector of Financial Services.

Following 9/11, I wanted to become more attuned to Risk Management and obtained my Canadian Risk Manager designation (well, I was a Registered Insurance Broker and had previously obtained my American Institute of Banking Commercial Lending Diploma, so why not?) in order to better understand risk as opposed to insurance.

Well, I thought I had seen a lot until the past 2 years of working on Loan Reviews – and this was a real eye-opener!  Borrowers agree to terms in their Loans whereby they don’t ever ask their insurance providers about the terms/conditions regarding insurance and costs, prior to signing (yes, they may confer with their Lawyers but, unless their Lawyer works with qualified insurance people, they cannot adequately advise on the subject of insurance, either).  Lenders neglect to confer with Risk Consultants prior to formulating their own desired requirements and Lawyers do not fully understand what is available and what will never be available in the insurance industry.

An example, I saw, is a Lender who decided to offer facilities to a Client on a number of properties  with a $5Million Liability minimum requirement.  The Insurance Broker offered $5Million on a blanket basis for 37 properties in the Aggregate – something that would, in many cases, be grossly inadequate!  The Lender did not have the ability to amend their Agreement, except within a condition they preferred not to apply to the Borrower – something that I encouraged be done.  I also know of several insurance “professionals” who would never have sold only a $5Million Liability policy in the Aggregate without Umbrella/Excess coverage being applied but the firm insuring these risks did not do so.

What a problem, right?  Well, how about insurance providers who only wish to make a sale and never request copies of leases, contracts, franchise and loan agreements, etc. but also provide ridiculously low deductibles for extremely high property values and then complain that their clients will not pay the added insurance premiums!  I saw this time and time again.

Imagine being able to purchase insurance or consulting service from a professional who was able to reduce your insurance costs and provide better coverage – is this possible?  Many times, the answer is a simple YES!

If anyone – lawyer, accountant, lender, insurance sales professional or a company/business-owner – wishes to contact me for further discussion on this topic, please e-mail me at WRiskManagerBlog@gmail.com with the Subject Line – Contractual Liability and/or Compliance?

I look forward to hearing from anyone reading this blog here or on one of my online network sites.

Insurance, Risk and Valuation

January 27, 2010

This is something I simply don’t understand – insurance professionals who are reluctant to advise – just because of their Errors & Omissions exposure?  If they’re the professionals, why not use their expertise and training for their clients’ best interests?

Are they afraid that their clients may see them for what some salespeople truly are?  A salesman/saleswoman and not a professional advisor!

Maybe they would prefer their clients approach us first – for Risk Management advice.  This definitely helps avoid that observation, doesn’t it?

Recently, I spoke with an insurance broker who refused to assist a client in the determination of adequate Business Interruption insurance – afraid of a loss on their E&O!  He felt that the worksheet sent to a client should be completed with their accountant but mentioned that he doesn’t know any accountants who feel comfortable completing these insurance forms.  I then offered our firm’s experience and services to the broker.

We’ll be happy to review Financial Statements and Contracts/Leases/Franchise Agreements and advise on issues like Business Interruption losses, Employee Dishonesty limits, Trade Credit Insurance, etc.  We can assist in working on “replacement cost” determination/evaluation so that you are adequately insured!

Have you ever experienced a loss where you felt you were protected and found out otherwise?  Let your CFO, Controller, Accountant and Lawyer know about us!

We are very pleased to work alongside your other professional advisors and work with you and for you – not against you.

Our costs are always very reasonable.  Why not contact us now for further information?

Legal Agreements and Risk Management – Franchising, Leases, Contracts, etc. & Compliance or Non-Compliance

October 29, 2009

Have you ever really given any thought to that legal agreement you have signed or are about to sign?  Have you thought about the insurance and risk management consequences you have or are about to assume on behalf of your business?

An example is a lease that requires $X Million in Liability Insurance – do you have adequate protection currently?  If you are non-compliant with your Landlord’s lease, what consequences might you face?  I know of an instance, several years ago, where the seller of a business had previously provided me with a copy of his lease; the requirement was for $5M (they were serving alcohol) and, to nobody’s surprise, the cost of the insurance was significantly more than it would be for $1M in Liability coverage.  The buyer of that business refused to purchase the mandated insurance from me – and went elsewhere for less cost because his choice of insurance providers did not request to see a copy of the lease.  What happened?  When the lease was to be renewed, the Landlord did not renew it, having chosen to replace the Tenant with a National Franchisee that provided an insurance policy in compliance with the terms of their lease.  And yes, the tenant was required to vacate, not relocating, thus risking the closure of the business.

What about Contracts?  Have you ever contemplated the consequences of a “Hold Harmless Agreement” or an “Indemnification Clause”?  Are you aware that you may be assuming the risk of a supplier or a customer by agreeing to those terms and driving the cost of your insurance policy higher?  Examples abound here with Property Managers, Contractors, etc.

And we all love Franchises, correct?  Did you know that some firms will require that your policy have coverage that may be difficult to find, on a “stand-alone” insurance policy?  This means that you should investigate what conditions are being required and how easy it might be to purchase a policy on your own as opposed to that of the “Master/Franchise” policy.  What about terms relating to the Financial Strength and Rating of your Insurance Carrier?  That “B” rating that your insurance company carries may not be sufficient to retain your franchise.  Or, what if you have a “protected territory” where your risk could be that you face the introduction of another Franchisee into your region because you were in default of the conditions of your Agreement?

Don’t just assume that what you have is the “norm” and that everyone must sign the agreement.  I have seen Loan Agreements with terms that can be amended, no different than Leases, etc.  The best Risk Management decisions should only be made when discussing your risks and options with an expert in the field.  Don’t assume that your present insurance provider can handle your business adequately and don’t be afraid to ask for a 2nd opinion – from a Risk Management consultant like ourselves.  We are not paid a commission to sell but a fee to offer our professional advice, including to lawyers and accountants who are not trained in insurance issues but their own expertise.

Another update to my exciting week!

October 23, 2009

What is of special interest this week, my friends?  Well, let’s begin by thanking the online friends I have south of the Canadian/USA border.

One terrific connection provided me with the contact information for 50 lenders he uses in his brokerage business.  Where did this lead?  I always like to return the favor (favour here in Canada) and am now trying to introduce him to another friend who has a very interesting concept to discuss where I will relish helping both of these fine gentlemen.

This evening, I spoke with another American friend who has connections to Lenders, Accountants, Lawyers and the Franchise Industry – meaning I can emphasize Lender Reviews with the Commercial Lenders, financial issues (including employee dishonesty with CPA’s), suggested/recommended(?) insurance requirements for contracts, leases and Franchise Agreements – 3 of my enjoyable aspects of Risk Management consulting.

I also had 1+ hour of wonderful “free” motivational consulting from “Linda” today and I so appreciate that.  I’ve set-up a “fan page” (is that what it is termed?) on Facebook now – WRiskManager – just like here!  I hope these efforts to “brand” me as the North American “expert” (sorry but my competition is reluctant to utilize the internet and find it a waste of their time 😉 ) will pay huge dividends (and I am very optimistic).

Well, that appears to be it for a Thursday evening.

RISK – My 1st Post! – Well, at least it is #1 for here (and maybe better than my other attempts)

October 22, 2009

This is my first blog attempt here and I hope better than my previous efforts 🙂 .

I have just had the most amazing week in so many ways that my excitement is bubbling over, hehe.  Reason for this is that I wished one of my many online friends a Happy Birthday on Friday last week and he (Craig, you know who you are) then proceeded to offer me immense advice on blogging and setting-up my blog on this site 🙂 .  He explained that I should be blogging every time I see, meet or hear something about “risk” since that is my expertise.  Well, here goes my effort then.

So, what else made my week so spectacular?  Well, one call to a friend of mine (Mike B.) that led to a request to speak to a group of bankers, accountants, advisors, etc. and then an e-mail from another good friend of mine (Mike A.) to gauge my interest to speak for 1.25 hours early next year to a group of Managers and then a follow-up Skype message (Andy – No, not another Mike hehe) re another speech to a group of independent management advisors – this all on Friday!

I then proceeded to mentor another online friend (Victoria) who is making a career move from agent to commercial broker and I offered my years of experience and continuing guidance to assist her.  Even in the same geographic area, it is much easier to use phone/computer communication than managing the headaches derived from fighting traffic to meet face to face.

What else has happened since Friday, then?  Well, I’ve been working with a management consultant friend of mine on his one client’s insurance requirements and ensuring that they’ve been met at affordable premiums.  I’ve provided two contacts’ names/info to another contact of mine who is in need of their services, been provided a list of 50 lenders by a new online connection (sure is nice to share contacts who can recommend me) so that my work during the next week will be quite busy in prospecting.

Well, you can see where my excitement originates from, correct?

What do I do, though?  I work in Risk Management – identifying and analyzing risks, controlling and financing risks.  My expertise is derived from nearly 20 years of Retail Commercial Banking and 20+ years of Insurance/Risk Management.  I work in the realm of Legal Contracts & Leases to Financial Statements through the spectrum of Property, Liability, Income and Human Resources and include Currency, FX, Interest Rate (yes, I did work in Banking), Employee Dishonesty, Media, Trade Credit, Business Continuity and Continuation Planning, Workers’ Compensation and Occupational Health & Safety – a broad spectrum.

Where do I spend the bulk of my time?  I review various Lenders’ Loan Agreements and Borrowers’ Insurance Policies for compliance with the terms/conditions of a Loan, recommending improved security where appropriate and knowing when a particular condition may be waived, as needed.  I even was called upon by a Lender during this week to recommend whether a loan condition for a “seismic report” be required or not – the Borrower already had Earthquake insurance and was located in a zone known to have activity so that I recommended the file be notated to never allow the Borrower to not include “quake” coverage on the policy.

As you can see, a busy and interesting week.  Not knowing when to curtail my comments, I will sign off now and be back later in the week to add something new.