STAYING COVERED: CHOOSING AN INSURANCE PROVIDER August 17, 2021 | Business Tips , Inspection Tips , Franchise | entrepreneur , small business , inspection industry , money management By Bill Erickson, NPI, Inc.'s Executive Vice President With so many insurance plans and providers, it’s easy to get lost in the weeds when shopping for coverage for your business. On the surface they can seem almost identical, with “almost” being the operative word. But as you look closer at what each provider offers, you’ll notice differences in their claims process, payouts, and the extent of their coverage. Don’t Make a Million-Dollar Mistake Shocking statistic time: it’s estimated that nearly 40 percent of small business owners don’t have insurance! Having any coverage at all can help you avoid being a statistic. That said, it’s crucial to vet an insurance company before you commit. The smallest difference in coverage can result in paying out a mountain of cash in claims and legal fees. And in turn, inspecting before you get insurance or letting it lapse is also a major risk, as you’ll be subjecting yourself to hefty fines and possible lawsuits. While it can be overwhelming, try to think of insurance as your friend and not your enemy. Understand the Types of Insurance Along with the array of providers, there’s a variety of insurance policies as well. Errors and Omissions (E&O) protects against the full cost of a claim for consulting services such as home inspectors, lawyers, and financial advisors. Health, disability, and life Workers compensation helps in case an injury causes an employee to miss time on the job. Business interruption will protect you in case something like a natural disaster keeps you from conducting business. These are just a few of the policies you can choose from when signing up for insurance. Determine What You’ll Need You more than likely won’t need every type of coverage. (You don’t necessarily have to carry workers compensation if you don’t have any employees.) You can always add a policy when you need it, so you won’t be paying more than you need till the coverage potentially applies to you. If you’re ever unsure about what a policy includes, don’t hesitate to ask your agent or Bill Erickson ( firstname.lastname@example.org ) at the home office to see if you might benefit from it. Compare All Factors Don’t focus solely on the policies that each company has to offer. Look at the prices of each to see who has better rates for the same coverage. How long have they been in business? Do they appear professional? What does their claims process look like? You should also pay attention to how responsive they are and how they treat you as a customer. See What Others Have to Say Before you finally sign off on an insurance provider, find out what other customers have said about them. You can gain a lot of insight into a business based off of their reviews. A company’s track record is a good indicator of how they’ll work with you. Google and the Better Business Bureau are two of the best places to look for reviews. You can also ask the company for a few clients to call for testimonials, or quiz your fellow inspectors who may have experience with the provider. Local vs. National Companies Should you go with a local company or a national brand? The honest answer to this is: whichever is best for you! A local company may not have the same depth as a national one, but there can be other positives. You may have the opportunity to get acquainted with the agents as you do business and enjoy the benefit of standing out as a person rather than a policy. Plus, if you need to meet in person, it can be nice to have an office nearby. Meanwhile, a national company will have a larger team that can cut down your wait time. They could also offer different policy bundles at a slightly better rate than a local branch. In the end, after you've weighed all the other factors, you should go with the company that you feel most confident in. Have more questions about insuring your franchise? Contact Bill Erickson at Bill.Erickson@npiweb.com . About the Author Bill Erickson, Executive Vice President With more than 30 years of experience in marketing and sales management, Bill has created many of the NPI diversified marketing programs. On a daily basis, Bill handles customer relations and provides marketing training and support to franchisees. Outside of NPI, Bill and his wife, Julie, enjoy entertaining friends and family at their 1890’s Victorian Queen Anne home where there always seems to be another renovation project underway.