Tag Archives: insurance agents

Owning A Business – Part Eight

If you’ve been reading the first seven installments in this series, you probably realize owning a business is more complicated than most people believe. Yes, you can just hang a sign and get started, but becoming as successful as  you dream you can be takes more than that.

One bit of advice we offer clients is to build key relationships. Yes, you need capable, qualified people around you within your organizational structure. They are the backbone of your corporate culture. You also need professional people as counselors outside of your company.

Your banker or financial institution comprises one piece of that advisory board. That person needs to know what’s going on within the business so they can be supportive during lean times and offer suggestions to enhance your margins. For that to happen, you need to communicate with them on a consistent basis.

Same goes for your Certified Public Accountant (CPA). This individual may not need to meet with you on a monthly basis, but he or she is available to provide guidance on cash flow and other aspects of your financial statements.

A third piece of your advisory panel is your legal counsel. Attorneys are there to minimize your risk and protect your assets. Have yours review legal documents such as contracts, non-disclosure agreements, and yes, even your advertising to prevent any legal liability. It’s better to pay legal fees up front than to lose your company over a technicality.

Your insurance agents are part of your team as well. Meet with them whenever something changes in your business, such as acquisition of a new piece of equipment. Make sure you have adequate coverage for eventualities, and trust that person to scale back on premiums when they can (as President Reagan often said; Trust But Verify!).

We would be remiss to not include your marketing and business consultant. Engaging the right people saves you money, and helps you make money in the process. Ask for recommendations and interview the candidates for your comfort level instead of taking the first one you meet.

Brand Your Work – Work Your Brand

Team Resource – Your Insurance Agent

What in the world does an insurance agent have to do with managing your business and being part of your non-staff management team?  Your agent is worth far more than you may want to believe.

Let’s start off by covering your most vital employee – besides yourself.  Think for a minute who that person might be.  Let’s assume it’s your sales manager and that she has been driving your bottom line for five years already.  Do you have “Key Man” insurance to cover your company if something should happen to her?  Your insurance agent can help you put together coverage to protect you and to encourage her to stay on board for the benefit that policy can offer.Insurance Umbrella

In another scenario, let’s talk about you and your relationship to your business and your employees when you are the office manager, sales person, production manager, human resource director, marketing vice president, and president of the company.  Oh, and you travel a lot to trade shows or client meetings.  Are you covered adequately if you’re involved in an accident and are unable to work for a month or two?  There are important considerations, such as who will run the operation while you’re incapacitated, but more essential is where are the funds going to come from to keep the operation afloat while you’re out of commission?

Talk to your insurance agent about these concerns.  At least once a year you should meet with your agent and do an insurance review.  Ask if you have enough liability coverage for customers or employees getting hurt in your place of business.  Talk to her about the changes in national health care laws and what your position should be on providing coverage for your employees.  Do you have enough, and the right type of, life insurance on your life to take care of your family and the business?

Like your team’s legal counsel, your insurance agent is there to help you minimize the risks that can put you out of business.  Yes, there are costs incurred with insurance policies, but consider the cost should a catastrophe occur and wipe out your place of business with inadequate insurance coverage to get you right back in operation.

Talk to your insurance agent about any concern you may have.  Do you need product liability coverage?  Does your facility lie within a flood plain?  Are you planning a remodeling project, and do you need coverage for the contractor’s faults?  Is your worker’s compensation coverage adequate?  What about potential damage to your intellectual property rights?  Some of these may be a stretch, but the point is that your insurance agent is a valuable member of your team and can give you answers to these and other insurance-related questions.

You should get to know your agent so you can call him whenever you have a question.  You know you have the right agent when you do call, he asks more questions than you thought needed to be asked, and then either tells you you’re covered or you probably don’t need that kind of coverage.  That tells you there’s a trustworthy relationship between the two of you, and that’s good.