Are all insurance agents the same?

Your business insurance is sometimes handled by your local insurance agent who does your personal auto or home insurance.  Usually because you already do business with that person and you feel comfortable with that person.  This is usually not a challenge until you have a claim and find out that part or all of the loss is not covered.

Unfortunately many business owners do not understand that they probably need an insurance broker that specializes in that field to understand all the exposures that the business owner might face.  The difference from an agent and a broker is that an agent represents the company; a broker represents the business owner.

What an insurance specialist brings to the table, if they are a broker, is someone that knows your exposures, knows the insurance companies that are players in your industry that can provide you with these three important things:

  1. The best coverages
  2. The least amount of exclusions
  3. The best price

What you are looking for is a broker that can provide A B and C that specializes in your field of business.

How do I know that the agent/broker is a specialist?  You will want to use these five important qualifying questions:

  1. Look on the internet, Google “insurance for (Your type of business) and see who pops up.  Not just the highlighted pay per click ones.
  2. Contact the agent/broker and ask how many other businesses like yours do they currently insure?  Look for a minimum of 10-20 businesses.
  3. Ask how long they have been insuring this type of business.  Look for a minimum of 3-5 years.
  4. Ask for some names of current customers.  Get at least 2-5 and call the customers for their opinion of this agent/broker.  They will tell you the truth!
  5. Ask if they are licensed to write insurance in your state.  Ask for proof or check on your state Department of Insurance website.  If their name does not show up, do not use them and move on.  You will want to see a Property/Casualty and Life/Health license that is active.

Larry Cossio is a licensed agent/broker in all 50 states for 30 years.  He specializes in business insurance for several specialty niche markets.  He travels all over the USA as a speaker on insurance issues for several industries.  Larry Cossio is the owner of Cossio Insurance Agency aka The CIA with his wife Marcela Cossio.

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