The amount of confusion perpetuated in the DBA insurance-buying community is very high as a result of recent changes to the programs related to the US Department of State and the US Army Corps of Engineers. Where do you find coverage now that the federally mandated programs have gone by the wayside? What do you do if the rates have gone up (very likely) or coverage cannot be found (dependent on losses and overall risk)? First, take a step back and look at your options.
- Keep the same program and the same broker – Maybe your insurance broker is familiar with all the options on the marketplace is well informed of the alternatives should one be necessary in securing coverage from another market. (A) And (R) are no longer the only brokers able to place coverage as the market has opened up. Question is however, how strong is the relationship with the other carriers?
- Request insight from another insurance broker – This may work, but how much will they be familiar with your needs. This is especially true in Iraq or Afghanistan. DBA insurance is not the same as workers’ compensation when it comes to placement and the likely ancillary insurance coverage oftentimes needed to round out a program. If the insurance professional writes car washes and grocery stores, stop and consider the overall understanding he/she may have on the needed insurance.
- Head to a major brokerage/insurance firm – Not a bad idea, but now what about actually qualifying for their services? Yes, you may have to qualify for them to serve you. What does this mean? In relative terms, revenue or likely commission generated from your program. A lot of large brokers will have a minimum threshold when working with companies. In some cases, if your premium is not above $500,000 or $50,000 in likely commission, the broker may not show interest.
- Find an insurance professional through the carrier websites – Here you will find a likely solution as you are going through the channel that house the underwriters, whom associate themselves with the brokers most versed in their product lines. A word of caution, however. It may take a while for the “system” to place your request to the right person. If time is of the essence, being your search early and stay with it.
When you find a broker that understands DBA and FVWC (foreign voluntary workers’ compensation), then what? Well, ask a lot of questions. Start with their understanding of the coverage, your region of operation, the services associated with placement, and the likely needed information necessary to get the ball rolling as related to renewal. If and when you find the ideal insurance broker/professional, be candid with information. Open up your loss history, payroll numbers, and overall exposure. Only you will know it best. The more you share, the better the experience will be.
If you are experiencing difficulty in placing a DBA program, be sure to consider Brian S. Smith, CIC, ARM of www.theriskrecon.com and www.snellingswalters.com More than likely, you will find the expertise needed and the satisfaction of service desired.