One of the biggest data breaches of all time involved that of Sony Corp. The hackers stole confidential information from tens of millions of Sony PlayStation Ne (Cyber Insurance vs.
Brian S. Smith, CIC, ARM‘s insight:
Insurers all across the nation are wanting to put language in their policies that exclude coverage of losses stemming from data breaches, which include loss of credit card information. However, courts have the final say-so in just how far these exclusions can go.
For the price sensitive client, now is the time to seek out services that actually differentiate between a good and a great commercial insurance broker. With the insurance industry seeing a continued soft market, buyers have an excellent opportunity to consider services as well as price.
However many agents and brokers have few, if any, ancillary services that can really set them apart from their peers. Reasons for this lack of service may be placed in two camps.
First, many buyers have not requested assistance with loss programs, risk control, or claims management to the level they may need as the market continues to offer competitive pricing to risks with even poor loss records.
Second, agents and brokers have kept expenses to a minimum with smaller staffs and fewer service offerings. As premiums have decreased in the soft market, so too have offered services.
What does this mean to you, the commercial insurance buyer? Well, a lot when the market hardens and price increases as does underwriting scrutiny.
Economic cycles are like the hurricanes. It’s not a matter of if, but when. The same holds true with soft and hard insurance markets. I am not predicting the next hard market, but I am saying that those commercial insurance buyers that put little thought into the level of risk or loss records over the past several years, may find it difficult to or even impossible to offset the premium costs when the market turns. Companies can begin the service cycle on hazard identification and loss reduction by using the offered services now, while the cost to do so is low. Ask your broker or agent about the services related to risk control, claims management, appraisals, actuarial analysis, and risk audit to adjust current direction in anticipation of changing market and economic conditions. Services that your broker or agent should be able to provide include, but may not be limited to:
⁃ Risk Control surveys
⁃ Loss analysis
⁃ Open claims reviews
⁃ Actuarial analysis
⁃ Risk profile
⁃ Property assessments
⁃ Industrial Hygiene surveys
⁃ Fleet program audit and review
⁃ Safety program audit and reviews
⁃ DOT survey
⁃ Environmental assessments
⁃ OSHA audits and assistance
⁃ Ergonomic reviews
Getting the lowest price doesn’t always translate into the highest insurance program quality. Same with services. You get what you pay for, or in this case, you get what you ask for…Now, go and ask. You’ll be surprised on what a difference it makes to your program and the underwriting quality of your respective risk.
Many companies may be operating or considering the notion of operating in a foreign country. With this statement comes one major question…
What insurance policies should your company consider with these “Foreign Exposures”?
Domestic commercial insurance policies have defined territorial parameters of coverage. Ensuring your current program will extend into your areas or anticipated areas of operation is critical to asset and liability protection. For the purpose of this blog, I will discuss (4) four of the areas that may be considered when moving your operations or employees into a territory that may not be covered under your current insurance policy.
• Foreign Voluntary Workers’ Compensation – If employees are to be located in an foreign country for an extended period of time, verify with your insurance carrier the parameters of coverage under existing workers’ compensation policies. If needed, a foreign voluntary workers’ compensation program may be in order. This type of insurance picks up the gap presented with an extended stay to a foreign country not covered under standard domestic policies. Allowing for the injured or ill worker to receive benefits as originally designated by their state of residency by having in place a Foreign Voluntary Workers’ Compensation program.
• Defense Base Act Insurance – Companies providing services to the US Government may be required to provide Defense Base Act insurance to their workers. DBA is a mandated coverage intended to provide US workers and third country nationals with insurance while working on a military installation outside the United States, or on behalf of the US Government under contract.
• World Wide Medical insurance – Employees located in third world countries or on remote foreign assignment, may have limited access to proper medical care. World wide medical insurance will enable the worker to secure medical attention as well as evacuation to a facility that can best treat the injury or illness. Costs associated with medical care are covered by this program to a specified limit. Access to organized transportation from one region to another is also provided.
• Kidnap, ransom, and extortion – Corporate employees traveling to foreign countries may experience the threat of Kidnap. Critical to the release and safe return of the worker(s) are professional negotiation services as well as ransom or extortion monies being made available. Having in place a plan of negotiation and payment may be part of the corporate safety program and should be conducted only by professionals. This coverage offers companies the flexibility and access to professional services and high limits to funds on a worldwide basis.
One of the most common requests an insurance broker receives is to provide and “apples-to-apples” review and quote of a commercial insurance program. Problem is, many insurance brokers or agents do and fail miserably in the end because there is no such thing. For years, many commercial insurance buyers have viewed program selection as a bid and commodity purchase that warrants little attention as long as the price is “good”. For many buyers this worked, at least until a claim occurred. Then it rests with a lot of individuals from legal to finance that are tasked with figuring out what is covered, up to what level or limit, and when will the loss be paid, if at all. Thus the “apples-to-apples” scenario falls flat with regard to effectiveness.
No two businesses are alike, and no two insurance policies are or should, for that matter, be alike. Each organization has its own type of inherent risk associated with its operations; so too should it have its own customized insurance policies. When a comparison is requested, it should be based on corporate goals, operational shifts, changing economies, growth plans, and contingent risks; not just price. Here are a few areas a commercial insurance client should consider in addition to price:
⁃ In addition to insurance premium, our corporate additional spend for the total cost of risk is…? Do you know that additional cost?
⁃ When were my properties last appraised?
⁃ Are the values appropriate?
⁃ How is the retention structured?
⁃ Can my retention be increased or decreased?
⁃ Have my exposures changed and if so, is my agent or broker aware of them?
⁃ What does my claim history represent?
⁃ Is the claim trend higher or lower over the past three years and why?
⁃ What services may be necessary to reduce my claims and or cost of claims?
⁃ How are the claims being managed?
⁃ Is the claims management effective?
⁃ Has the experience modification factor been reviewed for accuracy?
⁃ What regulatory shifts have occurred since the last renewal?
⁃ Will those regulatory shifts have an impact on my program?
⁃ Can my collateral be reduced on my self insured program?
⁃ How long has my program been in place and what do I know about the limits, conditions, and coverages of the program?
⁃ Does our program have exclusions or conditions that would jeopardize business operations if a claim were to occur and not be covered?
⁃ How familiar is our staff with claims reporting?
⁃ Is our safety and loss control program up to date and free of potential OSHA violations?
And last but, not least, can my agent or broker provide our organization with the needed expertise and resources necessary to assist and service these and other areas of risk that have yet to be mentioned? With so many aspects related to the overall protection of a companies assets on the line, it only makes sense to move past the price element and look squarely into the eyes of your organizational exposures, employing the methods necessary in reducing the overall risk.