Six key questions to ask your business insurance broker

Industry research shows that a large proportion of Australian businesses of all sizes, including SMEs, use an insurance broker to help ascertain they have the right insurance cover. At its heart insurance broking is a relationship business, and brokers are in a strong position to build deep relationships that add value to their clients’ business.

To get optimal value out of your broker it’s a good idea to prepare some questions about your business cover, terms and premium options.

Insurance brokers are obliged by law to disclose excess costs, key policy exclusions and the commissions they themselves may be earning. Here are some sample questions to help you start a productive discussion with your broker and get the best available coverage for your business.

What covers are compulsory and are there any regulations to comply with for my industry?

If you use workers on a full-time, part-time, casual or voluntary basis you are required to have workers’ compensation cover for them. In some states and territories you’re restricted to approved insurance providers and in others you’re free to choose your insurer.

If you use one or more vehicles for business you may need to think about third party injury liability. Depending on your business activity you may also be subject to mandatory insurance requirements, usually third party public liability. Your insurance broker can advise on the types of insurance cover you need for your business type and sector.

Have the terms of the policy changed? Are there any changes or exclusions that I should be aware of?

Be aware that policy wordings are subject to alteration, often in response to market conditions, so don’t make the mistake of assuming that simply renewing a business policy gets you the same cover as previously. Ask your broker what might have changed and how you can ensure you have the protections you require.

Can I customise my business insurance so that I don’t have to pay for cover that I don’t need – and can I add bolt-on cover for specific protections that I want?

Gallagher brokers pride themselves on their ability to access cover from both local and overseas insurers, and to tailor business insurance to our clients’ needs, enabling them to obtain the protection they need without having to pay for what they don’t need.

Is there any advantage to bundling my business insurance into one policy?

The advantage of bundling your business insurance cover is that you only need deal with one renewal date so there’s less chance of failing to include a critical policy, and it provides an overview of the cover you currently hold.

Your broker may offer a bundled package that can be customised by adding necessary extras and deducting any cover that you don’t need.

Is there any way I can reduce my payable premium(s)?

There are actually a number of ways you can reduce your premium.

If your budget and resources allow you can carry some of the risk yourself – but bear in mind that in the event of a claim this also reduces the percentage of the loss paid by your insurer.

A good alternative is looking at proactive risk management to mitigate your exposures by putting measures in place that may be well regarded by an insurer’s underwriters. These could range from ramping up security to increasing on-the-job safety training.

Your broker can provide guidance and arrange for an independent risk report to pin down what your exposures are and how you can manage them.

Some brokers can offer flexible premium payment terms on some policies, so you can spread your payments and retain higher working capital.

How do I know that the insurer will pay up if I need to claim?

Firstly, you need to have the correct cover for your business’s exposures, with no gaps or exclusions. Asking your broker to check your business insurance cover with this in mind should ensure you are properly protected.

That said, a hypothetical claim isn’t the same as real life which can involve unforeseen factors to be interpreted in the terms of your cover. At Gallagher our dedicated claims team stands by our clients and actively advocates for the desired payout by:

  • fully exploring the legal basis of the terms of the cover
  • closely examining the facts of your claims case as they relate to the relevant insurance policy
  • representing your case to the insurer involved.

The value of broker involvement in obtaining insurance cover

Involving an insurance broker who understands your industry sector and the risks that are particular to your business can help you to proactively respond to insurer risk management concerns and also potentially provide access to more comprehensive cover on more competitive terms. We’re here to help. Talk to one of our insurance experts.

Gallagher provides insurance, risk management and benefits consulting services. This content is for general information purposes only and the material is not intended to be, nor should it be interpreted as, legal or client-specific risk management advice. Insurance brokerage and related services to be provided by Arthur J. Gallagher & Co (Aus) Limited (ABN 34 005 543 920). Australian Financial Services License (AFSL) No. 238312