How to choose an insurance provider

Added November 23, 2020
Two men looking at plants inside a greenhouse

One of the most important things you need for your business is insurance. After all, you can save money, stress, and time by having an insurance company on your side to help protect you, your business, and your employees when something goes wrong.

But you know that already. The bigger question is, how do you select the right insurance company for your business? There are numerous options out there, from local agencies to global conglomerates. Even if you’re already insured, it never hurts to shop around when it comes to renewal time.

You should be prepared before beginning the search process.

No one knows your business better than you. You know what your budget is, what your risks are, and what coverages you need to succeed now and in the future. So, when you begin the process of choosing an insurance provider, you can start weeding out companies that are too expensive or don’t offer the coverages you need—or want.

Plan around your budget

Obviously, when looking for an insurance provider for your horticultural business or floral operation, cost is a primary factor. So, let’s talk about that before diving deeper into what you need from an insurance provider.

Controlling your costs is a key factor in keeping your business profitable. By shopping around, you might be able to get a better rate on your insurance premium.

However, keep in mind the old adage: You get what you pay for. The cheapest alternative isn’t always the best.

For instance, you can get less expensive horticultural business insurance simply by purchasing the minimum coverages available. But what if severe weather damages your buildings or causes injuries to your employees? Without sufficient coverage, those costs could put you out of business.

What determines quality business insurance coverage comes down to what’s covered and what isn’t, and how that matches with your business and your budget. Carefully read your policy language. Doing so during negotiations and before something bad happens can save you a lot of confusion and headaches down the road.

Coverages: must-haves vs. nice-to-haves

When choosing a business insurance company, there are two parameters you should be thinking about. One is the coverages you need for your business no matter what. Consider these to be the non-negotiables when deciding between insurance companies.

You also want to consider the coverages and services that would be nice to have for your business, depending on cost. Eliminating companies that don’t provide these coverages or services helps whittle down the field. Let’s call these the negotiables.

Non-negotiables

Whenever you buy something, there are dealbreakers. When you buy bread, it can’t be moldy. When you purchase a vehicle for everyday use, it needs to run. When you buy a computer, it needs to support the software you need to use. If any of these products don’t pass your non-negotiable parameters, you don’t buy them.

The same thinking should come into play when choosing an insurance provider for your business. There are coverages, services, and characteristics you must have. Here are a few:

  • Risk management programs: Taking industry specialization a step further, it’s also ideal to have an insurance provider that knows the risks unique to your business’s industry and products (e.g., greenhouse vs. garden center vs. nursery) and can tailor a risk management program for you.
  • Quality claims execution: When something bad happens to you, your business, or your employees, you want to be protected financially and get back to normal business operations. Excellent claims execution can help you save time and money.
  • Financial strength and reliability: This is often found through a company’s AM Best rating. If you have to file a major claim, you want to have the peace of mind that your insurance company has your back and can cover the costs.
  • A strong history: Usually, if a provider has a good AM Best rating, they also have a strong history. You want a company with established knowledge, solid customer satisfaction, and a track record of helping protect businesses.
  • Strong customer service: As a business owner, you want to be able to reach your insurance company for general inquiries, claims support, and service questions in a reasonable amount of time, if not immediately.

Regarding these non-negotiables, John Hodapp, director of Agency Operations at Hortica, says, “Companies that can’t provide those basic services don’t deserve a seat at the table.”

Negotiables

When it comes to business insurance, don’t settle for just the essentials. Your protection matters. Plan ahead and seek out additional services and qualities you’d like to see from your insurance provider. Here are some negotiables to consider:

  • Industry specialization: Regardless, you need an insurance company that understands the unique risks of your business, along with the needs of your business and the horticultural and floral industries. That knowledge can help them produce a custom coverage plan that fits your operation. Insurance companies with industry specialization often provide better coverage options, targeted loss control services, and better claims service. You might consider this to be a non-negotiable for your business.
  • Comfortable customer/provider relationship: Establishing a relationship and being comfortable with your insurance company makes it easier to ask questions, seek solutions, and work together to help protect your business.
  • Additional coverage options and packages: You can’t explore additional coverage options if they aren’t available. Seek a provider with a solid portfolio of options and service packages that may appeal to you from the start or over time as your business evolves.
  • Cost: This was mentioned earlier, but it’s important to remember that price shouldn’t be your deciding factor, if possible. Your business is too valuable to go with a certain insurance company solely because they’re the least expensive option. It might be the correct choice in the end, but price alone shouldn’t be the reason you select a particular business insurance provider.

Additional considerations

In your search for a business insurance company, there are a few other factors to think about.

What deductible amount are you comfortable with? Do you want a high deductible and a lower premium cost, or vice versa? What happens if something major occurs? Weigh the pros and cons of these questions.

Again, no matter what insurance company you choose, carefully read through your policy. Ask questions if you don’t understand something. The answers you receive and the manner in which you receive them will also help you decide which company to trust your business with in the future.

Think through all possible scenarios your business deals with every day and what you could face in the future.

Seeking an insurance provider for your business isn’t an easy process, but your business is worth the time and effort to find a company that will be there to help you when you need it most.

Related links:

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Disclaimer
The general information contained in this article is for informational or entertainment purposes only. The information in this article is provided “as is” and without any warranties of any kind. Florists’ Mutual Insurance Company, its subsidiaries, or affiliates (Companies) does not accept any responsibility related to the content or accuracy of the information contained in this article. The information contained in this article should not be mistaken for professional or legal advice. Any use of this article or any third-party website linked to this article is at the risk of the user. The Companies are not liable to any person or entity for any direct, indirect, or consequential damages arising out of the use or inability to use this article or any third-party website linked to this article. The views and opinions contained in third-party websites referenced in this article are the views and opinions of third-party authors and may not represent the opinions or policies of the Companies.
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