1. Price – “Will my insurance cost more if I use an insurance broker?”
If you are buying insurance purely on price, the internet is the place for you. Before you purchase an online policy, it’s worth taking the time to understand the difference between using a broker and buying insurance directly.
Many people now turn to the internet to buy insurance, be it for their car, home, holiday, or pet. Increasingly, companies are also buying their business insurance online. This process is generally quick and stress-free but the onus is then on the buyer to understand what they are buying and if it will provide them with suitable cover.
If you purchase a policy directly from an insurer online, be mindful that their sales team may be working on a non-advised basis. This means that they can only give you information about the policies they sell; they cannot offer you any personalised advice tailored to your specific needs. As such, you will need to understand precisely what kind of insurance you need, provide the right information to the insurer, select the right level of cover, and understand if the cover they are quoting for will operate as you would expect if you were to make a claim. Effectively, by buying direct from an insurer it is down to you to read and understand the insurance policy (or policies if you need a range of covers) that you might be purchasing.
If you are in any doubt as to what cover you need or whether your business requires more specialised cover, then you probably need professional advice. To receive this, you need to talk to an insurance broker (first by ensuring that they are able to give advice, as not all do).
Insurance brokers add value, by taking the time to understand the risk and match it to the most appropriate cover with suitable features that meet your own individual insurance needs. It is our responsibility to do the hard yards for our clients, so they can concentrate on running their business rather than worrying about insurance.
In the current economic climate, with pressure high on expenses, it might be tempting to try to save money on your insurance. However, the cover you purchase in haste may transpire to be not suitable for your business, or you may need to buy more insurance. In this way, a broker who understands the risk of underinsurance and can identify the risks you’re exposed to works as an extension of your team, to help protect your business.
Contrary to popular belief, using a broker is not necessarily more expensive than going direct to an insurer or using an online service. This is because the variety of products and insurers available to brokers often differs from those from the pool of insurers you may find online. The majority of insurers in the UK will not deal directly with businesses and can only be accessed via a broker. Thus, using a broker will vastly broaden your options in terms of the types and levels of cover you can acquire for your business.
Ultimately, brokers aim to protect your business by transferring the risk from you to an insurer, so you can focus on the day-to-day running of your business. A good insurance broker will always explain the costs and any administration fees upfront, so you can see clearly what you are paying for with no hidden surprises.
Furthermore, it is always worthwhile checking that your broker has been approved by BIBA (British Insurance Brokers Association) – this information should be available on the broker’s website. This independent organisation represents the interests of insurance brokers and their clients. When a broker is BIBA approved, you can trust that you are in safe hands. BIBA offers a ‘Find a Broker’ service via telephone and online, by which they match customers with brokers suitable for their needs.
2. Time – “I don’t have time to find and meet with an insurance broker”
We all live busy lives and making time to meet with an insurance broker may not seem worth your while. However, it is always time well spent – we work with clients to ensure that we obtain enough detailed information about your business to find the right insurance for you, saving you the hassle of looking through different policies yourself.
If you want to protect your business and ensure that you are in business for years to come, you need to dedicate a certain amount of time in your calendar to assessing your insurance, at least twice per year but ideally quarterly.
If you are a new customer, you will be asked a series of questions about your business including the basics (address, locations, company registration number, years in business, staff numbers, etc.), in addition to information on your business processes (customers, suppliers, overseas work, turnover, wage roll) as well as security procedures, fire precautions, health and safety, membership of trade associations, etc. Subsequently, we request information about your assets, buildings, contents, tools and equipment, plant, details of large contracts, etc, enabling us to generate a broader picture of your business and its insurance needs.
It may be wise to prepare this information in advance, or we can provide you with a blank form that can be completed at your convenience.
This risk profile allows us to speak to insurers and recommend the insurance products best suited to your needs. Once we have collated these options, we will present them to you in a comprehensive report setting out what is and isn’t included in each policy, as well as the price and any conditions that you must meet to receive the cover. A broker can also help take you through the claims process if you need to make a claim.
3. Cover – “I just need a basic insurance policy; I don’t want all the extras”
We are all facing pressures on costs, and it might be tempting to shave off insurance classes or reduce the amount of cover you receive. However, this seemingly quick fix could be a false economy if the worst happens, and you need to make a claim.
The cheapest deals may not provide enough cover for your needs. The lowest premium and an affordable excess might be cheap up front, but you might not be covered for something you need and end up paying for it yourself – which can be fiercely expensive.
Insurance brokers have the expertise to assess your needs, identify a range of solutions, explain what is covered or excluded in different policies. Their experience enables them to answer any questions you may have about your insurance.
Brokers are also highly efficient at cross-checking policies, and can confidently inform customers about what types of cover are available and answering any questions you may have in this regard.
If you want to manage cost and time and have peace of mind that you have comprehensive insurance cover, then using an insurance broker is a wise choice.
Find your local Broker via: – https://www.biba.org.uk/find-insurance
British Insurance Brokers Association (BIBA) – https://www.biba.org.uk/
Rowlands & Hames – The Benefits of Dealing with a BIBA Broker – https://rowlands-hames.co.uk/about-us/the-benefits-of-dealing-with-a-biba-broker
Professional Indemnity – The Role of an Insurance Broker- https://www.professionalindemnity.co.uk/site/guides/why-you-need-an-insurance-broker