How to present your risk to Insurers
Published: Saturday, 16 July 2022
(and not regret it!)
Like interviewers, underwriters have limited time to assess your business
The renewal of your PI insurance may not be the most anticipated date in your business calendar but there is no need to panic! It does not have to be a daunting experience, provided you approach it in the right way.
Can you shortcut the process with a simple declaration?
If you completed a full proposal form last year, your circumstances are largely unchanged and you are happy with your current insurers, it is worth asking your broker if a simpler renewal approach can be offered instead. Some insurers insist on a full application at every renewal, but there is no harm in asking. If you can use a simplified renewal approach, make sure you update Insurers with all information material to your risk and ask for guidance on any points of uncertainty.
First impressions count
When completing an application form, the secret lies in presenting the information in the right format. It is almost like applying for a new job – you wouldn’t send a scruffy, half-finished CV and covering letter and expect to be offered an interview!
The same applies to your insurance application. Your completed proposal form reflects the risk approach you take when running your business as well as the risk profile you represent to an insurer.
A few simple tricks to remember:
- If you prefer to handwrite your forms, make sure that it is neat and legible. There may be an odd underwriter who is also an expert in reading Egyptian hieroglyphs, but they are certainly few and far between.
- Make sure the figures stack up. This is particularly important if you are an accountant!
- If a question doesn’t apply to your circumstances, rather than leaving the box blank, pluck up the courage and make reference to it, e.g. by saying ‘Not Applicable’ and explain why. Underwriters don’t like gaps that add uncertainty.
Anticipate and provide all the information that the underwriter will need
Turn the tables and imagine for a moment you are an underwriter considering your business for insurance:
- What should you know about your risk that makes it particularly attractive? Make sure to mention it.
- If there is anything that could cause a slight concern, what can you say to give the underwriter some comfort? They might have asked additional questions previously regarding a certain type of work you undertake. If so, it is worth referring to these questions again. By doing so, you have just earned yourself a credit for a great risk management regime!
- If you have recently notified a claim – explain what measures you have undertaken to avoid such claim happening again.
- Have a quick look at the information provided last year. Is there anything that is radically different this year? If so, make reference to any changes that have taken place.
- Rather than answering a question “As previously advised”, point them in the right direction and add a brief commentary in the proceeding sentence. Otherwise, you will be waiting a long time for your quotation before they have a chance to go through all their records!
Use the Additional Details section
Perhaps the most important advice is to always make use of the Additional Details section of the form. Alternatively, feel free to draft a separate page called ‘Addendum’. Not only will it sound impressive, but it can serve as a checklist and be used again for all subsequent renewals!
Complex and higher risk businesses
If you are a higher risk client due to your size or work profile, you may find it beneficial to meet with insurers either in person, or by video.
Finally, remember that all Underwriters are humans. They want your renewal to be as simple and hassle free as much as you do. Make it easy for them by providing all the information upfront in a logical and legible manner. It may just move the odds in your favour!
Account Executive, Ntegrity