This post originally appeared on startupnation.com/start-your-business
To start or run a small business, an entrepreneur has an incredible number of tasks to check off, the biggest being getting paid customers through the door or clients to sign on. With such an intense focus on creating a product that consumers need and marketing to create awareness that such a product exists, business owners often overlook insurance until they draw near their launch date (and then sometimes even after — you would be surprised how many businesses forget about insurance entirely). In my most recent article, I focused on the basic structure of a business owner’s policy (BOP) and why every entrepreneur should have a BOP in place. Doing so protects a business’ property in case of damage and secures the future in case a business is found liable for injury to a customer or client. You now know you need insurance, but do you know where to find it? Google is a gateway to insurance companies and brokers, but not every insurance broker is created equal. So, how do you choose an agent?
There is no one way.
I have worked with clients in which Kapnick Insurance was the first firm they called, and we proved competent enough (hopefully much more so, but I’ll get to that!) to represent them. I have also signed clients who trust me because of our friendship, familial connection, networking or because we have worked well together in previous careers. I have landed clients who told me I was one of three brokers they contacted to compete against each other for the best premium for the coverage they needed. I have been on the receiving end of referrals, both from previous clients and from other agents.
No matter how a client finds me, my goal is the same: whether I know you or not, I will invest time, energy and resources to get to know you and your business, so I can best serve to guarantee the long-term success of your operation.
I cannot do it any other way. I prefer not to think of us as insurance broker and client but as partners, working together to safeguard your hard work, commitment and financial investment.
“The biggest challenge for a small business, especially a new enterprise, is to have a vision for a year, two years, five years down the road,” Steve Peck, president of employee benefits at Kapnick Insurance, said. “If you can look at the big picture, ask yourself, ‘Who is the insurance agent that will best collaborate and strategize with you to help you reach your potential?’ You want someone (who) is looking at the chessboard one step ahead to anticipate where you’re headed and what you will need to guarantee your future.”
With that in mind, here is the advice I would offer as you search for the right insurance broker:
- Treat it like a job interview. The agent should ask a plethora of questions about your operation, your staff and your financials, probing to determine where risk exists while making sure you are a good fit for them. Turn the tables, and ask about their history, how they manage the clients they work with and how they mitigate risks and work with their team. More importantly, ask them if they love what they do and why they love it.
- Look for honesty in the process. Obviously, every company has budget constraints, but if an agent’s motivation is to get you a “cheap” quote, it might come at the expense of your coverage. Insurance agents must tell you what you need to hear, not what you want to hear. The agent who sacrifices your company’s future just because he or she wants to “win” your business is selfishly looking out for his or her best interests.
- Understand who they work for. A strong, healthy company provides the incentives, environment and camaraderie to keep their insurance brokers in place for years (even decades).
Kapnick is that kind of company, one that treasures every relationship it has created dating back 75 years to its inception. It is a family-owned and family-run independent firm that believes in the strength of its team and keeping its best people around to serve clients we never take for granted.
There are multitude of factors I appreciate about working for Kapnick, but the No. 1 reason I intend to stay for the next 25 years of my career is this: every day, this company makes me feel valued and respected, and that is the way we treat all our clients.
In looking for an insurance broker to represent you, it is ultimately this simple: Can they protect your future, and do you feel valued?
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