Welcome to 2013!!
From all of us at PJO Insurance Brokerage, we want to wish all of you a “Happy New Year”!! In looking back on what the year 2012 was to you and your company, I hope it was a success, the mistakes were few, and moving forward with hope and anticipation is what you see. In the past year, our agency had a good year, all things considered. We did see an increase in sales, not what we originally anticipated when we set our goals last year, but an increase is much easier than a decrease. The one area where we saw a huge increase in activity was through our website, and we think that segment of our business will only grow. If your business is like most, you are making your financial plans for the next year. Reviewing your company’s figures for the previous twelve months, looking at your sales and expenses, and looking at how to increase one and lower the other. When reviewing your expenses, one area you will want to review is your insurance costs. Your first step will be to review your company’s General Liability Insurance policy. I would suggest you set up an appointment with your insurance agent, review your current coverages, paying close attention to make sure you have the proper coverage at the best possible price and customer service. Over the past few years, with the many catastrophic events for which the insurers have had to pay out, these same carriers are actively looking for what they consider to be solid risks and those that have a clean claims record. These are the clients that carriers would love to have. Also, make sure your agent shopped your account to several carriers, because in certain classes, your type of business may qualify for a specific program or discounts that may lower your insurance costs. Your second step should be to look over all your current property and inland marine policies. Look at the value of the real property, stock, contents, and equipment that was insured last year. Did you acquire more in inventory, office contents, equipment, or have you reduced your holdings? Also, with real estate values on the rise this past year, is your building underinsured? For example, if you had a building value of $200,000 last year, in most places across the USA, real estate prices have risen anywhere from 10 to 30 percent. You don’t want to find yourself underinsured in the case of a serious claim where the entire building was destroyed. Next, take an inventory of your tools and major machinery and equipment. Have the values increased or decreased? Also, did you add any major pieces of equipment? Again, you don’t want to find out that you inadvertently forgot to add a major piece of equipment to your policy upon filing a claim. If you are in the service or construction business, it is a smart idea to take an inventory twice a year and review the values and equipment list with your agent to make sure everything is insured. In many companies, this next area of insurance costs, which can be one of their most expensive, is their auto insurance. This is particularly true if you are a service or delivery company. Review the coverage of the vehicles you currently insure. Is your auto schedule current? Are there any discounts that may be available to you? Also, with auto insurance, consult with your agent and ask him or her if they submitted it to several companies so you can compare coverages and costs. Check the driving records of your drivers. Hopefully, they are all clean. In the event they are not, check with your agent on what a good course of action would be to rectify this problem. Remember to ask about discounts and programs to lower your cost, if you don’t ask and ask every year, you may not be getting all the discounts that are available. One area of expense that has been getting a lot of press lately is Workmen’s Compensation Insurance. With workers’ comp costs rising these past few years, and, according to most underwriters in the industry, rates are expected to increase again in the coming year. You will want to take a hard look at your company’s expenses in this area. You may want to consider sitting down and see where it would make sense to either use a licensed and insured subcontractor or outsourcing certain tasks, especially if you really can’t justify having a full time employee. This is very true of the construction or service industry. Many times subbing out or outsourcing will save your company money in the long run, and please be sure to obtain evidence of insurance from all of your subs to keep your costs down.
With the many varieties of businesses, that is how many layers of coverage there are, so it would be near impossible to discuss them all; so at least once a year, it just makes good business sense to sit down with your agent and go over your coverages in detail. In the coming year, if we, at PJO Insurance Brokerage can be of any service to you, reviewing your current insurance program, or designing one that will fit your particular business, we welcome that opportunity.
In closing, we would like to wish you and your company a Happy New Year with all the success possible for you and your company in the coming year.