Common sense dictates that every company, no matter how small, should carry various forms of business insurance. But that doesn’t mean you should pay unnecessarily high premiums just to retain the coverage you need. Here are five ways to better control your insurance costs without sacrificing the quality of your policies.
1. Review coverage periodically. Make sure existing policies reflect your current circumstances. For example, if you’ve sold or sunset some equipment, remove it from your schedule of current assets. If you’ve reduced the number of workers on your payroll, adjust workers’ compensation estimates accordingly. (We’ll address this further below.) On the other hand, if you’ve added equipment, vehicles, or staff, see that they’re appropriately covered.
2. Shop around. Spend some time and effort to compare coverage and costs of various insurers. Investigate whether you qualify for any discounts that you’re not getting. To facilitate the process, you might want to engage an insurance specialist in your industry. The right expert can help you weigh the total, true costs of various policies and advise you without a vested interest in selling you a particular product.
3. Actively manage workers’ compensation coverage. In some industries, such as construction and manufacturing, workers’ comp is a major focus. In others, business owners might pay little attention to it if accidents rarely occur. Be sure that you keep up with the costs of this coverage and make regular adjustments as the nature of work changes. Workers’ compensation insurers assign risk classification codes to employees based on their duties, responsibilities, and level of exposure to the risk of injury or illness. Higher risk means higher premiums so, at least annually, check that you’re classifying employees accurately. For example, if an employee who now works from home is still classified as someone who travels regularly or works in a higher-risk location, your premiums may be needlessly inflated.
4. Consider higher deductibles. If you’re comfortable assuming some additional risk, and your cash flow is strong enough, calculate whether you can save on premiums by raising the deductibles on certain policies. It could be worth paying a higher deductible so long as the premium savings is enough to cover a claim or two if they do occur.
5. Prioritize safety. Keeping employees safe is a worthy goal in and of itself, of course. But emphasizing the importance of safety to managers, supervisors, employees and any independent contractors you might have on-site can also positively affect your company’s insurance costs. After all, the premiums you pay are based in part on your claims history. There are various steps that every business should take to avoid injuries and illness: Provide safety training to new hires, Conduct drills and refresher training for current employees, Issue personal protective equipment, as appropriate, and Strictly enforce safe work practices with no exceptions. By keeping your employees safe, and promoting wellness in every respect, you’ll not only decrease the likelihood of costly insurance claims, but you’ll also likely contribute to higher morale and more robust productivity.
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