ArborTimes Winter 2023

“The general consensus for best time to conduct an insurance audit is 90 to 120 days prior to a policy’s expiration date.”

may be on the hook for that,” says Mike Rook, TreePro program director at NIP Group. Paying for coverage on a physi- cal or human asset no longer tied to the business is unnecessary, while getting coverage for new assets is extremely important to address as soon as possi- ble—same day, even. EXTRA COVERAGES TO CONSIDER Most business owners purchase poli- cies for general liability, auto, equip- ment, property, umbrella and workers’ compensation. With a business focused on hands-on work in the outdoors, cy- ber crimes and cyber liability might not come to mind as a possible cover- age type. “This is a non-standard cover- age, although it’s a growing concern. A good broker or agent will ask probing questions about cyber risk so that we can go to the market with a strategy in place regarding their exposures rather than being subject to market whims. This applies to all risk, not just cyber risk,” says Shipp. With more compa- nies saving data to the cloud, cyber crime could seriously compromise a business, making a cyber liability pol- icy a business saver. The of physical property, such as a yard break-in and the of equipment could be covered by the commercial property policy. But what about finan- cial the by an employee? That’s where crime insurance comes in. “Some of the biggest claims we’ve seen involve a trusted bookkeeper subtly embez- zling money over time so that it was less noticeable,” says Shipp. “Crime insurance is one I see that a lot of tree care companies ignore. Ultimately, the coverage isn’t much to have peace of mind.” While it can be uncomfortable to consider the possibility of dishonest employees, the fact of the matter is it

support is something that is wanted but lacking, it may be time to shop around. Certainly, the business’ bottom line is front-of-mind for any owner. However, it’s important to strike a balance be- tween price and coverage, and working with the right partner is the key to find- ing that balance. AUDIT TIMING The general consensus for best time to conduct an insurance audit is 90 to 120 days prior to a policy’s expiration date. Although, those companies in regions where winter results a quieter work season may be able to maximize this time to do an audit, and with any luck it will line up with when their policies are about due for renewal. Those companies that don’t have a quiet winter season but want to avoid doing renewals at the height of busy season may be able to re- quest a short-term policy to help transi- tion their annual policy renewal timing to something more favorable. Looking at insurance coverages 120 days in advance may seem early given there are only 365 days in a year, but it’s about two-thirds of the way through the year and is the optimal time to start thinking about any big changes for the upcoming year. Things to consider throughout the year include the hiring or letting go of em- ployees and the purchase or sale of equipment and property. “Whenever you purchase a piece of equipment or a vehicle, you should call your agent right away. If you wait a week or sim- ply forget, many insurance companies won’t backdate to add the coverage. If there was an incident that involved the equipment between the purchase date and informing your agent, you

date to discuss coverages and rates. “In my opinion as an underwriter, there should be some hand holding on the part of the insurance agent for this pro- cess,” suggests Blackman. “I always tell clients to think of their agent like their attorney and accountant. You pay them for their expertise because they have a deeper understanding of insurance than you do. That’s why your insurance agent gets paid a commission on the policies they write. They should be your ally, and they should have a conversation with you on an annual basis.” It’s a good business practice to shop for rates, but it’s just as important to consider the individual(s) overseeing the policies. If

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