Once again I find myself in the middle of insurance renewal for a law firm. Many of us are probably dealing with this around now due to the end of the year. Trying to keep track of which company is responsible for which plans, what options are best for the employees and the firm, which forms to send to who by when, what coverage the firm should have, etc. . . is daunting.

My Suggestions –

§  Consolidate.

Have as few brokers and benefit providers as possible. Not only does it keep your confusion down and recordkeeping easier, it can often save money. Having one provider manage programs like your Health Savings Account, Flexible Spending Account and Commuter Benefits will save time and money. You’ll have one bill for administration, complete one census and have one contact.   If you have one insurance broker for your Professional Liability, Operating, Life, Workers Comp and other specialized plans like Employee Liability and Cyber plans, you will be sure everything blends. There won’t be holes because everyone assumes the other plan covers the loss.

Also, try and get your plans to renew at the same time so you can do one census and compare everything at one time.

§  Document.

Keep good clear records of each conversation, form and census. Having this information from year to year will be a life saver. Updating last year’s form is much easier than starting from scratch. Even if you need to complete forms for a different company, having last year’s information is invaluable.

Many people have one folder for each policy and that works for some. My problem with this is I don’t see all the information in one place. If a file was removed six months ago and not replaced, you may not have the opportunity to review the policy because it auto-renews. I like to keep one binder or documents with all current insurance information in it.   You don’t have to have complete policies, but summary sheets with deductibles, renewal dates, contact information and reporting requirements are great to have at your fingertips.   It is important to have a copy of this binder at home for emergencies and/or saved in pdf form on your system if you can get it remotely (even if your office network is down).

If you have a client calendaring system, renewal dates can be added as an administrative matter.

§  Compare.

Compare plans every few years. Don’t assume that a plan that was the best fit for the firm three years ago is still the best fit. I’m not suggesting that you put your plans out to bid each year to different brokers. I’m suggesting that you ask your broker to get competitive bids on plans.

If there are carriers that your broker doesn’t represent, you may want to find a broker to quote those other carriers. Sometimes you can get plans for longer than one year for reduced overall premiums.

Find brokers who knows your industry. It is important that your broker understands the structure of the firm, how benefits effect partners v. employees and what the industry standards are.

§  What Is New For Law Firms

The most recent insurance to become important for firms is Cyber coverage. This coverage is relatively inexpensive. It can cover the loss of client and employee data through hacking and accidents as well as the cost of having your data held hostage. These threats are more and more prevalent in small firms which are not as secure as large firms.

Insurance renewal takes a lot of time and coordination. However, it is important to take the time necessary to carefully consider your firm’s risks and have appropriate coverage.

Please feel free to contact me to discuss how I can help you with your renewals. I am not affiliated with any insurance company or broker. I have managed insurance renewals over 12 times while working with three different small firms, including implementing new polices for a start-up firm.

Diane Camacho, diane@dlccs.com.



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