September 22, 2017

Is Your Association Insurance Agent an Asset or a Liability?

Written by: Brandon Levy, CPIA. President of Legacy Insurance Associates Unlimited

Picture this…

You are a board member or property manager of your condominium association and it’s time to discuss the insurance program.

Exciting stuff, right??

Ok, maybe not that exciting, but what is the first thing that you may think of? What have you been conditioned to remember based on all the insurance marketing in the industry?

Does this sound familiar: “We can save 15% or more off the insurance by switching to…. blah blah blah.”

Being a commercial insurance agency owner and specializing in the condominium insurance market for over 15 years I understand the importance of saving money. It’s what every consumer wants to do. It is what every association should try to do, but is it the single most important part of the program?

Listen, insurance agents aren’t the sole reason why insurance premiums have been going down by 10-15% every year for the last 4-5 years. We are good but we aren’t that good. The insurance companies are out their driving down cost because so many carriers want to be part of this market, it’s lucrative for the carriers. Especially, not having a major hurricane in South Florida for over 12 years now. So, if carriers drive down price by creating competition between themselves, how do you determine what agency and agent to work with?

With any industry, you have all types of professionals inside of that industry. You have aggressive salespeople, laid back sales people, the see you once a year at renewal salesperson and you have the trusted advisor. Most of the time you think your agent is the trusted advisory, of course you would, especially if you have never had a big claim. However, setting claims aside for a moment what is a trusted advisor?

In my opinion and I hope in my client’s opinions a trusted advisor is an agent that is there for you to help you manager the association risk in multiple areas of concern.

Here are a few questions you need to ask yourself to see if your agent and agency fits this mold.

  • How does your agent provide you with Risk Management Advice? Does he or her provide any at all?
  • Does your association see their insurance agent as part of the CORE 4 Professionals in the community? This would be the Property Manager, Accountant, Attorney and Insurance Agent.
  • Can you call your agent to ask him or her advice on things outside of insurance, and do you feel comfortable and confident in doing so?
  • Does your agent have a reputation in the Condominium Association Community as a leader in the industry, both with the insurance carriers and other associations?
  • When was the last time your agent came into your community to educate the board or the membership about how insurance works both as a master policy and for the individual unit owners? Are they keeping you up to date with the changes in the industry and insurance world or are they stagnant in their communication with you and the board?
  • Finally, do you feel like your insurance agent will be there for you and can help you resolve claim issues quickly and professionally?

For most of you reading this I hope that the answer to those questions is a YES. If that answer is a YES than you have nothing to worry about. You are most likely with a great agent that cares about the association and has built a strong personal relationship with the board and its members.

However, for those of you that can’t answer YES to all those questions you now have a question to ask yourself. How do I get that type of agent and agency on our team?

So, if you couldn’t answer YES you now may be thinking. We need 3 bids!

Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way in the insurance industry. The carriers have made it pretty much impossible to get three bids. They want the associations to choose an agent based on factors other than price. So, if that is the case, what does an association do? Simple.

They interview different agents from different agencies. They ask them questions about their experience, about their knowledge in the market, about the clients they have and about the relationships they have built with other professionals in the condominium world. Of course, giving the agents an opportunity to review your current insurance program is ultimately very important as this is where the TRUE Advisors shine. The aggressive sales people will talk about price, price, price, the laid-back agents will say your program looks good to me, but the true Advisor will show you why no matter who you interview the association would be making a huge mistake not to have them on the team.

Being on a board is a tough job, you work for free, most of the time you are not appreciated for what you do and ultimately it can be very stressful. You shouldn’t have to ask yourself the question, do I need to change my insurance agent and agency. That is why you MUST have the proper professionals on your team to make your job easier.

If you are on a board and would like a Trusted Advisor on your team, Legacy Insurance Associates is the right choice for your association. Please feel free to contact me, Brandon Levy, the owner of Legacy Insurance Associates to set up a time for me to come out and personally review the associations insurance program. You have nothing to lose but everything to gain.

Brandon Levy, Your Trusted Advisor.
561-877-1922 Ext. 301