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Insurance Renewal

Annual Risk and Protection Checklist

The New Year is a great time for reflection, reviewing, and revamping. Local Risk Manager, Charles Wilson of RiskSmart Solutions, does an excellent job reminding business owners to create a checklist to help protect and manage your exposures. Make time to create your checklist and involve your insurance broker for assistance. These tips will help get you started! 


Tip #95: Annual Risk and Protection Checklist


This month's post will serve as your annual reminder! As you organize your priorities for the New Year, remember to include the following.

Below are seven key risk and protection reminders for your checklist. Many of these we know are important, yet they're often not immediately urgent, so they fall to the bottom of the pile. That's why an annual schedule for these updates on your calendar is great for avoiding last-minute panic.

  1. Update asset lists. Inventories can get quickly out of date.  Think about equipment, vehicles, shop and office supplies, computers and software licenses, contact information, etc. Quarterly reviews can keep these top of mind.  Keep updates offsite and secure.
  2. Update values. Asset values - for buildings, equipment, inventory, etc. - can vary from normal inflation for lots of reasons. Don't get caught short in the event of a loss. Review quarterly with your asset lists above and advise your broker if you need increases. If you can't get these done, schedule "project steps" and perhaps a summer or holiday intern to help out.
  3. Schedule key dates. Keep track of renewal dates for licenses, leases, client retainers, service contracts, insurance, certifications, website URLs, etc. on several people's calendars. Add notes about who else needs a "heads up" to be involved.
  4. Insurance protections. Meet with your insurance professional at least once outside of the "renewal" period. Ask about new trends in legal, coverage, and insurance rates. Talk about changes to your business and find out the "hot" risks that need your attention. Then block out time for renewal applications and benefit program updates, employee communication and enrollments. 
  5. Safety. This can be vital to employee morale, customer loyalty and your business survival. Make sure your IIPP (injury and illness prevention plan) is up to date as required by many state laws. Schedule regular safety committee meetings, and get the right equipment (PPEs). Ask your insurance broker about free insurance company services and inspections.  Also get locations of emergency medical clinics nearest you and your work sites: each employee should have an appropriate list immediately accessible.
  6. HR issues and Training. Plan for employee handbook updates, new policies and updated legal postings. Schedule employee group discussions and reminders about expectations and rules. Plan for safety training and defensive driving, equipment certifications, harassment and discrimination courses, etc. The right training, in advance, can save businesses huge hassle and headaches.
  7. Update Emergency plans. These "be ready" plans need review and updates. Ensure you have the basic supplies appropriate to your location and potential circumstances (flood, windstorm, earthquake, etc.).  Encourage employees to have their own supplies and some plans for family as well. Contact info must be accessible to all. 

Finally, think about the big picture: who are the key people you depend on to be responsible for coordinating your overall risk and protection program? Do they clearly understand your priorities and expectations? Make sure you are delegating with knowledge and oversight, and not abdicating without paying attention. 


To view this and other RiskSmart Solution Tips, please click here

About the author: Charles Wilson has extensive experience starting, growing and fixing small business units in Europe, Canada and the US. This hands-on, ground up knowledge of how businesses operate makes Charles a valuable asset both for the advice he can provide and for his ability to work with your organization to get the recommendations implemented quickly. 

Need help with resources or have questions? He can be reached at: 510-685-3883 or email

Another Year, Another Renewal: What to Discuss With Your Broker Before Renewal

January 1st is probably the most common renewal date for commercial insurance policies. Sure, it's a nice clean start date and works well with budgets, but it falls right at the worst possible time of year for you and your broker to talk about insurance. Halloween just ended, your sweating over where to go for Thanksgiving then you're hosting Christmas. Oh, and New Year's vacation is thrown right in there as well. 

By not accurately reviewing your insurance with your broker, you could be losing out on premium savings and filling valuable gaps in coverage that could be undiscovered until after a loss. Here are some things that you should be discussing with your insurance agent/broker well before your renewal (whether it's a January 1st effective date or not). 

1. Has anything changed? Did you merge or acquire another business? Was there a change in ownership? Did you alter your business operations since the last renewal? If you answered yes to any of these, your insurance broker and carriers need to know about it and underwrite accordingly. For example, if you are a toy manufacturer and decide to stop making your highest risk product, your premiums should go way down if that exposure has dropped dramatically. 

2. Have you hired or laid off employees? If you payroll has changed drastically, you'll want to tell your broker that as well. Your workers' compensation rates are based on projected payroll. If they don't know the payroll will double, you may be hit with a large audit that is hard to absorb. Conversely, if your payroll goes way down, you don't want to be paying twice as much for coverage and have to wait for an audit refund...

3. Did you reinvest in business property? Maybe you replaced all the office computers, servers, phones, desks or otherwise... A big jump in business personal property without telling your broker could create  gap in coverage and leave you at risk of a potentially having an uncovered or reduced paid claim. 

These are just a few of the common changes that can occur between your insurance renewals that need to be addressed. If you need assistance with your renewal, please contact us for a through review of these and other changes that need to be regularly assessed with your risk management team. Remember that an insurance review is never too early... However, it's always too late if done after a loss.