It should be no secret that all companies operating within the province of Ontario need to protect themselves from potential lawsuits. At any point in time, a disgruntled client could lash out at your company with a devastating lawsuit. If you’ve failed to acquire E&O insurance in advance, you’ll have a lot of troubles on your hands. In fact, a lawsuit could cripple your company and force it into bankruptcy. This would not only impact you, but it would also hurt your family, your employees and their families.
If you’ve been held back by the potential costs associated with this coverage, you should not delay to take action! Below, you will find tips for ensuring you get the most generous insurance policy possible.
Your Employee Count
Before attempting to acquire E&O insurance, you should understand that an abundance of factors will help to determine your overall costs. While many people do not realize it, your company’s employee count will prove to be very impactful. It is essential to remember that each employee will pose a certain level of risk to your company. The truth of the matter is that having a larger number of employees will actually increase your risks and this will ultimately force you to pay more for a sufficient amount of insurance.
You may be able to offset the added cost of additional employees with effective training programs. Nonetheless, it is almost always true that bigger companies will pay more than smaller companies.
As mentioned above, you may be able to mitigate the risks posed by your employees by implementing a solid training protocol. In fact, you should know that insurance company underwriters will usually ask about your company’s training procedures when attempting to determine how much you’ll pay monthly. This is true with Ontario’s biggest E&O insurance providers, such as Aviva and Intact Insurance. With this in mind, you may be able to swing the insurance provider into your favor by impressing them with your company’s training procedures.
Be prepared to prove to the underwriter that your company takes adequate steps to train your employees thoroughly. A more thorough and effective training procedure may be able to help you acquire a lower fee.
Speak With Professional And Trade Organizations
Before working with an Ontario insurance provider, you should consider speaking with your respective professional and trade organization. Trade organizations are generally designed to protect professionals and to provide them with access to the resources they require. Depending on your specific organization, you may be able to obtain assistance getting E&O insurance through the trade organization. This is not always the case, but it is something that is definitely worth checking out.
This is the case, because you will often receive better rates for a professional trade organization than you would from an insurance provider.
Unfortunately, there are some aspects of your business that you will not be able to change. This is the case with your company’s respective field or industry. Sadly, some companies will be forced to pay substantially higher fees simply because they work in a high-risk industry. If you work in an industry that experiences a great deal of lawsuits on an annual basis, you can guarantee that you’ll be required to pay more. To offset this problem to some degree, you should focus on your company’s individualistic past.
Stay out of trouble and always do your best to provide your clients with maximum satisfaction. This may help the insurance provider differentiate your company from others within your industry.
Implement Good Quality-Control Procedures
If you take the time to analyze the business practices of the world’s biggest corporations, you will find that they all have quality control experts on their roster. This is not a coincidence. A good quality-control protocol will be able to protect your company from potential lawsuits. The quality control team will make sure your products are perfect, before they’re shipped from the facility. Alternatively, they may analyze the work you’ve done to ensure everything is in order.
This will prevent problems, while also proving to the insurance provider that your company will be much less likely to experience lawsuits. Taking precautions such as this to guarantee maximum customer satisfaction is truly in your best interest. More importantly, it could also help you decrease your E&O insurance fees to come degree!
Your Company’s Contract
When it comes down to it, the contract your company uses will prove to be enormously important. If the contract is written in haphazard manner, the client’s attorney will be able to find numerous loopholes and this will always leave you open to risks. If you hire a professional to write your company’s contracts, you may be able to lower your risks. The appropriate contract will be able to reduce your company’s liability exposure. Believe it or not, some companies do not use contracts at all. This is even riskier than you could ever imagine.
It is also essential to remember that your insurance provider will want to look over your company’s contracts. If you’re able to impress the insurance provider in this category, you may be able to convince them to lower the costs to some degree. With this in mind, it may be a good idea to hire a lawyer to help you write contracts for each of your clients.
Match Your Exact Risk Level
While you’re at it, you should realize that each company is different. If you work in a high-risk industry, you will be required to obtain the maximum amount of insurance. However, it should be known that not all Ontario businesses actually need comprehensive coverage. This is one of the main reasons it is a good idea to consult with a professional insurance providers, such as Premier Marine or Lloyds of London. By consulting with these companies directly, you’ll be able to learn more about your company’s exact risk level.
You will also need to make a personal decision to determine how much risk you’re willing to take. If you’re interested in protecting your company to the fullest, spending more is recommended. However, if you’re confident in your abilities and do not mind a little risk, you can decrease your coverage and spend less.
Hire A Broker
Many Ontario business owners will work directly with the insurance provider. This is sometimes easier and initially cheaper, but it is not always the best solution. Buying insurance on your own could result in you paying more than absolutely necessary. This is why you may want to consider hiring liability insurance brokers. While this will increase the upfront costs to some degree, it will prove to be well worth it in the long run. The broker will know a great deal about errors and omissions insurance and they’ll understand precisely how the market works.
With their assistance, you will have a much easier time getting the best policy at the most generous price. You should be able to locate an insurance broker, who is skilled in your respective industry, by utilizing the Internet. If not, you should consult with your business colleagues. They’ll help guide you in the right direction.
Keep A Good Standing With Clients
Most professionals are adamant about making their clients happy, by delivering products on time, following through with promises and enforcing an open door communication policy. While of these are a requirement, sometimes things happen that are beyond the professional’s control. Negligence is a nasty little word that no one wants to discuss or even hear for that matter, but it can perk up out of nowhere. On a professional level, negligence means that the individual failed to exercise the proper ruled care that would have been expected under specific circumstances. It is important to note that negligence is not always classified as “intentional harm”. However, it can be misconstrued as such by those that do not understand its true meaning.
Professionals never wish to be identified as a person that failed to act in an appropriate manner. Sometimes negligence can be classified as intentional harm, but this is only in rare occasions. You can avoid most mishaps, by devising a plan in advance, following through with procedures and constantly overseeing every step of the project.
To keep your errors and omissions insurance premiums to a minimum, you will need to keep a good standing with all of your clients. If an issue arises, you should act immediately and find a suitable solution that will satisfy both you and the client. By keeping an open door of communication policy in force at all times, you will be showing the client that you are not trying to dodge your responsibilities.
As mentioned above, there are many factors that can have a negative impact on your E&O insurance premiums. A history of customer complaints, with errors and omissions claim will definitely not make you look like a reputable professional. Before the insurer approves an applicant’s E&O application, they will perform an extensive background check. If frequent customer complaints and claims are discovered, the insurer will need to decide if they are willing to take the risk of providing coverage to the applicant. If they decide to go ahead with it, the applicant will be faced with higher monthly premiums.
Open Civil Lawsuits
Civil lawsuits can drag out in a court of law for months or even years. Most professionals will try to put the lawsuit on the backburner, while they continue business as usual. However, this does not necessarily mean that the professional has totally forgotten about the civil lawsuit, but only that it is necessary to continue earning an income. When the professional applies for errors and omissions insurance coverage, the open civil lawsuit will show up in the background check results. Insurers will most likely offer the professional coverage, but they will be forced to pay dearly.
Any professional with an open lawsuit looming over their head will be forced to pay a higher monthly premium. Errors and omissions insurance premiums are already high, without adding any negativity to the mixture. At this point, the professional will just be glad that the insurer is willing to provide them with coverage.
However, you can avoid paying a higher premium, by doing whatever is necessary to prevent the client from filing a civil lawsuit against you. Right any wrongs, follow through with promises and allow the errors and omissions coverage to help you pay for a settlement to resolve the lawsuit out of court. It is important to remember that you cannot get E&O insurance to protect you after a complaint has already been filed! Therefore, it is pertinent to take precautions to protect your company in advance!
Before signing up for E&O insurance, you should take the time shop around as extensively as possible and find out the right amount of coverage that you may require. Each insurance provider will claim to offer you the lowest cost possible. You should understand that this cannot be true. Only one insurance company will offer you the most comprehensive policy at the most generous price. Therefore, it is absolutely essential to consult with several companies and acquire as many quotes as possible. Just remember that you should not focus entirely on the price. While price is definitely important, you should also make sure you get the right coverage!
Don’t skimp on coverage just so you can spend a little bit less! If you do, this could come back to haunt you in the future.