Over the years, I have found that our preferred carriers don’t always offer the coverage we need for our insureds. As a result, we shop for coverage in the excess market for general liability, professional liability, and cyber liability coverages to name a few.
While the quotes may come quickly and the coverage may seem like your preferred carrier (at first), there is a whole list of exclusions that can render your policy useless for your client’s specific needs. As a result, I have learned to always read the exclusions first.
Be on the lookout
Some common exclusions include:
- not being able to work in New York state,
- no coverage for sexual misconduct and abuse, or
- no coverage for employment practices liability.
Sometimes, you may be able to buy back the coverage at a cost if there is an exposure you and your client need to protect—at other times you need to move on to a different carrier.
With rapidly changing markets in cybersecurity or professional liability, it is important to ask your broker if there are any new exclusions that may not have been on the policy previously.
We need to offer our customers the best protection for the dollars they spend. At the same time, we cannot assume that our client is doing exactly what they did last year. Be sure to take the time to go over their application, encourage them to think about the questions and answer truthfully. There are times an insured may answer a question thinking it will save him or her premium dollars, and the insured might not understand the impact of the exclusion that is on the policy.
We need to get the answers from our insureds and if necessary, follow up with the underwriters for clarification on an exclusion and how it might affect a potential loss.
In the long run, reading and becoming familiar with policy forms and exclusions will provide the best care for your clients and help them to better understand how to protect their business operations.
Connie Mahoney is the agency manager at Mark Anthony Associates, in Mountainside, N.J. While it is a full-service independent agency, she specializes in commercial lines and health—both for groups and individuals. Mahoney has been involved with PIA for years. Currently, she is one of PIANJ's vice presidents.