Essential Office Supplies For Your New Insurance Agency

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Essential Office Supplies For Your New Insurance Agency
By: Michael Miller, Smart Choice® State Director

The paint’s fresh, the sign’s new, and you’re anticipating taking your first client phone call over your new phone system. You’ve got your staff trained on your new agency management system and remembered to purchase E&O insurance before you opened your doors. Your new agency is off to a great start!

Having these basics in place is no doubt important, but don’t forget the little things: pens, printer paper, sticky notes, highlighters, staplers, scissors, file folders, desk organizers, and even presentation supplies for when you host your first client meeting. These products seem inconsequential, but they are vital to keeping your agency running efficiently.

Here’s my shopping list for essential insurance agency office supplies.

Buy in Bulk

  • Copier paper
  • Envelopes
  • File folders
  • Hanging file folders
  • Ink and toner
  • Legal pads for taking notes
  • Pens and highlighters
  • Presentation folders for client meetings
  • Staples and paper clips
  • Sticky notes

Buy for Each Desk

  • Desktop tray or other organizer
  • Desk or wall calendar
  • Easel and easel pad
  • File sorter
  • Scissors
  • Shredder
  • Stapler

Buy for the Agency

  • Dry-erase board for your conference room
  • Filing cabinet system
  • Projector for your conference room

If you’re thinking the cost of these supplies adds up, you’re right. It’s common for agencies to spend thousands of dollars a year in office supplies. Wouldn’t it be great to get a discount and free shipping? Some office supply companies will provide discounts and free shipping on orders over a certain amount. Make sure you ask!

3 Things Insurance Agents Need To Know About E&O Insurance

3 Things Insurance Agents Need To Know About E&O Insurance
By: Michael Miller, Smart Choice® State Director

If you’re an insurance agent, you need errors & omissions, or E&O, insurance. This valuable coverage protects you and your agency against a loss in the event of an error or omission you or your staff make (or are accused of making). This could include something as simple as lacking a required document, such as a waiver of coverage, or miscommunication between you and a client.

Here are three things you need to know about E&O insurance for your agency.

1. You need to do your research.

Many carriers offer E&O coverage, but not all E&O policies are created equal, especially in what they cover if a claim makes it to court. Some may pay for the settlement amount but not your defense expenses, such as attorney’s fees. Others pay defense expenses but not for actual losses. Comprehensive E&O coverage will pay for all of it.

Some carriers specialize in covering a particular industry, so make sure the carrier you pick caters to the specific needs of your agency.

2. You need to buy early.

You advise your clients to buy insurance before they need it, and the same is true of your E&O coverage. The longer you go without E&O, the longer you expose yourself, your staff, and your agency to more risk. Most E&O policies use a retroactive date to determine whether or not they’ll cover a claim. Any claim made over an error or omission that occurs before that date will not be covered by your E&O policy. That’s why you need to be covered early—even before you open your doors.

When it is time to leave the insurance industry (when you retire, sell or quit) you may want to consider that your policy holders, clients, and carriers may not leave the same time that you do. You may still hold responsibility to them for a period of one year after you issued the last policy or until the anniversary or renewal date of the last policy you issued, at which time the insured is expected to contact you with corrections as to how the policy was applied for when it was first written.

Most agents maintain an active E&O policy for one year after their retirement or termination date. It protects them from potential risk from policies written during their last year in business. Almost all carrier policies state the insured is responsible for reviewing their declarations page at every renewal so they are aware of their exact coverage, effective dates, and limits. You may want to consider carrying a full and active E&O policy for one year after you write your last policy to protect yourself from any issues that could arise for a period of one year after the renewal date of the last policy you issue.

3. You need to have a plan.

Even with E&O coverage, you need a plan for how your agency will prevent errors and omissions and mitigate claims if and when they occur. Always use written contracts with your clients and get signed waivers when clients opt out of coverages you’ve recommended for them. Communicate frequently with your clients about changes to their policies and possible enhancements.

Sources:
Insurance Journal
CalSurance