WHAT TO LOOK FOR WHEN CHOOSING A CONDOMINIUM ASSOCIATION INSURANCE AGENT?
Selecting the right insurance agent for your condominium association is a very important step in protecting your association. Your association, Board of Directors and Unit-Owners are all at risk if the proper coverage is not in place. Consider these important factors when choosing an agent:
- Knowledge and Specialization in insuring Condo and Homeowner Associations:
It is vital to choose a knowledgeable insurance agent who specializes in association insurance. Agents who have little familiarity with insuring associations on a consistent basis could leave alarming gaps in coverage. Association policies are unlike most other policies, and specialized knowledge is needed to fully understand them. It would be prudent to interview potential agents and ask for their bio to ascertain how long, how many associations they insure and what other experience they have with community associations. Also, do they have support staff who also have experience and knowledge to support you and your association?
The agent should also be very familiar with Specialized Directors and Officers Insurance, Commercial Umbrella Insurance, Fidelity, Workers Compensation and Cyber Liability.
Should your association decide to get these coverages in addition to condominium association insurance, you’ll want to utilize the same agent. Working with one agent is more convenient, and it makes reviewing policies for coverage gaps and duplicate coverages easier.
Do you and your Board trust that your agent is working hard to find and remarket for the most comprehensive and competitive policies to protect your association? A Board should never be surprised by for example, a wind/hail deductible which could be very significant out of pocket expense for your association and potentially unit-owners. This should be explained thoroughly by your agent so the Board and owners can prepare for this big “what if”. Also, your agent should review your policy renewals in advance for rate increases, policy coverage changes or new gaps in coverage. Look for an agent that is proactive after the policy is put in place not just when they procure the new policy.
- Due Diligence
Beware of agents who are selling on price alone as that could mean vital coverages were left off which could leave your association unprotected in the event of a loss. This could potentially result in a devastating cost to the association.
Also, it is a red flag if your broker doesn’t ask to review your bylaws as there might be additional insurance requirements outlined in your association documents which are important to find out when preparing the insurance proposals.
When presenting the association’s insurance proposal, your agent should offer a side-by-side comparison illustrating all important coverages. This should compare your current carrier to the additional quotes the agent has procured. This will help the Board and Association Manager in comparing the unique coverages between the carriers. In addition, the agent should be available to present to the Board members in person to adequately explain it and answer any questions the Board may have.
- Training & Assistance
Does your agent offer to conduct training for your Board of Directors and Unit-Owners on insurance matters? What else are they doing to educate you on how the insurance industry works? What other activities are they doing to provide you with risk management advice?
- Availability after hours
Very few disasters happen weekdays from 9-5. Do you have your agents cell phone number to reach them when that claim happens? Agents dedicated to providing support for their associations should provide their cell as a means of contact after hours rather than suggesting you call the carriers 1-800 #.
- Independent Insurance Agents
In the insurance agency business, independent agents work with many carriers which will allow them many markets to choose from when finding the most comprehensive insurance policies for your condo association at the best value. Captive agents are only able to offer insurance policies underwritten by the insurer they work with. More choices and options are available to protect your association through independent agents.
At McDaniel Insurance we strive to provide our associations with this expertise and unparalleled support. Contact McDaniel Insurance, your community association insurance specialists, to provide your condo association with customized and comprehensive insurance coverage. Call 502.909.0920 or email Deanna@McDanielins.com