Be Prepared: Knowledge is power

Perhaps you were a scout, or your child is one now.  Even if you’ve never been exposed to scouting, you likely recognize its motto:  Be Prepared.

In fact, the founder of the scouting movement, Robert Baden-Powell said, “A Scout is never taken by surprise; he knows exactly what to do when anything unexpected happens.” Based on that alone, I’d have to say a scout would make a pretty good risk management professional.

The best way to be prepared?  Ask questions.

  • Know your coverage limits and all exclusions.
  • Clarify any policy wording you don’t understand.
  • Confirm the methods for valuing projected or incurred losses.  Will you receive replacement or current value of property?
  • Does assigned duty for legal defense differ by covered and non-covered charges?
  • What is the established schedule for communication? How frequently will updates be provided and in what format?
  • What is the claims process? Who is responsible for each task?
  • How do new laws or regulations impact my business this year?

Anytime-let me repeat that-anytime you feel uneasy or need clarification, don’t let another day pass.  Call your broker. Send an email. Schedule a meeting. Continue questioning until you feel comfortable.  If you don’t have that kind of relationship with your broker, you’ve got the wrong one.

So, like a scout, are you prepared?  Or will you be caught off guard by a surprise when it is least welcomed?  If you’re relying on little more than a list of products you’ve been told to buy, but don’t have a comprehensive understanding of their business impact, it’s time to ask for clarification.  Insurance and risk management can be complex.  If you aren’t asking questions, you should be.  After all, the only dumb question is one not asked.