3 Benefits to Working with an Insurance Specialist vs. Generalist

Author, Jeremy Hoolihan, Account Executive, Rancho Mesa Insurance Services, Inc.

Digital illustration image of paper boats falling of edge but one it tired to a balloon and floats as the others fall.

Most insurance agencies welcome any and all types of businesses, paying little attention to the type of business the prospect is running. These accommodating professionals will commit to quote virtually any person or business looking for insurance coverage. With this type of approach, inevitably the buyer will be working with a jack of all trades, but a master of none. Working at Rancho Mesa Insurance for nearly 16 years, I’ve learned the importance of focusing on a niche or vertical market, rather than attempting to write insurance for anything with a pulse. The two vertical markets I focus on are the janitorial and construction industries. Below are three reasons why I believe a business owner should consider working with a specialist rather than a generalist.

Avoid Gaps in Coverage:  

Having a trusted advisor that is a specialist in your industry can truly minimize potential gaps in coverage that otherwise might get overlooked by someone dabbling in your industry. Some examples include:

  • Allowing an exclusion of coverage to a policy where the insured has exposure: Unfortunately I see this all too often when I audit a prospects policy. I once reviewed a residential general contractor’s (GC) insurance policy and found a subsidence exclusion. This posed a serious concern because the GC builds foundations. If they were ever served with a claim relating to a foundation sinking or failing, there would likely be no coverage. I’ve also seen residential GC’s who build new homes with a residential exclusion. It’s these types of errors that can put a business in tremendous jeopardy.    

  • Missing key coverage’s to plug gaps in coverage: Most contractors are required to carry workers’ compensation and general liability insurances. However there are many exposures that a contractor has in their operations that would be excluded without additional coverage’s in place. One example is pollution liability. If a plumber installs a faucet that leaks over time, undetected, and causes mold or fungus to develop, you will likely run into a pollution liability claim for bodily injury and/or property damage. Most general liability policies have a pollution exclusion. Without the knowledge of placing a separate pollution liability policy in place, the plumbing contractor would be faced with a gap in coverage.

Knowledge of Specialty Coverage’s and Markets:    

Brokers who understand the operations and challenges faced by a particular vertical market have an opportunity to position themselves as risk management and coverage expert in that field. Specialization can also lead to specialty markets seeking brokers out to work with. Specialty markets seek brokers with expertise in their specific niche because they know the marketplace, and proper coverages can provide a steady flow of business. These relationships often lead to a much more comprehensive policy at an aggressive price. In addition, these programs include coverages that you would normally purchase individually that come standard to the program.

In the janitorial industry, one example is 3rd party crime coverage. Many of your standard market package policies will include 1st party crime coverage for employee theft. While this coverage is very important against an employee stealing from an employer, it does not cover theft of a client’s property from an employee. In order to cover this exposure, a policy needs to have 3rd party crime coverage.

Industry Specific Resources:

Partnering with a broker and agency, like Rancho Mesa Insurance, will also provide industry specific resources that generalist agencies will not. Below are a few examples of what you should expect when working with a specialist like Rancho Mesa.

  • Industry Specific Workshops – such as OSHA 10 Certification, Mobility & Stretch, Heat Illness Prevention, Fleet Safety, Fighting Fraud in CA Workers’ Compensation, etc.

  • Industry Specific Training Materials – extensive training library of over 3,000 titles in both online and in-person formats, available in English and Spanish

  • A dedicated Workers’ Compensation Claims Advocate to aggressively work on a client’s existing claims.

  • HR Benefits – rely on a team of HR experts who can quickly answer complex human resource and compliance questions over the phone or via email. 

  • Comprehensive Living Employee Handbook – create and maintain your customizable employee handbook plus receive suggested updates when laws change.

  • Client Services Advocacy – In house dedicated client services coordinator to assist with implementation of risk management services.

Rancho Mesa Insurance is dedicated to becoming a trusted advisor to their clients by providing a 365 day approach to Risk Management. Our laser focus on specific industries has allowed us to build comprehensive programs that our clients are able to benefit from. If anything in this article resonates with you, please feel free to reach out to Rancho Mesa Insurance at (619) 937-0164.