Message froM the board
shopping for insurance: exciting? no. critical? yes. With this LooseLeaf issue featuring ProGreen, labor shortages, a host of critical legislative issues, and insurance, probably the least exciting topic is the last. I question the sanity/social life of anyone who can honestly say they’ve read every single word of their insurance policy. But it is so critical to the long-term wellbeing of your business that, boring or not, it deserves special attention.
By Jesse Eastman, CCNP CNGA Board President
“There’s no cheap way to insure your business, so make sure your money is doing what you think it’s doing. If it’s not, why are you paying it?”
Like (hopefully) all of you, I’ve had a business liability insurance policy in place for years. In my case, it was a policy that my father enrolled the business in, and I inherited it when I bought him out. He’s a pretty sharp guy, so I never looked too closely at the details of the policy, and it served me well enough when I had to replace my hail-damaged greenhouse roof. Some of you also inherited policies from previous owners. Some of you selected your policies yourselves, but haven’t reviewed them in years. A select few of you are very well-versed on your policy. If this is you, my hat goes off to you. Good job. Take a break for the rest of this article while the rest of us wrestle with risk protection. Recently, I decided it was time to review my coverage, and chose to do so with Richards, Seeley, & Schaefer, a company that I thought would be competitive as well as having the resources and knowledge to address the unique needs of a nursery and garden center. Because of their long history of working with CNGA, I had confidence that, at the very least, we would be speaking the same language when it came to building types and uses, seasonal ebb and flow of employees, etc. I also asked my existing insurance provider to do a complete audit of our coverage. What I learned through this process shocked me. I was disturbed to find out that my greenhouse was highly over-insured. It was listed as a frameconstruction building, which costs significantly more to cover than a steel-framed, plastic-covered
greenhouse. I discovered that my existing carrier had a very fuzzy idea of what buildings were on our property – some were listed as being radically different sizes than they actually are. These are the types of errors that could result in an insurance company refusing to pay on a claim, which is basically the worst-case-scenario after a catastrophe. Moreover, I discovered that my agent had no idea how to correct these issues, and didn’t seem motivated to learn. It was time for a change. In the long run, I didn’t save much money by making the change, and it was a time-consuming and mind-numbingly complex process (I have to read a policy about three times to even begin to understand it). But in spite of that, I feel the value of my new policy is dramatically higher than my old one. I’m working with a company that demonstrated very clearly an understanding of my business – they didn’t just lump me in with farms and agricultural businesses. The way my new coverage is structured, I feel confident that if I do need to make a claim, it will be covered. The fact that my new carrier has been a decades-long supporter of the green industry in Colorado is a nice bonus. If this comes off as a little infomercialesque, please forgive me. There are other great companies who can serve you well. The message I really want to drive home is the importance of knowing exactly what you’re paying all those premiums for, and if, when push comes to shove, you will actually have the protection you think you have. There’s no cheap way to insure your business, so make sure your money is doing what you think it’s doing. If it’s not, why are you paying it? Can you afford to risk fire, flood, lawsuit, hail, employee theft, tornado, etc., and not have the security of knowing there is money available to not only help rebuild, but to supplement lost income? I can’t.
knowledge experience &
B&B SHADE • FLOWERING TREES • CONIFERS • JUNIPERS • CONTAINER PLANTS
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LooseLeaf December 2016 / January 2017