Sunday, October 14, 2012

Getting the Right Level Of Critical Illness Cover For You

Fall is here! That means it's time to consider all of your clients whose business insurance policies are coming up for renewal at the end of the year. It's important to reach out now and help your clients not only renew their policies, but ensure that they have the right coverage, taking into account any changes that have occurred to their business over the past year.

Rule #1: Don't take any renewals for granted

Just because you sold a policy to a business client, there's no assurance they'll automatically renew. More than ever, businesses are looking for quality and service - and this time of year, your clients are being pitched by other agents promising better quality and service than you can provide. (You know this is true, because you're probably making the same pitch to other agents' clients right now.)

The good news? You have the advantage with your clients because they already know you and trusted you enough to purchase a policy. Being proactive now will help you maintain (or expand) your business with existing clients, as well as assure them that you are looking after their changing insurance needs.

And remember: No matter how much effort it takes to reach out to your existing clients, it's always easier (and cheaper) to keep a client than to find a new one!

Rule #2: Help your business clients analyze their coverage needs

Prepare a year-end checklist to help you and your clients review any changes to their businesses and how those changes affect their insurance needs. Changes to discuss with your clients include:

    Revenue: If a client has experienced revenue growth in the last year, offer your congratulations - but remind him or her that the company's level of insurance may need to be revised to protect their revenue stream.

    Equipment and inventory: Yearly variations in the amount of equipment a business owns and uses - as well as the amount of inventory it maintains - are crucial in determining the proper level of business insurance coverage. Increases generally require more coverage to fully protect a company's assets, while decreases can allow a business to reduce coverage and redirect cash flow to other business needs.

    Employees and payroll: Changes in payroll have a significant effect not only on business and general liability coverage, but workers' compensation coverage as well.

    Government regulations: Make it a point to stay informed about regulations that affect your clients and their insurance needs.

Always keep in mind that, when appropriate, helping clients save money on insurance is a great way to build trust over the "long haul" - which can lead to many more renewals.

Rule #3: Help your clients understand new trends in business coverage

Are there areas of risk that, due to changing technology and other factors, your clients need to consider? For example, "data breaches" where confidential information is compromised are a threat to just about any company, large or small. This could happen if a laptop is stolen or confidential papers aren't properly shredded. Data breach coverage is one emerging area of business insurance that many of your clients should be considering.

Taking up critical illness cover provides you with piece of mind. If the worst should happen, and you are diagnosed with one of the recognised serious illnesses, then your policy can pay out a monetary sum to cover both the initial expenses relating to your treatment as well as the ongoing costs incurred during your recovery.

However many people grossly underestimate the amount of critical illness cover they really need. Though you may consider that if you were ill you would only require your policy to cover any loss of income you incur, consider all the other activities that you carry out which someone may need to do on your behalf.

If you are a parent, then it may be the case that you will no longer be able to care for your children or take such an active part in their lives. If you want to ensure that your kids have as much stability and continuity as possible when you are ill, then you may need to find additional funds to cover childcare, transportation and even residential care should you need to spend some time away from the home for treatment.

For those that live alone or do not want to put the onus of nursing on a loved one, critical illness cover may also need to help with the financial cost of housekeeping, basic laundry and even personal care when you are unable to support yourself.

Once you have recovered from your illness, it may be necessary to change your lifestyle to ensure a continued and healthy future. If this means reducing your hours at work, transferring jobs or completely changing your career, the financial implications can be immense but the right critical illness cover can help.

An individual is five times more likely to rely on critical illness cover than the standard life cover taken up with the average mortgage. And though taking the first step in acquiring critical illness protection is a great way to start, ensuring that your cover is going to be sufficient when your situation changes is essential for your ongoing peace of mind and the security of your family.

Conversely there also a number of people who hold critical illness cover above the level that is strictly required. Individuals who have been oversold this type of protection will pay out higher premiums than they really need to, increasing their monthly costs unnecessarily.

Critical illness cover is a relatively cheap type of insurance and getting the cover right is essential to ensure you have everything you need if the worst should happen without surplus monthly costs that could affect your situation today.

To make sure you have the cover appropriate to you and are not either under or over insured, talk to an independent insurance broker about your needs and personal situation. They will be able to provide experienced and professional advice to ensure that you have the protection to keep prepared no matter what hurdles life may throw your way.

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