By Meaghan Tyndale-Williams, Vice President – Commercial Lines
In today’s business world, your website is your calling card. Your customers depend on it to inform themselves about your business and make the critical decision of whether or not to pursue your services. But it is important to keep in mind that your customers are not the only ones evaluating your website on a regular basis. Your underwriter is too, and what your website is saying to customers is very different from what it is saying to your insurance company.
So what does this mean in terms of maintaining a website that will not only encourage customers to buy your goods or services but also appeal to underwriters who provide the critical support you need to insure your business?
In short, a challenge. You want to ensure your website is appealing to viewers while also highlighting your business as a low-hazard, safety-conscious operation because the first place an underwriter goes when evaluating a business is its company website.
Much like a customer, an underwriter is looking at websites to learn about a business. Underwriters will look through company photos, see how long the company has been in business, look at what operations it is involved in, and investigate the geographic areas where it operates, to name a few.
Your insurance company will be looking to make an educated judgment as to whether it’s worth the risk to insure you, and, of course, for how much. Underwriters have their own point-of-view when reviewing your website, and it is important to understand what they are looking for.
Do you clearly describe the geographic areas where you do business?
This is important because some insurance carriers have restrictions on where they can write business. New York, for example, is an undesirable underwriting area for many insurance companies. To avoid having coverage declined, it is smart to list only the areas where your company is currently doing business.
Are the photos on your website representative of the true nature of your operations?
Many times, companies will have photos on their websites of discontinued operations. If an underwriter sees photos of certain operations on your website, they will want to underwrite (i.e., charge money) for these operations. You may also get declined because underwriters do not like the operations they see. It is smart to keep your company website current and have the website reflect what your company is doing today.
Do your photos showcase safe jobsites, clean work environments, well-maintained facilities and products that don’t “scare” an underwriter away?
Does your company project an air of professionalism and competence?
From a risk management standpoint, does the website speak to your company culture in terms of employee and jobsite safety, pre-employee screening and employee retention?
Your underwriter needs to fully understand your business to provide your company with the appropriate coverage. It’s important to remove discontinued operations from your website to avoid being charged additional premiums or declined coverage based on exposures you no longer have. If your website promotes high-risk operations or projects outside of your primary operations, be aware that your insurance company will need specific details about these involvements, which can negatively impact your ability to get coverage. Reviewing and updating your website a few months prior to your insurance renewal date can save you from having to answer a lot of irrelevant questions, deal with price increases, and contend with potential declination’s of coverage.
If you have questions about your website, your JGS Insurance professional is always ready and able to help you review your website, discuss how it may affect your insurance coverage, and answer any questions.