Q: Recommendations can be a point of frustration. Sometimes we find ourselves surprised by recommendations after an insurance carrier inspects our properties. Any advice on how to avoid or get through them painlessly?
A: When a carrier starts insuring a property, an inspection is typically conducted within the first 90 days of the policy. Carriers also tend to re-inspect every three to four years. From inspections, recommendations can be made in an effort to prevent loss. Take these recommendations seriously. Paying for maintenance and upkeep up front can result in avoidance of heftier payout or premium increases should a loss occur.
Keep in mind, not all recommendations are mandatory. Be sure to consult your Account Manager to determine whether or not the recommendations made have to be done as well as whether or not they have a strict timeline. Often, your agent can “buy” the association time to address recommendations, especially when the fix will require bids and lengthy implementation.
Some recommendations may seem less necessary than others. Know, that each carrier has their own underwriting guidelines and certainly individual loss experiences. Often times, carrier guidelines have something to do with losses experienced by that carrier in the past. This also means that for nearly every carrier that has issue with a specific component, is another carrier that may not. If a recommendation is made that the association can’t afford, doesn’t agree with or cannot address in the timeframe given, it may be appropriate to explore other insurance options. Working with a broker (like Socher Insurance) gives you many insurance options should you find yourself in that predicament.
Rest assured, as your broker, we are very aware of the standard guidelines for each carrier we utilize. Our goal is to inspect properties to a degree, before placing coverage. Although we can’t tear out walls, or examine certain components in depth, we can (and do) visit the property, take certain measurements, make note of common area amenities and do our best to paint a realistic picture of the entire property for our insurance carriers. This often avoids common recommendations like railing widths, pool depth markers, a need for fire extinguishers, etc. This doesn’t always prevent the unexpected recommendations or those situations that may change from day to day (i.e. trash or graffiti issues, electric panel inspection or replacement and tree maintenance or dangers).
As your broker, we dislike surprise recommendations about as much as our clients. And we don’t want to be a part of any unpleasant surprise to you. Our mission is to serve our clients though, not the carrier. This means, we can negotiate recommendations on your behalf, use our leverage with carriers to buy more time or loosen up seemingly unfair recommendations and work with you to implement fixes to avoid losses.
Seek clarification and guidance from your trusted broker when you or your association receives a recommendation and try to understand these notices often come from a place of partnership in an effort to avoid losses and even heftier out of pocket expense.