How to Buy Insurance for Your Nonprofit – Step 5: Research Insurance Companies

Steps 1-3 were all about identifying your exposures: Your operational exposures, your human exposures, and your property exposures.

Steps 4 and 5 are about finding researching potential providers.  In step 4, we discussed finding agents that specialize in insurance for nonprofits or for-profit social service organizations.

In this post, we’ll talk about researching and identifying potential insurance providers (not independent insurance agents, but the companies that those agents might place you with).

Step 5 - Research Insurance Companies

Step 5 – Research Insurance Companies

Another Note about the Independent Agency System

As mentioned in my Step 4, you will find the best coverage through the independent agency system (more than likely). You will engage an insurance agent, provide the right information, and he will market your organization to the companies he represents. From there, you’ll get your proposal of insurance.

Different insurance agents represent different insurance companies. It’s’ a good to be aware of  some of the companies that provide specialed programs for nonprofits.  That’s what this step is all about: helping you have some brand recognition when your agent presents you with your options.

How to Research Companies

This step again will be mostly obvious to anybody with a professional network and any bit of internet skill.

Here are some suggestions:

  1. Google “insurance for monprofits” or “insurance programs for nonprofits” or “<Your Specific Nonprofit Type> insurance”. For example: type in ‘insurance program for nonprofit museums’ or ‘insurance programs for after school programs’.
  2. Your Professional Network: Ask your friendly competitors and other nonprofit managers in your area. They might give you the name of an agency, but follow up: “What is your insurance company, not agency?”
  3. Associations: Talk to your local nonprofit or other, more specific, professional association. Who do the members as their insurance carriers?

It’s not necessarily rocket science, but it can get a little confusing. There are upwards of 20 carriers who have developed tailored programs for nonprofits of various shapes and sizes and operations.

This will be your fifth list: a list of insurance companies that you discover.

How to Use the List

One of the most helpful things about this exercise is that when you noodle around the insurance carriers’ sites, you’ll get a feel for the programs, coverages, and ‘personality’ of the company. It helps you grow your insurance vocabulary.

But here are two direct uses for the list:

  1. Add to Your Agency List: If you had a hard time finding an insurance agency locally that majors in nonprofits, then contact the insurance companies you found. Ask them who they might recommend in your area. My agency gets quite a few referrals from insurance companies when they are contacted directly by a nonprofit manager.
  2. Review Your Agent’s Proposal or Give Her Direction: Did your agent’s proposal include one of the company’s on your list? While this not be that important of a filter, it will help you in your discussions. You might also be able to hand the list to your agent and suggest a company or three that appealed to you. This will show that you are an active and interested potential client. We love that!
To sum it up…

This is the final step in the ‘pre-engagement’ part of the buying process. Admittedly, I’ve created some pretty serious homework even before you speak to an agent. But I’m fine with that. It’ll be good for you to do some reflection, research, and study so that you can partner with your agent in creating your plan.

It’s always good to enter any buying process with a little dash of confidence.

The next portion of the buying process will be all about engaging and working with your insurance professional.

Please leave questions, comments, concerns, or rebuttals in the comments! Thank you for stopping by. 

 

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