If I had to do it over again, when buying a car, instead of just looking at the list of features and negotiating the MSRP with the salesperson, I would have also asked to speak to the service department.
Why? Because I knew the car would feel great driving off the lot. And I also knew that I wouldn’t need or use many of the bells and whistles listed. What I didn’t really know was how reliable the car was, what typically goes wrong in the car, if it was expensive to fix and what could I do to prevent any problems.
Similar concepts hold true for insurance coverage, especially when it comes to more complex and specialized exposures and claims. A good placement broker can be extremely knowledgeable and list all the enhancements of the coverage. That’s a job requirement.
And a good broker can negotiate competitive pricing as well. Another requirement. But getting added insight from a broker’s claims advocacy group can be worth its weight in gold by helping demystify the claims process and preparing the insured for possible speedbumps to coverage.
These professionals, most of them attorneys by training, are well-versed in how the coverage wordings apply at the time of a claim (as opposed to in theory), how certain carriers may approach certain situations, which carriers are responsive, which are not responsive, which ones outsource to coverage counsel, and which ones typically stand by their contract’s intent when things aren’t black and white.
Like a new car, insurance policies are assumed to be just what’s needed at the time of purchase, but they really remain untested until something goes wrong. For an insured, it’s not until that claim is made or a loss is suffered that the true value is understood. It’s a time when claims advocacy and advice are essential for a favorable resolution. It really is where the rubber meets the road (you could see that coming a mile away, couldn’t you?).