Alberta’s businesses are doing all they can to weather the very fast changes required by responding responsibly to the COVID-19 pandemic. All of us at Lane’s have been working from home to play our part, however we remain fully operational to assist our clients. We are lucky in that we are able to stay “open,” so to speak, as many other businesses were ordered to completely shut down – or at the very least, shut down their storefronts. However, insurance companies and brokerages have been deemed as essential services, as people require the ability to access their policies at this time, and we are able to keep providing services because of our ability to work remotely.
It’s been amazing to see the ingenious ways businesses have been adapting to what many are calling the “new normal,” such as brewers producing hand sanitizer, garment companies sewing personal protection equipment, chauffeurs becoming personal grocery shoppers, and people making facemasks and ear protectors using 3D printers. But many businesses do not have that opportunity and have been closed entirely for over a month now. Unfortunately, there’s no end in sight to the lockdown, either. These businesses have all made great sacrifices help end the COVID pandemic as quickly as possible, but as the weeks drag on, the question of whether they will be able to re-open at all is tenuous. To provide some relief, holders of commercial insurance policies may be able to access some assistance through their providers, and additional help is also available.
Relief for Commercial Insurance Payments
Although there is no across-the-board solution being offered for commercial insurance customers, insurance providers have indicated there may be ways to help on a case-by-case basis. If you feel you may be unable to pay your premiums due to the shutdown of your business, be sure to give your broker or provider a call. Providers have indicated they will work with clients by offering:
- Payment deferrals of up to four months
- No penalties for non-sufficient funds
- No cancellation of policies for non-payment
Ways to Save on Your Commercial Insurance
Now may be a great time to take a look at your commercial insurance policy with an insurance broker to see if there are any changes that can be made to help you save on the overall cost.
Some options could include:
- Increasing deductible amounts
- Decreasing coverage limits
- Removing unnecessary coverages
- Changing the status of coverage types from “operating” to “parked” or “idle”
If you are considering making any of these changes, especially to your coverage limits, ensure you still meet all contractual obligations. Loans, mortgages, and leases generally require that insurance coverage reaches a specific limit in order for the contract to be valid. For example, company vehicles that are leased or financed generally have coverage requirements, such as collision insurance.
Access the Expertise of an Insurance Broker
There are numerous benefits to using an insurance broker, and one of those includes providing alternatives. Many people have the mistaken belief that once they sign up with an insurance company, they’re stuck with them for the duration of their coverage. This is simply not true. Policyholders have the option to change their providers whenever they wish – not just at renewal time.
Insurance brokers have the expertise needed to ensure your business is fully protected. We can cross-reference your current policy with those we have available from our respected providers to see where there is an opportunity to save. We have access to excellent deals because we have established relationships with our providers, who trust us to find the right policies for our clients.
As brokers, we can also advocate for you. If you feel that your insurance company has not been treating you fairly, such as refusing to provide concessions to help weather the financial hardships brought upon us by COVID-19, if we were your broker we can help mitigate. We are also your ally during the claims process, assisting you in closing transactions as quickly and painlessly as possible. And we are a constant source of up-to-date market information.
Other Options for Alberta Business Owners
Additional resources Alberta business owners may choose to access include:
- Deferred property tax payments
- Accommodation for delayed rental payment for commercial tenants
- Deferred utility bill payments
These are not automatic and must be requested, and there are no penalties for taking advantage of their availability.
More Protection for Your Business
If your business is standing vacant at the moment, make sure you are taking the necessary steps to keep it protected from thieves and vandalism. And as scam artists are coming out of the woodwork, if you don’t already have cyber insurance it may be time to consider it.
Lane’s Insurance is a leading Alberta-based brokerage providing complete commercial insurance solutions for owners of companies both large and small. To learn more, or to obtain a quote, please contact us in: