The inevitable is coming – the hardening of the commercial insurance market. While experts aren’t in agreement as to when exactly the market will turn, many are predicting that 2013 is a viable possibility.
What is a “hard” market?
Let’s start off with defining what a hard market is, because there are a lot of misconceptions out there. A hard market is when underwriting is more restrictive, coverages are less available and pricing increases. A “soft” market tends to have stable or falling insurance prices. A soft market is often called a “buyer’s market”. Like many industries, the insurance market works in cycles.
When the insurance market hardens, agencies in all industries and areas are affected and if past market turns are anything to go by, the next market turn may be sudden and severe. Businesses have to start thinking about the hardening market and prepare an action plan. They need to consider the predicted changes in insurance availability and pricing.
What can you do to prepare?
We know the turn is coming, so the next step is to prepare. Being proactive is imperative! There are measures that organizations can take to become more attractive to underwriters and insurance agencies:
- Invest in maintenance projects when you’re preparing your 2013 budgets. You don’t want to wait until something goes wrong on your property to fix it. You need to fully review your property and make any necessary fixes as early as possible.
- Make sure that you don’t have any outstanding Department of Building (DOB) violations. If a building has numerous violations, it is an indication to carriers that the building maintenance is lacking.
- Think about your loss history. If you’ve had losses in a particular area, you want to show that you’ve made efforts to fix the problem to prevent future losses.
- Start your renewal process early. Businesses should start their renewal process as early as possible to have time to take necessary action.