From the Front Lines: General Liability

Terri PowersTerri Powers

Premier Choice Insurance Agency, Inc.

How did you get started at your agency?

I left the software industry to start a career in a field that I felt would have strong ethical standards, and I was fortunate to find a great mentor. After eight years, I opened my own independent agency. I’ve worked with business owners to provide both their business insurance and personal insurance ever since.

Why general liability?

The possibility of being sued is a very real concern for a business owner. Sufficient liability coverage should be the cornerstone of any risk management effort and the basis of any insurance coverage for a business. From this starting point, I build a package of insurance to fit business needs of the client.

Biggest GL challenges?

There are so many things we did not have to deal with 10 years ago. New industries like cannabis and the sharing economy are are all challenging the applicability of our existing GL policies. As an agent, I really need to understand the coverage and exclusions in a policy, and how different policies interact. For example, how does the personal auto policy interact with Uber activity? How does a homeowners policy interact with Airbnb activity? Personal and commercial activities are becoming intertwined.

I also think it’s difficult for insurance companies to determine a proper rate for such policies until they’ve had time to review the loss characteristics of these business models. The types of coverage included in a policy will depend upon how the industry develops.

GL misconceptions?

Many consumers don’t understand the difference between a GL policy and a business owners policy or a professional liability policy. It’s important to explain the differences. The GL policy insures against property damage you may be responsible for, or a physical injury. However, a professional, such as a financial planner, would need professional liability coverage to protect against something like a client claiming they did not receive proper management of their retirement funds.

Future of GL?

I see something of a revolution ahead for the industry. The world is more global than ever before. Our communication has diversified exponentially. Many of my clients are doing business in areas that would have been impossible before. They don’t have to be somewhere physically in order to provide their service. Their boundaries are expanding, and so are their insurance needs.

Favorite GL success story?

The part of my business that is so satisfying to me is the opportunity to help a new business owner develop a plan for insuring their business. I have worked with many clients as they begin the journey of starting their own business, and I get so much positive feedback about the way I have explained things in an understandable way, made suggestions for prioritizing coverage, and provided the information they need to make good decisions. This is what it’s all about!

Jordan Reabold is IA assistant editor.