From Indiana to India—Are Your Clients Covered?

If the name of your commercial client is “ABC International,” it might seem obvious that this client needs some kind of international insurance coverage. This coverage solution could be in the form of an exporter’s policy or a master policy with local admitted placements in countries where your client does business.

But not all client names suggest international sales, and not all clients with such exposures understand they could or should address these exposures with specific products designed to cover international risks. Chances are you have clients—probably in the middle-market space—that insure these exposures and rely on minimal coverage which their domestic policy may or may not provide.

This is an opportunity to work with these clients to uncover exposures and craft a comprehensive, cost-effective solution. Consider your global middle-market clients—do they have the proper coverage solutions in place?

A common obstacle is that some clients and agents lack confidence to put global exposure discussions upfront during the renewal process. “Most clients have some kind of international exposure. This fact opens up a world of opportunity to discuss how to best provide coverages that fit those needs. Building expertise in preparation for those discussions is reasonable, achievable and down-right critical for agents to be successful today,” says Kathleen S. Ellis, senior vice president, CNA International Solutions.

Even though most, if not all, middle-market clients have international exposures, a number continue to utilize their domestic policies to pick up the international component without a specific solution. To assess their needs, ask your client a few basic questions, such as:

  • What countries is your product is going to?
  • Do you own locations abroad?
  • What countries do you sell to?
  • Do your employees travel for business? Where and for how long?

“These questions go far in assessing the size and complexity of exposures,” Ellis says. “CNA International underwriters are at the ready to provide training, guidance and coverage comparisons to support the agent’s learning curve until more experience is acquired.” 

“A day doesn’t go by where there aren’t news articles or headlines about global security concerns, cyber or terrorist attacks and catastrophic weather events,” adds Dave Filippini, assistant vice president, CNA. “Commercial clients need to travel, sell to more markets or even invest abroad with boots on the ground in other countries. These clients seek advice and counsel on these matters from their brokers as well as the domestic products and services typical to their insurance placements.”

Today, Ellis points out that many solutions are available in the market to respond to a client’s needs: property, general liability (premises/products), foreign voluntary workers compensation, kidnap & ransom, and accident coverage, as well as directors & officers and other specialty lines. “Beyond the coverages, services round out the offering with options including emergency medical and political unrest evacuations,” she explains.

In the end, success in presenting middle-market clients with international coverage options often comes down to the level of confidence the agent has about this type of insurance. If locally admitted coverages in a foreign jurisdiction are not compulsory or mandated, it may be possible to cover overseas sales on some domestic placements if the territory is not excluded in a general liability policy.

But this may not be the most appropriate approach. Usual extensions of domestic coverage don’t always meet a client’s needs. Consider pricing factors if exposures are in countries with less litigious environments.

“The size of the client’s exposure and their tolerance for compliance drives what solution is best suited for them. These solutions also may evolve as time goes on and the business becomes larger and more sophisticated. Agents who learn how to create the best solutions for their clients will establish long-lasting relationships that will grow as these clients expand,” Ellis says.

CNA tailors its international coverage by industry segments such as manufacturing, life sciences, professional services and technology companies, and provides all the coverage from a general liability and property perspective that clients are accustomed to in their domestic coverage. CNA also offers add-ins such as political evacuation expense coverage, national catastrophe and security evacuation expense coverage.

But as a client’s needs grow, writing the coverage can appear more complicated. “An agent can use that extra pair of hands to help them feel confident when the client gets beyond the entry-level international coverage,” Filippini says. “When a client ‘graduates’ from exporters coverages, they move toward a program that is a master policy with local policies written in the foreign language of the country where the entity is located.

Filippini notes that some carriers have the international services and not the coverage behind it, while others have the coverage but not the right services to accompany it. The fact that CNA brings both to the table is what sets the company’s international coverage apart, he says—and agents can leverage that strength when acquiring international coverage for their clients.

Helping agents navigate the global business environment is critical to elevating broader skills and awareness around client needs. As Ellis suggests, “We want to be additive to the professional consultation work our agents do every day, especially in the international space. We can partner with them and provide technical support in the sales process or behind the scenes.”