4 questions businesses in the platform economy should ask their insurance broker

Russell Corbould-Warren
Chief Underwriting Officer
Collective Benefits

Choosing the right insurance broker can have a huge impact on your business goals.

On the surface, it might seem like your platform economy business only needs traditional corporate property, liability or D&O insurance . But thinking about how your insurance programme can link together with your wider business strategy can have a big impact when it comes to attracting and retaining talent, and, in turn, staying competitive. Plus, it can be a great way to strengthen your organisation’s social mission and ethos. 

A skilled  insurance broker will understand the unique needs of platform businesses , and help to secure insurance that adds value to your business at the fairest price. Using a poorly suited insurance broker, on the other hand, can be a hindrance to your business, like getting locked into a fixed policy  that doesn’t meet your needs or represent value for money.

In the first part of this two-part series, our expert insurance guru Russell Corbould-Warren highlights some key questions you should ask insurance brokers to find out if they’ve got the skills and experience needed to help you achieve your goals. 

1. How many specialist insurers and platform or gig-sector businesses do you work with? 

As an absolute bare minimum, you need to know that your insurance broker is well versed in the platform economy space. Do they have a solid grasp of the nature of flexible work, the seasonality of revenue and your growth path and the specific risks it entails? And, equally as important, do they understand the value that can be added to a business through securing innovative insurance that actually makes a difference to each worker’s day-to-day life? 

It is important to find out about what sectors of the platform economy the other businesses that they represent are from and how they have dealt with their specific challenges. 

It can also help to do a bit of probing into the insurance providers the broker would look to get quotes from. What are their credentials? How many other customers in the platform economy do they have? Do they only work with big corporations or do they work with start-up sector businesses too? 

Asking these questions up front should help you understand if the broker’s offering looks promising. Then, you can start digging a little deeper.

2. Do you have products and services that are tailored for this market, rather than generic ones that come off the shelf?

Just because a broker says they have tons of experience working with platform economy businesses, it doesn’t necessarily mean they have experience in offering products that are actually tailored to this space. Instead, it’s possible they only have experience in brokering traditional, off-the-shelf insurance products – for businesses that happen to be in the platform economy. See how there’s a big difference here?

You want to know that your insurance broker is skilled and experienced in securing the more interesting, creative type of protections that independent workers need. That they are going negotiate premium structures that flex with your seasonal business and they’re not going to, for example, take a standard personal accident policy and try to squeeze it to fit the needs of your business. 

In short, you want to know they’re prepared to think outside the box, and put the legwork into securing you insurance that isn’t just ‘off-the-shelf’. By asking this question, you’ll soon be able to tell if this is something they’re passionate about doing.

3. How will they help you present yourself in the best possible light in front of insurers?

Finding the right insurance broker isn’t just about making sure you see the best cover and prices from specialist insurers . It’s also about making sure those insurers want to start up a partnership with your business.

It's a tough truth but startups in the platform economy are not a favourite type of risk for insurers.  There are many unknown about your controls, your risks and your growth curve.

Your broker's role is vital here. As the intermediary, they’re the ones that are going to be responsible for presenting your organisation in an attractive light to the insurer. Make sure they take an interest in the specifics of your business.

Ultimately, you want to know your insurance broker understands what’s important to insurers. And that they’re able to efficiently and convincingly communicate how your organisation meets these standards. When you ask this question, the broker should be able to offer a clear plan of action that’s specific to the platform economy. 

What is the user experience for your workers going to be like? 

It’s critical that flexible workers who use your platform understand what protections they have in place. And that they feel confident in actually using the cover you provide for them. Otherwise, your insurance programme is failing both you and them.

Well-oiled technology and a quick claims process are key here. So it pays to find out whether your broker can facilitate both. Do they have the right technology platform capabilities to make sure your workers are able to understand and access their cover, and put forward quick claims? And how involved will they be later down the line, post-deal? Some brokers will take a hands-on approach in keeping the relationship going and making sure your insurance programme is a success. Others will make the introduction, then leave you to deal directly with the insurance company from there on out. 

If you want to make sure you’re getting real value with your broker, it’s wise to ask about their level of input before committing to anything.

Interested in learning more about how an innovative insurance programme could help you achieve your business goals? Get in touch here.

May 26, 2022