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  • Writer's pictureChris Burand

Remaining Ignorant

Business Income and Cyber are arguably the two coverages least understood by agents (although given what I'm seeing in property claims, I'm not too sure most agents understand how to insure property correctly either). Most agents know more than their clients, so they sound sort of intelligent but as the saying goes, a little bit of knowledge is dangerous.

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I am a Certified Business Appraiser (CBA). As the certification site states, this designation "earned the reputation of being the industry's most difficult credential to obtain." I share this to let readers know I am deeply immersed in two worlds, business valuation and insurance. The business valuation world has awakened to the huge business opportunity related to carriers whose adjusters do not understand how to properly adjust business income claims and to represent clients in suits against agents for selling or completely failing to sell correct business income coverage.

I've taken the appraisal industry's insurance business income program and frankly, it is a better program than the vast majority of the insurance industry's own business income classes. The people taking their classes are also, in my experience, far more knowledgeable about business income in general than agents even before they begin the program. And for all the readers who out of ignorance think that "I don't really need to understand BI because ALS is the magic solution," you are wrong. Stop selling BI or learn it properly.

These business appraisal experts are formidable opponents in a lawsuit. If you don't want to be on the wrong side of the table when one of your customers' BI claims is not going so well, either learn BI in depth or provide caveats that you aren't promising adequate coverage and they should get their accountant to assist them in not only figuring out the amounts, but time factors too.

This same group of appraisal and accounting experts are building their cyber BI chops to provide the same expertise relative to cyber BI claims. I have developed and teach a high level, high quality cyber insurance program and most agents taking the course are aware of what they need to know, but don't. Their desire to learn and their call to duty to provide their clients with solid cyber coverage gains my utmost respect. But knowing these are the people willing to learn and how most really struggle understanding the BI cyber issues, combined with my E&O audit results that touch on producer knowledge, and few producers possess a tenth of what they need to know about cyber BI.

The accounting and appraisal experts are going to run circles around these agents and many of the adjusters I've met. And rightfully so.

A little knowledge is dangerous. Don't pretend or even give the impression you know what you are doing relative to cyber unless you really do. It's a disservice to your clients and a huge E&O exposure to you. If you are afraid you'll lose the account if the client discovers you are ignorant, then become knowledgeable. Faking it until you make it is not a good option with this new class of opposing and formidable experts.


NOTE: The information provided herein is intended for educational and informational purposes only and it represents only the views of the authors. It is not a recommendation that a particular course of action be followed. Burand Insurance Education, Burand & Associates, LLC and Chris Burand assume, and will have, no responsibility for liability or damage which may result from the use of any of this information.

None of the materials in this article should be construed as offering legal advice, and the specific advice of legal counsel is recommended before acting on any matter discussed in this article. Regulated individuals/entities should also ensure that they comply with all applicable laws, rules, and regulations.


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