As someone who owns a business, you’re going to need to work with underwriters at one point or another. While you might not think your online image would make a difference in these interactions, that’s far from the truth.
Being aware of how you come across online is crucial since it can impact so many parts of your business.
Many underwriters scour the social media profiles and websites of companies they come in contact with. It provides them with insight into your overall reputation, safety practices, and overall business operations.
A web search and a bit of digging can provide a lot of information about you and your company. That’s why you should be aware of what’s already out there.
We’ve talked a bit about this but more depth is needed to understand just how important your digital image is. A lot of businesses make mistakes here.
Some will embellish things for marketing purposes or even leave up old information on websites and social media profiles on purpose if it has a positive effect on business.
When it comes to underwriters, they are going to base the decisions they make on the information they can find.
If you have misleading details or inconsistencies across platforms, this can be an issue. It may make it much more challenging to secure suitable workers’ compensation insurance. This makes it essential to regularly review your online presence to ensure it aligns with your current business operations.
But accuracy isn’t the only reason to pay attention to your online image. It can also provide you with a way to highlight just how important safety practices are to your organization.
Underwriters prefer to work with organizations where employee well-being is prioritized and the work environment is safe for everyone. Use that knowledge to create an online image that impresses underwriters who research you.
The digital footprint for your business across social media accounts and your company website should showcase relevant certifications, training initiatives, and protocols related to safety.
This is an excellent way to show how dedicated you are to minimizing risks. It can make your business seem more positive in the eyes of underwriters.
Now that you have the basics of digital image and underwriters, we want to talk about some of the ways that people have made mistakes in the past. You can use these to gauge whether you’re using your digital presence to help or harm your business as a whole.
One employer wrote on his social media that he was capable of doing “cabinets and more.” However, this is vague and it created alarm bells for the underwriters. He needed to explain what “and more” included before he could be insured.
He explained that he refers business to contractors to perform other work that kitchens might need. If you are referring people to subcontractors or rely on them in any way, this is something you need to be clear about.
Maybe you have a website where you indicate you work alone. However, a client leaves a testimonial that says, “You guys were great.” You need to be able to explain that to an underwriter. This is a real example of something that has happened in the past.
In the end, an agent needed to vouch for him and say he works alone on small jobs but his website is for marketing purposes and reflects his dream of having a larger operation down the road.
As someone being insured, you need to know that if payroll is being paid by 1099 or W2, it has to be reported and the policy endorsed. The insured understood this and was able to move forward.
An employer had a website that indicated he does residential and commercial cleaning. The underwriter wanted to know exactly what he does for the job. He had to explain that he got burnt out doing commercial cleaning and is now doing only residential services.
Keep in mind that if you advertise you do some kinds of jobs, underwriters are going to be less likely to work with you. This mainly applies to risky endeavors. For instance, one man was advertising he did framing even though he didn’t, which made the underwriter understandably wary.
Both websites and social media matter. In one situation, some contractors worked on concrete flatwork. However, their Facebook page showed crew in sweatshirts reading “Concrete Foundations,” and pictures captioned with “prepping for new roadwork,” which indicates they were doing curb work.
Each of these is a higher risk and needs to be considered by the underwriter. In the end, it turned out they were subcontracting and the photos were not of their team members.
Here are some things to keep top of mind while securing coverage:
If you are in a business that refers people to others, be proactive about sharing that with the insurance company from the start. This is quicker and easier than needing to answer questions if they see photos of work that you didn’t do and they can’t be sure whether it was done by your company or one you share business with. Be as detailed as you can be to avoid making the process longer than it needs to be.
You also want to be sure you watch for dates. Underwriters are going to be wary if all the information they can find is old. It’s far more likely that some things may not be accurate if years have passed when you made changes.
As such, regular updates are the best way to avoid this issue. This can be done on your social media and website. The best part is that it’s also a great way to market yourself to new clients.
Another thing to watch is your reviews. For instance, if someone mentions they loved your shingle work but you no longer do that, it can bring up red flags for the underwriter.
While you may not be able to remove the review, you can choose to address it. Simply note under the review that you used to do that work but no longer do it.
Along with all of these solutions, we want to recommend that if your business type usually necessitates a website, you should have one.
This is another situation where not doing so can make an underwriter curious about why you aren’t handling business the way your competitors are. There’s no way to corroborate your agent’s submission, and you could end up declined on that basis.
All in all, you have to have a digital footprint. However, it’s just as important that you ensure it’s up-to-date and totally accurate.
Since insurance coverage is essential, you want to make the process of gaining it as simple as possible. Putting time and effort into being honest and comprehensive in your information will go a long way. Use the solutions above to clean up your profiles and move forward with your financial needs without worry.
If you want to find quality workers’ compensation insurance quickly, Kickstand Insurance is here to help. We work with companies in various industries, even those that might have a higher degree of risk. Protecting your business and employees is essential so make sure you have the insurance you need.
When you work with Kickstand Insurance, we offer a free quote online to make the process as simple as possible. Make sure you have the coverage and protection you need without a long wait to get things rolling. Reach out to us on our website or hello@KickstandInsurance.com to get all your other questions answered.