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Chris Richmond, CIC, AAI, CMIP

Chris Richmond, CIC, AAI, CMIP

By Chris Richmond
For WorkBoat Magazine, February 2024

Clients often ask whether a claim they are reporting is going to affect their premium. . Insurance companies need to make a profit in order to remain in business – so as a matter of practice they will take a look at the amount of premium they have taken in compared to the amount they have paid out due to claims. Let’ take a look at the process involved with an underwriter coming up with your premium.

Insurance underwriters look to insure profitable businesses, and when I say profitable, I mean profitable to the insurance company. They want the risk to have a favorable loss ratio. A loss ratio is calculated by taking the amount paid out in claims for the last five years and dividing it by the total premium paid to the insurance company for the same five years. Insurance companies vary in their loss ration percentage but generally fall between 35% and 50%. If the client’s loss ratio is too high the underwriter will either non-renew the policy or increase the premium.

You might be wondering about where the rest of the premium goes. Part of this goes to employee salaries, marketing, broker commissions, claims expenses, loss control visits, etc. In short, the remainder is what the insurance company has to operate as a business.

There are some factors that can be to your benefit when looking at your overall premium. Insurance companies like long-standing customers and if you can show more than five years of claims-free business with them then they can often take that into consideration. The insurance company will be less likely to drop you due to one large shock claim if they have made a profit from you over the long term.

If you have multiple vessels, you should keep them all insured with the same insurance company. The increase in premium with one company helps your loss ratio by diluting any claims you may have.

The same goes with combining your remaining policies with one company. If you are able to add property, commercial auto, marine general liability and the like with one company then they will look at the combined premium with calculating your loss ratio.