It is safe to say, there is no “standard” moving and storage agent. Historically, the typical mover usually moved personal goods (HHG) and in most cases, the perspective of the general public is based on that concept – “a mover is a mover”. As anyone who works in the moving and storage (M&S) insurance area knows, that is not always the case. Because there is a wide range in which movers choose to operate their businesses, it is the responsibility of their insurance agent to ensure that the type of business they are conducting is covered under the insurance policies provided for them.
I have been working in the M&S industry for the past 20 years, but even today I am faced with situations where what is being requested, puzzles me. Most insurance agents understand the basics as to what it takes to cover the commercial automobile and general liability exposures. These coverages are typically considered the “core” of the insurance coverages that you provide and are fairly standard on both general freight haulers and moving and storage agents. The differences between the two are as follows: (1) hauling authority; (2) limits required; (3) federal and state filings; (4) deductibles. It is important that these areas are clearly discussed with your mover to ensure that they understand the coverages being offered and the exposures to which those coverages relate. It is important to note that it is in the best interest of your client to carry the proper required coverages and that you make them aware of that.
The one coverage area that still fascinates and amazes me is cargo/inland marine exposures, where you can receive requests to cover items from $.60/lb up to high value items at $1M per item, which can include a variety of items such as artwork, and even space capsule components! This is where the potential for multi-million-dollar losses can occur and it is extremely vital that it is explained to the movers in great detail. Movers need to understand what they are offering to their shippers, the limitations/restrictions involved, and what is available to them from your carriers. As the mover’s agent, it is critical for youto ensure that you have shown your insured all options available to them and that they understand all aspects of their policy. Through various coverage options, the Mover’s Choice program provides the opportunity to ensure that your movers are carrying the coverages necessary for them to operate within their regions and to provide shippers with the correct and proper coverages and limits.
In my opinion, and I may be considered “biased” since I have been involved with the M&S industry for more years than others, I feel that M&S insurance agents are among the top professionals in the overall insurance industry. Relationships are a critical part of the M&S insurance field and our responsibilities require ensuring that your insureds, and consequently their customers, are provided with the best available options. Your professionalism ensures that you will continue to earn the respect of your movers, thus leading to long term relationships.
Written By: Jeffrey Howe
Jeff has over 40 years of experience in the insurance industry, 20 of which have been exclusively with moving and storage, to which he has found to be the most interesting and challenging. In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with his wife working around the house, solving crossword puzzles, and enjoying time with his first grandchild.