Why is Certificate of Insurance (COI) Tracking Important?
The rise of the on-demand economy has added layers of moving pieces to every supply chain. With the increased importance on Trust & Safety for on-demand platforms, and Know Your Customer (KYC) audits gaining momentum, effective risk transfer has become a core focus for many organizations – from enterprises to the on-demand platforms, staffing services, and MSPs that manage their contingent workforces. The only way to reliably transfer risk down the supply chain is with liability insurance. So, it’s no surprise that risk managers and legal teams are taking a second look at their certificate of insurance verification, tracking and monitoring practices.
Transferring Risk: Why Your Contract Doesn’t Cut It
There are many popular strategies for transferring risk down the supply chain. Every contract you read will have lengthy sections on liability, limitations, and indemnification. However, none of this is truly effective in the event of an accident without liability insurance (even if you use all caps). For example, let’s look at a classic supply chain scenario:
An enterprise has contracted with a talent management platform to hire freelance videographers for a commercial. The videographer does not have insurance. During the shoot, someone trips over their tripod and breaks their leg. They sue the enterprise for the cost of their medical bills.
Naturally, the enterprise has a clause in their contract that transfers this risk to the talent marketplace, and they have a clause that transfers liability to the freelancer. However, the freelancer simply does not have the money to pay for the medical bills.
Where lawsuits are concerned, liability will typically flow into the deepest pocket. If the first layer is flat, the lawsuit will move up the supply chain until it reaches a link that can pay. That’s why liability insurance is so important.
Certificate of Insurance Management
Every week we talk to companies considering various solutions for tracking and managing certificates of insurance (COIs) for their vendors, contractors, or commercial tenants. Those solutions range from manual, in-house processes combining spreadsheets and file folders, to robust, integrated or outsourced business process solutions (BPO). We thought it would be helpful to break down the key considerations for evaluating the best option for your needs, and how Bunker fits into the vast compliance management ecosystem.
- How much will it cost?
- How much money will I save?
- How much time will this save my team?
- What is the operating cost saved?
- Can we get the reports and data we need?
- Can we effectively track our population, audit retroactively, and access the certificates when we need to?
- Does it integrate with the systems and processes we already use (i.e. Salesforce, VMS systems, etc.)?
- Does the solution have the ability (and flexibility) to grow with our company?
- How does the solution add expertise or validity to our operation?
- Is there advisory or guidance available to our team, our workforce and our clients?
Comparing COI Management Solutions
Understanding Your Options: The Top 3 Myths about COI Management Solutions
There are a few common myths which make it difficult to determine which type of COI management solution will actually add the most value to your business. Here are the three most common misconceptions, and how to make an informed decision before choosing a solution.
Myth 1: The Cheapest Option is to Manage COIs in House
Many of the businesses we talk to think that the cheapest option will be managing certificates of insurance in-house using spreadsheets and a dedicated compliance management team. This is inaccurate for a few reasons. Primarily, these businesses fail to take into account the operating cost of manually gathering, verifying, and monitoring certificates of insurance.
On average, it takes about 30 minutes of work to get a compliant certificate of insurance on file. That time includes emails back and forth just to get a document with all of the requirements met (including additional insured language, waivers, etc.), the slow and error prone process of comparing an ACORD form to a written requirement, and manually cataloging coverages, limits, and expiration dates. We often hear that staff members will have to spend additional time researching insurance terms like waiver of subrogation, or umbrella liability to answer contractors questions and accurately determine whether a COI is compliant.
When you input the average salary of a full time employee, it actually costs at least $10 per COI to manage the process fully in-house.
The second factor is the error rate of manual COI management. Businesses who manage their COIs in-house are exposing themselves to contractors who are not properly insured. In our current litigious environment, an uninsured contractor, vendor or supplier will likely lead to a lawsuit, making manual COI management one of the most costly solutions over time.
Myth 2: The More Robust the Solution, the Less Work You’ll Have to Do
The second assumption we hear is that using a complex, robust risk management solution will leave less work for your team. This is true in some areas. A robust risk management solution that allows you to manage background checks, certifications, and insurance in the same place can cut down on the time you’ll spend going back and forth between different systems.
However, a highly specialized solution with integration capabilities will end up saving you more time. This is because the bulk of the time spent verifying certificates of insurance is the back-and-forth that it takes to communicate requirements and work with contractors to find a policy that will meet them. So, a solution that can effectively communicate the requirement, work with the contractor to quickly obtain a certificate of insurance that meets the requirement, and then also verify and monitor the COI will end up taking more work off of your plate than a system that verifies multiple documents, but leaves the communication up to you.
Myth 3: All COI Management Systems will Speed Up Onboarding
It’s true that all certificate of insurance management systems will save your team time. However, that does not necessarily mean that they will shave any time off of the onboarding process. There are two reasons it takes a long time to get a compliant COI on file:
The first is that finding and purchasing the insurance itself is difficult and slow. It’s challenging for independent contractors to find a policy that will meet their requirement without costing more than they’ll make on the contract. They can spend weeks waiting for traditional insurance companies to provide a quote, and end up having to re-start the process if the price is too high.
The second reason is that COIs are often non-compliant on the first try. Details like double aggregates, statutory requirements, A.M Best ratings and additional insured endorsements are difficult to understand and often incorrect. When that happens, the contractor will have to go back to their agent, attempt to explain the discrepancy, and wait for them to send back an updated document.
The only way to speed up the onboarding process is to combine insurance advisors, purchasing options, and verification into one system. With this system, contractors without insurance are able to purchase the exact policy they need online. If a contractor uploads a certificate of insurance that doesn’t meet their requirements, licensed insurance advisors work with them to fill any gaps in hours rather than weeks. This is precisely what sets Bunker apart from other COI management solutions on the market.
Bunker: Half the Price and Twice as Fast
Because Bunker includes an option to provide insurance for the contractor, vendor or tenant being onboarded, we can speed up the entire process, and at the same time reduce your costs by over half. Even though all contractors are free to upload their own COI, those that apply for insurance on our platform end up purchasing a policy from us 70% of the time. Among those that upload a COI purchased elsewhere, about 10% end up transferring to Bunker upon renewal.
This unique model generates consistent insurance revenue, allowing us to offer our COI management solution to enterprises at a fraction of the cost. At the same time, we reduce friction throughout the process and improve onboarding speed by about 30%.
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While we love a good spreadsheet as much as the next person, they aren’t the cheapest, safest, or most efficient way to solve every problem. Ready to ditch your COI headaches for good? Reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org, (877) 968-9108, or schedule a call with one of our compliance specialists to learn more!