The application for insurance is a transfer of information from a prospective insured to an insurance carrier. The representations made by the person seeking insurance are considered by the insurer in determining whether or not an offer of coverage will be extended and if it is, what premium will be assessed. The information contained on the application document forms the basis of the policy/contract which comes into play at the time of a loss. Essentially, the application paints the picture of a risk which is reviewed by an insurance company which offers coverage and charges premium for the exposure revealed in the document.
An application is divided into several sections.
General information is requested such as the name of the insured as well as mailing and physical address of the risk along with contact information including phone number, email address and alternative contact numbers. The real meat and potatoes of the underwriting begins with the description of the risk wherein it is classified in terms of acceptability to an insurer. Typically, the next section of questions deals with the rating basis wherein the level of exposure for the risk is determined. For instance, service businesses are typically rated based on payroll whereas manufacturing or distribution businesses are typically rated based on gross annual revenues.
The role of the agent is to assist the applicant in completing the application.
Often times the agent will ask the questions of the prospective insured and fill in the answers based on the responses. Applications for certain lines of insurance, such as professional liability, are commonly completed by the applicant themselves as the questions are nuanced and germane to that individual’s specific field of expertise. The bottom line is that the person signing the application bears the responsibility of reading the document thoroughly and making sure that all of the information disclosed is accurate. At Rolfs Insurance Services we try to make this process as fluid as possible. Reviewing the questions and discussing their significance with our clients allows for the development of a relationship and understanding which creates the foundation for a trusting relationship.