Recently, United Insurance Agencies hired a new Commercial Lines Customer Service Agent. Mel Mapes has been in insurance for a few years, but worked primarily with Personal Lines. I’ve asked Mel to give us a few comparisons between commercial and personal insurance what she likes about each and what she’s been excited about getting into commercial after a few months.

Before we get into that, let’s define a couple terms.

Personal Lines insurance is auto, home, umbrella, specialty, sometimes even bonds in special circumstances. Most people know about personal lines and know most of the companies that are personal lines writers. If you see a commercial on TV for an insurance company, it is probably a personal lines company. We talked last week about farm insurance and how sometimes personal insurance and commercial insurance can merge, so to do many companies. As always, this blog is informational and educational, not advice on your personal policy. If you want us to look at your personal policy, we’re always happy to, or you can ask your own agent.

Commercial Lines insurance is business, business auto, bonds, workers compensation, cyber liability, and more types of insurance for businesses. Many companies that do personal insurance will do small to medium business insurance as well. But, if you’re a large company (more than 100 employees in most cases) then the insurance company you need will be a company most people have never heard of.

Personal insurance is very rate centric. X amount of claims equals Y amount of rate. Commercial is as much about rate as it is about relationship. The more knowledge the insurance company has about you is going to determine your rates. And Mel can give us more insight into that.

The first example of that, according to Mel, is how and what commercial insurance covers. Your personal insurance will cover you and people in your household. A commercial policy covers not only you, your company, and your employees, but even customers and people who are on your board. Commercial insurance covers more people and the more a commercial underwriter knows about the insured, the better the rate for the insurance.

Mel said something else she’s been amazed by is the grand scale of coverage. A personal policy normally has hundreds of thousands of dollars of insurance, possibly millions if there is an umbrella policy involved. For commercial policies, hundreds of millions in coverage is not unusual. Mel used the example of larger commercial vehicles will cause more damage than smaller personal vehicles. A larger commercial vehicle will not only cause more damage but will need to have more liability coverage to protect the company.

Mel said something she’s noticed coming from personal to commercial is that there are other times where a personal and commercial policy blend. If a person regularly transports something or someone for money, even if it is in their own vehicle, they  need to have a commercial auto policy. If you drive for an application of some sort or transport people for your job, you may need to look into changing the type of policy you have to cover the extra liability the transportation entails.

Finally, and Mel said most importantly, the biggest thing to remember about commercial insurance is commercial clients in our agency deal with her and not JD Geib, who is on the personal lines side. JD Geib is the one who writes these blogs, so I will note that she is correct in that our commercial lines clients have excellent sales and service personnel as do our personal lines clients.

Whether you have commercial insurance or personal insurance, or possibly something in between, the most important parts of your insurance are correct coverage and having an agent that listens and helps you make a great policy. If you do not have an agent you think can give you either good coverage or service, give us a call. Mel might be your new agent!

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