Interview with Jean Charlebois of McDougall Insurance

Interested in talking to McDougall Insurance about your insurance needs?

How long have you been in the insurance industry?
I have around 12 years' experience in Insurance.

What is your favourite part of being in the insurance industry?
It is never boring and always challenging.

What is the importance of an Insurance Broker?
An insurance broker can negotiate on their client’s behalf with the other insurance company. If something happens, the Broker is there to fight for their clients. If you do not have a broker, you will have to do that yourself. Brokers can help navigate price increases by taking your policy to many different companies and shopping around for the best rate for you.

What is the difference between a Broker and an Agent?
An agent works for the Insurance Company, they will be looking out for the Company. Brokers work for their clients, looking out for the best interests of their clients.

Do Insurance professionals have industry specialties?
Some focus on personal insurance and some also do business insurance.

Does your firm provide any other special services?
While we provide personal and business insurance, our parent company can also guide you with investments and life insurance.

What are some of the things new business owners should consider when getting insurance?
The specific type of insurance requirements they need for the kind of industry they are in, contractors for example need special insurance.

When is the best time to get Business insurance?
It should be part of your business plan, right from day one, especially if your business is going to be going into people’s homes. You need to think about your insurance needs and liabilities in the planning of your business.
There is the legal liability if, for example, you decide to do trade shows or even rent certain spaces you might be asked for specific coverage. Don’t wait for a customer to ask if you have it, that’s too late.

What are the different types of insurance for businesses?
The most common is Auto Insurance, but there is also Commercial General Liability which protects your business if someone gets hurt or property is damaged. That doesn’t cover Professional work though, there is Professional Liability for that, which protects your work or opinion from malpractice claims. Contents and Tools insurance can cover your operating equipment if there is a fire or they get stolen. For non-profits, there’s Director’s and Officer’s Insurance. There is even Cyber Coverage to help cover you in the event of a cyber attack like hacking or ransomware.
There are many industry-specific types of insurance, you need Snow Removal Insurance to do Snow Removal and it must be in the contract.

What is the standard practice regarding renewals?
Well, I usually contact my clients beforehand to ask them if anything has changed in their business. Are profits up or down? Has the size of the business changed, or the value of contents and equipment changed? These questions help me figure out any changes they might need to their policy to best suit their needs. If they are in an industry that has been hard-hit with increasing fees, we can seek alternative markets for better pricing, so they get the best value.

What are some of the common limitations of policies?
It depends on the policy; the limitations are written into your policy so you need to read it and make sure you understand what it covers.

Do you offer payment options?
Yes, there is one pay, three pay, and monthly. You can even use a credit card for one or three though there is a small fee sometimes. For example, the fee for Auto is 1.3% and 3% for Property Liability.

Is it possible to save money through bundling or are there other discounts available?
No, Commercial insurance is not like personal insurance where you might save on a multi-policy when you have Auto Insurance. We can however take your policy to the market to get the best price.

Are there any misconceptions that you have come across about business insurance that you could clear up?
General Liability doesn’t cover everything, you need specific insurance to be protected from floods. Most people know they need extra coverage for sewer backups, but natural flooding is not covered. You need to look at your policy carefully to see what it covers and make sure it is current.

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