Obtaining Certificates of Insurance from Your Vendors
As a small business reliant on vendors for your product or services, your persistence in tracking certificates of insurance from each of your vendors helps to insulate you from liability. If you use many different vendors, it may seem daunting to think about organizing a program that not only stores the certificates, but obtains new certificates annually to ensure that proper coverage is consistently maintained. Here are a few ideas to help you get started.
- Add the certificate of insurance requirement to your contract: Within your contract, you should specify that a certificate of insurance showing liability, and other necessary coverages, is required before you begin conducting business with the vendor. You can also add a clause that new certificates are required annually in order to continue working together.
- Create a checklist: In the folder that you keep the company contract in, add a checklist of supporting documents that you require, including the certificate of insurance. Do not file the contract as completed until the certificate is sent in.
- Get the right contact information: The individual whom your company has the most contact with may not be the individual who handles the insurance renewal and management. Get the name of the individual that you should be contacting at the vendor’s office in order to discuss the issue of liability insurance certificates.
- Follow-up in writing: If you fail to get the certificate after contacting the correct individual, send a letter addressed to both your insurance contact and the person who signed the vendor contract. This will serve as an official notice that you have yet to receive the certificate and the contract is still invalid.
- Use your customer relationship management (CRM) program: If you utilize CRM software to track your clients and follow-up on marketing leads, you can also use it to track vendors and certificates of insurance. Simply designate an area for notation once the certificate is received, and place an annually renewing reminder to call the company and update their certificate.
It’s incumbent on you to make sure that your vendors give you certificates of insurance in order to continue doing business together. If you need additional solutions for managing this task, give us a call at 203-397-3993.