Canadian Underwriter

Do your clients freelance? The right questions will get them proper coverage

December 8, 2021   by Brooke Smith

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Your clients may love being their own bosses, or they may be self-employed by necessity.

“If you look at what’s happening with the gig economy, it seems many [people] are either finding new careers and becoming freelancers or freelancing as an additional income stream,” said Curtis Inberg, vice president, sales & distribution, with Foxquilt.

But freelancers need appropriate insurance coverage — and brokers play a key role in making sure clients properly cover their businesses.

Main insurance coverages for most freelancers include professional liability (or errors & omissions) and general liability. And general liability is key, specifically, for photographers.

“Property coverage and commercial general liability are both applicable to [photographers], as they will need to insure their cameras or goods that are going from location to location as well as carry the proper coverage in the event they are sued for bodily injury or property damage,” said Inberg.

And, if a photographer is using a drone — which Inberg said is becoming more common — that would “specifically have to be on the insurance policy as an unmanned aircraft.”

Another key coverage is cyber liability, because freelancers have customer information on their computers and are often under non-disclosure agreements.

“As soon as you have an internet connection and a laptop with information on it, you’re exposed to having cybercriminals access it,” he said. “A lot of the cybercriminals are becoming more advanced as to how they can infiltrate your systems and your networks. Because of remote work, you’re actually more exposed than what you were previously.”

A broker also needs to understand how the client is freelancing.

“Is this freelancing something they’re going to do completely, or do they have another business they’re operating from?” he asked. The answer will drive their insurance needs.

Sometimes a freelancer may operate their business under their existing registered company – in which case they may already have a CGL policy in place.

Brokers need to ask their clients if they have other operations or businesses. “That can help you direct, from a risk management perspective, where to take that conversation,” he said.

Brokers must also keep in mind that some freelancers may be first-time business insurance buyers.

“The best thing [brokers] can do is work with [freelancers] to understand,” said Inberg. “Be very transparent in the approach, walk hand-in-hand with them, because oftentimes a lot of them are becoming freelancers because either another door closed or a new opportunity was created. In either case proper guidance and support is critical.”

Finally, ensure your freelancing clients aren’t overpaying for coverage they don’t actually need.

“A lot of the traditional policies sell you the same type of product,” he said, “but they aren’t really specific to you and your operation.”


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