Canadian Underwriter

How this broker is binding Lloyd’s policies online

March 19, 2019   by Greg Meckbach

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A Calgary-based Lloyd’s coverholder has re-launched its website to make it easier for brokers to bind policies for special events without having to deal with a lot of paper forms.

PAL Insurance Brokers Canada Ltd. has allowed clients to apply for policies online for at least four years, said Matthew Taylor, general manager of PAL, in an interview Tuesday.

“The new launch within the last month has really taken that whole system to the next level,” said Taylor, who works out of Simcoe, Ont. for Calgary-based PAL (Party Alcohol Liability), which is both a retail brokerage and wholesale brokerage.

PAL relaunched its website in response to brokers who want to make their work easier and faster. One of the new features on PAL’s website lets brokers apply for an endorsement that adds a venue operator as an additional insured on a policy without having to pay a fee.

Venue operators are commonly exposed to liability risk associated with serving alcohol, including lawsuits filed by plaintiffs alleging an individual was negligent in serving someone too much liquor. To address this risk, banquet halls and other venues often require a client to have $2 million – or even $5 million – in liability coverage as a condition for renting the facility.

Clients usually look for limits of between $2 million and $5 million and PAL can insure to those limits without having to look for both a primary and excess insurer, Taylor said. “PAL can look at offering up to $10 million.”

Many contracts that clients have with venue operators require the client to name the venue as an additional insured, said Taylor. “Nine out of 10 times we see the clients forget to add (the venue operator as a named insured), or the broker overlooks the additional insured on the policy or on the application.”

In the past, the process of adding the venue as an additional insured was more cumbersome; there used to be a fee for changes to those insurance policies, said Taylor. “Now they go on to the website, they select the additional insured and they just input the information and the website will automatically issue that endorsement for that policy.”

This is one of the new features of PAL’s website that resulted in part from demand from PAL’s retail broker partners.

PAL places all of its liquor liability policies with the Lloyd’s market. The brokerage places insurance for events such as the Victoria Day long weekend, St. Patrick’s Day, New Year’s Eve, weddings, concerts and festivals and street parties.

“Friday afternoons can be chaos in the summertime with all the events taking place on the upcoming weekend,” Taylor noted. “With the online system, brokers are able to do the online policies without all the back and forth or the wait time, they can do it while the client is sitting right in the office.”

Clients in the “millennial” generation tend to prefer to do business online without having to send paper documents back and forth, Taylor suggested.

Both brokers and retail clients can fill out applications online. Some PAL clients can fill out an application and receive a quote automatically.

In other instances, the answer to an underwriting question will require a PAL underwriter to manually review the application. In these cases, the client or broker can communicate with the underwriter through PAL’s new web portal, with policy documents being issued online, Taylor suggested.

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