Most companies use their websites as an electronic brochure, and are inclined to list just about every service they can provide, whether or not they have provided it in the past.
While this might be good for business generation, it could adversely affect insurance availability and premiums.
Why would your website affect your insurance and risk management program?
A lot of the answer rests with the underwriter. An underwriter is the individual who works for the insurance company to determine the price they feel is reasonable for the insurance you are looking for.
The underwriter evaluates your application carefully (your application will materially affect your pricing as well, but that’s another conversation). They also do their homework and check out other information that is available to them. In addition to the application they will review loss histories, resumes of key individuals, financial statements, premium history, and in almost every case they carefully underwrite the applicant’s website.
One of our civil engineering clients worked on a condominium project some years ago. It was a large iconic project and it was featured prominently on the engineer's website. The website went on to extol the firm's experience and expertise with this project type.
They hadn’t done a condominium project since that time, and the professional liability application indicated as much. But nevertheless, the simple fact that it was featured on the website adversely affected the underwriter's perception of the risk. For those of you not familiar with the liability exposures arising out of multi-family construction, underwriters consider them guaranteed litigation (the engineer was ultimately sued on this project).
After reviewing the website, the underwriter declined to provide a quote.
The message is this: Be careful what you put on your website! It can not only affect your pricing, it can also adversely affect your ability to get insurance at all.