What You Need to Know About Certificates of Insurance
Whether it’s an emergency plumbing job or a large-scale office renovation, having the proper proof of insurance from outside vendors can mean the difference between the job getting done effectively or delays that cost crucial time and money.
Most buildings require that service providers have a Certificate of Insurance, or COI, to prove that they are insured up to a certain amount. This ensures that if there is an accident or mishap while they are on site they will be covered and able to pay for any damage that was caused and will avoid potential lawsuits. As an office operations professional in charge of hiring and working with vendors, taking a proactive approach to understanding building requirements and collecting proof of insurance will not only enable service to begin easily, but will make your CFO happy by keeping your company safe from potential liability.
Talk with building management
In commercial buildings, landlords set the rules that govern outside vendors. Upon move in, lease renewal, or planning for a large scale project, confirm what they require in terms of insurance. Most will require that vendors have a COI on file with the building and may require that a vendor show proof of different types of insurance, such as workers comp or general liability up to a certain dollar amount. Landlords will provide a template for a COI that service providers must complete, send to their insurance company to be verified and stamped, and return before they can access the building. Without proper insurance documentation, vendors can be blocked from working in the building, which can cause costly delays, especially in an emergency situation.
Talk to your vendors
When beginning to work with a vendor, address the issue of insurance as early as possible. Provide them with your building’s Certificate of Insurance template to fill out and send to their insurance company to stamp and return. The turnaround time from the insurance company depends on the vendor’s specific insurance policy, so always ask “How long is this going to take to return?” Because the turnaround time could be anywhere from an hour to several days, always make sure there’s enough lead time to get the COI completed before work on a project begins. Once on file, COIs expire after one year, so you will need to ask your vendors to renew their Certificate of Insurance annually.
Some buildings require that vendors not only provide a COI, but add the company they are working with as an “additional insured” on their policy. This adds an extra layer of protection from liability for any damages and accidents for your company.
Minimize the paperwork
To help simplify the Certificate of Insurance process, Managed by Q enables users to upload their COI template to their Q Dashboard. When you book a service through Managed by Q, vendors can easily download a PDF of your building-specific insurance form to fill out and return. The feature also enables users to access already completed COIs from the dashboard. To get started and upload your Certificate of Insurance template, login to your Q dashboard.