ALTERNATIVE RISK FINANCING: NOT JUST FOR THE BIG GUYS

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Large corporations often use "alternative risk financing" - assuming some of their own risks, in addition to buying insurance - as a way to improve cash flow and lower their total costs. However, this technique can offer substantial benefits for medium-sized companies that face significant potential risks from one line of insurance, such as Workers Comp, General Liability, or Auto Liability.

Basic alternative risk financing methods include:

  • Guaranteed cost insurance - the company pays a premium based either on a rate, such as payroll or property values, or a flat amount.
  • Incurred loss retrospective rating plans ("retro) - use a standard premium adjusted after policy expiration based on loss experience.
  • Large-deductible plans - the organization assumes a substantial (often $50,000 to $250,000) per-accident or per-occurrence deductible.
  • Self-insurance - the firm retains its loss obligations and pays them as they become due.
  • Captive insurance - this variation on self-insurance pre-funds risks through an insurance subsidiary ("captive") usually owned by the parent company.

Because each of these methods has advantages and disadvantages, your choice should depend on the situation and needs of your business. For example, a guaranteed cost plan minimizes the upside risk, but won't help your cash flow; while a captive usually costs the least to finance, but can be expensive to administer.

Whichever alternative risk financing option you choose, make sure your accounting and human resources departments educate managers on their responsibilities in daily hands-on administration of the program. The more widespread their "buy-in," the stronger your bottom line.

We'd be happy to help you select and develop an alternative risk financing program that's tailored to your needs. Just give us a call.

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