Organizing Certificates of Insurance Best Practices

Certificates of insurance best practices include obtaining a certificate of insurance from each vendor, asking to be named as an additional insured, carefully reviewing the certificate, assessing endorsements, getting an updated certificate at renewal, implementing an organizational scheme, and consulting an insurance professional.

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Published October 05, 2020   •   2 minute read

Collecting certificates of insurance the first time you work with a vendor is important, but continually maintaining accurate and current documents can be just as critical. Incomplete records, misplaced certificates, and expired policies do not mitigate risk, and they may jeopardize your compliance.

Adhering to the following best practices for organizing certificates of insurance can safeguard against potential claims. 

 

Obtain a Certificate of Insurance From Relevant Third Parties

The first step in any certificate of insurance management system is collecting documents from your contractors, vendors, and/or tenants. You should request a certificate immediately if you’ve already signed an agreement or do not plan to use one. Otherwise, request pertinent documents as soon as both parties have agreed on insurance requirements in the contract. 

 

Ask to Be Named as an Additional Insured

Additional insured endorsements extend a liability policy to cover other parties. If you’re added to a contractor’s policy, this may provide an extra layer of protection for your organization if a claim emerges as a result of their actions.   

 

Look Over the Certificate Immediately

Before filing the document, it is best practice to review it thoroughly. Check expiration dates, coverage limits, and what’s included to ensure that the policy meets the agreed upon terms from the contract. If not, you will need to ask that the holder to correct any deficiencies.

 

Assess Endorsements

If your company is requiring any specific endorsements, you may need to ready through your vendor's endorsement to make sure it offers the coverage you are looking for. It is important to double check the type of endorsement and the language use to make sure there isn't any exclusionary language. 

 

Get an Updated Certificate at Renewal

Your documentation must be current to stand up to claims. You should be proactive about this and reach out to your vendors before their coverage expires to make sure there is no lapse in coverage. Every time your contractors renew their policies, you should get updated certificates for your records. Staying on top of collecting COIs can save you a lot of time and effort down the road. 

 

If You Don’t Use a Tracking Software, Set Up an Organizational Scheme

Tracking software can simplify your organization by storing documents, identifying deficiencies, contacting vendors for corrections, and monitoring when policies expire. Without tracking software, someone within your company will need to set up an organizational scheme. Alphabetizing COIs by the contractors’ names is typically effective. To keep your documents current, set alerts to remind you before certificates expire so that you can request new copies immediately.  

 

Consult an Insurance Professional

Risks vary between industries. A qualified insurance professional can help judge your company’s exposures and coverage needs. Each new project may bring new liabilities, so you’ll want to make sure your organization is protected if things don’t go as planned. 

 

BCS is the leading certificate of insurance tracking solution. Our app-based platform and team of experts will help protect your business by ensuring your certificates of insurance are in order. To learn more, download “The 9 Fundamentals of Vendor Insurance Review” guide or schedule a demo

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