The “new” local insurance broker I called in a panic, was at our house within an hour to measure the house and take photos. He is friends with people we know and he was not fazed out by all my art “stuff”. So while my husband is “not amused” to pay more for insurance, I feel like we may have averted disaster. If something happens (knock wood) I feel much more confident that the local agent, (whose insurance brokerage bears his own last name) is actually going to come out and help us. The agent who needed me to spell out the names of the equipment used in my “commercial manufacturing” business, may not have really understood what I was doing and therefore should something have happened, we may not have been covered.
Questions asked by my insurer that led to my insurance policy being cancelled: (Learn from my mistakes!)
Equipment: Apparently underwriters are totally wigged out by the word “KILN”. I have used kilns for 25 years and I have never once seen one “spontaneously catch fire”. I have seen pizza cooked in a walk-in, high-fire, gas, pottery kiln while I was at university…and still no fire in the kiln, but I kept that story to myself. The underwriter wanted to know if there was some sort of fire prevention system in place in case it did catch fire. The agent didn’t like my answer that I have a fire extinguisher in my studio. They wanted overhead, temperature sensing, automatically released foam…. So when I talked to the new agent, I had the kiln specs handy and was able to easily give details about size, max temperature and mention safety features.
Also under equipment: A grinder seemed to rings some bells…I don’t know why. Maybe they make sparks? The word “polisher” seems like a better term to use, and more appropriate to what I’m doing.
“Raw Materials”: To the first agent buying something and then doing something to it–i.e. buying metal clay, silver wire and making earrings=manufacturing. Yup. I am a “manufacturer” in the eyes of the insurance underwriter. While I’m pretty miffed–I do have an urge to order more business cards and add that to my byline. A better term to use might be “Assembling”. I also didn’t agree with the first agent calling my supplies “raw materials”. I would think those who made the metal clay or silver wire worked with raw materials.
Alarms and Support Systems: A barking beagle does not qualify as a “monitored” burglar alarm. I knew that already…but I had to offer it as an answer when the new insurance agent was looking for ways to reduce my premiums. As for “support systems” I’m not sure what that is… like group therapy? A girdle?
Square footage used for “Business”: With the first agent I totally eyeballed and guessed at what the square footage was for my studio work. I work in a detached garage and have an office in the house. I made the mistake of assuming she meant “all” that I do and gave her the square footage of my studio and office which she deducted from our home’s size. The second agent noted that working in my garage is totally different than working in the house and he actually measured our house and my studio.
Jeannette Froese LeBlanc is the editor at Cre8tiveFire.com and is also a jewellery “manufacturer”.