Insurance Agencies: Securing Documents & Protecting Clients

Insurance is a part of everyday life. Without it, our homes, businesses, automobiles and any other entity of perceived value is at risk of being lost, stolen, or broken, without being replaced. By paying insurance companies month after month, policy holders are assured that if deemed an acceptable loss, their insurer will pay to restore or replace what has been destroyed. Billions of client records must be stored and managed properly in order to keep very close track of who insures what; and how much it is worth.

Taking Steps to Protect Clients

In recent years, most insurance agencies have begun to take proactive steps in protecting their clients’ documents and other files from fire, flood or other catastrophes – rather than reacting to a disaster in which all client information could be lost forever. As all insurance companies know, it is impossible to predict when a need for such security will be needed, but it is imperative to be prepared for the worst at all times.

Over the years, there have been several techniques developed for securing important documents. Creating digital files that can be backed up on disks or CDs and then placed in fireproof safes or cabinets is the best method to safeguard important documents and other files. But it is also important to ensure that proper measures are taken to protect and preserve those records that exist on paper and cannot be transferred to digital.

Kurt McCamish, President of Broadus Insurance in Montana, feels that “...even though many organizations tend to be going paperless, it seems as though it will never be a complete reality for us. It would require my company too much work to switch over to being completely digital. There are certain things, such as hard copies of customer files, deck sheets, titles and other correspondence that need to be fully accessible and 100% protected at all times. That’s why a little over one year ago, we purchased twelve 4-drawer FireKing fireproof file cabinets. I am confident that they will do the job to protect my client’s important documents, even though I hope they never get tested.”

Record Protection Policies & Standards

Today, it is near standard practice for insurance agencies of all sizes to create record protection policies. Some include regularly backing up digital files, keeping duplicate copies of hard files in alternate locations, as well as storing important files and documents in tested fireproof cabinets or safes. However, not all companies have employed such steps to insure that their vital records are safe from disaster.

Darinka Kavcic of Gerling Global, Inc. in Toronto, speaks about a much needed change that finally came to her office:

“We only had one fireproof safe in the office. Executive board meeting minutes, unused checks and financial records were kept in it. All of the clients' documents were stored in non-fireproof cabinets until recently separating from our sister company. We started off by purchasing all FireKing fireproof file cabinets to move forward; it’s the safest way to protect our most vital documents.”

A non-fireproof cabinet in an insurance agency is not completely inappropriate for all situations. For example, files with non-current information, otherwise known as “dead files” can be stored in regular cabinets or destroyed in a proper manner. Also, anything that is easily replaceable can be kept in non-fireproof cabinets; however even what seems to be replaceable before a fire, flood or other disaster, can prove to be quite a challenge to restore afterward.

Advice From an Expert

Insurance industry expert, Richard Mintzer, Managing Director of Richard Mintzer Associates, LLC in Boulder, CO has been working in the field since 1963.

“Trying to restore or replace vital records lost in any disaster, whether it is a fire, flood or other catastrophe, proves to be an almost impossible task. At the very least, the most important documents such as employee records, corporate agreements of all kinds, and any special arrangements that are out of the normal curve should be kept in a fireproof container; and if at all possible it should be waterproof as well.”

The best solution for those who insure people’s lives and possessions is to create a situation guaranteeing that no important document can be lost due to a catastrophe. FireKing fireproof file cabinets and safes give the insurance industry a little extra insurance when it comes to protecting vital paper or digital information.