How Do I Read a Certificate of Insurance?

How Do I Read a Certificate of Insurance?
John Doe
John Doe

Technical Writer & A Civil Rights Activitist (TEST)

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Reading COIs is easy when technology is part of the equation.

Reading a Certificate of Insurance can be difficult if you are not familiar with terms used in the insurance industry. Those responsible for reading, tracking, and managing COIs within an organization are usually office managers and those working in the purchasing and risk management department.

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Most employees in these positions are not licensed insurance agents so they may need a little bit of help. A quality software product will have processes built in to assist in navigating through the workflow. Creating a risk profile that outlines the insurance requirements for the organization and electronically comparing the Certificates of Insurance submitted by the insured to that risk profile streamlines the process.

The Basics of Reading A Certificate of Insurance

In its simplest form, a Certificate of Insurance is a snapshot of the coverage of an overall policy of someone working with or for you at a specific point in time. This could be a tenant, an advisor, a contractor, or an employee. You want to ensure that your company name and address are correct and that the name insured matches the name on the contract.

After those basic details, there can be a lot of intricate information in each COI. For example, different COIs can have different amounts of coverage required, have a need for additionally insured, waivers of subrogation, and other coverage limits specific to each vendor. It is imperative that to avoid risks, there needs to be constantly tracking and monitoring of these documents within your organization.

Learn how to read a certificate of insurance.

Over 80% of the time an ACORD 25 is the document used for a Certificate of Insurance. In some cases, a provider will create their own document. In this situation, would your employee be able to read, understand, and transfer the information correctly?

Some COI tracking companies offer a service to assist in reading proprietary COI documents through optical character recognition (OCR). Check the guarantees of the accuracy of these companies as normal OCR should be about 90%. Others offer different degrees of accuracy depending on the sophistication of the technology.

How To Get Help Reading Your Certificates of Insurance

Any reputable software program should have a system for helping their customers, whether it’s an email or chat messaging system or a phone number to call. If you are researching companies and software tracking systems, make sure that they have a help desk option.

At the bare minimum, a company should offer an email to use when asking for help, with a promise to return your email within 24 hours. Other methods for helping your questions get answered would be a chatbot for simple, generic questions or the opportunity to talk to a person via email, chat, or on the phone.

A real live human being will be extremely helpful in answering intricate questions specific to your needs and preferential consideration for these vendors is worthy.

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What If I Need Extra Help Reading All the Details?

This is where advanced levels of support services come into play. For organizations that do not have the capacity to manage the software or the workflow, this is a great option. Having a member of a software support services group work with your employee is a great way to ensure that your organization is in compliance and to lower risk. They can really act as an effective extension of your team.

New, innovative technology through automation is key to successfully reading Certificates of Insurance. But remember, when using any automated software, there should always be checks and balances through human intervention to ensure a higher level of accuracy. It may take time to learn new software and to manage the workflow effectively so make sure you do your research to find out which software solution will provide you with the most support and with the most accuracy in reading your COIs.