Words by Ryan Woldt, Chief Monkey at One Wild Life
Editor’s Note: This is an accounting of getting insurance for a small business that just happens to be the first of its kind in the world. It is not an exact recounting. It is a fictionalized account based on real events. Sometimes when you don’t fit in a box that can be checked you have to deal with paving the way.
1st contact with Insurance broker:
Broker – No Problem! Should be cheap. I know just the company. They insure companies like yours all the time.
OWL – Great!
Broker – Hi I’m XXX, and am having trouble getting you a quote.
OWL – Who are you?
Broker – I’m XXX. XYXY sent me your info and asked me to take care of you.
OWL – You work for him.
Broker – No I don’t. I work for a different company.
OWL – Huh.
Broker – Can you just describe what you need insurance for?
OWL – We are an office in a bus. We park at the beach and people use our wifi. We do not transport anyone in the bus.
Broker – Oh, cool. I’ll get back to you shortly. (hangs up the phone).
OWL – What the hell was that? Hey did you know about this new agent?
Broker: It has been really hard get a quote for you. I’ve called EVERYONE. It has been very hard.
OWL – What seems to be the problem?
Broker – Well…they don’t like the rock climbing part of it.
OWL – What? We are not a rock climbing company. We don’t do that. We are a mobile office space.
Broker – Oh…Well…They also don’t like the sky diving.
OWL – Are you serious?
Broker – Yes.
OWL – WE ARE NOT A SKYDIVING COMPANY!
Broker – Are you sure?
OWL – YES!
Broker – Oh. (Long pause) I’ll get back to you shortly.
OWL – Wait! Wait, wait. Let us come to your office. It sounds like you have no idea what we do.
Broker – Good idea.
4th contact (in office):
Broker – Hi.
OWL – Hi.
Broker – This has been really hard. It’s the rock climbing that’s the problem.
OWL – We are not a rock climbing company. We are a Mobile Office. It’s very simple. If people want to go out and be active they still need a way to check in to work. We are where they do that. Here look (draws a picture of bus on one side of a line and people being active on the other).
These people are over here doing whatever they want. Sunbathing, hiking, whatever. Then when they want to work they come into our cowork space. Do you know what a cowork space is?
Broker – Not really, no.
OWL – It’s a shared office space.
Broker – Like an office that people share?
OWL – Yes. Office. No rock climbing.
Broker – OHHHH. I get it. An office. Okay. That will make this a lot easier.
Broker – So I called the companies and said, “Hey guys! They need insurance for an office on wheels with NO rock climbing.” But then the insurance carriers said, “But you just called us last week and said they WERE rock climbing.” Then I said, “Yeah, but they aren’t.” And they said, “We don’t believe you. You already said it. No take-backsies.” And I said, “They don’t sky dive either.” And they said, “Skydive? We definitely can’t insure them then.”
OWL – So what are you saying?
Broker – Well, I guess I’d strongly recommend that you don’t do the rock climbing part.
OWL – You’re fired.
OWL – Hello, 1st Broker? Yeah, hi. That guy you pawned us off on didn’t work out. He had no idea what he was doing.
Broker – Really? Huh. I sent you to him because you don’t make enough money for me to help you yet.
OWL – Okay, well that would have been nice to know before we had to go through that but now we’re back to you.
Broker – I’m really sorry. I’ll fix it. Shouldn’t be a problem.
Broker – So here’s the problem….
And here is where things turned a corner. Relaying this story among friends, and someone pipes up. “I got a guy.”
Famous last words. He gives me the e-mail. I send a message. He responds, and says “I’m passing this to my top guy.” Uh huh, sure you are.
And then we continue to search. We end up working with a company across the country who seems to really get our mission. Everything is a go except for one add-on. And we wait. And wait. Everything is a go…
And then the phone rings. It’s Steve from Weaver Insurance. And Steve says (paraphrasing), “I’m sending over some insurance documents for you to review. We love what you’re doing. I’m excited to work with you. This is what it’s going to cost. This is what it includes.”
I was honestly speechless.
For a while. Dealing with insurance had been just a never-ending shitstorm that didn’t make any sense to us. We had a business that needed insurance, and a vehicle owned by the business. Steve got that when seemingly no one else did. We asked him to find insurance and he did. Even so, months later, I’m still in shock at how simple our interaction was when every other company (and we went to a bunch) tried so hard to make everything so complicated.
Walking away the lesson learned was that when everyone tells you you have to do something a certain way but you know in your gut that isn’t true…follow your gut. And then put in the time and effort. Good things will happen.
Editor’s note: Steve is real, as is Weaver Insurance. If you need business insurance for something cool definitely check them out. Again, that part was real, not fictionalized based on reality. Actual reality.
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