Group Captives 101: What Every Business Owner Needs to Know

As the owner of a successful business, your job is to continue to find effective and innovative ways to safeguard your brand’s future. This is achieved through many methods, not the least of which is controlling costs. To that end, many business owners find themselves researching ways to reduce their insurance costs and provide the best insurance coverage available at a reasonable price. Thankfully, compared to conventional commercial insurance, group captive programs can offer attractive benefits.

Captive insurance companies can withstand the cyclical market conditions that often surround the insurance arena while giving owners more control over the total costs of risk and sharing in the company’s financial success. Read on to learn more about group captives and how they could help you garner better benefits at more affordable costs:

What is a Group Captive?

Everything-You-Need-To-Know-About-CaptivesA Group Captive is an entity owned and controlled by a number of non-related entities that are formed for the purpose of insuring the risks of its owners.

Through them, you, as a business owner, can reduce your insurance premiums and gain more control over the insurance buying process by partnering with other like-minded companies. In other words, group captives allow you as a medium or even small business owner to self-fund your insurance in a way that replicates or mimics the size and stability of a larger, single employer. Throughout the last two decades or more, group captives have grown in popularity, particularly for medium and small businesses that have faced skyrocketing insurance costs.

Types of Group Captives Homogeneous vs Heterogeneous

There are two basic types or categories of group captive insurance, those being homogeneous and heterogeneous. The following explains the differences between the two:

  • Homogeneous: Only insures risks within the same industry. For example, this could include a group of dentists, a group of architects— or design professionals— or a group of accountants. They would all fall within the same general industry.

  • Heterogeneous: Insures various industries. This type of group captives would include companies that are not within the same general industry.

Advantages of Group Captive

The following are some of the most notable benefits or advantages group captive insurance has over other forms of insurance, especially as it relates to small or medium-sized companies:

Have Greater Control Over Your Own Insurance

You, as a business owner, will have more control over your own insurance with captive insurance as your premium will be determined by your individual or group’s loss history. This is not impacted by market trends, which leads to great stability in cost. Generally, group captives are designed to bring together like-minded companies to reduce the cost of insurance claims. This gives you a greater amount of control over various aspects of your coverage than you would have in a traditional insurance model. One of the most common reasons that businesses will join a captive in the first place is to lower their net insurance premiums, which makes this type of control over costs one of the most beneficial aspects of this variety of insurance.

In addition, it’s important to understand that you will have a great deal of control over your group's captive coverage. This means that you have a vote in the decisions made by the captive. In other words, issues like management compensation, risk management, claims, reinsurance, and policy issuance are all disclosed to all members of the captive throughout the year. This gives you control over how the operation of the insurance is handled, as you serve in many ways as an investor or owner in the arrangement.

You Will Notice a Reduction and Stabilization of Costs

The insurance industry overall can be pretty volatile in terms of rate stabilization. Thankfully, group captive insurance allows you to stabilize your costs and reduce your total risk. This gives you stability over the continued cost of your coverage. With traditional insurance, you will often find your rates rising on an annual basis with little you can do to counteract this trend. This inability to foresee the cost of next year’s coverage can negatively alter your bottom line and negatively impact your company’s future. Thankfully, group captive insurance is a great way to offset this risk, allowing you to better budget for these expenses and not put your company on bad financial footing. With captive insurance, you won’t have to worry about huge spikes in costs without any warning.

Curious to Know if Your Company Might  Be a Good Candidate for a Captive?

Increased Safety Awareness and Emphasis

Since it is to your business’s benefit for work safety to be emphasized and adhered to, having group captive insurance can have a positive impact on your brand’s focus on safety. In addition, you can often reduce your costs by enhancing safety programs, which is another advantage of this type of insurance.

Investment Opportunities

Around 60% of the insurance premiums within a group captive system will be held in an account that will then be used to cover the cost of claims. However, a small portion of what your company pays will be set aside for risk-sharing. If you have funds left over in your account at the end of the year, these unused funds will be distributed to members with interest, which serves as a great investment tool in many cases.

How to Know a Group Captive is a Good Fit

The following are signs that your company might be a good fit for group captive insurance:

  • You have been in operation for at least five years, have sustainable profits, and are financially strong.

  • When combined, your workers’ compensation, general liability, and automobile liability premiums come to more than $125,000.

  • You feel that insurance costs should be based on actual losses instead of based on industry averages and would like more control over these factors.

  • You are aware that you can create a pre-tax profit center with group captives.

  • Your company has a favorable loss history which looks like a five-year historical average of incurred claims that are less than 50% of the total premium paid.

  • You have a strong commitment to proactive loss control and safety measures.

  • Your brand has a strong financial standing with sustainable operating profits.

Information is power: Subscribe to our blogGroup Captives Can Be Extremely Beneficial

You can have direct control over your business’s insurance program with a group captive. In addition, by pooling resources, like-minded, safe companies with good financial standing can lower their insurance overhead and reap the benefits of unused premiums. This makes group captives a smart financial move for many small to medium-sized businesses.

Contact us at Winter-Dent to learn more about how group captives could be a good solution for your company.

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