Inflation and Global Issues Contributing to Rising Business Insurance Costs, Explain Experts at Hunt Valley Business Forum Event

Blane Boeri, Commercial Insurance Broker at HMS Insurance Services; Danielle Beyrodt, COO, Hill Management Services and Chair, Hunt Valley Business Forum; Hannah Callihan, Vice President, North Central Insurance; Joe Sutton, President, USI Insurance Services and Denise Kramer-Buchman, Executive Director, Hunt Valley Business Forum

Inflation (including social inflation), geopolitical events, cyber liability issues and weather-related disasters are all contributing to rising business insurance premiums, according to experts participating in a seminar sponsored by the Hunt Valley Business Forum, and despite these increases, having proper insurance coverage is now more important than ever. Panelists included Blane Boeri, Commercial Insurance Broker at HMS Insurance Services; Hannah Callihan, Vice President, North Central Insurance and Joe Sutton, President, USI Insurance Services. The event, held at the offices of USI Insurance Services at11350 McCormick Road in Hunt Valley, was the most recent in the forum’s ongoing educational and networking programming.

The cost for business insurance has not been immune from escalating prices endured by nearly every other industry category, as impacted by inflation, the Ukraine-Russia conflict, weather catastrophes and other negative domestic and global events. “There is a trickle-down effect that impacts business owners and customers based on these factors and, during high inflationary periods such as these, costs can accelerate more quickly,” explained Blane Boeri of HMS. “And then, there is social inflation to consider, a term unique to the insurance industry, which occurs when litigation awards the large payout of sums for a particular event. The main lesson that can be learned from this? Do everything possible to avoid these legal proceedings and reach an out-of-court settlement.”

Hunt Valley Business Forum Executive Director Denise Kramer-Buchman

“When it is possible to obtain a long-term commitment from an insurance provider for coverage, businesses should jump at the opportunity,” said Joe Sutton of USI Insurance Services.  “Even if this coverage is for only two or three years or so, this arrangement will lock in rates and provide enhanced peace of mind among business owners,” he said. He said that the commercial real estate industry does a particularly good job of determining its risk profile and having the proper amount of coverage, but owners should be aware of implications as valuations rise.

“For instance, a company may own a building valued at $5 million but, given the rising cost of materials and labor, it would take $6 million to replace this asset at present-day prices,” Sutton said. “So, if a catastrophic event would happen, the owner might be under-insured by approximately $1 million. That is a scenario that owners need to be aware of and address to protect its investment.”

Danielle Bridge and Ashley Zito of Hill Management Services with Dixon Hopkins, Blue & Obrecht Realty

Cyber liability is another rapidly-changing issue. Hannah Callihan explained that, in the event of a data breach caused by a sub-contractor, all parties involved in the situation may have potential exposure, so proper insurance is suggested to provide adequate protection.

The potential for another period of business interruption is an uncomfortable topic now on the minds of business owners in every industry. “The Wimbledon tennis tournament is just about the only major event or entity I can think of that arranged for cancellation coverage,” Sutton said. “At this point, it would be cost prohibitive and not practical for companies to pay for a premium.”

Boeri urged business owners to take proactive actions to stay ahead of the possibility for emerging risk. “Have regular conversations with your insurance broker and encourage involvement with the professionals that know your business best, such as accountants and attorneys,” he said. “Anticipate changes and provide as much information as possible so the best decisions can be made.”

The Hunt Valley Business Forum is the chamber of commerce for businesses in the greater Hunt Valley area. For more information and a list of upcoming events please visit