Frequently Asked Questions

Who is the National Merchants Association?

The National Merchants Association is a Risk Purchasing Group filed with the California Department of Insurance.  Under the 1986 Risk Retention Act, we are permitted to combine similar risks into a purchasing group and buy a "Master Policy". This avoids high minimum premium levels in policies. It helps us write customized insurance provisions for insureds.  With a large number of insureds, we can bargain for better rates, etc. Most insurers, who otherwise wouldn't insure smaller clients, will now consider our larger group. Together, we are a "bigger fish".

It's also cost effective. For example, Certificates of Insurance are issued in lieu of many separate policies. It's been very successful for many of our insureds.  We have used this mechanism for some time now.

It is important to note, this is a PURCHASING group that enables us to shop and buy insurance policies from the best insurers. The insurers are required to fully reserve and keep adequate assets on hand to pay for future losses when they occur. This is regulated by the various states' insurance laws.

This is not to be confused with a Risk Retention Group, where future claims are not required to be reserved and may need to be paid out of the current, incoming cash flow (if any) at the time of loss.

Should I take a bigger deductible?

Yes! This is a real premium saver. The money you save helps offset the small losses you normally don't claim.

How can I determine whether I have enough coverage?

Insurance needs to be adequate and efficient. You should not be over-insured, but definitely not under-insured.  Your input is primary in the decision as to what limits to set on your insurance policies.

To assist with this, and at no cost to you, we are able to use an in-office Marshall Swift computer appraisal service to help determine replacement cost.  Remember, we're not insuring the land or location value, only the improvements.

We also get feedback from the insurance company that inspects your property as to their opinion of the correct replacement cost.  The data is compared with valuations of similar risks we insure, type of construction, area, age, etc.  All are very important to determine the correct, mutually agreed upon limits of property insurance.

Also we are able to rely on our many years of experience insuring property similar to yours.

Some competitors depress the limits to appear to be more competitive.  At claim time, you, the insured, suffers the financial loss.

Do I need to buy an Umbrella (Excess Liability)?

Yes! It is money well spent. Jury awards, court costs, and legal fees can be a catastrophe to most businesses. You want to make sure that you don't run out of limits.  Costs have dropped on this type of liability insurance.

We have markets that will cover a minimum of 60 Apartment Units with an excess policy of $ 5 Million for around minimum premium of $1,700. annually, including multiple locations.

Do I need to buy Flood insurance?

More and more banks are requiring it. However, it is your property/investment.

If you're near any body of water you may have an exposure.  Please contact us, we can help by researching the available Flood Maps for your specific area.