Post written by Jim Montgomery
Work in progress reports from contractors are usually considered “business as usual.” The only time underwriters would have concerns is when:
- The volume of work is beyond the ebb and flow of the contractor’s usual activity.
- The type of work is much different than projects usually associated with the contractor.
To identify these risks, underwriters ask contractors to provide a work-in-progress report 90-120 days before their annual coverage contract ends. This report serves as a status update for insurers to evaluate projects currently under way.
Here are the two risks underwriters look for most often in work-in-progress reports.
- Out-of-scope projects
If contractors report ongoing work that is far outside their usual scope of activity, it can spark a number of questions from the insurer. How does the contractor plan to handle the heavier workload? Does the company have the labor pool and financial resources to adequately complete the work? Conversely, a workload much lower than expected could raise questions about the contractor’s financial viability.
- Lack of expertise in contracted work
Sharp-eyed insurers look to work-in-progress reports for evidence that projects are going far beyond the contractor’s perceived expertise. Examples include a general contractor that typically builds four-story office buildings but is suddenly contracting for 20-story medical complexes, or electrical contractors that bid processing piping work. Insurers might suspect an expertise deficit if a contractor’s project descriptions dramatically differ from an established norm.
How should contractors respond?
Contractors can shorten the insurer’s evaluation process by anticipating when work-in-progress reports are likely to spur follow-up review and preparing responses and documentation in advance. Helpful items to add in these reports include:
- Jobs undertaken with past insurers, which serve as a model for work in progress
- Names and contact information of partners brought on to provide project-specific expertise or skillsets
- Financial documentation showing the viability of the company (or financing needed to fund key projects)
No one wants to generate more paperwork, but insurers will be more receptive to work-in-progress responses that inspire confidence and build on the insurer-contractor relationship.
Do you have any tips to share? If so, leave them in the Comment box below.
For more information about handling and preparing for a work-in-progress report, contact a local independent insurance agent. For a list of agents in your area, click here.