Blog Post

A COI Tracking Spreadsheet Can Come Back to Haunt You

COI Management | July 21, 2021
coi tracking spreadsheet

If you have been searching for the perfect certificate of insurance (COI) management solution and are coming up short, do not resort to a COI tracking spreadsheet.

Taking a shortcut with something as important as COI tracking can have a negative impact on your business, making you vulnerable to financial and reputational risk. There are now many options, including software and vendors who can simplify and improve the process. It may be tempting to save money by using a COI tracking spreadsheet, but as you will see, it is not worth the risk. 

Why You Need COI Tracking and Management

COI Tracking Image

The COI from your contractor or vendor is meant to provide proof of adequate insurance coverage in compliance with your standards. Not all companies can be trusted. When it comes to business operations it is essential to reduce your risk exposure.

A good COI management system will ensure that the insurance certificates received from your contractors or vendor networks are current and not expired,  and that the individuals are not underinsured. Additionally, it should include checks  throughout the year to verify that insurance coverage is active and in good standing. Unfortunately, there are contractors who will neglect to renew insurance coverage, which is why ongoing verification is so important.

A COI Tracking Spreadsheet: Not the Right Choice

If your company started using spreadsheets to track COIs from vendors or contractors, it may have seemed like a great option at first. It is true that using a spreadsheet requires little to no initial investment, and it can be set up by office  staff without hiring specialists. However, there are a few key issues with this strategy.

Human Error

If the parties responsible for updating your COI tracking spreadsheet are not experienced in COI management, they may miss details that can cause a lot of problems for your company down the road. 

A thorough COI management program has checks and balances to ensure that you have quality data. When using a spreadsheet, it is far too easy to press the wrong button when inputting data or to forget to save changes to the document. 

Your program should include robust quality assurance where the process will include audits and identification of data that is outside of the normal range. All of which is easier to manage when you have a system that includes audits and identifies data that is potentially wrong.  

Insufficient Data Protection

While it is possible to password-protect your files and use cloud-based backup options, these safety measures are not enough when you need to protect your system from data loss, security breaches, and more. Although company insurance data is not considered personal data, it is still critical to ensure that any data you do own is protected to avoid reputational risk.

No Edit History

Once you have entered data into a spreadsheet, any past information is gone forever, unless you are saving every file change individually. This is not a reasonable option, especially if you have a large extended workforce and need to track hundreds of COIs.

In addition, claims can occur after a policy period ends. Being able to access historical data to file a claim with the correct insurance carrier is critical. If this data is typed over, all that time collecting the data was for nothing and leaves you searching for the correct COI.  

Time Consuming

The amount of time that your company would need to dedicate to a COI tracking spreadsheet, and to do it right, is not worth it. There are betterCOI Tracking Spreadsheet ways to manage insurance certificates. When using vendors, their business is focused on the entire process. With this comes the power of resources where they can do the job better, and in many cases, cheaper.

Behind the Curve with Expirations

Identification of upcoming expirations can be identified in a spreadsheet. However, to do this properly requires daily checks on the spreadsheet even when it may not be necessary.

Doesn’t include the COI

A spreadsheet does not easily store the COI if needed for reference. To save time, your tracking program should include a central repository where all of your data and the corresponding COI are stored together in the event that you need to provide a COI. 

Lack of Visibility and Reporting

You may find that it is difficult to find the time to simply maintain a spreadsheet, much less build-in compliance reporting that will let you know who has active or expired insurance or is underinsured based on your requirements. 

Our COI Management Strategy

When you need to process compliance documentation quickly and accurately, you need PlusOne Solutions. Our program offers automated expiration notices, work with both the insurance broker and your contractor when out of compliance, visibility to upcoming policies that are expiring as well as compliance reporting when the insurance provided does not meet your requirements.  Partnering with us ensures that your vendors and contractors are in compliance when providing products or services on behalf of your company.

Choosing PlusOne Solutions for COI management services means that you are free to concentrate on the needs of your business, while allowing our insurance and licensing specialists to apply their expertise. Contact us today to learn more about all of our compliance solutions.


Contents are provided for information purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Users are reminded to seek legal counsel with respect to their obligations and use of PlusOne Solutions services.


About PlusOne Solutions

PlusOne Solutions has been an industry leader in the risk management field by specializing in compliance programs that meet the complex challenges of geographically dispersed contractors, vendors, and employee networks. PlusOne Solutions protects companies from possible financial, legal, and reputational risks associated with contractor and vendor relationships while creating safer work environments. To learn more, visit our website.

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