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Your Guide to Managing Certificates of Insurance with COI Tracking

In various sectors, companies frequently collaborate with a multitude of contractors, vendors, and suppliers, underscoring the significance of insurance tracking in their operations. As these enterprises expand their scope, the complexity and volume of these partnerships can surge, highlighting the indispensable role of Certificate of Insurance (COI) tracking. 

Since vendors bring their own unique risks, tracking the details of their insurance coverage is a critical piece of your risk management strategy. To maintain compliance and mitigate liabilities, businesses use a COI tracking software in-house, or by outsourcing the process to a specialist.

Whether you are a seasoned professional or a newcomer to risk management, understanding how to navigate and keep up with multiple contractual relationships is essential. 

This guide explains how you can proactively address the risks associated with contractors, vendors, and suppliers to ensure that you're well-prepared to safeguard your company’s interests.

Key Takeaways

  • COI tracking is a strategic risk mitigation practice used to ensure a comprehensive understanding of the insurance status of external partners. 
  • Be sure to choose a COI monitoring software that fully automates vendor tracking and offers the right options for your company.
  • BCS offers a selection of premier full-service and self-service insurance tracking software for whatever your business needs. 

What Is Certificate of Insurance (COI) Tracking?

COI tracking involves the management and oversight of insurance coverage for third-party entities like contractors and vendors. Essentially, it ensures that these external partners maintain adequate insurance to mitigate potential risks and liabilities.

A certificate of insurance serves as proof of coverage. It details policy specifics such as coverage types, limits, effective dates, and the insurer's contact information. COI tracking enables systematic collection, review, and monitoring of these certificates to confirm compliance with contractual requirements and organizational risk management standards.

Insurance tracking typically harnesses software automation to organize insurance-related documentation and key data such as policyholder name, effective and end dates, coverage type, limits, insurance carrier, endorsements, additional insured language, and more. This helps streamline operations, minimize errors, and optimize efficiency. 

Some software providers are not fully equipped to completely automate vendor management for you, so make sure you look for the best solution for your company. 

Why Is COI Tracking Important?

COIs help confirm a vendor is compliant with contractual insurance requirements and make it easier to complete claims adjustment processes in the event of damage or loss.

It also minimizes your own insurance cost during audits, and helps protect you against potentially millions of dollars in damage claims filed each year.

How to Track Certificates of Insurance

Maintaining a well-defined COI tracking process that is transparent, updated as needed, and supported by COI tracking software helps set you up for success.

Here is what that should entail:

1. Collection & Storage

First, collect COIs from every vendor, contractor, subcontractor, and third party, and store them in a secure location or software system for easy maintenance.

Each company should have their own collection process in place to outline the guidelines for compilation and continuous review.

2. Analysis

Ensure the vendor’s policy meets your insurance requirements, and monitor its information for any changes.

3. Corrections

If any information is inconsistent with your requirements, contact the company and/or insurer to update policies.

Usually, seven out of 10 collected COIs are noncompliant, and it requires about three follow-ups to make a certificate fully compliant.

4. Follow Up

As policies may expire and vendors may switch insurers, always follow up with vendors to have correct information on file, limit liability, and maintain compliance.

It’s also a good idea to reach out to the vendor for insurance renewals, to prevent a lapse in coverage.

COI Tracking FAQs to Consider

When Should I Ask for COIs?

Request COIs once the parties have agreed to the contract or lease. If there is no contract in place or one is already in place, then request certificates immediately.

How Long Do I Keep Certificates?

It depends on the nature of your organization and where you are located, but a general rule of thumb is to keep your certificates for at least five years.

Who Should Collect Certificates?

Designate an individual already involved in compliance and/or insurance management to collect COIs. This enables you to leverage their expertise to review contracts, understand insurance language, and translate that information.

Or, you might also choose to outsource to a COI tracking company.

How Do I Manage This Documentation?

Managing certificates of insurance can be done in-house, or by outsourcing to COI tracking solutions.

Tracking certificates of insurance in-house is a manageable job when a company is small and working with a limited number of vendors, but it can quickly become overwhelming or fraught with error as a company grows.

To determine the best certificate of insurance tracking solution for your business, consider the differences between manual versus software COI tracking options.

Manual COI Tracking Processes

Some companies dedicate a single person or a team to manage certificates of insurance. This usually includes making multiple calls to collect COIs, ensuring they meet the contract and company requirements, and filing documentation for easy access.

There are several free resources and tools businesses can use to support internal COI tracking operations. Here are several we recommend:

Free Resources

Free Tools

  • Free COI Tracking Software: Experience automation software without any monetary commitment. Test out this FREE COI tracking software to see if it is right for you!  

    COI Tracking Software 
    Automate COI tracking and vendor compliance
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  • Use Email Tasks to Track Certificates of Insurance: If you only have a few vendors to keep track of, it’s possible to do so by setting tasks or reminders within an email provider. Both Gmail and Outlook, for example, have task features that enable users to set reminders and assign dates, which can be useful for scheduling check-ins as insurance documents approach expiration.
    • Pro: Free, and puts everything in one place.
    • Con: Manual, and the volume of work increases as you add vendors. No easy dashboard access or ability to share data across teams.
  • Quickbooks: If you use Quickbooks for your business finances, it’s possible to track COI status for your vendors, as well.
    • Pros: If you’re already using Quickbooks regularly, this can be added to your dashboard.
    • Cons: As with the email options, this is largely a manual process, and more of a “workaround” rather than a true “COI solution."
  • Spreadsheets: One of the most common ways to track certificates of insurance in-house is by building out a spreadsheet.

    Excel Template Thumbnail- New Colors
    FREE COI Tracking Excel Template
    Track COIs with ease. This user-friendly spreadsheet was built for tracking insurance documentation, building compliance reports, and organizing your properties and projects. 
    download excel template
    • Pros: Our free template comes with a built-in reports dashboard, and was designed by our COI tracking experts.
    • Cons: While this will work well for smaller businesses, it is not recommended for larger companies with more than 100 vendors. It also can’t provide any special knowledge of how well your vendors’ insurance protects you.

COI Tracking Software Solutions

While some businesses leverage designated staff for COI tracking, this can be overwhelming for those individuals, and leave ample room for human error.

Managing the multitude of physical insurance documents can quickly become a logistical challenge for many companies. This makes the adoption of insurance tracking software more important than ever. 

  • Tracking software not only automates manual tasks like email communication and document storage but also streamlines the entire process of COI oversight and vendor onboarding.
  • The software offers automation features such as email template creation and renewal reminders, simplifying the management of COIs. 
  • The technology enables effortless collection and monitoring of essential insurance documents, helping easily identify and rectify deficiencies or expired policies promptly.

Specialized tools and technology help track and manage COIs efficiently and accurately, in full- and self-service software solutions.

Full-Service COI Tracking

Full-service COI tracking solutions combine specially designed software with human expertise—outsourcing the majority of labor associated with document review and management.


  • Minimal Time Commitment: Full-service solutions combine software and expert support, requiring very little time or effort from your end. A dedicated team supports you throughout collection, review, and correction.
  • Expertise: These solutions employ COI experts who know how to ensure documents are legitimate and compliant.
  • Enhanced Third-Party Risk Mitigation: Experienced review and correction detects noncompliant or forged documents, and improves third-party risk mitigation by successfully transferring liability.


  • Cost: As full-service solutions include human support, they typically cost more than self-service options. However, the total expense is likely less than hiring in-house staff to collect, review, and correct COIs.

Self-Service COI Tracking

Self-service COI tracking solutions equip you with software to simplify document management. While your team still controls the process, they have a dedicated platform to support them.


  • Saves Time: Self-service platforms are a welcome alternative to spreadsheets or other manual methods, which tend to cost more than they save. This simplifies vendor onboarding, document retrieval, vendor communication, and more otherwise manual processes.
  • Enhanced Document Organization: Self-service tracking automatically organizes your documents on one platform.
  • Easy Access: Cloud-based self-service solutions enable easy document access—eliminating the need to sort through pages to find what you need.


  • Staffing Requirements: Although self-service tracking reduces the time it takes to review COIs, you will still need staff on hand to track and correct them.

When deciding between full-service and self-service solutions, factors such as company needs, available resources, and operational preferences can play a crucial role.

Choosing the Best COI Tracking Solution for You

Selecting the right solution for your business involves careful consideration of company size, budget, risk tolerance, and the volume of vendor interactions, among other factors 

Here are some key features to look for to help guide your decision-making process:

Collecting & Cataloging COIs

The foundational function of any COI solution is the ability to collect and track certificates. Consider the automation level of this process to enhance efficiency and productivity.

Document Review by Compliance Experts

A robust COI solution should offer access to a dedicated compliance team for expert document review. 

Meet Due Diligence & Coverage Compliance

The ability to audit COIs for compliance across various areas, including insurance policies, contract requirements, and regulatory standards, is crucial for protecting your business from claim eligibility issues.

Robust Analytics & Reporting

Effective risk management relies on data. Look for solutions with advanced analytics and reporting capabilities to organize and leverage data for informed decision-making.

Simple Vendor Onboarding

Streamline the onboarding process for new vendors by choosing a solution with user-friendly functionalities. For instance, the bcs app's click-and-connect feature simplifies vendor submission, saving time and effort.

Network Access

Opt for a dedicated tracking solution that offers access to an existing vendor network. This not only reduces onboarding time but also provides a pool of talent for future projects, saving valuable resources.

Ultimately, you should choose an option that works best for your business.

If you do decide a full- or self-service software solution is right for you, bcs is the leader in certificate of insurance tracking.

Our full- and self-service solutions integrate onboarding, hiring, messaging, and tracking capabilities—all in one, streamlined platform.

The full-service option includes a team of compliance analysts to review documents and correct deficiencies—saving time while ensuring the highest standard of third-party risk mitigation.

Our new freemium model enables you to test our user-friendly COI tracking and vendor compliance software for free today, including:

With all your vendor communications, documents, and more all in one place, you can save, mitigate risks, and experience the unique peace of mind that comes with both.

bcs is a leading vendor management solution with full- and self-service tracking options that streamline hiring, onboarding, COI tracking, and several other vendor management processes. To learn more about optimizing your COI tracking process, contact us today or schedule a demo.

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