Insurable Risks Derived From Growing Businesses

A business insurance review

Recently, small business owners were surveyed to help identify some of the top risks they faced when growing their businesses1.  Many small business owners are unaware of the new, and increased, risks that come with growth.  For example, many business owners erroneously think that a claim is not covered, so they fail to file the claim.  A leading commercial insurer has identified the top five most costly business insurance claims.

Leading losses for small businesses and the average claim cost

Reputational harm: $50,000

Vehicle accident: $45,000

Fire damage: $35,000

Product liability: $35,000

Customer injury or property damage: $30,000

New and growing risks faced by expanding businesses

As your business grows, your risks change.  It is beneficial for business owners to have an understanding of how risks change because of growth.

Contract disputes increase. Growing businesses often develop relationships without written agreements, resulting in disputes.

Increased employee litigation. When businesses hire new people, often they overlook proper hiring practices. This often leads to litigation.  Make sure your business has an employment practices liability policy.

Increase in worker injuries. A greater workload leads to increased hours and the possibility of employee injury.  Your workers’ compensation policy will cover work related injuries.

Building damage. Often, growing businesses fail to pay attention to building maintenance, which can lead to all kinds of damage. Read your property policy to make sure you do not void your coverage through lack of attention to safety issues.

 

1Source for article: PC360.com

March Madness – Insurance Style

An Insurance Review

March is over and we spent the while month watching 64 college basketball teams play to the final four, then to the championship game.  Congratulations to North Carolina! The entire thing reminded us of some insurance madness. We thought we would share with you our “insurance madness final four.” These can impact your business insurance and personal insurance programs.

Insurance Madness Final Four

  1. Always use an independent agent. Independent agents will search the market for the best possible insurance designed for your family or business. Independents agent do not work for an insurance company, they represent you and look out after your interests first.
  2. Never buy insurance online. When you buy insurance online you never know if you are getting the best combination of coverage, price, and service. However, you do find out when you have an uninsured claim.
  3. Always consider deductible options. A simple way to save money is to consider increasing your deductible on your auto insurance, home insurance, or even your business insurance.
  4. Many people don’t consider these coverage’s but they should
    1. Identity theft is the fastest growing crime in the United States. Every homeowner should consider identity theft coverage.
    2. A personal umbrella can offer additional protection for those who own a home or have personal assets worth protecting.
    3. Your business might be at risk if you do not have cyber liability or employment practices liability.

 

Commercial Insurance

Combine your business auto, property, and liability into one package.

Take a close look at your policy and make sure you have the coverage you need.  There may be coverages you have that you do not need.

Look to insurers that offer loss control help. This will help you manage your risk and keep claims as low as possible.

Is your deductible too low?  You may save more than you think by increasing your property deductible to $5,000 or even $10,000. If you generally have no loses this may save you money.

Each insurer is different, but you might save by paying your premium in full upfront.

Commercial insurance is one of the most important products a new business needs. Our agency can help you review your risks and guide you through the process of securing the right combination of coverage and price.

Is Your Business Prepared For A Loss?

tightropeA Business Insurance Update

Your business insurance can respond to many kinds of risks and losses. Protecting your business from loss can mean the difference between having a great year, and having to close your doors. According to the Insurance Information Institute, 30% of businesses that have a fire never re-open. Therefore, it pays to have the right business insurance and to manage your tops risks. However, do you know the most common risks faced by most businesses?

Business Risks

Cyber breach – Your small business has a greater chance of having a data breach than it does of having a fire. Make sure you have a cyber liability insurance policy. Don’t save passwords on your computer, use the latest security software, train your employees on cyber security, and never use an open network.
Customer trip and fall – Make sure you keep your business entry clean and clear of clutter.

Flood – Your business insurance excludes flood damage. If you are close to water, make sure you consider flood insurance.

Fire – Every business is subject to fire. Install automatic alarms to ensure proper notification, disconnect equipment when not in use, and never overload sockets with plugs.

Theft – Develop a system for end of day closure procedures. Keep a light on at night. Burglars are less inclined to break in if they think someone is there.

Are You Interested In Reducing Your Business Risks?

board-1364647_1920There is no question that operating a business comes with certain risks. But there are also many benefits. The range of business threats is evolving rapidly but your organization can thrive and gain a competitive advantage if you know how to manage your risk. Here are a few simple ways to manage risk:

Follow insurance company loss control recommendations. These are designed to reduce the probability of a loss and to reduce the severity if a loss occurs.

Develop an employee handbook. Having a set of procedures involving roles and responsibilities will help reduce employment issues in the long term.

Evaluate your facilities. Unused equipment, obsolete security systems and lack of attention to risks on the site present significant potential for loss.  Insurance companies encourage all business owners to maintain clean and safe premises for the health and safety of employees, vendors and customers.

Make safety a priority. Having a safety program can not only reduce your costs but will improve employee productivity.

Train your staff. Employees perform better if they have an understanding of what their roles and responsibilities are. Make safety part of every job description.

Keep employees healthy. A local company, for example, has instituted a comprehensive wellness program that includes disease management for afflictions such as asthma and diabetes, as well as offering flu shots, cancer screenings, smoking-cessation sessions and a round-the-clock phone line staffed by nurses. The company found that for every dollar it invested, it saved $4.23.

If your business changes, your insurance should too.  Meet annually with us to determine whether your business has changed in significant ways that require modifying or adding coverage.

Raise your deductible. Raising the deductible on your insurance usually lowers your premiums. Even if you end up having to pay the deductible, it’s likely to be less than the amount you save.

 

Insurance Policies Not To Consider In 2017

no-1532844_6402017 is going to be a year of change. We have a new President, we have a new healthcare system and we may recommend that you not buy certain kinds of insurance. We will be the first to say that certain insurance may not always be best for your needs. We believe each client is unique and therefore requires unique insurance solutions.

Here are some examples of insurance products you most likely do not need to buy.

  • Universal life – Typically term life insurance is going to be a better fit for you. Term life costs less, and you can take the premium difference and invest it yourself.
  • Extended warranty plans – These are never a good idea. The warranty premiums are mostly commissions paid to the salesperson. Some credit card companies offer this protection if you make the purchase with their cards.
  • Pet Insurance – Pet insurance usually is very limited in coverage and very costly.
  • Collision insurance on older vehicles – If your vehicle has little or no value, it is better to pocket the premium and place it into a fund for future losses.
  • Insurance on outstanding credit card balances – This type of insurance can be costly, and there are a lot of loopholes to go through before any benefit is paid.
  • Mini Storage Insurance – As long as you have homeowner’s or renters insurance you don’t need to buy special insurance. Most policies have automatic coverage for property away from your primary premises. Call us for details and limitations.
  • Mortgage life insurance – This protects the bank, not you. If you were to die, the payout goes to the bank, not your family. You are better off buying term life insurance.
  • Flight Insurance – This is completely unnecessary, as airline accidents are rare and your life insurance policy should already provide the coverage in the event of a catastrophe.

Insurance is designed for the accidents and unexpected events in life that are too costly to pay on your own. Call us for more information.

2017 Insurance Buying Tips

Home With Check Shows House  For Sale And Loan ApprovedNow that 2017 is here, it may be time to consider reviewing your personal insurance program. Most people don’t take time to review exposures, options, or their current economic condition before making their insurance purchase. We want to help you, so we prepared these insurance buying tips for 2017.

  1. Don’t buy insurance through the internet – Call our agency and let us provide outstanding service along with competitive pricing.
  2. Maintain good credit – Regularly check your credit score, since a low score may impact your premium.
  3. Review your auto limits – If you have limits of less than $100,000, that won’t even cover the medical bills in a serious accident. The minimum liability coverage that anyone with any assets or income to protect should be carrying is $500,000 to $1 million or more.
  4. Maintain a home inventory – Having an accurate account of your personal property can provide for greater recovery in the event of a loss.
  5. Bundle your insurance – Combine your auto, home and umbrella policies with one insurer to receive greater discounts.
  6. Set the right deductible – A higher deductible reduces your premium, but you have to pay more out of pocket in the event of an accident. If you have a good driving record and haven’t had an accident, you may want to gamble and opt for a higher premium. The reward for this risk could be up to a 40% savings.
  7. Consider Identity Theft – Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in the U.S.
  8. Buy from a financially strong company – Your insurance is only as good as the company who stands behind the policy. The insurance company should have an “A+” rating or higher.
  9. Be prepared to make adjustments as your lifestyle and needs change.

Call us today and let us help protect what is important to you.

How to Prepare Your Business for Holiday Risks

A Business Insurance Update

The next few months are important for every business. The holidays are not just for retailers, as many businesses rely on a healthy last quarter to help them finish the year in the black.  Your business insurance plays an important role in this, as it protects you from un-planned losses.

Here are a few tips to help your business plan for the holiday, and year’s end.

During the holiday shopping season, many businesses hire seasonal workers to help with the increased demand. Make sure all part-time and seasonal employees are properly trained, and understand the requirements of the job.

Employee theft is a big problem during the holidays as well. However, more than just stock or equipment theft, employees have access to other major assets, like cash, too.  Make sure you have proper accounting processes in place.

If your business has increased revenue during the last quarter, verify that your business income insurance will address the seasonal increase.

When it comes to decorations around the office, you will want to ensure that none of them creates opportunities for accidents. This means being aware of extra lighting and candles that might be part of the holiday office décor, and making sure no decorations act as a trip and fall hazard.

Even Small Businesses Have Big Risks

bigstock-Risk-Management-9064033Many think that operating a small business has little or no risk. The fact is, operating a small business has just about the same risks as any other business.  Employees can still sue you, you can cause injuries to your customers, and your building can burn just like a big business.  General liability risk is very real for small businesses and it is important to have a business insurance program that addresses these issues.

To protect a small business from potential lawsuits, liability insurance is necessary. Policies vary greatly, and they cover different classifications of risks for varying costs.

Commercial General Liability Insurance covers claims from accidents, injuries, or negligence when the business is at fault.  Small businesses may face a wide array of damage charges. Personal injuries, property damage, libel, and slander are just a few examples.

Product Liability Insurance covers legal fees for litigation involving a faulty product.  It also covers any personal or property damage charges caused by the defective product.

Employment Liability Insurance provides protection for an employer against claims made by employees, former employees, or potential employees.  It can cover discrimination (age, sex, race, disability, etc.), wrongful termination of employment, sexual harassment, and other employment-related allegations.

Professional Liability Insurance pays for damages caused by services.  It is also called errors and omissions coverage. This is for companies that market a service instead of a product. For example, professionals in medical clinics must have medical malpractice coverage.

Cyber Liability Insurance covers the risk posed by conducting business over the Internet, over other networks, or using electronic storage technology.  It covers third party losses from hackers, theft, and loss of information including sensitive client or individual personal information.

There are other types of insurance designed for specialty businesses. For example, there are special policies for companies involved only in internet sales.  The nature of the business determines what type of coverage is necessary.

How Cyber Liability Insurance Can Keep You in Business

Security concept - Keyhole on a digital screenAlmost every business has a cyber liability exposure.  Most businesses are securing some form of coverage to protect their companies from these types of threats.  A recent report by a leading insurance firm said that purchases of cyber insurance grew over 30% in the last year.  It has become clear that even a good IT department cannot solve all the cyber risks your business has.

Cyber liability coverage (for data breaches) has evolved from just insurance for information technology companies, to coverage that nearly every kind of business should have — if they do not already.  Businesses including retailers, banks, contractors, distributors, restaurants, medical offices and more are unaware of the severe data breach exposure they face.

Here are a few of the latest methods used by cyber criminals

Social Engineering.  This email looks like it is coming from your boss or CFO to transfer funds into the company account.

Direct Force.  This is software that attaches to your computer, usually through emails, and then goes through hundreds of thousands of different words, combinations of words, and numbers to try to crack your password.

Pushing.  This is a common way to gain entry and pull information.  Again, usually attached to an email, and once it is opened, the virus accesses your system.

Cyber Insurance

We can provide your firm with the right combination of pricing and coverage.  Cyber risk insurance is available at very reasonable premiums.  Many of our companies offer coverage to help protect your business from loss.