A 2018 Business Insurance Update

Risk management and insurance issues that your local business faces are not that much different from those faced by fortune 500 companies; fortune 500 companies’ risks are just larger and possibly more complex. Making sure that you have the right kind of business insurance for protecting your operations is our number one goal.

Recently, PC360.com ran an article describing the top risks for large corporations. We thought we would relate these risks to your local business, and suggest some insurance that your business should consider to cover these risks.

• Business Interruption Insurance – This can include lost net income, continuing expenses, and even relocation expenses. This coverage is not always automatic, and needs to be added with specific limits.

• Directors and Officers Liability – Directors and officer’s liability insurance helps protect your business, owners, executives, and managers if individuals, competitors, third parties or government regulators make claims.

• Regulatory Compliance Issues – New regulations and contractual risks are increasing for all organizations. Issues include; contracted employee, healthcare, workers’ compensation laws, environmental issues, cyber reporting requirements, and more.

• Employee Safety – Maintaining a safe working environment should always be a top priority for your business.

• Cyber Liability – Did you know that the average business has a greater chance of having a cyber breach than it does of having a fire? It is true, and your business insurance policy most likely will not cover cyber liability losses. “This new world of connected devices promises insights on which companies can base strategic decisions. But the ability to obtain more information brings the responsibility to use that data appropriately, maintain customers’ privacy, and practice effective cybersecurity.” PC360.com

How to Minimize Holiday Risks

A Personal Insurance Update

November is here and that means the holiday season has started.  Over the next number of weeks, holiday activities will consume much of our time.  This is also the season when homeowners have insurance claims for fire, burglary, theft from vehicles, and even auto accidents.

Now may be the best time to have us review your personal insurance in order to make sure you have the individual coverage you need.

Shopping Safety Tips

Always be aware of your surroundings.

Put your shopping bags in your trunk.

NEVER leave car doors unlocked or windows open.

ALWAYS park in lighted areas. Do NOT park in remote areas.

Shop with a friend.

Keep receipts in your wallet or purse.

Avoid carrying large amounts of cash.

As you return to your car, make sure to keep your car key in your hand.

If you make expensive purchases, like jewelry or guns, call our office, as we may need to add these to your policy.

Christmas Tree Safety (provided by the NFPA)

Make sure the tree is at least four feet away from any heat source, like fireplaces, radiators, candles, heat vents or lights.

Make sure the tree is not blocking any exit or door.

Add water to the tree stand daily.

Never use lit candles to decorate the tree.

Only used approved lights.

Connect no more than three strands of mini string sets and a maximum of 50 bulbs for screw-in bulbs

Replace any string of lights that has worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections.

Home Safety Tips

If you are planning a vacation during the holiday, here are few ideas to consider:

Get a security system.

Trim landscaping that is too close to your house.

Don’t advertise your vacation on social media.

Cancel mail and other deliveries.

Leave lights on when gone.

Have a neighbor check on your home.

Always lock your garden sheds and garages.

Use a variable light timer to activate lights inside your home.

Lock all doors and windows.

While you are gone, arrange for your lawn to be mowed.

Have adequate exterior lighting.

 

Texas Business Insurance

Business Insurance

According to the latest surveys by major insurers, small to medium sized businesses have a number of critical gaps in their insurance coverage. The reasons for gaps vary; not fully understanding how certain coverage applies to their business, buying insurance from a captive agent who can’t provide the coverage, thinking their commercial coverage provides the coverage, and finally believing they don’t have the risk.

Business Insurance For Your Organization 

Here are the coverage’s you should consider to make sure you are adequately protected.

Pollution Liability- Protects against the liability that comes with polluting the       environment including restoration and cleanup, liability for injuries and deaths caused by pollution.

Cyber Liability- Cyber liability is 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.

Directors & Officers Liability– Covers costs, damages, and defense protection to directors and officers of a company resulting from law suits and judgments arising out of poor management decisions, employee dismissals, shareholder grievances, and other such acts committed in good faith.

Employment Liability– Employment Liability 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 that is designed to cover third party claims, damages and claims arising out of providing professional advice.  Many firms create legal obligations arising out of a professional’s errors, negligent acts, or omissions during the course of providing services to clients.

We are ready to help you better understand your risks. Please call our office today.

 

 

Are You Putting Your Homeowner’s Insurance at Risk?

Things That Will Impact Your Homeowner’s Insurance

If you own a home or rent, you need the right kind of homeowner’s insurance.  Homeowner’s insurance is needed to protect yourself, your family, and your property from loss and/or damage.  We can provide you with many homeowner’s or renting insurance options.  Let us do the shopping for you.

Do not place your homeowner’s insurance at risk!

Pay your insurance premiums on time. A poor payment history of constant late payments may encourage the insurance company to cancel your coverage.

Do not file an excessive number of claims. No doubt, you buy insurance to pay for covered claims or losses.  However, if you nickel and dime the insurance company, they may be apt to not renew your coverage, or offer a policy with a higher deductible or at a much higher premium.

Having a high risk is costly. If you own a pool, have an old home where the wiring or roof has been neglected, or own certain breeds of dogs, you may not get the most competitive rates.

Criminal activity. If you have been convicted of certain crimes, your insurer may not offer a renewal.  These activities might include assault, drug convictions, or fraud.

Be completely honest on your application. If it is found that the information on the application is dishonest or intentionally incorrect, you may be subject to a non-renewal.

Summer Can Be Risky for Everyone

A Personal Insurance and Safety update

Summertime means more of us are heading to the pool, lake, ocean, or river to relax and have fun.  Unfortunately, these activities can lead to accidents and injury.  Summer also brings increases in heat related illness and teen driving accidents, according to PC260.com.

It is also important to have a personal insurance review to make sure all your summer activities are covered.  For example, if you have purchased a boat, you may need a separate watercraft policy.  In addition, if you have installed a pool you will need to add that risk to your homeowner’s policy.  We want you to have an enjoyable and safe summer, so here are some reminders about summertime safety.

Some of the Top Summer Risks

River water can be very cold, especially as the early snowmelt flows downriver.  Even if it is 100 degrees outside, the river water temperatures can be very cold.

If you are planning foreign travel, remember to check travel advisories.  Also, be sure you have all your medical issues managed correctly.  Check with your health insurer, as many will not provide coverage in foreign countries.

Don’t forget your pets. Summer heat can affect your pets, so make sure they are not left in vehicles or in homes during long heat waves.

When you are on the water, do not mix drinking and water craft driving.  Verify that you have life vests for everyone and keep life vests on all children all the time.

Heat stress is one of the most common illnesses during summertime.  The risk of getting skin cancer is much higher among people who sunbathe, and especially those who have experienced multiple sunburns.

Barbecues and fire related risks increase during the summer.  Always keep children away for open fires, and keep barbecues away from buildings.

When riding your bike we recommend you always use a helmet.

Texas Business Insurance 101

Texas Business Insurance

The world is changing, and we understand the issues Texas businesses face every day. There is constant competition for your customers, there are challenges in attracting and retaining top talent, and your cost of goods keeps going up. Part of your planning should include an annual business insurance review. Your business changes, and so do your exposures. Here are some of the major kinds of liability coverage found in most business insurance programs.

Commercial Liability

Bodily Injury – Bodily injury to a third party.

Property Damage – Damage to a third party’s property (equipment building etc.).

Personal Injury – Injury to the mind or emotions, as opposed to an injury to property.

Advertising Liability – Damages arising out of advertising, libel, slander and invasion of privacy.

Products & Completed Operations – Liability arising out of products you sell or business operations and services conducted, excluding professional services.

Premises – Covers liability arising out of injury to third parties while on your premises.

Management Liability – This might include cyber, employment, and professional liability coverage. Directors and officers liability also might fall under this category.

Umbrella – Provides excess liability over primary auto and commercial liability policies.

Pollution – Coverage for accidental release of pollutants. 

Business Auto

Covers vehicles owned by the company for business use and can include comprehensive and collision

Risk is a factor for whatever business you are in. We provide business insurance solutions to help you manage your risk, which keeps you in business. Apple Insurance Specialists understands how the right insurance can protect you and your business from any unforeseen liabilities

Be Smarter Than Burglars

The majority of home burglaries do not involve violence or the use of a weapon. The average dollar loss from a burglary in the United States is just over $2,000, and there are over 2 million burglaries in the US every year.

Your house is more than just an investment, it is a place where memories are made and dreams are built. Whether you are a first time home owner or celebrating many happy years in your dream home,  We are here to help you protect the home you love and the life you’ve built. The good news is about 80% of home burglaries are considered preventable. As you plan your holiday travel, here are a few things to remember.

Most burglars are afraid of getting caught, and will only go through unlocked doors and windows.

Thieves love to see piled up newspapers on your lawn. It lets them know you aren’t home.

If a burglar sees that no lights are on, chances are no one is home.

Attractive ornaments or pricey “kids’ things” outside your home can indicate to a potential intruder that your house is full of valuables.

Cyber thieves hope you put your old financial records in the trash without shredding them, because they want to collect your personal information.

Leaving your cars unlocked and valuables inside is an invitation to a burglar—even if it is in your own driveway.

If you post your vacation pictures on Facebook while you are away, it lets burglars know that your home is unoccupied.

People who fail to lock their guns in a gun safe are more likely to get them stolen. Lock all guns in a cabinet and use trigger locks as well.

If do don’t tell your neighbor you will be gone, it is just one less person for the burglar to worry about.

If you have a security system, use it 100% of the time. Burglars will generally not enter a home with a security system.

Create and maintain a detailed household inventory, and call our office today.  We can provide information that may help you determine if you have adequate insurance coverage on your home and belongings if, despite your good planning, the worst case scenario occurs.

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.

Carbon Monoxide Detectors Can Protect Your Family

smoke-detector-235123_640A Personal Insurance Update

Often called the silent killer, carbon monoxide is an odorless gas that can kill.  Carbon monoxide, also known as its molecular form “Carbonous oxide” (CO) can be found in many household items, including stoves and furnaces.  According to the latest information from the National Fire Protection Association, there were over $100,000 non-fire CO incidents last year.

Your personal insurance will most likely respond to a claim made by a third party, but you or anyone who lives in your home will need to look to medical insurance if you have an illness because of a CO injury.

What are the symptoms of CO poisoning?

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the most common symptoms of CO poisoning are headaches, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, chest pain, and confusion.  High levels of CO inhalation can cause loss of consciousness and death.

Carbon monoxide detectors sound an alarm when they sense a certain amount of carbon monoxide in the air over time.

Safety Tips

Make sure all appliances are properly vented to the outside.

Never BBQ inside your home or in the garage.

Follow manufacturer instructions when installing a CO detector.

Install a CO alarm in a central location on every level of your home.

Test your alarms on a regular basis.

If the CO alarms sounds, move to the outside and open doors and windows.

Choose a CO alarm that has the label of a recognized testing laboratory.

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.