Small Business Insurance Jargon

Small Business Insurance Jargon you need to know as a business owner

Buying commercial insurance is something a small business owner has to do once a year. It is not something most business owners think about on a daily basis. When interacting with employees within the industry, there may be an awful lot of small business insurance jargon that is not exactly common knowledge to the general population. Here are ten terms to familiarize yourself with before your next renewal.

Small Business Insurance Jargon

BOP

BOP Stands for Business Owner’s Package or Business Owner’s Policy. A BOP is a package of policies, sold in tandem for businesses in a certain industry or classification code. Because of historical claims records, insurance carriers know the common risks for certain businesses in certain industries and they have created packages of policies specific to that industry.

Experience Mod

The Experience Modification Rating is frequently referred to as the Mod or the Experience Mod. This rating is a formula that includes the businesses Employer’s FEIN by the rating bureau (NCCI or the State Bureau).  The rating compares your loss data to other employers within the same class code of your business. The rating is expressed as a credit or debit on your policy.

Actual Cash Value

The current value of an insured piece of property. This is simply the appraisal value of a piece of property and does not include additional expenses related to a property loss.

Replacement Value

The value of purchasing a new property to replace a lost or damaged property,but it pays for the replacement at today’s value. Depending upon the language in the policy, a replacement value policy may include additional expenses like tear down and removal of debris, bringing the property up to current codes, and construction costs on the new property.

First Party

First Party Insurance Policies are policies that deal with the damages to you and your business. They may include damages like replacing a vehicle after a crash, replacing specialized equipment damaged during a storm, or even hiring a PR Firm to restore the reputation of your business after a data breach.

Third Party

A Third Party Insurance Policy deals with the liability your business faces relating to outside third parties that are damaged by the actions of your business. This may include repairing a broken window caused by the employee of a landscaping company or medical costs for someone slipping on their way to the bathroom in a restaurant.

EPLI

EPLI stands for Employment Practices Liability Insurance. This is an insurance policy that can protect your business when it faces a lawsuit related to hiring and firing of employees. In 2016, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, collected more than $482 million for victims of discrimination in private, federal and state and local government workplaces. The reason there is a need for this policy is that a lawsuit does not have to be founded to take up an enormous amount of time for you and your business to prove your innocence. An EPLI Policy can help your business stay afloat when you face one of these claims.

E&O

E&O stands for Errors and Omissions Insurance. It is also called Medical Malpractice in the Medical Profession. This policy protects the insured (you the business owner) against liability for committing an error or omission in performance of professional duties. This may include work done by an engineer or architect on a particular construction project. It may also include the work done by a doctor during surgery. Generally, such policies are designed to cover financial losses rather than liability for bodily injury (BI) and property damage (PD).

Hired and Non-owned Auto

Hired and Non-owned Auto Insurance Coverage is designed for businesses who have employees who use their personal vehicles for business purposes or employees who use rented vehicles. The time that these employees are using the vehicle for business purposes is a time when your business is liable for the damages that are caused to third parties as a result of an accident that is the fault of your employee. It is commonly added as an addition to a commercial auto policy, but if your business does not own any vehicles it can be sold as a stand alone policy.

Inland Marine

An Inland Marine Insurance Policy is a specialized form or property insurance that is often referred to as equipment coverage. The primary distinction between inland marine and other property insurance is the fact that inland marine is designed specifically for property which is likely to be moved or in transit. Landscaping companies that have equipment on a trailer is an example of this risk. Inland Marine may be needed for companies with highly specialized property that requires a unique valuation. A land surveyor who uses specialized surveying equipment may need this policy.

 

Lawncare and Landscaping Risk

4 Risks all Lawncare and Landscaping Businesses Face

When looking to purchase commercial insurance, a business owner will hear a lot about the different types of Lawncare and Landscaping Risk their business faces. Many of the risks your business faces are similar to businesses in many industries, but many risks are unique to this industry. Here are four types of lawncare and landscaping risk that all businesses in this industry face.

Lawncare and Landscaping Risk

Slips, Trips, and Falls

Slips, Trips, and Falls are a risk that many businesses face. The Lawncare and Landscaping Risk is high in relation to slips, trips, and falls. Because of the physical nature of the work, lower back injuries are common. Talking about the health and safety with your staff is the first step to any good workplace safety plan. Let your employees know you care about their health and they will be more likely to take it seriously.

Driving

Because of the remote nature of the industry, driving is a part of the work. The time that employees are driving to and from a third party location is a time when the business is liable for damages that occur as a result of a car accident that is the fault of a businesses employees. It is essential to secure adequate commercial auto insurance, to pull the driving records of anyone who will be driving as part of their job, and to implement a safe driving program into the fabric of your business.

Third Party Liability

Liability to third parties is high because of the remote nature of the Lawncare and Landscaping Industry. Third party liability can come in the form of property damage, bodily injury and even dissatisfaction with your work. This type of liability can include damage to the property you are working on, injury to the people at those locations, or even not performing the tasks to the standards of your new clients. Doing a walk-through with all potential clients is important to set expectations, but also to get to know the ins and outs of the property that may not be obvious to the untrained eye.

Seasonality

Depending upon the weather in the area your business operates, there will be peaks and valleys when it comes to the seasonality of your business. Even if your business offers snow removal services in Winter, there will be some amount of time throughout the year when the amount of work declines. It is important to plan for these time periods and to use them wisely. Keeping up an adequate amount of hours for your staff may be the difference between keeping a valued employee and having to train a new fresh employee without adequate experience.

Landscaping: Pay as You Go Workers Compensation

4 ways Small Businesses can save when purchasing Pay as You Go Workers Compensation for Landscaping Businesses

The Landscaping Industry can be seasonal in nature depending upon the climate where a business is located. The industry is also dependent, to some extent, upon the weather. Because of this seasonal nature and the dependency on the weather, it can be difficult to forecast man hours throughout the entire year. This can make a traditional workers compensation policy costly and in accurate. For this reason it is wise for most companies to go with Pay as you Go Workers Compensation for Landscaping Businesses

Pay as You Go Workers Compensation for Landscaping Businesses | My Insurance Question

Low Up-front Costs

With a traditional workers’ compensation policy the insurance carrier requires a down payment of around 1/4 to 1/3 of the total premium up-front just to get a policy in place. This amount is estimated depending upon the previous year or the previous three years payroll. In the landscaping business this can be a problem because the amount of man hours is dependent on a number of factors that are out of the businesses control. In most cases, with Pay as You Go Workers Compensation for Landscaping Businesses, a business owner can get a policy in place for little more than a few hundred dollars. This allows the business to free up additional cash that can be better spent on more immediate business needs.

Pay Premium in Real-time

As previously stated, a traditional workers compensation insurance plan is based off of an estimate from a previous years payroll. This can be extremely different than the current years staffing levels. This can cause a landscaping business to severely over or under pay for premium throughout the year. When you have over paid this might be a pleasant surprise after an end of term audit determines you get a refund. On the contrary if you under pay premium it can cause you to take on an unexpected cost. When a business goes with a Pay as you Go Workers Compensation for Landscaping Businesses, they pay the premium in real-time based upon the previous months actual payroll levels. This dramatically improves accuracy and frees up cash for other expenditures.

Less risk of being audited

Pay as You Go Workers’ Compensation allows business owners to pay their premium in real-time each month based upon the previous months payroll. They do this through a three way partnership between a payroll company, the insurance agency, and the landscaping business. This benefits all three parties involved because the payroll company keeps an accurate count of man hours worked each month, the insurance agency bills the landscaping company based upon an accurate payroll from the previous month, and the landscaping company is at less risk of being audited mid term for their payroll and insurance premium payments.

Frees up Cash

When a small business decides to go Pay as You Go Workers Compensation for Landscaping Businesses they are able to free up cash for two main reasons. First, because of the accuracy of your insurance payments there are less surprises at the end of the term due to over or under paying. Also, there is a lower up-front cost due to not having to pay up to a third of the premium just to get coverage in place. This is great for start ups and cash strapped businesses alike.

Distracted Driving: Types of Cognitive Distractions

April is distracted driving awareness month.  Distracted driving is an enormous killer on the roads today. There are three main types of distracted driving; manual, visual, and cognitive distractions. This article is going to be about examples of cognitive distractions. Here are 4 examples of cognitive distractions.

Cognitive Distractions | My Insurance Question

Talking to another Passenger

Talking to another passenger is the most basic example of a cognitive distraction. Depending upon how in-depth the conversation is, it can take both your mental attention and possibly your eyes away from the road while behind the wheel.

Road Rage

Road rage is one of the cognitive distractions that is far too common on the roads today. Road rage has been on the rise for the better part of the last decade. This cognitive distraction is more common among commuters compared to non-commuters. Anger when behind the wheel significantly increases the frequency and severity of crashes.

Daydreaming

Many people spend a lot of time behind the wheel commuting to work. Early in the morning, it is common for many people to think about the weekend or the previous night. It is also common for them to mentally prepare for their day at work. The same can be said for the commute home at the end of the day. People commonly use the commute home to replay the previous day, plan for the next work day, and prepare for their time at home with their family. No matter what is coming in to their mind it can be dangerous because it

Being under the influence of drugs or alcohol

Operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs and alcohol is not only against the law in every state, it is extremely dangerous. no matter how much someone has had to drink, driving under the influence of alcohol impacts your driving ability.

 

 

Distracted Driving: 6 Examples of Visual Distractions

April is distracted driving awareness month. As a result, we are trying to bring attention to the many ways people can be distracted while behind the wheel of an automobile. There are three types distractions for drives; manual, visual, and cognitive. Today we are going to give you some examples of visual distractions that can impact a driver when behind the wheel.

A Visual Distraction can come in many forms when behind the wheel of a car.

BillBoard

We are constantly distracted by advertisements in our ever connected world. Even when we are in the car and off of our electronic devices, there are still ways for advertisers to attempt to gain our attention. Creative BillBoard Advertisements can distract a driver enough to cause an accident. This is one of the most common types of visual distraction.

Cell Phone

The most common way for a driver to be distracted inside a vehicle is for them to look at their cell phone. This is without a doubt the most common form of visual distraction when people are behind the wheel.

Car Navigation System

Car navigation systems are becoming much more common in new vehicles. Even vehicles that do not come with a navigation system have the ability to connect to endless options of GPS Units that can be added to the vehicle. While these devices can help drivers when travelling in an unfamiliar area, it is never a good idea for the driver to be the one operating the device.

Checking on the Kids

Parents with a young child in the car with them have many responsibilities on top of driving the vehicle. Children can be very convincing when they are in the middle of a tantrum. No matter what emergency the child is facing in the back seat of the car, it is not more important than safely operating the automobile. For this reason, it is extremely important to avoid this type of visual distraction.

Radio/Temperature Controls

Radio and temperature controls can take your distraction away from the road and become a visual distraction. Even if the amount of time of this distraction is small, it can be the difference between stopping in time and having a collision. It is especially important to familiarize yourself with these dials when operating a rental car or driving any unfamiliar vehicle.

The View

Some people are fortunate enough to live in an area of the country that has immaculate views around them. These views can be both a blessing and a curse when behind the wheel of a car. It is tempting to take in these views because of the immense beauty of the area, but the amount of time your eyes are not on the road can result in a crash.

 

5 Types of Manual Distracted Driving

Manually Distracted Driving

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month and in honor of this month My Insurance Question is dedicating a majority of our attention towards helping individuals and small businesses end distracted driving. The first step towards ending distracted driving is knowing exactly what distracted driving is. Far too many people think distracted driving begins and ends with the cellphone. While a majority of distractions to drivers do involve a mobile device, there are far more ways people can be distracted while behind the wheel.  The three main types of distractions include manual, visual, and cognitive distractions. Here are examples of 5 types of manual distractions.

Manual Distracted Driving is just as dangerous as sending a text.

What is a manual distraction?

According to the website DMV.org a manual distraction is anything that causes you to take one or both hands off of the wheel. Now you will find that most distractions involve more than one type of distraction. For instance, rolling down the window may include all three types of distractions: Cognitive because you are thinking about the window instead of the road, manual because you are taking your hand off the wheel to push a button to roll down the window, and visual if you look away from the road to observe the window.

Using your phone is not the only way to be distracted while driving. Here are five examples of manual distractions.

Here are 5 examples of manual distractions while behind the wheel. 

Eating and drinking

Today we live in an on-the-go society. Taking a look at the drive-thru line of your nearest McDonalds is all the evidence you need to know there are a lot of people out on the roads eating and drinking while behind the wheel. Eating and drinking are a manual distraction because you have to physically use your hands to do something other than have be placed on the wheel at ten and two.

Smoking

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), 15.5 percent of Americans 18 or older still smoke. The amount of Americans who smoke has been on a constant decline for many years. This amount of drivers still means one and a half of every ten drivers smoke. Many of them smoke when behind the wheel. The reason this is a manual distraction is because they physically have to hold the cigarette for an extended period of time. This creates an extended period of time when these drivers face a manual distraction.

Turning knobs in your car

There are more knobs and buttons in our cars now than ever before. Many new cars come with an electronic display for climate control, radio features, and even GPS capability. these are all potential manual distractions because of the fact you have to take your hand off the steering wheel in order to use any of the controls.

Tending to a child

Children are the most valued possession in any parents life. In most instances, taking care of the needs of a child come before anything a parent needs to do for themselves. When you are behind the wheel this should not be the case. No matter how bad of a tantrum your child is throwing, what they are facing is never as important as keeping them from being involved in a car accident.

Searching through your purse or wallet

Most adults carry a purse or wallet with them at all times. They include personal items like id cards, credit and debit cards as well as gum, mints, makeup and anything else we just cannot do without. These are all potential manual distractions because to use any of these items, the driver must take their hand off the wheel in order to get in to the purse or wallet. These items should be kept out of reach of the driver at all times while behind the wheel.

 

3 Types of Distracted Driving

Distracted driving is a public health issue that affects everyone in America. April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month.  The latest statistics show motor vehicle fatalities are up 6% from 2015. More than 40,000 people were killed on our nation’s roadways each of the previous two years.  Distracted driving is a major contributor.

When thinking or discussing distracted driving, far too many people think distracted driving starts and ends with the cell phone, but there are many other ways a driver can be distracted when behind the wheel. The three main ways someone can be distracted when behind the wheel deal with manual, visual, and cognitive distractions. Here is an in-depth description of each type of distraction with examples of each.

Manually Distracted Driving

Manually Distracted DrivingThe first and foremost type of distraction any driver faces when behind the wheel is anything that causes a driver to take one or both hands off of the steering wheel. This can be from eating or drinking while in the car, adjusting a GPS unit, getting something out of a purse or wallet, or sending a full text message. No matter how small the distraction may seem, it can lead to serious consequences when a distracted driver becomes the victim of a car crash.

Visual Distracted Driving

Visually Distracted DrivingThere are a number of types of visual distractions a driver can face while operating a motor vehicle. Some visual distractions cause the drivers visual field to be blocked. This can occur because of heavy rain and inadequate windshield wipers. It can also occur when a driver is moving and the back windshield is blocked by the goods being moved. A visual distraction can occur when a driver decides not to look in a certain area before making a move behind the wheel. This can be as simple as not looking both ways at a stop sign. It can be not turning your head to observe the lane you are about to turn in to, instead just relying on the mirrors. Additional visual distractions can come when the driver actually looks at something not related to the act of driving. This can be a clever billboard on the side of the highway or a funny video your friend in the passenger seat wants you to view. No matter what type of visual distraction someone faces when behind the wheel, it is extremely important for the driver to do everything possible to keep their attention on the act of driving.

Cognitively Distracted Driving

The final type of distracted driving deals with the drivers cognitive ability to pay attention to the task of driving.  There are many things that can contribute to this type of a distraction. One of the most common is talking on the phone with a hands-free device like a bluetooth. This type of distraction can also come in the form of an in-depth conversation with a significant other or a person getting excited when their new favorite song comes on the radio. The main danger with cognitive distractions is that in our society today we are constantly inundated with distractions. Because of these distractions we get comfortable doing two things at once, but that is a false sense of security when you get behind the wheel of a car. When you are behind the wheel of a car, the stakes are far to high to risk driving while distracted.

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month

Here are 10 tips from experts about how to combat distracted driving.

Hang up and drive

According to AARP, the best way to combat distracted driving is to simply put down the phone and drive. Leave all phone calls for when you are at a place where you can safely park your car.

Wear your Seatbelt:

The first thing anyone should do when they sit down in to a car is to put on your seatbelt. Even if you do every thing in your power to keep yourself from getting distracted, you can not prevent other people from driving distracted and harming you.

Know your technology:

This multitasking technology is about convenience, not safety. According to the National Safety Council, cell phones are not the only distraction drivers are facing on the roads today.

Designated Texter:

Select a friend to be your designated texter while you’re behind the wheel. According to the organization Digital Responsibility, Designated Drivers have helped decrease the amount of drinking and driving cases. The same concept can help with distracted driving.

There are three types of distractions:

According to the website DMV.org there are three types of distraction while driving: Manual, Visual, and Cognitive.

Skip the Drive-through:

According to an article in Consumer Reports it is important to skip the drive through. Eating while driving can be just as distracting as texting and driving.

Attend to the kids before getting behind the wheel:

Children can distract you from the road. Whenever your children are having a tantrum on the road it is important to first pull to the side of the road before dealing with any childs needs.

Put up makeup on at home:

Applying makeup while behind the wheel is as distracting as anything someone can do while driving. Taking the proper amount of time to apply makeup before getting behind the wheel is essential to preventing distracted driving.

Talk to your teens about distractions:

Teens today have grown up with cell phone usage as a part of their existence. Talking to them about the need to put down the phone while driving is important.

Just talking can be a distraction:

It is normal to talk with a friend or family member when behind the wheel, but limiting the amount of attention you put on the conversation is important to limit distracted driving.

 

Tips for Home Health Care Agencies

Owning and operating a home health care agency can be complex. The clients you deal with can have a wide range of health issues you and your employees need to be familiar with. Some clients may be small and frail, but very mobile; while another client may be large and immobile. Some may have mental problems like dementia while other clients may have mobility issues like the aftermath of a stroke. With each of these clients comes a unique set of risks. These risks all determine what type of insurance you need and how much that insurance will cost. Here are three tips to help you the next time you shop for home health care workers comp.

Make sure you are classified accurately

For purposes of workers compensation insurance, governance of these programs is left up to the individual states. Most of the states partner with the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) to determine a classification code for each business and the rate of premium for each code. There are currently more than 700 different codes a business can be classified as. Each industry has multiple classification codes depending upon the scope and scale of the business. Depending upon the actions of your employees while on the job, the amount of premium is reflected through your businesses classification code.

Hire carefully

Unfortunately the home health care industry tends to have a high turnover rate. The two main reasons for this is the stress of the job and the amount of pay for most employees. In order to turn a profit, there is only so much a business owner can pay their employees in order to stay profitable. Because of this fact, it is difficult to keep the best employees around. This is a reason to hire carefully and for the long-term. Sometimes the candidate with the best resume is not as good for your business as the candidate who is the best fit for your business. Finding the best fit is different from business to business based upon the scope of the business and the market that business operates in. Taking additional time to hire the right person will almost always pay off in the long run.

Implement safety protocols

Safety programs are immensely important in the home health care industry. This industry has both a high volume of insurance claims and the claims can be high in severity. The reason for this is because many employees drive their own vehicle to a remote location and many drive to multiple locations throughout the day. The time that your employees drives from location to location makes the liability for accidents that occur the responsibility of the business. This is regardless of whether the employee is on the clock or not. It is important to consider implementing a driver safety program for your home healthcare business.

It is also important to implement safety programs  for the time your employees are in the homes with clients. Depending upon the limitations of each client, your employees should be prepared to keep themselves safe first and keep the client safe second. Let them know that they cannot help the client if they do not take care of themselves first. Because of the remote nature of this work, it is important to have weekly face to face meetings with all employees and to discuss safety protocols with them.

 

Business Owners Policy

3  Reasons why Small Businesses Need a Business Owners Policy (BOP)

A Business Owners Policy, typically includes three types of insurance. Those three types of insurance include Property, Business Interruption, and liability protection. There are additional coverages your business can purchase to tailor the policy to fit your business’s specific needs. Two common additions include inland marine and data breach coverage. No matter the size or scope of your business, a BOP is almost always the best way to properly insure your business. Here are 3 reasons you should consider a BOP.

BOP

 

A BOP will ensure no gaps in coverage

Because with a Business Owners Policy, you bundle several products together, your business is less likely to have a claim not be covered because of a gap in coverage. A gap in coverage occurs when you purchase two products from different carriers and each carrier has an exclusion to their policy. If both policies have an inclusion for the loss, it may cause the loss to not be covered at all. Even if the loss is covered it can slow down the response time for the claim because the insurance carriers have to determine who is ultimately responsible for the claim. When you purchase a BOP, it will speed up the amount of time to process a claim and do the best job of preventing a gap in coverage.

A BOP will make insurance more affordable

Keeping expenses as low as possible is extremely important for the long-term success of any business. A Business Owners Policy allows you to keep the price of premium lower because insurance companies are more likely to dig deeper for credits and discounts when they know they are quoting multiple policies through your business.

A BOP can be modified to fit your needs

Business Owners Policies are designed with a specific industry in mind. Insurance carriers have loads of data about claims in each particular industry and with that data they know with a high probability which coverages each industry is most likely to need. This data can help a business owner to know what types of insurance they need and what types they can do without. If your business is an exception to the rule, your insurance agent can help you fine tune your specific package to meet the unique needs of your business. This is something not offered from most traditional insurance policies.