Dram Shop Insurance

What is Dram Shop Insurance and How Should a Business Purchase Coverage?

Dram Shop Insurance is required by law in nearly every state in the country. In the past, Dram Shop was a term that referred to places where alcohol was sold by the dram (a small quantity of liquid). Dram Shop Liability Laws have been created to protect the public from intoxicated individuals who have been over-served by an establishment. Dram Shop Insurance is a type of insurance required by businesses that sell and serve alcoholic beverages. Most within the insurance industry now use the term Liquor Liability Insurance as it is more straight-forward and easier to remember.

What Determines Cost of Dram Shop Insurance?

There are a number of factors that determine what a business pays for Dram Shop Insurance. Like a normal commercial insurance policy, it depends upon the state you operate in, the revenue of your business, and the number of employees. Specific to Dram Shop Insurance the determining factors include the types of alcohol sold, the closing time, the amount of food compared to alcohol receipts, the square footage of the facility, the average price of the drinks, the types of entertainment on the premises (live music, karaoke,etc.), and whether the establishment has bouncer manning the door. Having well-designed protocols in place for how your staff should deal with intoxicated customers goes a long ways towards limiting the frequency and severity of claims within your business.

What is Covered by Dram Shop Insurance?

Dram Shop Insurance covers many claims your business may face. Some of those covered claims include bodily injury, property damage, coverage for intoxicated employees, fights, legal costs, and mental anguish. Not what is covered and how much is covered will differ depending upon the carrier you are purchasing from and the state you are operating in. Businesses should review all policies extremely carefully before purchasing coverage for their business. Partnering with an independent insurance agent is a great way to get unbiased advice about the differences between coverages from carrier to carrier.

The big difference between Dram Shop Insurance Policies are the type of carrier a business is purchasing coverage from. The two types of carriers include admitted and non-admitted carriers. An Admitted Carrier is required to file rates with the state and follow rules and regulations set by each state’s Department of Insurance. A Non-admitted Carrier is not required to file rates or follow the same state regulations. Non-admitted Carriers do have to prove to the state they operate in that they are able to financially pay the claims their policyholders file. In addition to admitted vs. non-admitted carriers it is important for business owners to check the financial strength of the carrier as reported by the AM Best or by Standard & Poor’s.

3 Types of Liability Insurance Every Technology Company Should Have?

General, Professional, and Cyber Liability Insurance

Technology Companies have enormous risks. Those risks depend upon whether the business sells or services technology products. Some businesses store data about the businesses customers. Other businesses create technology that other businesses use to store the data of those customers. No matter what type of risk a business faces, there are three types of liability insurance all technology companies should secure. Those policies are General, Professional, and Cyber Liability Insurance.

Technology Liability Insurance

General Liability Insurance

General Liability Insurance for Small Business is the most important type of insurance policy a company can secure.  General Liability Insurance helps policyholders from the third party risks associated with lawsuits and other types of claims. Those claims include bodily injury and property damage that is caused by direct or indirect actions of the insured. For most businesses a general liability claim can be for something as simple as a customer slipping on wet floors inside a restaurant or when when a product sold breaks and causes an injury. For technology companies, General Liability Insurance will cover legal expenses when a business is sued for customer injuries, property damage, and slander. For many within the insurance industry, general liability insurance is referred to as the first line of defense for a business. It should not be the only coverage a business secures.

Professional Liability Insurance

Professional Liability Insurance is also referred to as Errors and Omissions Insurance. Professional Liability Insurance is coverage for professional businesses that give expert advice or provide technology services for a fee. The coverage prevents businesses from bearing the full cost of defending against a negligence claim made by a client, and damages awarded in a civil lawsuit.

Here are five types of claims that are commonly covered by a Professional Liability Insurance Policy:

  • Breach of Contract: Breach of Contract that occurs when one or both parties do not live up to a contract that was previously agreed upon.
  • Fraud: Fraud occurs when one party intentionally lies or deceives for financial or personal gain.
  • Negligence: Negligence occurs when one party fails to use reasonable care that results in damage or harm to another person, business, or organization.
  • Breach of Warranty: Breach of Promise occurs when a person or business promises something to a customer in a warranty, and the business is unable to keep the promise made by the product or contract.
  • Misrepresentation: Misrepresentation occurs when a person or business makes a false claim to convince another person or party into a contract.

Cyber Liability Insurance

Cyber Liability Insurance covers the insureds liability for damages that result from a data breach. It does not cover immediate response costs that a business faces after a data breach. A Cyber Liability Insurance Policy is a type of insurance that protects businesses that sell and service technology. A data breach can result from something as small as an employees laptop being stolen while going to the bathroom at a coffee shop, but it can also result from an employee clicking on a phishing email. Data breaches are no longer just a problem for bug businesses. Both the Target and Home Depot Data Breaches started by hackers first accessing the computer systems of a small business who were partners with the bigger business. As most enterprise level business take cyber security more seriously, this is becoming a much more common way for businesses to become victims of a data breach.

8.1% Decrease for Nevada Workers Compensation Rates 2019

Nevada Workers Compensation Rates 2019 are Some of the Lowest in the Country

Effective March 1, Nevada Workers Compensation Rates in 2019 will be declining by 8.1%. According to the Oregon Premium Rate Ranking Study Nevada was the 46th most expensive state in the country to buy Workers’ Comp Insurance. The cost for coverage in Nevada is 71% of the national median. Each individual class code will see varying amounts of savings depending upon class code and experience modification rating. The range of changes in premium are between -29% and +15%. A sizable majority of classifications would receive decreases, often substantial decreases, as a result of this filing. A few still will see an increase in what they pay.

Las Vegas, Nevada

How is the Nevada Workers Compensation System Unique?

In the state of Nevada all businesses, must be covered by workers’ compensation insurance. Nevada operates under what is referred to as a no-fault system. A no fault system protects employees by providing medical and disability benefits along with some lost wages. The system also protects employers by limiting liability in the event of a workplace injury.

In the past Nevada was a monopolistic state. Being a monopolistic state means the employer must obtain workers compensation insurance from a compulsory state fund or qualify as a self-insurer. This means all businesses that operate within the state must purchase coverage from one provider. There is no open market for coverage. To be self insured, the business must meet certain financial criteria to qualify.

Currently, Nevada is an NCCI state. This means the state pool for high risk businesses that have been denied coverage on the open market is administered by the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI). Typically states who partner with NCCI enjoy more favorable rates on workers comp coverage.

Sandstone, Nevada Desert

Why are Nevada Workers Compensation Rates Declining?

Nevada Workers Compensation Rates are declining significantly in 2019. This is because of a number of reasons. The payroll cap is one factor, most other states do not implement that somewhat contribute to lower rates on premium in Nevada. What a payroll cap means is that most states require the full payroll of all covered employees to be factored in the insurance premium. The rate is multiplied by each $100 in payroll. After this additional debits or credits are applied. Nevada only requires the first $36,000 of payroll for each covered employee, which reduces insurance premiums for businesses with employees who have higher salaries.

Also contributing to lower workers comp rates, is declining claims frequency. This is a trend that is happening throughout the country. Most people credit improvements in automation and workplace safety for the decline in claims frequency.

Tahoe Ski Resort, Reno, NevadaPurchasing Nevada Workers Compensation Insurance is very complex. It requires the help of a trusted advisor. More often then not the most trusted advisor is an independent insurance agent. In order to make sure your business is purchasing the right policy is to seek help from a Independent Insurance Agent.  An independent agent can help you get quotes from multiple insurance companies so you can be sure you get the most comprehensive coverage at rock bottom rates.

Alaska Workers Compensation Rates in 2019 are going down!

The Largest Decrease for Workers Comp Insurance Premium in 40 years for Alaska Business Owners

In 2019, Alaska Workers Compensation Insurance Rates are expected to fall the most they have in 40 years. The governor office announced this past October that workers’ compensation insurance premiums should decrease by an average of 17.5 percent statewide starting the first of January.  This decrease follows a 5.4 percent decrease in 2017 and workers’ compensation premiums are down roughly 25 percent since 2015. These reductions amount to an estimated $35 million in savings for the Alaska Business Community. According to Alaska Governor Bill Walker, “These proposed rate reductions are welcome news for Alaska businesses — lower workers’ compensation costs reduce the burden on the small businesses that strengthen our economy,” Walker said in a formal statement. “Thank you to the Alaska state Legislature and the Department of Labor and Workforce Development for their work on payment reform, contributing to significant rate reductions for 2019.”

Mount McKinley, Denali National Park, Alaska

What Caused Alaska Workers Compensation Insurance Rates to Decline?

There were a number of factors that contributed to the large decline in Alaska Workers Compensation Insurance Rates. Claim frequency and favorable medical costs continued to decline in 2018 which were two of the major factors contributing to declining rates. The claims frequency means that across the board there were less claims filed in 2018 compared to previous years. This is a favorable measurement for insurance carriers because this decreases the costs related to paying out insurance claims and processing those claims. Declining medical costs is largely because of streamlined processes throughout the medical facilities operating within the workers compensation system.

There was also legislation passed in 2018 that will contribute to lower rates in 2019 and for the foreseeable future. The legislation was House Bill 79 (HB79). the legislation clarified who is classified as an independent contractor and who needs to be covered by workers’ compensation insurance. This bill made it easier to obtain exemptions, to acquire reporting data, and to make payments.

Alaskan Cruise Ship

What can Business Owners do to Maximize Alaska Workers Compensation Insurance Rates?

There are many ways a business owner can save, in addition to the savings the Alaska Business Community is receiving from workers compensation premiums declining. Here are 5 things a business owner can act upon to maximize savings on Alaska Workers Compensation Insurance.

  • Make sure your Business is Classified Properly
  • Implement a Safety Program
  • Incorporate a Return-to-Work Program in the Safety Program
  • Consider Pay-as-You-Go Workers Compensation
  • Partner with an Independent Insurance Agent

Proper Classification Codes

In any given year, there are more than 700 different classification codes for businesses and employees to use when it comes to workers compensation insurance. Making sure your business is classified correct is a step that can save a lot of headaches during a mid term or end of term audit. Proper classification can prevent your business from over or under paying premium throughout the year. If you under pay throughout the year, it can cause your business to owe additional premium at the end of the term. Even if your business over pays through out the year and gets a credit on their policy, it means your business has had unnecessary cash flow tied up in workers comp premium payments. This is money that could be used on other necessary business needs.

Well-Documented Safety Program

A safety program can help a small business lower what they pay for commercial insurance by decreasing the frequency and severity of workers compensation insurance claims. The safety program does not have to be exhaustive. It can be as small as part of the new staff training program and a few 15 minute huddles each week. It is important to have these meetings documented. Your insurance agent can use this documentation to get you an additional discount when purchasing coverage. The documentation can also be used when a business experiences a year in which there are several claims or one large claim. Usually when this occurs your can expect your insurance premium to rise. If you have a documented safety program, your independent insurance agent can use it to show the claims are more of an outlier and not a sign of more claims to come.

A Return-to-Work Program

A return to work program is a great way to show your employees you care about them and help them get back to their daily routine quicker. When executed properly, a return to work program can help get your injured workers back on the job, even in a limited capacity, and back a part of their regular work routine. This is the best way to keep insurance claims under control and help keep your experience modification rating low.

Pay-as-You-Go Option

Some businesses may benefit from Pay as You Go Workers Compensation. Most traditional workers comp policies require 25 to 33 percent of the entire premium up front just to get coverage in place. With the Pay as You Go Option, most businesses can get coverage in place for as little as a few hundred dollars. This allows cash strapped businesses to get coverage in place, but use their needed cash flow for other more urgent business needs.

Partner with an Independent Agent

An independent agent is always the best way to find the most comprehensive insurance coverage at the lowest rate possible. Especially if the independent agent has several years of experience and relationships with multiple insurance carriers. They can use this knowledge and these relationships, to know which carriers are actively looking to quote your industry and and force carriers to compete for your business.

Oregon Workers Comp Rates are Declining in 2019

A 9.7 % Decrease Marks 6 Consecutive Years of Declining Oregon Workers Compensation Rates

Workers Compensation Rates for the business community within the state of Oregon are declining by an average of 9.7 percent in 2019. The rates went in to effect the first of January and they mark the 6th consecutive year that workers comp rates have declined for Oregon Business Owners. Over this six year period Oregon Workers Compensation Rates have declined by 40 percent from 2013 to 2019. The average pure premium rate will be $1.12 per $100 of payroll for workers compensation coverage. In 2018 this rate was $1.28 per $100 in payroll. Comparatively, the cheapest state for coverage is in Texas at $0.75 and the most expensive state in Alaska at $2.74. As of 2018, the last year rankings were made, the state of Oregon was the 45th least expensive state to purchase coverage.   Utah, West Virginia, Arkansas, Indiana, and North Dakota are the only states that have cheaper rates than the state of Oregon.

Portland, Oregon

Why are Oregon Workers Compensation Rates declining in 2019

There are several contributing factors to declining workers comp rates for Oregon Businesses. Lower medical care costs and less severe claims in recent years are two of the strongest contributing factors. Cameron Smith, Department of Consumer and Business Services (DCBS) Director, “Everyone from employers and workers to insurers and government has played a role in making workplaces safer and keeping business costs low.  As the numbers show, Oregon’s comprehensive approach continues to pay off.”

There are additional measures that are contributing to positive rates in recent years. The Workers Compensation Division for the state of Oregon have increased several efforts that include enforcing employers to carry insurance, keeping medical costs under control, and helping injured workers return to work sooner. Additionally, in Oregon the state government has recently put a focus on preventing on-the-job injuries by enforcing workplace safety and health rules, as well as advising employers about how to improve worker safety and health. Governor Kate Brown stated, “Oregon continues to demonstrate that it’s possible to maintain low employer costs while providing strong support to workers. We must remain committed to working together to balance employer rates and worker benefits, and to help injured workers heal and return to work quickly.”

Oregon Business Owners enjoy a strong workers compensation system that provides the state with favorable rates on premium, but business leaders should still look to maximize savings. Partnering with an independent insurance agent is always the best way to get comprehensive coverage at rock-bottom rates.

5 Questions to Ask Your Insurance Agent

And 5 Tips to Make Sure the Insurance Buying Process is Smooth

What Liability Do I Face That I May Not Realize?

Insurance Agents interact with businesses of all types and sizes on a daily basis. They work with business owners when they are starting a business, when they are up for renewal, and when they have to file a claim. These experiences expose your agent to many different ways a business might have to use their insurance policy. This experience allows your agent to understand risks that a business owner may not even realize they face. If you value your business than ask your insurance agent about those risks you may not foresee.

How Should I Communicate With You?

Ask your agent what their preferred method of communication is. If you need to get ahold of them in a hurry, ask how to best accomplish this. They may have a key employee who is the person to talk to when you cannot get ahold of them directly. It is helpful to know who those people are and what the process is to get ahold of the agent effectively.  It is equally important to ask them what the process is throughout the year for you to communicate with each other (when you need to file a claim, when you are up for renewal, when you buy new equipment, etc.).

How Can We Establish Expectations?

Most business owners are very busy people and time is of ultimate value. The same can be said for your insurance agent. An insurance agent has to balance the needs of many customers. If you know at the beginning of your business relationship what expectations are, the more likely you are to avoid difficult situations in the future. This should go for what their responsibilities are, what your responsibilities are, when you should talk to each other, and what the process is at the end of your term. These are just a few areas that should be established up front to prevent problems down the road.

How Do I Report a Claim?

Knowing what the process is to file and process a claim is not something you want to be figuring out when your business is dealing with a loss. Do not be upset when your agent tells you that the carrier process the claims. Processing the claim is the job of the carrier. It is important to contact your agent throughout the claims process. They can help when an unfortunate event occurs like your agent is not living up to their responsibilities.

What additional Information can help you?

Your insurance agent can only act upon the information you give them. No one knows your business, inside and out, as well as you do. Communicate as much about your business as you can to your insurance agent as well as what you value out of your relationship with an insurance agent. this additional information can help the insurance agent determine what exactly are the risks that your business faces and it will help them come up with multiple packages to suit the needs of your individual business.

5 Tips for a Smooth Renewal

Honesty is Always the Best Policy

When it comes to protecting your business, honesty is always the best policy. Once you find an insurance agent that you trust (and you should not be partnering with an agent you do not fully trust) it is important to tell them as much about your business as is necessary. Do not ever conceal or lie about anything within your operations. At best it can cause a major headache for you when a claim is filed and in many cases it can cause a claim to not be covered. Having a long and honest conversation each year with your insurance agent is always the best way to properly protect your business.

Tell the agent what you can and cannot afford

You do not have to give the agent a number, but if you cannot afford an all inclusive package you need to tell them. It is equally wise to ask your agent what liability you are left exposed to by not purchasing a particular policy. Most carriers have Business Owner’s Packages designed specifically for each industry. These packages can usually be changed to meet the specific needs of your business. If you are cash strapped and cannot afford all the policies recommended, it is important to tell them this fact. This is also true if you have the ability to pay and you want to get as much coverage as possible. No matter where your business stands and what you value, it is always best to keep your agent in on these priorities.

Express to the Agent How Much Risk You are Comfortable With

In some business scenarios, you do not have to overdo it when it comes to insurance. This is especially true for startups or seasonal businesses. Now it is never a good idea to go under-insured, but not every business needs to take on every insurance coverage offered. Cyber liability is one coverage that may or may not be necessary for your business. It takes an in-depth conversation with your agent to determine whether you actually need cyber insurance or any other coverage. In addition to going without coverage, you can also save money by choosing a higher deductible.

Remember the Agent is Feeling You Out Too

Remember, the agent is feeling you out too.  If you give the wrong impression of how you run your business, the agent may determine the risk is not worth the commission. This can make it difficult to find an agent who will partner with you. This can be especially difficult when you are looking for comprehensive coverage or you are looking for the lowest California Workers Compensation Rates. Always remember the agent may also be feeling out if your priorities are in line with the type of customer they want to partner with. Insurance is a business of maximizing risk. Insurance agents and carriers want to partner with businesses who rarely file a claim. If you have a negative claims history, you do not have any documentation of safety programs and you only want to discuss what the cheapest policies are; the agent may determine you are the type of business that is likely to file claims at a high frequency or claims that may be severe. If you put off this vibe during your interactions with the insurance agent, they may simply determine your business is not worth the perceived risk.

Periodically Reevaluate Your Risks

As businesses grow so do the risk they face. If you have finished a year in which you have taken on additional staff, bought additional equipment, or taken on a new property; it may be time to reassess the risks your business faces. This is why it is important to find an insurance professional with whom you can have a comfortable relationship. When you establish a strong relationship with your insurance agent, this relationship allows you to feel comfortable telling your insurance agent about all the aspects of your business that may present additional risks to your business. This is not something you need to do on a weekly or monthly basis, but it is something you should do when you are up for your yearly renewal.

Are You Sure Your Employees Have The Right Workers Comp Codes

Workers Comp Codes Determine What You Pay for Insurance Premium 

Workers Compensation Classification Codes are a three or four digit code describing what each individual employee does on a daily basis. The codes are either created by the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) or a specific state rating bureau. NCCI partners with more than 30 states to recommend pure premium rates for Workers Comp Codes throughout the state workers compensation system. The code of each employee is one of the strongest determining factors when it comes to what a insurance carrier charges the business for workers compensation insurance premium. Here are five tips to make sure your business is doing everything possible to control what the business pays for workers compensation insurance.

Small Business Meeting discussing employee Workers Comp Codes.

Create In-depth Job Descriptions

Job descriptions are important when it comes to purchasing all types of commercial insurance, especially workers compensation coverage. The workers comp codes of employees determine what the business pays for work comp coverage. Some employees participate in more dangerous activities than others. Because of these activities, your business must pay more for workers comp coverage for the employees who participate in more dangerous activities. If you have many types of employees who engage in many different types of business activities it is very important to have in-depth job descriptions for your employees. Having all employees classified properly and having well-written job descriptions can save your business a lot of headaches in relation to your commercial insurance policies.

Sure up your operations

Each employees class code is based on the employees operations.  The class code will be determined based on your client’s operations, work environment, job description, etc. The more dialed in you have your business, the easier it is to control claims and secure additional discounts when renewing insurance. Many carriers will offer discounts for things like safety programs, return to work programs, defensive driving courses, owning new equipment, and implementing an ergonomically friendly work space.  If you have some or all of these aspects of your business and it is documented, you can usually secure a discount on commercial insurance.

Expect Rates to Fluctuate

Rates for commercial insurance vary from state to state and industry to industry. It is important to expect the rates to fluctuate from year to year. There are many aspects that go in to what a business pays for premium that include the workers comp code of the employees, the experience modification rating of the business, the amount of payroll of the business, and the claims history of the business. If one of these aspects changes, it can have a positive or negative impact on what a carrier charges for insurance.

Know Incorrect Workers Comp Codes Can Cost More

Placing the wrong Workers Compensation Classification Code on an employee or a number of employees can drastically impact what your business pays for premium.  These discrepancies usually are found during the end of term audit. Mistakes can result in either a credit or debit to your policy.  These discrepancies can happen when you have employees who work in multiple departments. Working with your Accounting Department or an outside Payroll Company can be a good way to ensure accurate classification and payroll numbers.

Communicate with your Carrier

Like most things in business, communication is key to success. It is important to communicate with both your agent and your carrier when things change about your business. If you purchase a new piece of equipment or you are taking on a new type of work, it is important to speak with your agent and carrier about these changes. It may mean the difference between a claim being denied or a carrier sending you a non-renewal.

 

 

Louisiana Workers Compensation Insurance Rates are Declining in 2019

Louisiana Workers Compensation Rates have declined over the past decade and the declines are continuing in 2019 

Louisiana Workers Compensation Insurance Rates are declining in 2019 by an average of 5.6 percent. According to Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon, “Rates have had a cumulative drop of 19 percent over the last five years and 51 percent over the last 20 years.” This has had a dramatically positive impact on the business community throughout the state of Nevada over a time when the state has needed all the help it can get.

Oak Alley Plantation in rural Louisiana

What is Contributing to Declining Louisiana Workers Compensation

Louisiana Workers Compensation Rates 2019 are declining again. There are a number of reasons for the declining rates. At the top of the list of reasons for declining rates is competition in the market place, improved workplace safety, and better risk management practices being used throughout the business community. According the the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, Louisiana has one of the lowest non-fatal work-related injury rates in the United States. Speaking about the reasons for the decline in premium Donelon said “Louisiana businesses are benefiting from the competition in the workers’ compensation market. Through improved workplace safety and better risk management practices, rates have continued their downward trajectory and are more affordable for businesses statewide”.

French Quarter, New Orleans, Louisiana

Additional Savings Tips for Louisiana Businesses

When it comes to maximizing savings on Louisiana Workers Compensation Rates, there are a number of factors that contribute to what a business pays for workers comp premium. Being mindful of your operations and taking some time to make safety a priority can have a lasting effect when it comes to your business and the relationship with an insurance carrier. Here are three tips for saving the next time you purchase commercial insurance.

Focus on Safety

Safety, first and foremost, is the most important thing any business can emphasize in their operations. This is because focusing on safety is the right thing to do on a human level as well as on a business level. Your business cannot operate without employees. Keeping employees healthy and happy should be priority number one for any business owner. Not only are healthy employees happy, but they are more productive and commit less accidents. Less accidents means less damage to the businesses equipment and less missed time due to injured workers. This can have a long-lasting impact on what your business pays for commercial insurance and it does not have to take an exhaustive amount of time.

Create an Ergonomic Friendly Workspace  

Some of the biggest workers compensation claims stem from repetitive motion injuries. Problems like carpal tunnel can be very debilitating for your employees. When an employee suffers from a repetitive motion injury it can take an enormous amount of time to recover. Luckily man of these injuries are preventable. Working with your employees to create an ergonomically friendly work space can help prevent much bigger problems down the road. Creating an ergonomically friendly workplace is not easy and there is not a cookie cutter formula for how to make it happen. What will benefit one employee will not be ideal for another employee. Having open doors for communication and talking about ergonomics, safety, and comfort can help you start this conversation with your staff.

Understand your Experience Mod

The full term for experience mod is the experience modification rating. This rating is what a carrier uses to determine if they are going to offer a business insurance and what to charge each business for coverage. By speaking with your insurance agent about this rating, a business owner can get an idea of what they have the ability to control that will have a positive impact on this rating.  The main thing a business can do to keep this rating low is to limit the frequency and severity of insurance claims processed by your business. This does not mean you should keep everything secret from your insurance agent, but it does mean you should do everything possible to limit claims from happening. Operating a safe organization and limiting the frequency and severity of claims is the best way to keep this rating low.

How to Save in 2019 when Small Business Owners Shop Insurance

In 2019 There Are Several Ways to Save When You Shop Insurance

As most small business owners know, every dime matters when you own and operate a small business. Before making any major changes or making and major purchases, it is important to speak with every advisor possible to determine how these decision will impact your insurance premium. Savvy business owners weigh their options and move forward with the largest amount of information possible. This decision making process should be no different when it comes to purchasing shop insurance.  Here are five tried and true tips to help you save on commercial insurance and five tips you should try in 2019.

Shop Insurance

5 Tried and True Tips to Shop Insurance

Partner with an Independent Agent

It is always best to partner with an independent agent when it is time to Shop Insurance. The services done by an independent agent can be done by yourself or someone at your business, but depending upon the experience of yourself or your key employees, you are not going to be able to do it as efficiently as an independent agent can. This is especially true when it comes to the amount of time a business would have to spend acquiring quotes from multiple carriers and the knowledge an insider like an independent agent has within the insurance industry. An independent agent knows which carriers are hungry to quote a particular industry, which carriers are looking to quote a certain policy, and which carriers have better servicing when a claim occurs. This allows your key employees to spend more time running the business and allows the independent agent to shop insurance so you don’t have to.

Shop Around Your Policy

Once you have chosen an independent agent with whom you trust, it is important to have them shop your policy around to as many carriers as possible. This creates competition for your coverage and gives you options. It is not a good idea to switch carriers each year and it is not wise to make your decision on a carrier based solely on price. The margins insurance carriers make on policies are tight. If one carrier offers a price dramatically lower than all others there is more than likely a reason for it. An independent agent can help you determine which offer is the best, but it is important to first shop your policy around.

Understand your Experience Mod

The Experience Modification Rating of a business is the one factor businesses have control over that can impact what the pay for commercial insurance. Especially what the business pays for workers compensation insurance coverage. Underwriters at Insurance Carriers use the experience modification rating to determine if they are gong to offer a business coverage and what they are going to charge each business for premium. Keeping this rating low is important.

Safety Programs

Implementing an effective Safety Program is the primary way a business can keep their experience modification rating low. When effective a safety program can keep the number of insurance claims low and it can limit the severity of insurance claims when they do occur. A safety program does not have to be extremely time consuming. It can be as little as an hour meeting once a month or even a 15 minute huddle a few times a week.  No matter what type of program a business deems is best for their business, a safety program is the best way to lower the experience modification rating.

Return to Work Program

A Return to Work Program should be a part of any safety program. A return to work program helps inured employees get back to work faster and make them more likely to eventually return to full-time permanent work. Humans are creatures of habit and the longer an injured employee stays off the job, the longer they have to develop habits not associated with work. A return to work program can help your business retain these employees and limit the damage to your businesses experience modification rating.

5 Insurance Tips to Use in 2019

Consider Updating Equipment

If your business has certain types of equipment you depend upon; it may be wise to talk with your independent agent about all of the equipment your business owns and operates. Your independent agent should be able to help you determine which types of equipment are causing your premium to rise or fall. They may be able to help you determine when it is time to either limit the amount of equipment you own, upgrade the equipment you have or to sell outdated equipment.

Consider a Different Kind of Bundle

Bundling policies is always a good way to get additional discounts on insurance premium. If you are a small business owner; consider not only bundling all of your business and personal policies with one carrier, but try to leverage the policies of your employees as well. If you have a staff that needs health insurance coverage, it might be worth your while to get all of their policies added to your bundle.  When you ad in dental, vision, life, and supplemental income coverage; this can amount to a lot of premium. This is the type of situation an insurance agent loves. If an agent has the opportunity to sell multiple policies while dealing with only one person, they are much more likely to dig deep for all of the credits, debits, and discounts they have available.

Change your payment method

The payment method preferred will vary from carrier to carrier.  You may be able to reap substantial savings by paying your premium in full, paying quarterly, or by making a larger payment up front. Some carriers will give you a small discount for setting up payments through an electronic funds transfer. It is important to communicate to your agent, that you want them asking for any and all discounts offered. Insurance agents interact with customers from all walks of life. Not all of these customers value price as much as other customers. If you are a customer who does want to use every option possible to maximize savings, than communicate this preference to your agent.

Explore Every Type of Discount

There are a number of types of discounts insurance carriers offer.  Here is a list of discounts a business might be able to benefit from:

  • Claims Free
  • Safety Discounts
  • Bundling Discounts
  • Group Discounts
  • Loyalty Discounts
  • Paperless

Each insurance carrier is different. Some will allow you to ad on multiple discounts. Some will only allow you to take advantage of one or a select few. If you’re not sure about what discounts an insurance carrier provides, ask to speak with a representative who can explain the different policy combinations and available deals. Your independent agent should be able to find any and all discounts to meet your needs, but it is important to express to them this is a priority for you as a business owner.

Make your Workplace Ergonomically Friendly  

Ergonomically friendly working places are a long-term investment, but if executed properly they can help your business save immensely. Having an ergonomically friendly work station for each of your employees is a difficult situation. Each employee has their own unique needs. Some may be very tall while others may be very short. Some may be large while others may have a physical disability. Working with these employees to take care of their needs on the front end can eliminate a lot of costly insurance claims down the road by preventing repetitive use injuries. This will contribute to your staff being more productive and will lower what you pay for insurance because you will be filing less insurance claims.

5 Risks to Remember when Buying Business Insurance in Florida

Business Insurance Florida

There are many things that make Florida a great place to live. Sandy beaches, a growing economy, and Mild Winter Weather are at the top of the list why many people find their way to the Sunshine State. In addition, Florida is the third most populous state in the United States and it represents the fourth largest GDP of any state in the country. With all of these positives to the state of Florida comes an enormous amount of risk. Many of the risks the state of Florida faces are unique to the state and many are risks that many other regions of the country face. The fact the Florida faces many of these risks complicates the business community within the state. Here are four types of risk that are important to consider when deciding to buy Business Insurance Florida.

Hurricanes

Hurricane Season begins each year around the end of June or the beginning of July. It typically last well into September and early October. September is typically the strongest month. 2017 contained the most damage throughout the state of Florida when Category 4 Hurricane Irma struck the the Atlantic Coast. Because of the frequency and severity of hurricanes in the state of Florida, it is important for businesses to speak with their insurance agent about properly insuring their business against hurricanes.

Flooding

Flood Insurance is equally important to secure for businesses in Florida. An overwhelming majority of the state is located in an area with some level of risk for floods and most people or businesses are not adequately insured to protect against the damages from floods. Many policyholders near the coast think damages from flooding caused by a hurricane will be covered by their homeowners insurance or by hurricane insurance, but in most cases that is not true. This is why it is important to find an independent insurance agent with whom you have a lot of trust. An experienced independent agent can help you determine what exact risks you face, the level of those risks, if there are any gaps in coverage, and where you may be able to go without coverage. This advice can be invaluable when your area faces a natural disaster.

The Sharing Economy

Because of the impact of the tourism industry in the state of Florida, the sharing economy in the state is strong. Many people who are operating in the sharing economy either do not secure proper insurance or do not secure enough insurance.

Many people think their covered when they definitely are not. For people who work for the ride share companies of Lyft or Uber, their personal car insurance policies do not cover liability damages when they cause an accident while driving for a ridesharing business. Some car insurance policies will still pay for the damages to your car, but not the liability you face to third parties who are hurt by the accident a driver caused.

Florida also has many home owners who use homesharing platforms AirBNB or VRBO. The fact that the tourism industry is so strong within the state of Florida causes people to use these services more than in other parts of the country. Additional insurance is needed if a homeowner uses these services to make additional income off of their home.

Volatile Workers Compensation System

The Workers Compensation Market in Florida has been extremely volatile for a number of years. Rates in the market trended positive in 2018 when the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation announced 13.8 percent declines in the pure premium rate for businesses in 2019.  This decline will save the business community throughout the state more than $400 million dollars compared to 2018. These declines are in addition to declines in 2018 after steep increases in 2017.  The volatility in the market started in 2016 when the Supreme Court in the state ruled on two court cases, Castellanos v. Next Door Company and Westphal v. City of St. Petersburg.

The Castellanos Ruling invalidated a previous decision from a case in 2009 that limited an injured worker’s ability to recover a reasonable amount of money for attorney’s fees. After this ruling judges no longer had to stick to a fee schedule when awarding damages in workers compensation cases. Carriers anticipated this to drastically increase what they were required to pay in losses.

The Westphal Ruling dealt with the statutory limitation on temporary total disability benefits. This ruling increased the time period an injured worker can collect partial salary benefits from workers compensation claims.  The time period employees could collect these benefits increased from 104 weeks to 260 weeks. This additional 156 weeks causes carriers to prepare for these potential increases in payouts.

In the second half of 2017 saw the bankruptcy of Guarantee Insurance Company. Guarantee Insurance Company was the state provider for workers compensation in the state of Florida. “Guarantee had about 8,600 active policies in 31 states and the District of Columbia on Nov. 13, Moore said. Of those, 1,250 were in Florida”. This left more then a thousand businesses in the state of Florida scrambling to find coverage on short notice.