Why should someone choose an independent agent?

4 Reasons why you are better off choosing an Independent Agent.

Choosing which businesses to partner with are important decisions for any business owner, no matter what industry they operate in. Finding another business to provide the products and services you depend on is essential to your success.  No decision is more important who you decide to purchase insurance from. There are many ways a business owner can go about this process, but one of the most effective for many businesses is to partner with an independent agent. Here are 4 reasons why you should choose and independent insurance agency the next time you are looking for insurance coverage.

An Independent Agent Works for You

When you partner with a captive agent (an agent who works for only one carrier) they have a partnership with that carrier and that carrier only.  They work for you the business owner, but they also are equally looking out for the best interests of the carrier as well. An independent agency, who partners with multiple carriers, has more of an incentive to keep you the business owner satisfied in order to continue to win your business in the future.

An Independent Agent gives you choice

When you partner with an independent agent you will have the choice of which insurance carrier you would like to partner with. Most independent agencies partner with between 10 and 40 insurance carriers. This gives them the ability to shop your policy around and make the carriers compete for your business. An insurance agent who is a partner with only one or a few carriers, is not able to obtain quotes from as many carriers. In most cases, this causes them to not be able to get as thorough coverage and it may not be at the best rate. When an independent agent partners with many agents they learn the ins and outs of each carrier. They know which carrier is better at the claims process, which carrier is more likely to give additional credits and discounts, which carriers like for you to have a safety program in place. They can advise you on which carrier might be a better match for you based upon what you value. The best match for you may not always be the carrier who offers the best price. They can help guide you through that process with the most thorough and unbiased information.

An independent agent is a partner with an insured, who has their best interst at heart.

An Independent Agent can be your advocate

An independent insurance agent can give you unbiased advice about the coverage’s you are looking to secure. They can give you advice about all the companies you are considering. They can tell you which companies are the best during the claims process, which companies more than likely offer the cheapest rate, why you might want to pay additional premium for the services of a particular carrier.

An independent agent can also be your advocate when you have a problem regarding your insurance policy. These problems can arise when you have a billing question, you buy new property or equipment mid-term, when you need a certificate of insurance for another business you are partnering with or even when you have a claim. This is especially important in the event you have a claim, and all business at some point have to file a claim. If your carrier is not living up to their obligations your agent can hold them accountable on your behalf.

An Independent Agent can save you time and money

Depending upon what you value in the insurance quoting process, an independent agent can help you save both time and money. For some business owners their time is precious and the most important aspect of the insurance buying process is to have the process over with as fast as possible. If this is the case, you can express this to your agent and they can search the policies for you after a 5 or 10 minute conversation. They can get you a quote from as many as ten carriers with minimal time. Partnering with a captive agent means you have to call each carrier individually.

For many business owners, their time is better spent running their business than it is trying to save additional money on premium. Some businesses may have a premium amount that is so small it may not be worth their time to spend an additional few hours to find a 5 % savings on a $500 policy. In the end this would only save them $25. On the other end of the spectrum, a large business with a $75,000 policy may block out as much time as a half a day or even multiple days to find the best insurance policy for their business. In this instance a 5% savings would add up to $3,750, which is a months worth of salary for one of their employees, it could be a $500 bonus for 7.5 employees, or it could be a winter vacation to Florida for the owner of the company. No matter what you as a business owner value, an independent agent can save you time and money by having them do the searching for you all at one stop.

 

Auto Repair

5 Insurance Coverages every Auto Repair Business Should Have

Auto Repair Shops offer a wide variety of mechanical services. These services may include from engine repair and tune-ups. Some businesses specialize in a specific type of sales and repair, like tires, transmissions or brakes. Normally, auto repair shops do not specialize in body work or painting operations. These services are typically performed by specialized professionals. Some operations include the retail sales of automobile parts and tools. Some repair shops are a part of a gasoline or diesel fuel sales operation, or part of an automobile dealership. Each type of operation has its own unique risks and its own unique insurance needs. Here are 5 coverages every auto repair shop owner should strongly consider, in order to properly protect their business.

Auto Repair Shop

 

✓ General Liability Insurance
✓ Garage Keepers Liability
✓ Commercial Auto
✓ Hired and Non-Owned Auto
✓ Workers Compensation Insurance

General Liability

General Liability Exposure can come in many different forms. Like many industries the risk begins with slips, tips and falls by third parties on your premises. This risk starts primarily due to public access to the businesses facility. Risks also arise from having cars parked overnight in the parking lot of the facility.  These areas should be well lit and an ongoing relationship with local law enforcement is advisable.

Garage Keepers Liability

Garage Keepers Liability is usually worded as, “a form of bailee liability designed to cover damage to autos belonging to others while in the insured’s care”. In layman’s terms this is an insurance policy for the liability a business might face related to cars that are stored at their facility for multiple days.  These are other peoples cars that your business is performing a service on that is not able to be completed in one day.

Commercial Auto

Commercial Auto Insurance is needed if your business owns its own vehicles and employees use the vehicle for business purposes. If you own and operate vehicles at your business, it is important to properly train all people who are going to be operating the vehicles. Collecting and documenting these employees motor vehicle records is recommended. Both the training program you have in place and the vehicle records you collect need to be well documented for when you quote new coverage and when a claim arises.

Hired and Non-Owned Auto

Hired and Non-Owned Auto Risks mainly arrive from employees running errands for the business.  If you have employees partaking in these types of activities, all drivers should have valid licenses and their motor vehicle registrations regularly checked. Have these records documented can help you independent insurance agent save you when quoting coverage.

Workers Compensation

Workers Compensation Insurance risks can be significant for auto repair shops. Employees are at risk when performing brake tuning, welding or other repair work. These activities should take place only with appropriate safety equipment. Lifting of a vehicle by hoists, jacks, and other mechanical means can result in injury should the equipment malfunction. Lifting by non-mechanical means can result in back injury, sprains, strains or hernias. Having a documented policy in place for how employees are supposed to do these activities is crucial to prevent injured employees.

Auto Repair Shop Insurance Information at My Insurance Question.

Here are the most common commercial insurance classification codes for auto repair shops.  

SIC Business Insurance Codes:

  • 7533: Automotive Exhaust Repair Shops
  • 7538: General Automotive Repair Shops
  • 7532: Body, Paint and Upholstery Repair

NAICS Liability Classifications:

  • 811111: General Automotive Repair
  • 811112: Automotive Exhaust System Repair
  • 811113: Automotive Transmission Repair
  • 811118: Other Automotive Mechanical and Electrical Repair and Maintenance
  • 811121: Automotive Body, Paint and Interior Repair and Maintenance
  • 811122: Automotive Glass Replacement Shops
  • 811198: All Other Automotive Repair and Maintenance

Business ISO General Liability:

  • 10072: Automotive—Quick Lube
  • 10073: Auto Sales, Repair and Service
  • 10075: Automotive Repair Shop—Self Service

Common Workers Compensation Class Codes:

  • 8380: Auto Repair
  • 8393: Auto Body Repair or Paint Shop
  • 9516: Auto Shop—Radio and Equipment

Here is a great video about Auto Repair Shops and Workers Compensation Insurance  from our partners at Employers.

 

Golf Courses

My Insurance Question - Golf Courses

5 Types of Insurance Coverage all Golf Courses Need

The industry surrounding Golf Courses is a diverse industry. Some of the businesses serve very high end customers and professional tournaments. Other courses serve people with middle-class incomes in a rural setting. Some of the businesses do not have a full course and only offer a driving range putting green. Most of the businesses offer some form of lessons, food and beverage as well as retail offerings. Depending upon which type of golf course you own or operate, the type of insurance coverage you need may vary dramatically. Here are five coverages most golf courses need.

  • General Liability
  • Liquor Liability
  • Commercial Property
  • Hired and Non-Owned Auto
  • Workers Compensation

Golf Courses

General Liability Insurance

General Liability Insurance risks can be substantial due to both the number of visitors and the nature of the activity. Golf is a physical endeavor and not everyone who partakes in the activity is of the highest athletic ability, nor are many in the best physical condition. The safety of the customers is a major concern. Slips, trips, and falls are always are a concern; as are flying golf balls. Golf carts can overturn and that may cause additional risks. If you have employees that are interacting with children, it is important to conduct proper background checks on those employees.

Liquor Liability

Liquor Liability Insurance is commonly referred to as dramshop liability. Most golf courses sell and serve some types of alcohol and in most states this requires them to purchase some form of liquor liability insurance. There are many types of risks associated with alcohol use at a golf course. Those risks include selling to an intoxicated customer, contributing to the over-intoxication of a customer and serving alcohol to a minor. These and many other risks associated to alcohol consumption make liquor liability a necessary coverage for golf courses.

Commercial Property Insurance

Commercial Property Insurance Exposure might be minimal if limited to a clubhouse facility or a maintenance shed, but not all golf courses are this simple. Many golf courses offer retail, food and beverage, restaurant facilities and instruction.  Many golf courses are located in remote areas. These locations add additional risks due to fires and how quick first responders can get to injured employees or customers.

Hired and Non-Owned Auto

If your business owns the vehicles employees are operating as part of their work, a commercial auto policy is necessary. Hired and Non-Owned Auto Liability Exposure is generally limited to employees using their own vehicle for running errands or when an employee is travelling for work and using a rented vehicle. If your employees partake in any of these actions your business needs Hired and Non-Owned Auto Insurance.

Workers Compensation Insurance

Workers Compensation Insurance Risks can be high for golf courses. If the golf course has employees who do its own grounds maintenance and chemical applications, it can cause the amount of injuries to rise. Other employees face normal slips, falls, strains, sprains and being hit by errant golf balls or equipment.

Golf Courses Insurance Needs

Unique Commercial Insurance Risks

8 Industries with Unique Commercial Insurance Risks

Commercial Insurance is a necessary evil that all successful businesses need. Depending upon the state and industry you operate in, your business may face different commercial insurance risks. Because of these unique commercial insurance risks, your business may need just a small amount of coverage or a substantial amount of coverage to properly cover your business.  Regardless of the amount of insurance you choose, you need to make the best decision for your unique business. That can only be done with the help of an experienced insurance agent. Taking some additional time to discuss the day-to-day operations of your business can go a long way towards covering your business. Here are eight industries that have unique risks not present in most businesses.

 

Ridesharing Vehicles

As Ridesharing Companies have grown in popularity, insurance carriers have expanded their offerings to meet the demand for coverage. Normally, rideshare insurance covers personal use and has an add-on for part of the time drivers are signed in to a ridesharing app. The coverage has many grey areas, because of the newness of the profession. Partnering with an experienced insurance agent is highly advised and do not rely solely on the coverage offered by the companies.

Hotel Motel Industry

As with any business in the Hotel Motel Industry, businesses face many risks that can damage the company if not properly prepared for. Depending on all the offerings of your location, there may be a substantial difference in the types of insurance you need. If you offer a restaurant, there will be specific commercial insurance risks associated with that area of the operation. If that restaurant serves alcohol, there are additional risks. It is important for a hotel owner to be prepared for all commercial insurance risks that may arise.

Lawncare & Landscaping

Commercial Insurance Risks in the Lawncare & Landscaping Industry arise from installation, service, and attractive nuisance at the job site. Depending upon the specifics of your operation, work hazards may include injury or damage from debris thrown by power mowers, trimmers, and other equipment. The application of lawn chemicals presents additional commercial insurance risks. Contractors who do not obtain and keep proper licensing and certification for chemical applications create a serious liability exposure to themselves.

Non-Profit

Professionals who work in the Non-Profit Industry, for the most part, go in to this sector to be a part of something greater than themselves. Most do not anticipate having to manage risk or buy insurance. Interacting with volunteers, part-time employees, donors and at-risk populations brings extremely unique risks to non-profit associations. How effectively a non-profit organization handles commercial insurance risks, will contribute immensely to the success or failure of your organization.

Auto Repair Shops

Auto Repair Shops are different from many other industries because of what they do and what they sell. Some shops only perform oil changes, while other shops do most mechanical work on any vehicle. Other shops might work on niche specific cars and some may even offer retail offerings. Each type of business has its own risks included. Taking additional time to speak long and honestly with an experienced insurance agent is the best way to determine what types and how much insurance your business needs.

Commercial Cleaning

Commercial Cleaning Companies have less premises liability because a majority of their work is performed at a remote site. Damage to the clients property is high in this industry as is the risk of employee theft. Wet and slippery floors can add to the risk of slips trips and falls.  Securing the work site during and after the work is completed is a huge risk for commercial cleaning companies. High turnover among employees in this industry adds to this industry.

Construction Industry

The Construction Industry is a common industry that employs people throughout the country, bit the size and scope of each individual business can bring immensely different risks to businesses within this industry. A family operation that builds starter homes in a rural town may face different risks than a large construction company that works building high rise apartments in major cities. Whether the employees are W2 or 1099 can complicate the risks the business faces. The only way to know for certain if your business is covered to your specifications is to partner with an experienced independent insurance agent.

Day Care Center

A Day Care Center, like many industries, have very unique risks. If there is playground equipment at the location, the equipment should be maintained periodically and that maintenance should be documented. Because the nature of the work forces the employees to work near children who do not have strong immune symptoms, cold and flu are common. Proper hygiene is a must to limit the amount of liability to the children and your employees.

Most businesses in this industry operate at one location, but some smaller operations will operate out of a private residence. State laws determine what types of coverage each business is required to carry. In most cases general liability and workers compensation is the bare minimum a day care center can operate with. In most cases, the business will need additional coverage. Partnering with an experienced agent is the only way to know if you are fully covered.

Insurance Needs for Floor Installation Businesses

Floor installation is an industry that has a unique set of risks. Floor laying, finishing and refinishing businesses are a specific type of carpentry that increases exposures because of the construction and lay out of floors in both residential or commercial buildings. This work may include the installation of floor coverings such as linoleum, tile and carpet. There may be chemicals involved in the work that can ad to the risks faced by employees.  Because of the specific risks involved in this industry, business owners should take a bit extra time to speak with their insurance agent about what exactly the employees of the business do and do not partake in on a daily basis.

When going through the quoting process for commercial insurance, it is important to remember that your insurance agent is in the business of analyzing risk. If they are absent the appropriate amount of information to assess the risks of your business, it is in the best interest of the agent to always assume more risk.  If they do assume more risk than your business actually faces, it can cause your insurance premium to be significantly higher.

Once you have spoken long and honestly with your Independent Insurance Agent there are certain policies most all floor installation companies need to secure. Here are four policies that are a good idea to secure.

Property Insurance 

If you own property, no matter how big or small, you need to protect that property in some way. Commercial Property Insurance is different from a personal home owners policy. Commercial Property is sold in two main ways, Actual Cash Value and Replacement Value. An Actual Cash Value Policy will pay for an agreed upon value that the property is worth. This type of policy does not pay for tear down and removal costs. A Replacement Value Policy does pay for the additional costs to tear down, remove debris, and rebuild the property to current codes. Speaking with your agent can help you determine if you need this coverage and if so how much.

Commercial Auto

If you have a company vehicle or you use your personal vehicle for work operations, than you will need some form of additional coverage for you business. Some form of Commercial Auto Insurance is needed for you or your employees if you do travel to third party locations. If your employees use their personal cars for business purposes you may just need a hired and non owned auto policy. This is because the liability to third parties for accidents that are the fault of your employee is the liability of the business. This is because the reason they are on the road is because of the actions of the business. The damages to the employees car will more than likely be picked up by their  insurance company if the accident is their fault. Either way it is important to protect your business with the proper coverage for the risks you face regarding driving and vehicles.

Inland Marine Coverage

An Inland Marine Insurance Policy will cover any specialized equipment you have in your car or on a trailer attached to your car. A commercial auto insurance policy will not cover these pieces of equipment if they are damaged in an accident. For these damages, you will need this separate policy. One thing to remember in relation to an inland marine policy is to keep an up to date account of all the equipment your business owns. Take pictures of these pieces of equipment and keep them on file with your insurance agent. If you buy new equipment in the middle of your term, it is a good idea to notify your insurance agent of the new equipment.

Workers Compensation

Depending upon the state you operate in, how many employees you have, and how those employees are classified you may have to purchase workers compensation coverage. It is important to check with the proper governing body for your state to determine if you need this coverage. Even if you are not required by law to purchase this coverage, your insurance agent can help you determine if it is a good idea to still secure this coverage for your business.

 

Here are several common Workers Compensation Class Codes:

•   5478- Carpet, Linoleum, Vinyl Installation

•   5438- Tile Floor Installation

•   5437- Hardwood Floor Installation and Refinishing

•   5645- Residential Construction

•   5651- Commercial Carpentry

•   5436- California- Hardwood Floor Installation

Why Your Business Clients Need Loss Of Income Coverage

Does my business have enough insurance coverage? This is a  question frequently posed to insurance agents during the quoting process. Like many things in life, the answer to this question is, it depends. It depends on a lot of things that are unique to you as a business owner and the industry you operate in. Once you think you have enough coverage for your business it is important to ask your insurance agent if you need business loss of income insurance coverage.

Most insurance agents deal with a slippery slope of juggling the difference between getting their clients the absolute best coverage and finding them the best rate on premium.  Dealing with this slippery slope is what ultimately determines success or failure among insurance agents.  The best way as a business owner to help your agent get you what you want is to be open and honest with them about what are your priorities. These insurance agents interact with a lot of people from many different walks of life. One client they may be helping is a farmer while the next client is a financial consultant. The risks that these businesses face are dramatically different. some business owners may value getting the quoting process finished so they can get back to their work. Another business owner may want the minimum amount of coverage and they do not mind if it takes a week for them to save 10%. Most businesses are somewhere in the middle, but it is important to tell the agent what you value early in the process.

Most businesses start their insurance coverage with general liability and workers compensation coverage. This is because these two policies are required by law for most businesses in most states. Many business owners attempt to scrape by with the bare minimum amount of coverage and they do this in an attempt to save money on premium. This can save money on the front end (when a business pays insurance premium), but it can come at a great cost to the business when a disaster strikes. This is when business loss of income insurance coverage can benefit your business immensely.

Business loss of income insurance coverage is an addition to a commercial property policy. For most small businesses, it can be added for as little as a few hundred dollars. This coverage kicks in when a covered loss causes the business to lose income because of a slow down or close of business while the property is repaired. A fire is a common time when this coverage is needed. When a fire occurs at a businesses location there more than likely will be a time when the business is not able to be open for business. During this time there are still bills coming in that the business is responsible for. There are also still customers who may be expecting products and services to be delivered or performed.

From the perspective of an insurance agent, this can be difficult to explain to a business owner. This is especially true when the business owners is in a hurry during the quoting process.  On the contrary, the lack of this coverage can also be one of the most difficult conversations to have with a business owner after a fire has occurred. Many times it is not until this time that a business owner understands it may not have been the best idea to rush through the insurance quoting process.

When selling a business loss of income insurance coverage policy, it is important for the insurance agent to notify their client that business loss of income insurance coverage only kicks in if the loss was a covered loss. This means if a loss was not covered by one of the insured’s other policies, it will not initiate the business loss of income policy. This is where it is especially important as a business owner to not rush through the quoting process and it is equally important to not skimp on coverage. It is within your right to only purchase General Liability and Workers Compensation coverage, but that does not mean it is usually the best business decision. Even if you are a business owner who is comfortable with a healthy amount of risk and you are cash strapped, it is usually a better decision to find a way to pinch pennies in some aspect of your business other than the insurance coverage. This is where it is especially important to partner with an  independent insurance agent, to be thorough when you are quoting the policies and and consider adding a business loss of income insurance policy.

 

Odd ways businesses get hacked.

3 ways your Small Business can be Hacked

If your small business has eve been hacked, you know the importance of cyber security for small business.  You more than likely know that data breaches are no longer just a problem for big business. Any business can be hacked and the ways in which a business is hacked are very widespread. Here are 3 ways your small business can be hacked that are within your control to stop.

Hacked

Not periodically resetting a password

A few years ago there was a hack that occurred between two baseball teams, the St. Louis Cardinals and the Houston Astros. This hack occurred because a rogue employee (Chris Correa) within the Cardinals Organization guessed what the password of a former Cardinals Employee who now works for the Astros (Jeff Lunhow). It has never been confirmed what exactly the password was and if Correa knew what Lunhows’ password was when he was with the Cardinals, but Correa has admitted that he guessed the correct password for Lunhows’ log in credentials with his new team the Houston Astros.

This could have been prevented by simply resetting a password periodically and not using the same password for all log ins. Here is one tactic, many people use to remember their password when it has to change.  Start with a password like:

BaSkeTBaLl_2741+3657

The word Basketball can change with the seasons.  For instance, you could use the word baseball in the Summer and Football in the Fall.  You could also keep the same password and change the special character. In this example you would change the _ and the +. Be careful using this method because you are not changing much about the password.

Old Employees Still Have Network Access

When an employee leaves your organization there shoul dbe adequate steps taken to ensure the terminated employee no longer has access to any networks or internal files. There also may be several Sales as a Service (SAAS) companies out there that your business has an account with, but the terminated employee is the only employee who used the account. Having a way to keep access to those accounts or to change the password is important.

Third party vendors getting hacked

Two of the largest data breaches in history, Home Depot and Target, were started by a third party vendor being hacked first. In both of these cases a small business was hacked several weeks or months previously and the criminals waited until they realized they had access to the much larger database through this vendor partnership.  In the case of Target it was a local HVAC company that serviced a few of their locations in the Pittsburgh area. Home Depot had a vendor partner that processed the credit and debit card transactions at their self check out stations in most of their locations.

Drones and Aerial Photographs

Drones are helping the insurance industry process claims much quicker in disaster ridden areas.

In the wake of three devastating hurricanes this fall, many insurance carriers have begun to use drones and and other aerial vehicles to aide in the claims process.  The use of drones have sped up the turn around time for claims processing dramatically.

Drones and Aerial Photographs

Unfortunately, this fall far too many small businesses are beginning to understand the need for protecting their small business with adequate insurance. These same business owners are also getting more familiar with the claims process between the business, the insurance agency and the insurance carrier.  If they did not know before, they are becoming familiar with at this time, the fact of how crucial it is for a claim to be processed quickly.  Getting victims back to everyday life can have an enormous impact on the communities impacted by natural disasters. This is what the insurance industry is striving to help the communities hurt by the hurricanes over the past few months.

Technology is helping in many ways. First, drones are helping carriers take both still photos and video to observe properties they are not physically able to visit. The carriers can use the information they get from drones, both in the form of aerial photographs and video, to create 3D images of the impacted area. Technology is now allowing them to do this at scale and determine what percentage of a property is destroyed without ever setting foot on the property. Now, this is not possible in all circumstances, but it is possible in many. Every case that is sped up, frees the adjusters to move on to other victims who desperately need help.

According to an article with the Insurance Journal, a recent KPMG (Klynveld Peat Marwick Goerdeler) Survey found, “the two biggest challenges facing insurers are the difficulties in assessing property damage and managing customer expectations”. As a result of the same survey insurance executives overwhelmingly said, ‘To improve claims efficiency and communication with customers, insurance executives cited the use of drones as one of the technologies they will utilize to help quickly settle claims’. Drones are helping with these exact problems facing the insurance industry, by allowing those within the industry to show the victims, with pictures and video, what they are doing and how they are going about doing it.

Through the use of drones many companies within the industry are able to drastically speed up the processing time for claims by allowing the insurance claims processor to get a majority of the claims process done without the ability to physically visit the property. Once they are able to get out to the property, insurance professionals can use the drone to examine several properties in a particular area in a short amount of time. This allows the claims adjuster to spend a short amount determining what properties are most devastated and will need the most of his time. It can also allow the adjuster to determine if another property does not need any further observations on his part and free up time for him to observe other areas that are severely devastated.

This is just the tip of the iceberg for how this and other technologies will help the insurance industry, better serve their clients in the future.

 

Claims Made Vs Occurrence

Have you ever wondered what the differences are between a Claims Made Vs Occurrence Based Liability Insurance Policy?  

The choice to choose a Claims Made Vs Occurrence Based Liability Policy can have an enormous impact on your business.  Making certain your business has the proper coverage can make an enormous impact to your bottom line, when a claim occurs.  Claims Made Vs Occurrence Policies are typically in relation to a general liability, professional liability, and employment practices liability insurance.  The types of businesses who are more likely to need this type of coverage include contractors, architects, engineers, attorneys and medical professionals.

Claims Made Vs Occurrence Based Insurance Policies

Claims Made

A Claims Made Insurance Policy covers claims filed during a given period of time. In most cases, a claim must be filed during the term of the claims-made policy in order for it to be covered by the insurance carrier. If the claim is filed two months after the policy has ended, the claim will not be covered.  The positive to this type of policy is price. Claims Made Policies are generally less expensive compared to Occurrence Based Policies.

Occurrence

An Occurrence Based Insurance Policy covers claims that arise from damage or injury that takes place during the policy period.  This is regardless of whether the claim was filed during the term or after.  A claim can be filed many years later and still be covered, as long as coverage was in place during the time of the occurrence.  This is important for professionals like architects who give professional advice and services to physical structures that may have a problem years down the road. If it is found the problem with the structure was the result of the engineers faulty work, the engineer can be liable for damages.  With an occurrence based policy in place this would be covered under most circumstances.

For most business owners, an occurrence policy is more appropriate and is commonly purchased.  Only using a claims based policy can be a bit of a gamble.  In most instances, the additional cost of an occurrence policy form is minimal compared to purchasing a claims made policy.

Why are both Claims Made Vs Occurrence Based Insurance Policies Offered.

Why are both Claims Made Vs Occurrence Based Insurance Policies offered?

The primary reason claims made coverage is still around is because there is a demand and because insurance companies may only be willing to write certain types of risk on a claims made basis.  This is because it is much easier for an insurance company to estimate price for insurance premium and measure their profitability with a claims made policy compared to an occurrence policy.  This is because there is a clear start and stop date to coverage. With occurrence coverage, it can take years or even decades for insurance companies to measure their profit and loss.  In the most simple terms, a business owner who purchases an occurrence policy for one year will always be insured for future claims while a claims made policy only covers the insured for that time period unless they purchase additional tail coverage.  If the business owner is willing to take the risk in exchange for a lower premium, claims made policies are still offered.

Boo – Halloween is coming!!!

What kinds of risk does the Halloween Season cause your small business to face?

My Insurance Question - Happy Halloween

For some people, Halloween Season is their favorite time of the year and their favorite holiday. For some businesses it offers an opportunity for them to get a larger than normal amount of business. With these opportunities for additional business come additional risks to your business.  Here are three tips for how to protect your business during the Halloween Season.

Halloween

Seasonal Halloween Businesses

There are many businesses that pop up for a short amount of time to help people celebrate the Halloween Season. Corn Mazes, Pumpkin Patches and Haunted Houses are all businesses that pop up, but may be a part of another business like a farm. If you decide one year to host a corn maze and you do not inform your insurance agent, you may be opening up yourself or your farm business to an enormous amount of risk. Speaking long and honestly with your insurance agent can help limit these risks.

Speak long and honestly with your Independent Insurance Agent

It is always a good idea to speak long and honestly with your insurance agent when you are purchasing commercial insurance.  If you do not take the proper time to tell them about all of the tasks your employees do and do not partake in, your agent is left to guess how risky your business is. The insurance agent is in the business of analyzing risk, so it is in their best interest to always assume more risk. This can cost you considerably in additional premium if you are not classified properly. It can also cause a claim to not be covered if you are partaking in an activity that is not covered by your general liability policy or any other policy you may or may not have.

Special Events Coverage

If your business is hosting an event related to the Halloween Season, you can buy special event insurance just for that event. This can go for any event you have with your employees. If you are having third aprties who are not employees at the event, you can be opened up to third party liability. This can be the case even if you are only going to have employees and their families attending the event. You need to protect your business from any injuries that may occur at the event. You should consider whether or not to offer alcohol based upon the risks you are comfortable with.

Happy Halloween from the friendly ghosts.

The Halloween Season can bring about additional opportunities for your business to generate revenue. Depending upon how you plan to target this market may or may not cause additional risk for your customer. In many cases it is a good idea to run the ideas by your insurance agent to make sure you are covered by your insurance policies. If you are not covered they should be able to help you determine how much risk you are comfortable taking on. These conversations should be able to help you determine what risks you face and if the additional revenue you gain is worth that risk.