Why so many questions???

Shopping your Workers Compensation insurance –

4 Tips for the best and fastest results

Shopping insurance can be a daunting task. This is not commonly the case with other purchases. When you buy a couch, you just pick out one that feels comfortable.  One that fits your room or matches your style. You look for one that is in your price range and bam! you have the newest edition to your next super bowl party.

Shopping insurance, as much as we would like it to be, is not like buying a couch. Yes, you shop for a policy that fits your coverage needs and the budget you are able to afford, but there are some distinct differences to shopping for an insurance policy. An important factor to consider is the seller’s motives. When you buy a couch, the sale for all intents and purposes is over. The expense and liability of the company selling the couch is basically the same no matter who they sell the couch to.  When you buy insurance, the company who is providing that coverage doesn’t have the same benefit. Insurance companies use a variety of data to determine the risk of each person or business purchasing from them. The reason this information is used is because it has been shown somewhere in their data that this factor shows a correlation between certain variables and their likeliness of a claim. There are something you can do to help tip the odds in your favor. Here are four tips for making the quoting process easier for you and can help you get you the best price you desire:

Be Presentable: Dress your business up for Sunday church, not casual Friday. Show a clear outline of the purpose of your business and the kind of work you do. Equally importantly is to outline the work you won’t do. Make sure your marketing material and websites match this. There are few objections harder to overcome with an underwriter than a website that says you do something your application says you do not. Having these things in line is the best way to get a great first impression.

Be Open about the biggest risk: Every company has some operations that are lower risk than others. Insurance is as much about preventing claims as it is about paying them. The goal of the industry is to make your business whole after a claim, but wouldn’t it be better if we help you to prevent that claim from happening in the first place. Tell your agent about everything you do. If we don’t know that you are hanging from a rope 50 ft off the ground with a chainsaw in your hand, we can’t help find a better way to protect yourself and your employees in that situation (true story).

Note the details: Sometimes high risks are deal breakers, however sometimes in the right circumstances this can be overcome by showing the amount of this exposure. “Yes, we do work on roofs, however they are only flat commercial roofs and only ones with inside stair access or a permanently attached ladder with walls around the perimeter”. The controls you have in place for the highest risk work will be the most vital controls to focus on.

Don’t be afraid to show your hand: A lot of times people look at an insurance purchase like a poker game. If you are buying insurance as a commodity, then that’s what you should expect to receive when you want that policy serviced.

If you work on the same side of the table with your agent however they can work to get the best pricing possible. There is no better pricing than you can obtain from an insurance company than when the underwriter knows what they are insuring. When the underwriter is confident in your business and knows what price they have be at to earn your business they may be more aggressive with credits and discounts. There is much more savings to be had if you say “this is the premium you have to be at to earn my business” than there is with “show me your best price”.

4 tips of inured worker outcomes

Here are 4 ways to improve your businesses injured worker outcomes.

Injured workers are a part of running a business.  If you stay in business long enough, you are going to have an incident where one of your employees is injured. This is not a bad representation of your business, but how you handle the situation can have a lasting effect on your relationship with your employees and your insurance company. Here are four ways in which you can manage and incident where you have an injured worker that are best for your injured worker, your business and the insurance company you partner with. 

 

Take care of the injury, first and foremost

This is simply the right thing to do. The best way to improve injured worker outcomes is to first deal with the injury.   Taking care of the injured employee is also the best thing to do for the insurance companies to help get the injured employee the best medical care and it can help the medical professionals treat the injured employee quickly and cost effectively. 

Report the injury to your agent and carrier

A lot of business owners may not think it is so, but your insurance agent and carrier are on your side. It is in their best interest to help your business and to help your injured worker get the care they need and get back on the job as quickly as possible. They deal with these situations a lot. They can navigate the workers’ compensation system much more effectively than you can. More important than anything is the fact that they cannot help you with these injuries until you notify them an injury has occurred.  Also, documenting the injury allows your business and the carrier to keep track of your claims history. If there tends to be a pattern of injuries, you can address it and the carrier can help you. They interact with business owner across the country in all industries. Chances are they have dealt with a similar situation and can give you some guidance as to how to prevent/fix the problem from continuing to occur. 

Keep your Agent in the loop

Remember your independent insurance agent is on your side. At least they very well should be.  If for instance, you feel your carrier may not be living up to their responsibilities the agent can speak with the carrier on your behalf. Agents interact with carriers very frequently for a number of reasons. They have an established relationship with these organizations and they can more easily get your claim in front of the right person to most effectively solve your problem.   Also, they can only help you when they know an incident has occurred. The longer you go without getting them involved in a claim the more likely the claim is to get out of hand. This means more missed time for your injured worker, a larger cost to the insurance carrier and probably higher rates on premium for you in the future.  Keeping your agent involved can help prevent all of this from occurring. 

Let the carrier take care of the billing

Do not try to take care of the billing yourself. Even if you have been in business for a long time and you think you know the workers comp system fairly well. Things change. A medical facility that you have been taking your injured worker to for years may stop a relationship with your carrier. If you take the injured worker to a medical facility out of the carriers’ network, you may be liable for the costs. The network for workers’ comp is not necessarily the same network for health insurance, even if you use the same insurance company for both policies. It is always best to let your insurance company do what they do best.  

4 Advantages to Pay as You Go Workers’ Compensation.

Small business owners have a lot to think about. Whether it be finding new clients, efficiently servicing the clients you do have, making sure your employees are paid on time, what type of insurance to offer your employees, to what type and how much insurance coverage is needed to adequately protect the business; a business owner must be involved in all of these decisions. One of the largest fixed costs most small business face is workers’ compensation insurance coverage.  In 48 out of 50 states this is required by law for nearly all businesses to carry this coverage. For this reason, any way to limit the cost of this coverage is helpful to a small business. Especially a start-up, a small business with a seasonal business cycle or a small business with cash flow issues.  Pay as You Go Workers Comp Insurance Coverage is one option to help these types of businesses.

Pay as You Go Workers Compensation is a great way for seasonal and cash strapped small businesses to free up cash.

Improves Cash Flow

Most Workers Compensation Policies require a portion of the policy up front to establish coverage.  After this initial payment the company pays 9 monthly payments beginning 3 months in to the cycle. The amount that is due up front is typically 25 or 30% of the entire premium. With the Pay as You Go Option most businesses, depending on revenue, can get policies in place for only a few hundred dollars. This allows the business to free up cash for more immediate business needs.

Increases Payment Accuracy

Pay as You Go Billing allows businesses to accurately pay what they owe each month based on real time payroll amounts. In a traditional work comp policy the payroll amounts are an estimate and during an audit at the end of the period they either are offered a refund for overpaying or they are charged for the additional amount of premium owed. Pay as You Go lessens this burden by allowing companies to pay a more accurate amount each month in real time.

Simplifies the Auditing Process

Because the amount of premium is paid in real time based on the payroll each month there are less inaccuracies during the auditing process. Typically the biggest problem during the auditing process stems from the business being improperly classified. This can cause a dramatic over or under payment if the business is supposed to be in a classification code that is dramatically more or less dangerous. A good example of this is related to driving risks. If a company has employees drive to many different locations to do a job as opposed to do a similar job at only one location without the employees operating a vehicle those are two class codes that are dramatically different risks and premium is dramatically different for those two businesses.

Allows the Business to Budget more effectively

When a business has a more accurate assumption of what their premium will be from month to month and throughout the entire year they can more accurately budget for other expenditures. This is important for new or growing businesses. If you are adding on to your location, thinking of buying new equipment or adding new employees than what you pay in premium will determine what and how much you can spend on these other parts of your business. Businesses that use a traditional workers comp policy may have to be more conservative in their growth because they need to keep more cash on hand for the auditing process.

 

12 terms to familiarize yourself with before your next renewal.

Twelve tips for the next time you purchase Small Business Insurance.

Insured

The person, group, or organization whose life or property is covered by an insurance policy.

Insurer

Insurance company that issues a particular insurance policy to an insured. In case of a very large risk, several insurance companies may combine to issue one policy.

Named Insured

Any person, firm, or organization, or any of its members specifically designated by name as an insured(s) in an insurance policy.  .

Learn these terms to help your business at your next commercial insurance renewal.

Premium

The price or amount paid for insurance.

Claim

A formal request to an insurance company asking for a payment based on the terms of the insurance policy.

Carrier

A company that offers and underwrites insurance policies.

Insurance Carrier

Policy

A document detailing the terms and conditions of a contract of insurance.

Underwriter

The person who decides whether to provide insurance and under what terms.

Agent/Broker/Producer

A person licensed by a state and employed by an insurance company to sell insurance policies on the company’s behalf.

Find out if you really need Umbrella Insurance Coverage at www.myinsurancequestion.com

Umbrella Coverage

Umbrella coverage protects your business when your existing liability insurance policy limits can’t cover all the expenses of a claim.

Hired and Non-owned Auto

A coverage that is commonly added or endorsed onto a commercial auto insurance policy. This endorsement adds additional coverages for the insured in the event there becomes a liability issue for an automobile accident involving a vehicle they don’t directly insure (rentals or employee owned cars).

Experience Modification Rating

An employers’ Experience Modification Rating refers the factor calculated from actual loss experience. It is used to adjust the businesses premiums (higher or lower) based on the businesses loss experience relative to the average underlying manual premiums for workers compensation coverage. The Modifier (Mod) compares the insured experience to the average class experience.

 

5 Insurance Policies you might not realize your Small Business needs.

Once a year every small business owners takes on the daunting task of purchasing insurance for their business. Most start with the bare minimum coverage. In most states it is legally required to have workers’ compensation and general liability coverage in place before you open your doors. This is just the bare minimum coverage a business needs to protect it from the risk the business faces. A few other coverages, like commercial property or auto coverage, are obvious to most business owners.  There are several other risks business owners may face that they may not realize. Here are 5 such coverages business owners may not realize they could benefit from.

 

Inland Marine

Inland marine coverage is a specialized form of property insurance for equipment your business owns that is not a piece of property nor a vehicle. It is frequently referred to as ‘floaters’ coverage. This is because the equipment covered is meant to be in transit.  A prime example of a company who needs this coverage is a landscaping company who has trailers and lawnmowers that they transport away from their premises on a regular basis.

Hired and Non-owned Auto

Many small businesses think if they do not own vehicles they do not need any form of auto coverage. That may be right, but in many instances this is not correct. If you have employees who run simple errands like running to the post office or to the bank to make change for the register than your business is liable for injuries that happen as a part of that business activity.  Another common time this coverage comes in hand is when you have employees who travel and use a rental car as part of their trip. In most instances the coverage you buy from a rental car coverage will cover the car you are driving, but not other liability risks related to the business. Hired and Non-owned Coverage take help protect your business from those risks.

Cyber/Data Breach Coverage

Cyber insurance consists of two coverages that are almost always sold in tandem. One covers first party damage to you and your business and the other covers third party liability to third parties who may be damaged by your business as the result of a data breach.

EPLI

Employment Practices Liability Insurance is a specialized type of liability coverage for wrongful acts the may arise from the employment process. This coverage includes claims that include wrongful termination, discrimination, sexual harassment, and retaliation.  Depending upon the carrier and the particular policy you secure it can extend to cover claims like inappropriate workplace conduct, defamation, invasion of privacy, failure to promote, deprivation of a career opportunity, and negligent evaluation.  Lawsuits of this type have been on a steady increase for two decades.  If you stay in business long enough it is a matter of when, not if, you face an EPLI Claim.

Owners and Officers Coverage

This type of insurance coverage is specifically designed to cover defense costs and damages arising out of wrongful act lawsuits brought against an organizations board of directors or officers.  It is crucially important to have this coverage in place for growing small businesses and especially Non-profits.  Officers can provide very beneficial guidance to these types of organizations and one claim, whether founded or not, can result in huge losses for the organization.