Commercial Insurance Needs for Retail Businesses

Retail establishments have a large amount of foot traffic compared to other businesses. This can cause a larger amount of risk to be elevated for both general liability and workers compensation claims. Because of more frequent contact between employees and the general public, employees are more likely to come down with the flu or the common cold. These days missed from work may or may not cause a workers compensation claim, but they definitely contribute to a loss of productivity. When one employee is out sick other employees have to pick up the slack for that missing employees. This may create risks in other areas of the business. Slips, Trips, and Falls are the most common problem in retail establishments.

Retail Clothing Store

Retail stores vary based on what they sell, where they are located, what other and what other services they offer. Additional risks may be taken on by businesses that offer delivery and installation of products. In some instances, these services are offered by vendors who rent space from the store. Because of the vast differences in the types of retail establishments, there are a number of different classification codes for employees working at a retail establishment. It is important to make sure all employees are classified properly.

What can Retail Owners and Operators due to save on Commercial Insurance?

Partner with an Independent Agent

When a Retail Business partners with an independent insurance agent, they are able to get multiple quotes from multiple carriers all with one phone call. This is because an independent agent partners with many carriers to find the right solution to their clients needs. A captive agent is limited to the offerings of the carrier they represent. Partnering with an independent insurance agent makes it easier to get multiple quotes from one agent and they can give you unbiased advice about both the pros and cons of each policy. They also can give you insight into the positives and negatives of doing business with each carrier. This allows the business owner to know what they are getting into with the relationship with their insurance carrier.

Shop Around your Policies

One of the best things an independent insurance agent can do for a business owner is help them shop around their policy from year to year. It is not wise to switch on the drop of a hat because of a slight drop in price, but it is smart to make sure your carrier is competitive with the marketplace. An independent insurance agent can get multiple quotes all in one place. It may be a good idea to also contact a few captive agents and maybe even another independent insurance agent. Now if you like your agent, it may be worthwhile to pay a small amount more in order to continue your relationship with them. It is equally important to shop around to make sure your agent has your best interest in mind as well as your carrier.

Safety Programs

Having a well-documented safety program in place is essential for retail stores. It should be an extensive part of the new hire training and it should be done regularly throughout the year with all employees. These do not have to be extensive training programs. They can be as short as a 15 minute conversation or even watching a workplace safety video. They should always be documented and they should occur on a regular basis. The frequency of your meetings is dependent upon your business and the workplace safety expert you consult. It is helpful to create a committee to be in charge of the workplace safety program. This is important because these employees can be supporters of the program and can garner support throughout all employees.

Store, Clothing, Shop, Bouique, Clothes

What Types of Insurance Should a Retail Business Have?

  • General Liability Insurance
  • Property Insurance
  • Inland Marine Coverage
  • Workers Compensation Insurance

General Liability Insurance

General Liability Insurance protects a business from common Slips, Trips, and Falls. These types of claims are higher in this industry because of the amount of foot traffic throughout the facility. It is important to remember that General Liability Insurance is not all encompassing. There are exclusion to every policy and every carrier has their own specifics. It is important to speak long and honestly with your agent about all the intricacies of your business in an attempt to properly insure your business.

Commercial Property Insurance

Business Property Insurance are not huge for retailers. Most facilities include some form of electrical wiring as well as heating and cooling systems. It is important to make sure the facility is in proper condition. Creating a safety committee to periodically check the status of the facility.

 Inland Marine Coverage

Inland marine insurance is designed to protect equipment that is frequently in transit or stored at a third party location. If the retail business has pop-ups at other locations, inland marine is needed to protect the equipment being used away from the location.

Workers Compensation

Retail Shops have a large amount of risks when it comes to Workers Compensation Insurance. A majority of these risks stem from the amount of exposure to foot traffic. Developing a safety program to deal with these risks and starting the training of this program from the day a person is hired, is the best way to limit the frequency and severity of claims.

Sign, Open, Open Sign, Business, Store

SIC Business Insurance Codes:

  • 5311: Department Stores
  • 5722: Appliance Stores
  • 5941: Sporting Goods Stores and Bicycle Shops
  • 5651: Family Clothing Stores
  • 5912: Drug Stores and Proprietary Stores
  • 5331: Variety Stores
  • 5399: General Merchandise Stores
  • 5932: Used Merchandise Stores

NAICS Liability Classifications:

  • 452111: Department Store
  • 452112: Discount Stores
  • 443141: Household Appliance Stores
  • 451110: Sporting Goods Stores
  • 448140: Family Clothing Stores
  • 446110: Pharmacies and Drug Stores
  • 452990: Other General Merchandise Stores
  • 442299: Home Furnishing Stores
  • 453310: Used Merchandise Stores

Business ISO General Liability:

  • 12356: Department or Discount Stores
  • 10026: Antique Stores
  • 18206: Sporting Good or Athletic Equipment Stores
  • 11127: Clothing and Apparel Stores
  • 12374: Drugstores—No Food or Beverage
  • 18911: Variety Stores
  • 11155: Coin, Stamp and Book Stores
  • 16881: Secondhand Stores

Common Workers Compensation Class Codes:

  • 8039: Retail Department Stores
  • 8044: Furniture Store and Drivers
  • 8008: Clothing and Apparel Stores
  • 8045: Retail Drug Stores
  • 8017: Stores, Retail—Not Classified Elsewhere
  • 8010: Hardware Stores
  • 8013: Jewelry Stores
  • 8046: Auto Parts and Accessories Stores

Cable Installers

Necessary Insurance Policies for Cable Installation Businesses

Cable television and internet services are a regular part of the lives of most people in 2019. Cable installers provide a service that installs programming over both fiber optic and coaxial cables. The services can be sent both digitally or by satellite. Cable installers may lay lines or cables throughout a property. Because the work is done primarily on third party locations and the properties vary greatly, there is a lot of risk involved in the industry. Business that operate in this industry need to take insuring the business seriously. Taking an additional amount of time to think about the risks the business face, thinking about what could go wrong, and how leadership might prevent these risks from taking place are strongly recommended for any cable installation business. Speaking with an independent insurance agent can help make the purchasing decision easier. Here are five policies all cable installers should strongly consider.

Installation, Cabling, Electricity, and Electrical done by a cable installer.

Recommended Insurance Programs for Cable Installation

Minimum recommended coverage:

  • General Liability
  • Workers Compensation
  • Inland Marine Coverage
  • Commercial Auto Insurance
  • Business Personal Property

General Liability

General Liability Insurance is the first line of defense for cable installers looking to protect themselves from the liability faced to outside third parties. This policy covers basic liability, but is not all encompassing. It is important to take an adequate amount of time to discuss with an insurance agent what exactly the employees of a business do and do not partake in on a daily basis. There are more than likely additional policies any business will need in addition to general liability insurance.

Workers Compensation

Workers Compensation Insurance is required by law for most businesses in most states. The policy protects injured employees with coverage for medical costs and some lost wages while they are hurt and not able to work. Many contracts require a business to provide a certificate of insurance proving they have both GL and WC insurance. There are some states that have exclusions depending upon the number of employees and the annual revenue of the business. If the business is owned by one person and that person is the only employee, there is a ghost policy that is much cheaper to purchase and will meet the demands of most contracts.

Inland Marine Coverage

Inland Marine covers tools and specialized equipment that is frequently in transit. If the tools are damaged while working or being stored at a third party location, the inland marine policy will cover to repair or replace the tools.

Commercial Auto Insurance

Commercial Auto Insurance is needed if the business has employees who operate vehicles that the business owns. If the employees use their personal vehicle for business purposes, a hired and non-owned auto needs to be purchased either instead of or in addition to a commercial auto insurance policy. When an employee causes a wreck while on company time, the business is liable for the damages to outside third parties. The employee is not liable. Failing to secure the proper type of commercial auto insurance can result in a large loss the business is responsible for.

Business Income with Extra Expense

Business Income with Extra Expense Coverage is designed to cover expenses during a time when the business is interrupted or fully shut down as a result of a covered loss. It is important to remember the underlying loss has to be covered. If the loss is caused by a flood, earthquake, or tornado; and the business does not have proper coverage in place; the business income policy is not triggered. This is another reason why it is so crucial to speak long and honestly with your insurance agent and not base your purchasing decision solely on price.

Additional Policies to consider:
Building, Equipment Breakdown, Contractors Equipment, Cyber Liability, Employment Practices Liability, and Umbrella Coverage.

Cable Installers also work with satellites.

Cable Installation Liability Classification Codes

Commercial insurance companies use various liability classification systems in order to classify and rate coverage premiums for Cable Installation. Here are the most common business insurance classifications for Cable Installers:

Business Liability Category: TV and Media Installation

SIC Business Insurance Codes:

  • 4841: Cable and Other Pay TV Services

NAICS Liability Classifications:

  • 517110: Wired Telecommunications Carriers
  • 515210: Cable and Other Subscription Programming

Business ISO General Liability:

  • 91315: Cable and Subscription TV Companies

Common Workers Compensation Class Codes:

  • 7536: Cable Installation and Construction
  • 8901: Cable and Telecommunications—Office Employees
  • 7600: Cable TV or Satellite—Other Employees and Drivers
  • 6325: Conduit Construction—for Cables or Wires
  • 8742: Outside Sales Persons

5 Things to Know When Insurance Shopping

Insurance Shopping is a wise thing for a business owner to do if not every year, at least every few years. It is not wise to switch carriers frequently based on a slight drop in premium, but it is wise to look around in an attempt to make sure your carrier is competitive with the marketplace. Here are five things to keep in mind when looking in to insurance shopping.

Digital Graphics implementing how a business goes about insurance shopping.

Understand the Value of an Independent Agent

An independent insurance agent is valuable to a small business owner because they are not attached to any one insurance carrier. The fact that they are independent allows the agent to give business leaders advice about each policy and each carrier. They can show you which policy offers the lowest premium and they can give you additional information about each carrier. Margins within the insurance industry are very small. When one insurance carrier is offering a similar policy for a significantly lower premium, there is usually a reason for the premium being lower and that reason is rarely because it offers more coverage or the carrier provides better service of that policy. An independent insurance agent can tell you what to expect when partnering with each individual insurance carrier.

Bundle Policies

Bundling policies is a good idea for a small business for a number of reasons. First and foremost, bundling all coverages with one insurance carrier in a BOP prevents there being gaps in coverage. A gap in coverage occurs when two policies that deal with a claim have exclusions pertaining to the particular claim. Bundling policies with one carrier allows the agent to make sure these gaps do not exist and your business is properly covered.

Do Not Prioritize Price

Price should be one of a number of factors to consider when deciding which policy and which carrier to go with. Margins in the insurance industry are very tight. When a business owner bases their decision primarily on price, they are taking the risk of purchasing an inferior coverage. When a claim occurs, the business should be prepared for less coverage when they decide to go with a significantly cheaper policy.

Analyze your limits

As your facility and equipment age, it is wise to speak with your agent about what exactly is the value of those pieces of equipment. If a piece of equipment is crucial to or business being able to operate, replacing that equipment quickly is important to the ongoing operation of the business. If this is not the case, it might be better to lower the limits of a policy. This is especially important when it comes to old vehicles or old equipment. If the business owns a vehicle that has a value that is similar to what the deductible might be, it might be better for the business to just deal without the vehicle or purchase a new vehicle. No matter what the situation is for your business, it is worthwhile to discuss lowering your limits with your insurance agent from time to time.

Consider an Umbrella Policy

An Umbrella Insurance Policy is designed to sit on top of all existing insurance policies when the limits of those policies have been exhausted. The coverage provides an additional layer of security to businesses that are at risk for being sued for damages to other people’s property or injuries caused to others in an accident. Many times adding an umbrella policy is a more cost effective way to add additional coverage to your policies.

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.

6 Ways to Keep Your Small Business Safe

Safety can mean a lot of things to a lot of people. In the business world, the perception of safety can mean a lot of things to a lot of different business owners. What it takes to properly protect your business should be something that is taken very serious by all of the decision makers within your business. Safety can mean securing the property at night when you are away from the building or it can mean properly training your employees to use the equipment they will be using as part of their job. It can even be having the proper policies in place to prevent your business from a data breach. There is a laundry list of things that can be included in your businesses strategy to properly keep your business safe. Here are 6 strategies to keep in mind when protecting your small business.

Hire the right people

It may seem obvious, but the people you hire are your most precious asset. Making sure they are the right people can go a long way towards the safety of your business. There are many ways you can go about checking up on your applicants. Criminal background checks, motor vehicle driving records, investigating their references and checking their college transcripts are all great places to start. Sometimes you will have to rely on your gut reaction to them from an interview, but taking extra time to make sure the people you hire are the right people will start your business off on the right foot when attempting to keep your business safe.

recruiting-new-employeeshire

Train people effectively in the first place

Once you have hired the correct people for your organization it is not enough to just set them loose. You must properly train them in the art of protecting your business the way that is best for your organization within your industry. and think everything in your business will remain secure. They need to know what is important to your organization and how you expect them to conduct business. This may seem obvious, but far too many business owners forget this part of their organization. An employee in HR or Marketing might be coming to you from another industry. They may not see the potential risk that exists for your business in your industry. Take the financial services industry for example. This industry deals with every bit of a customers’ sensitive information, most importantly their financial accounts. If they are coming from another industry where the business does not have access to these types of materials’ they may not fully understand the need to safeguard everything they do. Another industry, like commercial cleaning, has risks where they are allowing employees in to a business after hours when they are the only people in the facility. This opens up the possibility for theft or access to internal computer networks. Training new employees properly will prevent risks from getting out of hand later.

Have well-documented, well thought out Safety Programs

Safety programs entail a lot depending on your business. Don’t be afraid to make them more or less extensive based on the needs of your business. It should start during the initial training/onboarding process for all employees. If you make it clear to them from the beginning that safety is important to your business than they will implement this in to their daily work routine. Like many things in life it is always easier to start tight and loosen up than to start loose and try to tighten up later. That works for a safety program as well.

Defensive Driving Class

Defensive Driving Program

Having a Defensive Driving Program in place can make drastic difference in the frequency and severity of accidents that occur among your employees. If you have employees that operate a vehicle as part of their job they need to have their driving record pulled at least once a year. As part of the hiring process, many businesses require employees to pay for the driving record themselves. This can help weed out applicants with the worst driving records. It saves you time and money on the front end from going through the hiring process with someone who will not be getting the job because of their driving record.

Buying the proper insurance.

Having proper insurance is essential to any good business plan. How much and what types of insurance a business needs, is completely dependent upon the business owner. It depends on how much risk they are comfortable taking and what types of risk they actually face. This is something a good independent insurance agent can help you determine. Many business owners face risks they do not realize and that is where having a long honest conversation with your agent can help you get properly insured. In most states and in most industries it is legally required to carry Workers Compensation and General Liability Coverage. But there are several other coverages that may be necessary depending upon the industry you operate in. Most carriers have programs set up for each specific classification code and they are called Business Owners’ Policies. In most cases this is the best way to go about purchasing commercial insurance.

Take cyber security seriously

Cyber security is a real threat to nearly all businesses. Regardless of how technologically advanced your business is there is a threat in the cyber world. Two of the largest data breaches in history were first started by small businesses first being hacked and allowing access to a larger network of customers through a vendor partnership. Many business owners think data breaches occur through highly technological criminals hacking in to a computer. That is the source of many data breaches, but many start with something as simple as someone leaving out a post-it note with their username and password or an employee taking a laptop home for remote work and the laptop getting stolen out of their car. Those are real risks that any business can have and they can cause a huge cost to your business when they do happen.

Get the best answers to Cyber Security questions for small business owners here at my insurance question.com