Rental Property Insurance

When you own rental property with it comes a certain amount of risk. There are ways to lessen the amount of risk your or your business faces by properly preparing your business and purchasing adequate insurance coverage.  Here are 3 types of insurance you or your business need to secure when you own rental property.

If you own Rental Property, you need to determine what kinds of insurance your business actually needs?

 

If you or your business own rental property, there are certain insurance coverages you need to secure. Find out the best info at My Insurance Question.com

Three Policies every rental property owner should have. 

General Liability Coverage

General Liability Insurance in most cases is the first type of insurance a business or investor purchases. General Liability and Workers’ Compensation Coverage are required by law in 48 out of 50 states. For this reason, most business owners start with these two coverages and later determine if they need additional insurance.  GL Insurance covers a property owner for any liability they might face to thirds parties.  Some liabilities you may face include when a tenant or visitor are injured due to the landlord’s negligence, when a property maintenance issue results in a tenants’ injury or personal property loss or when a tenant is injured as a result of the landlord’s failure to keep the premises safe and in good working order.  Now these are just a couple of the types of liability a property owner may face.  Other risks you or your business face include losses due to fire, storm, tenant or employee theft and even discrimination lawsuits filed by tenants or employees. A lawsuit does not have to be legitimate to cause you or your business to incur enormous legal costs. Having the proper insurance in place can limit the damages to you or your business if you do face a lawsuit.

Commercial Property Insurance

Commercial Property Insurance is frequently the second coverage a property owner will secure.  When looking to acquire a commercial insurance policy it is important to secure an accurate valuation of the property. A Commercial Property Insurance Policy are just a little bit different than a personal home owners policy in that they are sold on either a replacement cost or on an agreed upon value. For most businesses the replacement cost policy is almost always the best type of policy to secure. This type of policy will pay to not only rebuild the property but also to demolish and haul away any and all debris. This additional cost can be substantial.

Business Loss of Income

Business Loss of Income Coverage is the third and final type of insurance all rental property owners should purchase. A business loss of income insurance policy will cover you or your business for the income lost during the period when a rental property is uninhabitable.  For example, if your building is damaged by a hurricane; this coverage kicks in to cover missed rent payments you or your business would have collected while the property is being repaired. Frequently this coverage is paid based upon documented actual revenue, which is good for property owners because you have a lease stating how much revenue the property generates.  Depending upon the policy you can collect payments for lost rent for up to 12 months after a loss.

 

Insurance Tips for Lawn Care and Landscaping

There are many aspects to owning a landscaping business. Many aspects that have nothing to do with the actual work itself. Whether a business owner is dealing with finding the right employees, determining the right price to charge their customers or managing the day to day operations; there are always additional responsibilities pulling the business owner in a different direction.  One aspect that frequently gets looked over is purchasing commercial insurance for your landscaping business.  Here are five tips for finding the best insurance, saving money when purchasing coverage and how best to use your policy when a disaster occurs.

Get the answers to your Lawn Care and Landscaping Insurance Questions at My Insurance Question.com

Partner with an independent agent

Independent insurance agents are unique in that they can quote you policies from many different carriers and not just one or a select few.  The appetites of the carriers change from year to year for certain coverages and especially for different industries.  Some years, your premium may go up simply because the carrier has experienced a lot of losses in your industry of the last year or couple of years. As a result they raise the prices for that classification code.  Another carrier may not have experienced the same losses and may be more hungry to quote your policy.  An independent insurance agent has the ability to force carriers to compete for your business.  In the end this helps you get better coverage at rock bottom prices.

Make sure you are in the right class code

The Lawn Care and Landscaping Industry is an industry that has numerous general liability classification codes. If you do not give enough information to your agent, they are forced to guess exactly how much risk your business takes on. It is in their best interest to always assume more risk. Assuming more risk protects the insurance agency, but may cost your business more in unnecessary premium. These mistakes usually get fixed in the end of term audit, but even when corrected you still have tied up cash in unnecessary premium throughout the year.

What coverages can I do without?

Once you have taken care of finding a good agency to partner with and you have taken the time to make sure you are classified properly, it is important to ask your agent what coverage’s does your business absolutely need and what coverage’s your business may be able to do without.  At this point it is important to remember the agent works for you.  If you are honest with the agent about how much risk you are willing to take, they should be able to give you the proper information to cover your business as you prefer.  It is important to remember that insurance agents not only interact with business owners when they are selling coverage, but also when the worst of the worst has occurred.  The agent may be offering you an extra coverage because they have interacted with a business owner in the past who had a claim occur at their business where they were not covered. Those are never easy conversations to have.  Depending upon the size and severity of the disaster having the right coverage may be the difference between your business closing the doors for a week and never opening again.

Ask for available credits and debits

The best way to find the best price on coverage is to tell your insurance agent what you value in the buying process.  Insurance agents talk with many different people from many different walks of life.  One customer may want to get through the insurance buying process as fast as possible so they can get back to running their business.  Another business owner may not mind if it takes a day and a half of their time in order to save an additional five percent.  Let the agent know early and often what you value.

What do you do when your business has a claim?

It is common for a business owner to think bad things will not happen to their business, but the most successful businesses are those who have a plan in place for when things go wrong.  Part of that plan should be having the proper insurance policy in place.  When an occurrence eventually takes place, there are several steps you as a business owner can take to speed up the process of getting your claim paid and get your business back up to normal operation.

When you do have to make an insurance claim it is important to inform both your carrier and your agency.  Do not be upset if your agency informs you to contact your carrier.  It is the job of the carrier to process the claim, not the agency.  At the same time, it is equally important to keep your agency in the loop.  In the unfortunate case the carrier is not living up to their end of the bargain, the agency can contact them on your behalf.  If you have injured workers, make sure they are going to medical facilities that are properly prepared to process the workers’ compensation system within your state.  Your carrier can help you find the proper facilities.  This can drastically limit the severity of a claim and it can allow your injured worker to get the best care quickly.  The better care they get can result in the getting back on the job quicker and with the least amount of doctors’ visits possible.  Keeping the injured worker on your side is important.  If this process runs smoothly it will make your employee happy and motivated to return to work.  It will also help your insurance carrier by limiting the amount of the claim.  THis will prevent too much damage from being done to your businesses experience modification rating.  The Experience Mod is one of the main ways carriers determine how much they will charge you for premium.

Do not be alarmed if a claim stays open for a period of time after your business has gotten over the claim.  Insurance agents do this in order to not have to open a second claim.  A second claim will also impact your experience modification rating.  The carrier does this because an injured worker may return to work and reinjure themselves.   Sometimes this can happen weeks or even months after the injured worker has returned to work.  If this causes your business to file a second claim it can have a damaging effect on your rating resulting in a higher rate on premium.

 

5 facts about insurance

5 little known facts about insurance, every small business owner should know.

General Liability covers my employees if they are injured at work

This is false. General Liability Insurance covers your businesses liability to third parties injured by the actions of your business. This goes for both property damage and bodily injuries.  One thing a general liability policy does not cover is the injuries that occur to your employees.  For these injuries you need a separate workers compensation insurance policy.  Workers comp will cover your employees for medical care and some lost wages when they are hurt on the job and not able to work.

The only thing that determines your rate for insurance is your loss ratio.  

There are many things that go in to how a carrier determines what you pay in premium for coverage.  First is your classification code.  It is pretty easy to understand that an accounting firm is taking on a lot less risk compared to a roofing company.  The level of risk is going to be represented in the amount those businesses pay for premium.

Your personal auto insurance will cover your car when you are using it for business purposes.  

You may need Hired and Non-owned Auto Insurance.This statement is not true.  If you are using your car for business purposes, it is not completely covered under your personal insurance policy.  The personal insurance policy will pay to cover the damages to your car, but it will not cover your liability to third parties. That liability falls on the shoulders of the business.  For that reason, you will need to secure either a commercial auto policy or a hired and non owned auto policy.

You must pay your insurance premium in full up-front.

This is not true.  Most commercial policies require 25% or more of the premium in order to get coverage in place than you pay 9 monthly payments over the last 9 months of the policy period.  There are also options the insurance industry has developed to help cash strapped companies. This is the Pay as You Go option.  Pay as you go can get coverage in place for only a few hundred dollars and then you pay premium each month based upon the monthly payroll.  This is an excellent option for seasonal or cash straped businesses.

There is no need for Business Insurance if you work out of your home.

This is absolutely not correct.  The liability needs you face are different if you work from home, but there are still risks you need to cover.  If you drive to clients houses you need some form of commercial auto.  If you have specialized equipment you may need inland marine coverage and if you offer professional advice you more than likely need professional liability.  These are just a few coverages you may need for a home office and an experienced insurance professional can help you make sure your business is protected with just a short conversation.  It is important to be thorough and honest during these conversations.

Beauty Salons

How much insurance coverage do Beauty Salons need?

 

There are many Beauty Salons all across the country. Each one has their own unique set of risks depending upon the scope and scale of their operations. THe risks facing a beauty salon are very different from the risks of a real estate agency, a day care center or even an electrician.  All of these industries have their own individual needs and that is why each need their own package of insurance protection.  Here are four insurance coverages’ every Salon should have in order to properly protect their business. There may be more coverages that may be needed based on the actions of your employees. For this reason, it is extremely important to spend additional time speaking with your insurance agent about what exactly your employees do and do not do on a daily basis.

Beauty Salons

 

✓ General Liability
✓ Professional Liability
✓ Inland Marine
✓ Workers Compensation

 

 

General Liability

General Liability Coverage will protect most beauty salons from property damage and bodily injury claims to third party.  Because of the high amount of traffic coming in and out of the business there is a likelihood to have more than average claims due to slips trips and falls.  Keeping the premises clean and not cluttered can go a long way towards limiting these types of claims.

Professional Liability

Professional Liability Coverage is a coverage specifically designed for businesses that provide specialized advice or services.  The need for this coverage will be higher the more high end your business is or if you work with customers around special occasions like weddings, birthdays, religious celebrations, proms, etc.  This policy will cover most legal fees if your business is sued by a customer for not providing the proper service for their occasion.  The lawsuit does not have to result in a judgment against your business to rack up an enormous cost. Even if you are innocent, you still have to hire a lawyer to defend yourself in court and you may have to take time away from your business to defend your reputation.

Inland Marine

Inland Marine Insurance Coverage will protect your property that is highly specialized or frequently in transit.  Exposures to this equipment may come if employees provide their own tools.  If they do, there may be an employees, tools and equipment exposure. If your stylist goes to the client’s premises to perform services, there may be goods off premises or in transit. There may be a bailees exposure with wigs or other hairpieces, or from storage of customers’ goods at all-day events offered by some high-end salons.  If any or all of these exposures exist than your business needs to add this coverage.

Workers’ Compensation

Workers’ Compensation Insurance is required by law in 48 out of 50 states. Depending upon the rules and regulations of your state, you may or may not need to secure this coverage.  How your business is structured and whether or not your employees are W-2 or 1099 employees can impact the requirement for this coverage as well. Workers Comp Coverage will cover your business for most lawsuits that occur from injured workers who were hurt because of a normal business activity. It will provide your employee with medical costs and some lost wages while they are hurt and not able to work.

Garage Liability vs. Garagekeepers

The difference between Garage Liability coverage and Garagekeepers coverage is the difference between liability insurance and physical damage insurance. The first covers the insured’s liability for operations and autos and the other covers damage to customer’s vehicles. All garage risks need both coverages to properly insure their loss exposures.

A typical garage business has an auto exposure (owned, non-owned and hired) as well as premises/operations, contractual and products/completed operations exposures. Rather than writing two separate policies, the Garage policy allows you to combine the coverages into one Policy. Garage Policy is a combination Business Auto Coverage form and a Commercial General Liability Coverage form. Garage liability insurance is an absolute necessity for the owner of a car dealership, a local mechanic, a tire dealer or a company doing oil changes. These policies are for employers who make a living working on cars. These programs are also for companies installing stereos or satellite radios. Do not make the mistake with the assumption believing Garage Liability Insurance would cover the loss of a customer’s auto while in your care. A separate Garage Keeper’s Policy or addendum to the garage (service center) policy already in place must be in place. Under the Garage keeper’s Coverage, there are two options for the auto service operator to consider. One is called direct excess coverage that pays up to the value of the destroyed vehicle above the owner’s coverage, and the other is direct primary coverage in which the service owner’s carrier shares the loss with the car owner’s insurer.

If you have a repair center that has a fleet of tow trucks or dispatched repair vehicles, those assets are covered under Garage Liability Insurance. However, the customer cars sitting outside waiting for service, or inside on that lift are not covered and this is the reason why you need the keeper clause for your protection. Please note that most Garagekeeper’s Policies excludes loss to non-factory installed sound equipment,.

Garage Liability Insurance providers may become extremely discriminatory regarding the requirements for getting the insurance, such as strict loss prevention or risk management efforts by the auto service owner. To cut costs and keep premiums lower, indemnity companies are often refusing to underwrite such things as wind and hail damage for company and customer vehicles. And tolerance by insurers for multiple incidents at a garage is limited.

Make sure every employee and officer of the company is on the policy. Coverage is usually only afforded to the locations and drivers listed on the coverage. Employees that get a DUI or go over their point allowances may be excluded from driving privileges and non-company drivers need to be discussed with the agent.

Getting and keeping garage liability insurance can be daunting. Proper night lighting, well landscaped grounds, well maintained signage and windows as well as a freshly painted exterior as well as clean floors and bathrooms inside can make or break a policy being approved.

 

 

Declaration Page. What is it? Where is it? Is it important?

I am sure at some point in time you have had an insurance agent ask you for your policy declaration page or pages. If you are like most business owners, you think to yourself what are they asking me for. Basically, what these pages represent are the cliff notes of your insurance policy for that particular line of insurance. You will notice that your worker’s compensation declaration page is shorter than your business owners package or general liability. These declarations will not list all of the exclusions in your policy.  It will only list the coverage limits you currently have. Here is the definition of declarations: The front page (or pages) of a policy that specify the named insured, address, policy period, location of premises, policy limits, and other key information that varies from insured to insured. The declarations page is also known as the information page. Often informally referred to as the “dec” or “dec page.”

 

The next thought most business owners have is, where do I find the declaration page. The declaration page or pages can be found in the front 3rd of your insurance policy. Most of the time it’s within the first 10 pages. This is especially the case for worker’s compensation. For your general liability and business owners package policy it may be a few further pages in. The key to identifying it is when you start to see wording such as limits or premium. When you see that and how the premium pricing is broken down then you are in the right place. It will show your experience mod from the current term, premium discounts, state taxes, fees, expense constant, and a few other items on there. Some of this will vary on what type of policy it is.

 

This information is important to insurance agents for a wide variety of reasons. Most of the time a business owner thinks we only want to see these pages so that we can beat the price on your current policy. Yes, that is helpful information to use but it doesn’t necessarily mean that our carriers will just price it below your policy just in order to win your business. Our underwriters like to know pricing information so they can compare it to other policies that are either doing the exact same type of business or something very similar, and offer you a quote accordingly. If they generally don’t know what you are paying, then they will go on the conservative side and offer a policy that is in the average of pricing for that industry based on where they have priced and written the type of business you are doing. I feel, the most important reason for this to me is that I like to view these pages to give you an apples to apples comparison of the two policies. Also, I can check to see if you are truly covered correctly.  If their may be gaps that are missing some key coverages or are underinsured in areas that you would not want to be underinsured in.  Thus we can present you with a quote exactly like the one you have with the same coverage and limits. This will also enable us to present another quote option, if necessary.  Typically this option is where we think your limits should be and additional coverages that you may not have that most people in your line of work have. The key to remember when being asked for your declaration page or pages is that we as insurance producers are wanting to make sure your covered correctly and at a fair price. We are here to get you a fair price, but we are also here to make sure you do not have any gaps when a claim does occur.  We don’t like audit surprises or coverage gaps at the time when you think you are covered just as much as you do. The declaration page is so much more than just a price to beat.

What Do My Workers Compensation Limits Mean?

We get this question a few times a week because most business owners don’t quite understand their workers compensation limits. They try to compare them to their general liability limits and that is where some of the confusion sets in. The Limits on your workers’ compensation insurance policy provide coverage for a business against lawsuits arising from employment-related injuries or illnesses.  For example, if an injured employee is not satisfied alone with medical and loss of wage benefits because they feel their employer purposefully put them in harm’s way on the job or were grossly negligent, and as a result they were injured, they may sue for punitive damages.  In some cases, even the employee’s family can sue for the same damages. This is where Part II of a workers’ comp policy would kick and provide coverage.

It is important to note that employers’ liability coverage is limited, unlike medical benefits or loss of wages.  This is the spot that a lot of business owners or anyone starts to get confused. They see limits on their workers’ compensation policy and naturally think that is the max that would be paid in an injury scenario. A workers’ compensation policy will pay out whatever it takes to rehabilitate an injured employee. Employers liability or Part II will not pay out unlimited amounts on behalf of employers who were charged with gross negligence or knowingly placing their employees in harm’s way.  Employers’ liability coverage in most states starts at $100,000 each employee, $100,000 each accident and at $500,000 per policy limit for disease- these limits are statutory or minimum limits that come with the purchase of a policy.  These coverage limits can be raised for a nominal additional premium percentage on most policies.  Many businesses opt for increased employers’ liability limits.  They do this because of a need for peace of mind or because their work contracts often require higher limits than statutory requirement.

To give you an idea on how these limits work, think about it in this manner. An employee working in a manufacturing plant is exposed to lead on a daily basis. The employer does not have proper ventilation or does not always check on the employee to make sure they are wearing proper attire. Whether that is long sleeve shirts and pants or to have a respirator so they are filtering the air quality they are breathing. The employee gets injured on the job after many years of never missing work. It is also discovered that they have come down with a serious illness that may be caused by years of lead exposure. The employee and his family are not satisfied with the level of benefits workers compensation is providing and has decided to sue the Employer for negligence. This is where the limits in Employers Liability or Part II would kick in. There are many other scenarios that could come into play outside of illness, but this is just one example of how a 3rd party may potentially bring suit against your company. The best thing to do is always be proactive with safety, etc. which can be hard for a small business.  Because your time is very invested in the day to day activities of the business.

New Business- Starting from scratch

Ideas for Start-up Business Plans

So you have decided to (or maybe you are still considering) taking a leap most of us only dream of.  That leap is to start your own business. Perhaps you have worked for someone else in your trade for several years and want something of your own.  You may be fresh out of school (or still in school) and want to get started early.  Maybe you just have a unique opportunity to start your own business. If this is you than you are probably looking at what you need to start:

  • Start up capital
  • Supplies
  • Office/shop space
  • Sales opportunities

These are things all first time business owners are looking for. One thing many new businesses put off until last moment is insurance. You will spend thousands of dollars just to start up your dream of owning your own business; you don’t want one accident to take it all away from you. Below are several insurance policies that can protect you from claims that could easily ruin your dream of owning your own business. Here we will go over the basic areas that you want to look at for starting your own business, and when you want to start looking.

First, Why is this important? Claims with new businesses can be more devastating for a few reasons.

  • The controls that are in place to prevent/reduce the extent of claims/liabilities are less established. Many of these types of firms can be started in a home office.
  • New businesses are many times less defined in their operations, which can bring the operations in to areas the business owner may not be as familiar with. These areas they may not have as much experienced in. This can bring up more risks a
  • Some businesses do not have an established LLC or Corporation established. Regardless of the insurance policies you have, it’s important to work with your attorney and CPA to make sure you choose the business entity type that works best for you. This separates your business liabilities from impacting your personal assets. It is bad enough if the incident you could have protected closes your business, but it is a much worse situation if the same incident causes you to lose your house or your savings.  

 

Here are a few policies we recommend you start out with pretty early on:

Commercial Auto – Commercial auto is a topic in itself and oftentimes one of the most overlooked policies by a new business owner since many people just use their personal auto’s and don’t see this as something they need. This might not be the first new policy you look to get, it should be the first insurance policy you likely already have that you will want to look at changing though. If your using your personal vehicle for business purposes, at the very least you want to make sure your agent and insurance carrier is aware of that and that you have business use on your policy, upgrading your personal auto policy to a commercial auto policy might be a couple bucks more, but in many cases the difference is a lot less than you may expect, plus, a less expensive policy that doesn’t cover what you need isn’t really that valuable anyway.

General liability –  Starting a business, general liability is the first policy most companies look for. If you’re a retail store its sometime referred to as “slip and fall coverage” to cover liability from bodily injury on your premise. Keep in mind, some of these policies only do that and might not cover all/any off premise damages. These policies come in a variety of forms and coverages and the pricing typically reflects that, that’s not also to say you cant shop to make sure you’re getting the best value. This for some business types can be packaged into a Business Owners Policy that can cover property and other additional coverages your company needs like Data Breach, EPLI and Hired/Non owned auto liability.

Workers Compensation –  For starters let me clear a couple things up first: Workers Compensation is not automatic; it’s not something automatically gets taken out of payroll without you getting a policy in place first. This policy covers employee injuries when hurt on the job for medical expenses and a portion of lost wages. For some high risk businesses like heavy manufacturing, construction and transportation this can be one of the most expensive and hardest policies to get competitive quote’s on and can be frustrating for businesses owners that just want to buy the policy. The key in the beginning is getting a policy in place, pay your bill on time, and keep continuous coverage. Once you have a prover record, especially for 3 years with coverage in place the market is a lot easier to get coverage for companies that have established. If you are a labor intense business the pricing can seem very high, the expense for covering a claim out of pocket, and fines from many states can be just as expensive if not more than your premium would be anyway. This normally isn’t needed until you hire an employee, but sometimes contracts can still require it which can open up more business opportunities for your company.

Professional Liability –  For some companies your biggest risks aren’t necessarily a customer slipping and falling, or an employee injuring themselves. Many professional firms have what can be equally as damaging of risks to them. The obvious ones are your Physicians Medical Malpractice, your insurance agents and accounts have Errors and Omission’s insurance to cover mistakes or professional errors made. Little mistakes can make huge claims but there are some companies you don’t think of needing this like Printing companies, Website Developers, IT Companies, Bookkeeping and Marketing Firms. Website Copyright infringement, or a faulty code in a software program that causes a glitch or even worse a breach could be a huge expense and could mean huge liability on your company.

 

Every business owner is worried about protecting what they own. The property you own can be devastating if its lost, damaged or stolen. However, the liabilities you take on during the everyday course of your business operation can be even worse and costlier. Even if you don’t own any property. There are insurance policies to cover the obvious, but also many things you wouldn’t think of. If there is a chance of an injury, fire, something stolen, or decreasing in value for something other than every day wear and tear (heck maybe there’s a policy for that too) there is likely an insurance policy for it. Working with a Professional Insurance Agent that can give you options and help guide you on the coverages that would be most important to you.

5 coverages every Non-profit business should have.

The Non-profit Industry is a very wide industry that encompasses a large amount of different types of organizations.  Some businesses simply operate a soup kitchen and only offer meals to those in need. Others offer medical coverage and still others offer construction services for those in need of housing. Each type of mission brings its own unique risks.  That is why it is important for non-profit managers to partner with insurance agents who have knowledge in many different industries and agents who partner with a large amount of carriers. This can help the agent find the non-profit quotes from numerous carriers and will allow them to get your nonprofit more complete coverage and usually at lower rates on premium.

non-profit workers compensation insuranceA lot of insurance carriers have restricted coverage for non-profit and charitable organizations due to a large amount of historical claims and their potential exposure from volunteers serving these organizations. A few carriers have taken a different approach to non-profits and created programs designed specifically to the unique needs of these businesses.  Below is a list of six coverages most non-profits will need.

General Liability

General Liability Insurance covers you and your organization from damages done to third parties as a result of the actions of your organization. These can be bodily injury claims and property damage to anyone who is not you or your employee.

Workers’ Compensation

non-profit-workers-compWorkers’ comp differs from General Liability because it protects your business from being liable to injuries that occur to your employees. It is frequently referred to as the ‘Exclusive Remedy”. That is because it will pay for employee medical costs, disabilities, and lost wages related to on-the-job injuries and accidents. Your organization will benefit from this policy by having the security that you will not be sued by your employees for accidents that occur as a part of your normal operations.

Commercial Auto

Commercial auto insurance for your vehicles is an important aspect of any business insurance program. This coverage provides protection against physical damage and bodily injury resulting from car accidents involving you or your employees. Most coverages also provide some protection from theft and vandalism.  Your organization does not have to own any vehicles to need some form of commercial auto coverage. For example, one of the most often overlooked business insurance coverage is Hired and Non-Owned Auto. Almost every business will occasionally utilize a personal, or non-owned vehicle for work related tasks. For example, your organization has an office staff member make trips to the bank to make a deposit of donations. Another example might be sending an employee to the restaurant to pick up food for volunteers. Every time someone uses a vehicle not owned by the non-profit to perform a business related function, the organization is at risk.

Cyber Liability

Most non-profit organizations think they are not at risk of a data breach. Many may think, I am a small organization with not much money, why would anyone bother to hack my organization. That is exactly what two small business owners thought when two of the largest data breaches in history occurred. Both the Home Depot and Target data breaches occurred by hackers first accessing a small business and then that small business had a vendor partnership with the larger business and that is how the hackers gained access.  If you store any information about donors or have a partnership with another organization, you could be at risk of a breach. Most cyber insurance plans can be added to a (BOP) at minimal cost to your organization.

Commercial Property

business-property-valuation-for-commercial-insuranceCommercial property is needed if you own property no matter the size of the premise. This will cover all property, including things like desks, chairs and anything physically attached to the building (i.e. shelvings, cabinets, etc.). Property coverage does not cover some specialized equipment like printers, computers or other office equipment. Coverage for this type of property would be covered under and Inland Marine Insurance Policy. These policies can easily be paired together under what is called a Business Owners Package (BOP). It is usually a good idea to ask your agent to quote a BOP because carriers are more likely to give your organization a discount on premium if you are carrying more than one coverage from them.

Owners and Officer’s

Owners and officer’s coverage might be the most important and frequently overlooked coverage for most non-profit organizations. The people who sit on your board are usually giving their time and expertise for free. Most just believe in you or believe in the mission of the organization. The last thing you want is for something to go wrong with your organization and them be liable for the actions of the organization.

liability-insurance-for-small-businesses Owners and Officers Coverage is for defense costs and damages (awards and settlements) arising out of wrongful act allegations and lawsuits brought against an organization’s board of directors and/or officers. Securing this coverage allows your officers to sit on your board and comfortably know they are not going to be liable for the actions of the organization.

Should I Buy Workers Comp Insurance Online?

Should you buy workers comp insurance online?

Over the last 10 years or so, more and more insurance providers are starting to show up online. Additionally, even many traditional brick and mortar agencies are at least starting to have a website presence. There are many things to look for in a commercial insurance agent. Among the things that first come to mind are adequately protecting your business from risk of loss, providing well-priced insurance and providing good customer service/being available for customers. Online based insurance providers often perform well at many of the things that are important to insurance buyers, but do they provide the same service?

Online insurance providers are typically high volume agencies. That can benefit customers in a number of ways. First, many of these online providers have access to many different insurance carriers which can allow substantial price shopping. Additionally, due to having a high volume, these online providers generally have good relationships with numerous insurance carriers. Those relationships can often be leveraged to benefit clients when appropriate. Furthermore, due to volume, the online providers often have substantial experience and expertise in the coverages they are offering.

Another advantage of online insurance providers is that they tend to be consistently available during business hours. It is often the case that traditional agencies may be more involved in your community and you may not meet your online provider face to face. However, due to their business model, online providers are typically available in their office during most business hours, which generally allows customer needs to be met promptly. Additionally, online providers are typically licensed in all states, so they are generally set-up to help if out of state insurance needs arise.

With workers’ comp insurance, most of the benefits are determined by statute/laws in particular states. Thus, if a reputable carrier is used and information and business information is fully disclosed, most business owners should be able to be confident that their business is adequately protected by the insurance they purchase. With other lines of insurance, like general liability and professional liability, it is possibly more important to establish a level of trust with your insurance provider. It is important to make sure your business information is reviewed, so that coverage gaps can be analyzed to make sure your business is protected. Establishing this level of trust can often be done over the phone as well as it can be done in person.

Another thing to consider is that online insurance providers may be more closely aligned with the direction of the insurance industry. Many insurance carriers are continuing to develop more and more technology. Online insurance providers are generally also tech savvy. They focus on technology development and utilization. Online agencies may be better able to pass on carrier technology to their clients, while also providing their own technology to clients.  All of this is designed to make issues related to business insurance more efficient for you the business owner.

There are numerous reasons it may be beneficial to consider buying workers’ comp and other business insurance online. Prices are often very competitive. Online providers are generally available for customers and generally have substantial expertise in the insurance products they provide. Additionally, online providers are typically among the most tech savvy agencies in the industry, which is in line with marketplace trends and benefits customers. There are many things to consider in choosing an insurance provider, but online providers stack up well in many factors which are typically considered.