Gun Clubs and Shooting Ranges.

What are the liability concerns for Gun Clubs and Shooting Ranges?

Gun Clubs

Gun Clubs and Shooting Ranges are businesses that provide places for firearms enthusiasts to practice firing various types of firearms.  Some gun clubs and shooting ranges are indoors and allow shooting primarily with handguns at close distances. Other facilities are much larger. They may include outdoor facilities that allow shooting at long range distances.  A majority of these facilities offer lessons and concealed carry classes for beginning firearms enthusiasts’.  Not all facilities offer sales of weapons and accessories, rentals of weapons and even repair for damaged weapons; but those that do face additional liability.  Still other facilities offer periodic tournaments and competitions. Each of these aspects of the business bring with them additional risks.  Depending upon the business activities of each individual gun club or shooting range the liability needs for each business can be drastically different.

Gun Clubs and Shooting Ranges are rising in popularity. Make sure your business is covered properly by reading myinsurancequestion.com

Workers Compensation Risks for Gun Clubs and Shooting Ranges

Workers Compensation Exposures at gun clubs and shooting ranges are similar to many facilities open to the public, but are different in some aspects. Slips, trips and falls are common causes of injuries in these facilities, but there is an increased level of risk when a firearm is involved.  Injuries that involve a firearm tend to be much more severe in nature.  Businesses that operate in this industry typically have a normal frequency of claims, but those claims do tend to be more severe. Because of this elevated amount of risk, all staff need to be thoroughly trained and required to wear proper safety equipment.

Find the answers to your liability questions about Gun Clubs and Shooting Ranges at myinsurancequestion.com

Safety concerns for Gun Clubs and Shooting Ranges

Employees at gun clubs and shooting ranges face both short term and long term risks. Firearms are loud.  Very loud in some cases.  Ear protection is important to protect the long term hearing health of your staff.  Providing the ear protection for your employees and having a program in place to ensure they are actually wearing ear protection is essential to the long term health of your employees and the health of your business. Also, eye protection should be worn when in the presence of live fire. Again, it is wise investment for the business to provide proper safety equipment because it will ensure your employees are wearing the proper equipment.  Additionally, if you require the employees to purchase their own equipment it can develop a bad attitude among the employees about the safety equipment. Spending additional investment on adequate safety and training programs can go a long way towards keeping your staff safe.  A safe staff is a happy and productive staff. Taking additional time to protect your employees will help them be more productive and can prevent a costly insurance claim.

 

Does my business really need Inland Marine Insurance?

Isn’t that equipment covered under my other policies?  Why do I need Inland Marine Insurance Coverage?

 

Commercial insurance is one of the most important things any small business owner will ever buy.  It may not seem that this is a fact when purchasing coverage, but in the event of a disaster; the right coverage can mean the difference between a temporary set-back and closing the doors of your business permanently.  One coverage that far too frequently goes overlooked is inland marine coverage.  Below I will tell you what exactly inland marine coverage is and why your business needs it.

International Risk Management Institute

According to the International Risk Management Institute, Inland Marine Insurance is: “Property insurance for property in transit over land, certain types of moveable property, instrumentalities of transportation (such as bridges, roads, and piers, instrumentalities of communication (such as television and radio towers), and legal liability exposures of bailees. Many inland marine coverage forms provide coverage without regard to the location of the covered property; these are sometimes called “floater” policies. As a group, inland marine coverage forms are generally broader than property coverage forms.”

Commonly confused with “marine insurance,” which covers products when transported over water, inland marine insurance covers products, materials and equipment when transported over land, via truck or train.  This coverage can also cover products while temporarily warehoused by a third party. The most frequent reasons for a claim involving this coverage is because of collisions and cargo theft.

Inland Marine InsuranceA couple of the most common small businesses with a need for this coverage are landscaping companies and photographers, but really any business with specialized equipment that may be taken away from the home or office is in need of this coverage.  This can include something as simple as an employee taking a laptop with them on a trip to a conference paid for by the company.  If this or something similar is a common occurrence within your company than you can protect those losses with an inland marine insurance policy.

One common problem many business owners seem to make is that an inland marine risk is covered by other coverages.  Many owners of Landscaping Companies think all the equipment being hauled on a trailer is covered by their commercial auto insurance policy.  That is incorrect.  The vehicle is covered by a commercial auto policy, but the trailer and anything carried on the trailer are not a covered peril unless you have an additional inland marine policy.

Speaking with a trusted independent insurance agent may be your best way to determine if you need this coverage and how much your business is at risk.  An independent agent will be able to quote a policy with several different carriers.  An agent with only one or a small number of carriers will not be able to get you the absolute best coverage at rock bottom prices because they only partner with a select few carriers.  Choosing an agent with whom you have a great deal of trust in can also help you determine if you need this risk at all.  A good agent is your partner and what is best for your business is best for them, because it will help them retain your business year after year.  Insurance agents should only be recommending coverages to your business if they are a need of your business. If you have chosen an agent with whom you trust than you can rest assured that if they recommend it than there is a need. Agents do not only sell coverage; they also have to interact with customers when the inevitable occurs. Many times because they have to interact with businesses after a catastrophic loss that was not covered they have a unique view of risk management.  This is information you should take to heart if you value your business.

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.

Construction Contracting risks for Workers Comp Quotes

Are Construction Contracting Risks hard to quote or impossible?

Working with contractors for commercial insurance can be an exciting struggle. The benefit of working with companies that build or fix our homes and businesses every day is a rewarding challenge. That challenge can be tough to explain. Especially to someone who is just wanting to get their business quoted and move on with their day or with some one who has never experienced a claim. Below are some key things to consider when helping business owners search for commercial insurance.

FInd out just how difficult it is to get Workers Compensation Coverage for some contractors.

 

Why is contracting so hard to quote?

Contracting companies or Construction firms that perform building work represent some of the highest risk industries. They represent such a high risk because of the nature of work that is being performed. This means the potential for a claim to take place is high and the potential severity of that claim is also extremely high. Meaning the possibility of the claim taking place is high and when the claim happens there is a good chance it would be a severe and expensive claim.

What are the types of things that will cause a claim?

Construction and contracting see a variety of claims causes that make it a little scary for an insurance company. They are unique in that they have the ability to see virtually all types of claims you would see. Slip and falls, lifting strains, repetitive motion claims are ones any basic shop operation could have. Contractors also perform work outside of their shop, so motor vehicle accidents become a concern. Falls form heights can be one of the biggest concerns that can make a huge difference for most contractors wanting to get out of the state fund and with a competitive market carrier.

How can I set my firm apart from the rest?

As an Insurance Agent that specializes in hard to write workers comp, my approach when tasked with quoting a difficult scenario is to focus on the primary concern and risk. As a business owner, the first thing you want to look at is the biggest risk you have to your company which in turn will be the biggest risk to your workers comp carrier. The three biggest concerns being falls from heights, motor vehicle accidents and lifting exposures. This means any way you can limit the exposure or minimize the impact of these the better chance you have of getting quoted. Below are areas that you can look at:

As for height exposures: What is the maximum height in feet you work off ground level? The lower the number the better, but if you are doing work above ground level it is important that you know what the level is. Having a hard cut off point is important. Most importantly, how much opportunity do you have for work higher off the ground. If most of your productive work is less than 10 feet off the ground, but one small job a year is 25 or 30 feet off the ground, You may need to ask the business owner if it is worth paying more for insurance just to work this one job per year? Besides limiting operations, the business owner needs to comply with OSHA tie off requirements and they need to have strict protocols regarding work performed off ground level in their written safety program.

As for Motor vehicle accidents: Are you doing most of your construction work local or long distance? If working outside your local area, do you have multiple locations or crews based in different areas? This can sometimes be a way to limit having employees travel farther and limit your exposure. Besides limiting the travel area, check Motor Vehicle Records on all employees who will drive at time of hire and at least once per year. This is standard for most companies and your Commercial Auto Carrier is likely going to do this anyway. Reviewing and removing higher risk drivers from your driver list can help you with workers comp. Of course, it will save you money on your commercial auto policy ass well if you have one.

Prevent employees from becoming an injured worker by reading about the dangers of improper lifting at myinsurancequestion.comLifting exposures: Generally, are your employees lifting over 50lbs on their own? If so, find a different alternative to lifting like a dolly or something to assist in the lift. That can also be a mechanical hoist or a 2 wheeler to move heavy items.  It could also be requiring team lifting for objects over a certain weight. All of these strategies can limit this risk for your business. Safety programs are crucial to have in place for businesses dealing with heavy lifting. Accidents are eventually going to happen and when they do, a well-documented safety program can be the difference in being dropped for your carrier or not.

Working to improve these areas can help with many things for your construction business. Employees will see that you care for their well being, which in itself can be helpful in the quoting process. The safety protocols will help reduce your employees risk of a workplace injury and in most cases this can help the business get better, more aggressive quotes for workers comp insurance. I have seen in many states this savings can be over 50% for a carrier who has to go to the state fund vs the competitive market quotes. That’s like getting a half-off coupon for your workers comp.

Insurance policies are not all created equal

Taking the leap of starting your own business is never an easy one. Whether you are a weekend warrior looking to pick up some extra income or branching out all on your own; you are taking a risk and putting yourself out there. this is something that most of the population could not fathom, but you are truly the future of our economy.

Most new businesses determine a budget, buy tools/equipment, set up a website and plan for all the business to come in. Insurance tends to be a side note that you know you will need to check off your list, but far too many too not take this aspect serious. Many new business owners seem to look at insurance and attempt to find the cheapest price they can find. This is a mistake that can lead to financial disaster for your business. Here is why this method of thinking can get you into trouble:

When you are a new business a few things tend to be very common. You generally know what kind of work you want to d. You might or might not have an idea of what work you are not willing to do. You also might have only a few employees, but you probably don’t know how much you’ll pay them. On top of that who knows how much sales you will have your first year. When you are shopping for a General Liability Insurance Policy these are all things you need to know. Before picking up the phone to call an insurance agent, here are a few things you need to keep in mind when comparing quotes:

 

Compare the Total Premium but also the rate being charged

Many companies will quote based on minimum premium. For an owner only company this might keep you at this level and not be a problem. Once you start adding employees or increase your operating space, other coverages might be necessary. The rates could increase much faster with one company as your company starts to grow. Talk with your insurance agent about these types of things so you have a ball park idea of what to expect down the road.

Look at the Exclusions on the Policy

As a general rule no insurance policy covers everything. All insurance policies will have some sort of exclusion. These exclusions outline a “hazard” that the insurance carrier will not be responsible for covering. This is very important to know, so you can avoid these exposures. Especially since your business will be on the hook for them. A lot of times they are exclusions for a reason. It is not typically for a carrier to strip down the policy just for a cheaper price. Most of the time these inclusions are in higher hazard areas. In the past these areas have cost insurance companies big and they are attempting to limit the risk they take. Taking this approach in your business operations can help you decide what work are not willing to do. It is usually easiest to make changes early on in your business as opposed to later down the road. Knowing these exclusions is important to minimizing the risk to your business and helps you determine what amount and type of risk you are willing to take in your daily operations.

Occurrence or Claims Made?

General Liability forms are written on either an Occurrence or a Claims Made basis. Occurrence is typically going to be more expense. If it is even available. Claims Made Policies limit the reporting period that you can report a claim to be covered under your policy. Professional Liability policies are typically offered only on Claims Made basis. If Claims Made is your only option, one of your main priorities should be making sure you don’t have a lapse in coverage. A lapse in coverage can leave your business vulnerable for much more than you may think.

 

Compare rating factors

Depending on the policy type, your type of business and coverages being offered; rating factors could vary into what determines your premium. Here are a few variables that can drive the premium though:

Square Footage: The amount of space for your building, the amount occupied and the amount of retail space can directly impact pricing of your liability policy. This is especially important for retail businesses. As well as General Liability, it can also impact your Commercial Property Coverage.

Payroll: Payroll is a direct rating factor for all Workers Compensation Policies. It also is a primary rating factor for most Contractors General Liability policies as well. Getting help to anticipate what your payroll will be should be something a decent agent can help you with.

Employee Count: Employee Count can be a direct rating factor for some General Liability Policies. It can also be a determining factor for Employment Practices Liability Insurance Policies.  In some cases full time vs part time can make a difference as well.

Property Value & Valuation Type: The amount of Value, Reinsurance rule and Valuation type can all impact your pricing for your property coverage. If the Valuation is Replacement cost vs Actual cash value, than the coverage is very different. This is because of how the claim will be paid and the amount your business is insured for. If the valuation amount is not sufficiently covering the amount of property you have this can leave you not receiving the full value you lost in the event of a claim. This is something that is much better to compare when choosing an insurance policy than hashing it out with your insurance carrier when its too late and you have a claim.

Gross Sales, Garaging Zip Code, Location Address: These are a few other of many variables insurance carriers will look at in quoting your insurance policies. Sometimes they are direct rating factors but on most policies they can be a gauge for determining your pricing.

 

There are many factors to consider when determining which policy and coverages are right for you. There are less expensive policies that don’t cover as much, and there are also Cadillac plans that might cover more than you are looking for and many options in between. The key to take from this is not that you have to go with the Cadillac or to take the cheapest option, but make sure you are comparing the correct variables to know you are choosing the right option for you and knowing what you are covered for and what you are not covered for.

Business Personal Property Insurance

Also referred to as ‘Contents Coverage’

For most business owners this is one of the most overlooked coverage options out there, in my opinion. Often times when I ask potential insureds if they want this coverage they quickly say NO I just need general liability. This may be ok for a few segments of business, but overall this is actually a really important coverage that doesn’t cost much more. What most business owners do not realize is that around 60% of companies that do not carry this coverage, do not reopen after a catastrophic loss. What exactly is Business Personal Property Insurance Coverage you ask? Business Personal Property Insurance (Contents Coverage) provides coverage for furniture, fixtures, merchandise, materials and all other personal property owned by you and used in your business. Coverage is generally at replacement cost. Now try to envision what this means to your business. If you are a contractor and have a shop that houses all of your tools, unscheduled equipment, etc. A loss wipes out your shop whether it was from fire or something else. Most of your tools and other items are now not usable. What do you think the cost of replacing those are without insurance coverage? This number will vary depending on the size of your company but when you start buying or adding up the value of everything you had this number escalates pretty quickly. If you had this coverage you probably have a $500 deductible but that will pale in comparison to the actual cost of replacing everything you need to function like the day right before your loss.

Business Personal Property Insurance

Lets take a look at a different type of business and show the importance of Business Personal Property Insurance Coverage. Take a restaurant for example. Lets say you open a restaurant. You are new and business is slow at first. Money is tight due to all of the start up cost associated with getting a business off of the ground. With buying insurance for possibly the first time quite a few owners are caught off guard by this cost> they may  want the bare minimum to get coverage in place to satisfy a lease, etc. Only give me general liability is what they will tell us. Its the only thing that is being requested from my landlord or lease. We recommend additional coverage that is vital in this type of operation and that is furniture, fixtures, kitchen equipment, etc. They decided well I will just add that later. Business owners are very busy especially at the start up phase and they continue to say lets just wait or I don’t have time to deal with it right now. That is a valid point, but imagine if they are four months in and they have a fire that wipes out their restaurant. They only have liability coverage. All of a sudden the dream they had of owning their own business is suddenly snatched away from them. When you way the cost of having to replace everything out of pocket to get back open, it can be crippling to your business.

The cost of this coverage varies with the amount you need to cover. For restaurants specifically, carriers often have a section where they can put the vast majority of the amount you value into a section called restaurant equipment. This is rated better than just blanket business personal property coverage and will make this coverage even that much more affordable.

At the end of the day at least get this coverage priced along with your general liability. That way you can make an educated decision on whether you want to further protect your business. It is after all your lifelong dream of being a business owner. Do you really feel like rolling the dice with your dreams.