Archive for the ‘Down to Business’ Category
Entrepreneurs spin a lot of plates. Gathering licenses, building inventory, and engaging potential vendors are several of many things involved with launching. A large number of responsibilities involved with starting a company leaves it unsurprising many entrepreneurs overlook securing effective commercial insurance policies. A grasp on specific risks helps tailor the right commercial insurance policy.
Mike Barton, with Commercial Insurance of Allstate, says the right policy changes for each company. Daycare-center operators and at-home caregivers carry different levels of risk. Policies tailored for meeting specific risks head-on limit liability. Kevin Haward of State Farm recommends general liability insurance coverage as a starting point to build upon. For home-based entrepreneurs, general liability policies cover gaps homeowner’s insurance policies may leave, such as guests attending at-home sales parties.
Commercial Insurance: The Options
Insurance requirements vary based on company size, industry, location and more. General liability protection creates a starting-point for coverage. Add extra coverage for increased protection. These additional commercial insurance coverage policy inclusions are available through a broker:
- Commercial Property Insurance. The artwork in the office, computers, machinery and more gain protection through commercial property coverage.
- Lost-Income Insurance. This policy compensates for revenue lost due to an insurable event, rendering the company unable to operate. Weather the storm with the right insurance protection.
- Omission/Error Insurance. Dealing with small details is challenging; the occasional oversight may occur. This policy protects lawyers, doctors, and other professionals against damages due to unintentional data omission.
- Compromised-Data Insurance. Corporate espionage is alive and well. Protect customer information, company secrets, and other sensitive information with a data compromise inclusion.
- Cyber insurance protects companies using Cloud, internet, and other connected platforms for sharing data. Any entrepreneur with an internet connection is at risk, ransom-ware targets companies of all sizes.
Tips for Success
The experts recommend several tips for securing the right commercial insurance policy coverage:
1. Properly Value Property. Often, entrepreneurs underestimate the value of personal effects employed for company purposes or rely on a homeowner’s policy for protection. Protect these effects using commercial property coverage.
2. Ask Around. Many resources exist online for researching insurance policies and protection before buying. Other local entrepreneurs are an additional source of information. They can give advice coverage options, share knowledge about risks, and recommend an agent.
3. Get Help. According to Barton, small operations account for nearly one-third of the American labor force. At smaller companies staff often adapts, performing multiple roles to keep operations running. Sales, accounting, and customer service take time. An agent can shoulder the task of finding and activating the right policy.
4. Find the Right Agent. The right insurance agent understands the industry, location, and objective of the company. Commercial policies differ by state, agency, and by the agent. A local agent remains attentive to needs ensuring continuous and comprehensive coverage. Gain the right coverage for the right price using a local agent.
Researching ahead of time can help save later. To learn more about commercial insurance protection contact an agent today. Protection is available for companies of all sizes. Reduce risk, limit liability, and protect property with commercial insurance.
Contact an agent for any questions about commercial insurance, or with any other questions about insurance protection. Have a great article topic to share? We’d love to hear it!
This year, hurricane season is in full effect. Businesses in the paths of Harvey and Irma dealt with significant impacts. Most small business owners are occupied running their business. Plan for natural disasters is a distant thought. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, 40% of local entrepreneurs close following a disaster. The lessons learned from this year’s hurricane season distill to one: a disaster plan is essential for commercial survival.
Recent findings from CNBC demonstrate owners are thinking about other things when it comes to disasters. A paltry 8% of respondents said the environment is a top concern when planning business matters. That number drops to 6% in the Southwest, and 5% in the hurricane-plagued south. Job creation, healthcare, immigration, and the “other” category all ranked higher for attention.
Plans can help businesses survive and recover faster. Here are 5 ways entrepreneurs can prepare for natural disasters:
1. Use Online Backup
There may be little notice before disaster strikes. thumb drives, Cloud services, and external hard drives can all store important records. Things such as:
- Invoices and contracts
- Employee documents
- Accounting and tax papers
- Insurance paperwork
Rebuilding will be easier if these are protected and safe.
2. Create Plans for Employees, Vendors, and Customers
A business can prepare for a disaster, but customers, employees, and vendors are essential for survival. Insurance policies may cover business losses, but planning for customers and staff can help prepare. Businesses should share information with customers and staff early about possible supply or sales delays.
- Customers: Helping customers by sharing information can aid preparations. Staying in touch with regular and important customers helps strengthen relationships. Open lines of communication with customers will let them know when the business is back open.
- Employees: Help employees prepare by outlining clear instructions for pay and leave during a disaster. Keep and update employee contact information for updates during and after a storm or event.
- Vendors: Vendors and distributors are a vital part of the commerce. Disaster-related delays may force them to shop elsewhere unless they’ve been informed.
Promptly address customers, employees, and vendors when disaster strikes. It may be a regional event or one specific to a single business. Sharing information with others can help a business survive a disaster.
3. Create a Continuity Plan
A continuity plan enables businesses to keep doing business following a disaster. Label key operations and assign employees to specific roles. Some staff may require cross-training for disaster relief purposes.
The government recommends the following components exist in a disaster plan:
- Find the most-important company operations.
- Develop techniques for filling emergency supply and staffing gaps
- Test the plan for areas to improve on
- Educate staff members
Continuing operations can generate much-needed revenue following a disaster. Businesses able to operate quickly following a disaster are more likely to survive.
4. Evaluate Risks
There are many risks to consider when crafting an emergency plan for a business. There are events common to all businesses, and some which may be specific to an industry or area. An insurance agent can help determine areas of risk specific for an individual business preparedness plan. An agent will ask questions to help determine possible areas to prepare for, such as:
- Is the business in an area prone to extreme weather?
- Is there a history of flooding in the area?
- Is the company in a city at risk of terrorism?
- Does the business produce volatile products?
Risks common to an industry or location can help determine adequate insurance coverage for protection.
Drills help staff learn disaster plans for better implementation if needed. Businesses that drill for disaster plans are more likely to have those drills work during a crisis.
Insurance agents are knowledgeable resources for information about potential disasters and preparing for them. The world can be dynamic but with the right insurance coverage a business can survive a disaster and come out successful. A disaster plan may never be necessary but if so, it can mean closing for a storm and closing forever.
Our agents are always looking for insurance related topics for better health and better savings. For any insurance-related questions please contact us for answers.
Recent studies many small businesses have inadequate insurance coverage. Often, business owners don’t find out until they need to make a claim. The ins and out of business insurance can difficult to navigate for small business owners who simply don’t know enough about coverage. Knowing the types of coverage needed will help you ensure you have the right insurance protection for your small business.
There are 3 ways you can prepare before speaking to an insurance agent. This can help you ensure you get adequate coverage for your own unique operating situation. When shopping for insurance it can be helpful to:
1: Know your risks
Understanding the risks specific to your business will help you determine what level of insurance coverage you need. Your business may face any number of operating risks, such as:
- Customer traffic
- Public advertising
- Transportation of goods or people
- Property agreements
- Food service and more
Approaching risk head-on with proactive business insurance coverage will help you avoid headaches and costs later on.
2: Determine your own concerns
No one knows the daily operation of your business better than you. If there’s something you think you may need coverage for, ask. Your insurance provider will tell you if coverage is necessary and what policies may be available.
3: Do the research
Try to find out what types of coverage are required for businesses like yours. Do you serve alcohol? Rent property? Certain businesses have additional coverage required by law. A web search can help you determine the levels of coverage required for your own business.
Shopping for Business Insurance
There is no set of rules stating the order of operations when opening a business. This leaves many business owners wondering when to begin or change their insurance coverage. Listed below are the most common reasons to begin or change a business insurance policy:
- Starting a company. Business insurance is part of starting a small business. Small businesses – even home-based ones – need equipment, tools, and/or retail product to thrive. These items can be costly to replace if stolen, damaged, or lost. Additionally, businesses interacting with the public either face-to-face or through advertising will want insurance coverage before opening their doors. For many business owners, a Business Owner’s Package plan (BOP) is a good place to start. These policies generally bundle property, service responsibility, and company disruption policies into single plans.
- Renting Office, Storage, or Retail Space. When you lease any physical location or building you must generally provide evidence of business insurance coverage. You can avoid a lot of extra work by obtaining coverage before shopping locations. When looking at spaces ensure your policy coverage is appropriate for the location.
- Hiring New Staff. If you have employees you’ll need additional unemployment, salary, and (for many businesses) disability insurance. You may also wish to consider including extra coverage (such as a medical insurance plan) for your employees.
- Introducing New Products or Services. When developing a new product, check with your broker to ensure your policy sufficiently covers any risks. For small businesses providing services, insurance coverage can help protect against employee errors or omissions. Insurance coverage can help shield you from customers perceiving injury or loss due to your products or services.
- Raising Capital. Growth is great, but an increase in size means an increase in risk. Companies raising capital through the sale of shares may want increased coverage. In fact, any company operating with a board should consider Directors and Officers (D&O) insurance. Directors and Officers insurance protects board members from business legal matters. Candidates may request this be in place before accepting the position.
Knowing your risks and the coverage you need can help you find the right insurance policy for your small business. Protect yourself from the start by finding the right plan to cover your risks. Small businesses are unique – your own business may require extra coverage built into your plan. Businesses in areas prone to natural disasters are highly encouraged to check their own policy for protection. After a disaster occurs, it’s too late.
Finding and managing business insurance doesn’t have to be difficult. Plan ahead, ask questions and compare plans before buying. Keeping your insurance documents accessible will ensure you have them if, and when, you need them.
We’re always on the lookout for great information about insurance topics that can impact your health and your wallet. If you have any insurance-related questions, please reach out to us for answers.
It may be hard to believe but pollution insurance not only exists – it could also save you a lot of money. Most business owners have to pick and choose where to spend their money. Few companies operate with an unlimited overhead. If you aren’t dumping waste or pollutants into the ecosystem, you might you are exempt. The truth is, almost all business owners need pollution insurance. Even if you think you aren’t causing environmental pollution, you could be held liable for damages caused your home or business.
What Is Pollution Insurance?
Environmental Impairment Liability (EIL) came into existence in 1978. Known also as pollution insurance, EILs protect against costs resulting due to pollution. Before this, standard insurance packages did not cover pollution damage. This led to heavy costs and painful headaches for many businesses. In extreme cases, such as ecological disasters, damages may fall into the millions and up.
EIL covers the costs of a cleanup in the event of contamination. Some policies extend coverage to associated legal fees and costs. Companies that do not have pollution insurance may face crippling costs and legal battles following a disaster. Pollution insurance applies to more than large firms with an obvious environmental impact. Smaller businesses and homeowners can all enjoy peace of mind with pollution insurance inclusion
What Does EIL Cover?
At the basic level, Environmental Impairment Liability policies fall into two categories:
1: Premises Insurance. Firms and homeowners may be culpable for contamination that emanating from the property. Most pollution originates service areas, storage facilities and within apartment complexes. An EIL plan should cover the damages others suffer due to pollution caused by your property. It does not cover the damage to the property, damage which would fall under property insurance.
2: Contractor’s Insurance. Contractors and other professionals often risk damage while working on site. They may unintentionally pollute a commercial or residential space. Contamination may result:
- Air pollutants, and more
Contractors take very real risks but insurance protection is available.
Getting Pollution Insurance
Pollution damage can be costly but proper insurance protection can save your business and home. EIL plans are custom-built around your business and your needs. An experienced insurance agent will help you understand the options available so you have the protection you need. Contact us today to learn more about Environmental Impairment Liability insurance and for other ways to protect your home and business. Be sure to reach out to us with any insurance questions you have.
There are many insurance ideas that influence our finances, health, and general well-being. We welcome your topics!
There are many uncertainties in business life resulting in unforeseen challenges. Disasters happen all the time caused by from nature, equipment failures, and accidents. Usually, 90% of the costs incurred by these disasters falls on the business owner. The proprietors foot the bills when they thought their insurance would.
It doesn’t need to be this way. Savvy business owners look for commercial insurance coverage called Business Owner Policy (BOP). BOP cushions firms and their owners against the high costs of damage to property, and injuries to people. BOP is a necessary protective measure for business owners who want personal protection.
1: What is BOP?
BOP is a commercial insurance plan tailored into a package best-suited for the individual business owner. Business Owner Policy accounts for the standard protection requirements of all small-medium size companies, then forms them into one complete package. BOP packages allow for extra coverage options as well, depending on your business needs. Stop wading through the sea of business insurance policy options. BOP is the inexpensive, convenient, and complete package.
According to Investopedia, a BOP is often the less-expensive option compared to creating the same plan from scratch. BOP packages meet the needs and address the concerns of individual business owners through customization. BOP packages are flexible because not all businesses share the same types and levels of risk. It’s common for commercial insurance brokers to meet with business owners first, determining their specific requirements, before crafting a package. Packages vary based on:
- Professional services provided
- Customer exposure
- Regional hazards
A professional broker can help you create a complete insurance package for your business.
2: What’s Does BOP Include?
- BOP packages apply to both residential and commercial property. Policy coverage can be standard or unique. Unique options offer extra advantages through increased and specific protection. At the basic level, BOP provides the following coverage:
- BOP includes both liability and property insurance for all company-owned building and their contents. Property insurance is available in standard and special options, offering increased levels of coverage for those who need it.
- BOP supplies interruption coverage, protecting owners against losses incurred due to disaster.
- BOP liability protection protects the company for the actions of its employees and owners. Also covered are workplace liability incidents, defective products, faulty services and more.
- BOP does not cover auto insurance costs, disability settlements, and workers compensation. Separate policies will be necessary to include coverage for those concerns.
3: How Much Does it Cost?
Insurance Noodle contends there is no one true figure for the cost of BOP. Cost for BOP is dependent on a variety of factors that differ from business to business. Client base, business size, annual revenue, customer traffic, risk… These all factor into your BOP needs and cost. Business owners should consider all their needs when shopping for a BOP. What BOPs have in common is helping keep costs low, and helping protect business owners.
Providers use different systems when crafting BOP plans for business owners. There are many pre-packaged options available, and customized packages are available to meet your specific needs. Add-ons like industrial car insurance, flood insurance coverage and earthquake insurance may be worth considering, depending on your circumstances. Always investigate your market before settling on your BOP
Have some information or ideas on insurance topics you think might be relevant to your health or finances? Feel free to share with us! Don’t hesitate to contact us for any of your insurance-related questions.
In the United States, studies have shown that the labor market continues to expand with more jobs available for the second half of the year. Additionally, a large percentage of companies expect to increase salaries this year.
In fact 60% of companies are going to hire new employees between July to December. (This is according to CareerBuilder’s 2017 Midyear Task Forecast.) This number represents a 50% increase over the previous year. Additionally, 46% of businesses plan to hire contract employees. This represents an increase from the previously reported 32% in July 2016.
Demonstrating strengthening economic confidence, CareerBuilder also found that 27% of employees intend to change jobs by the end of the year. (Need to retain employees? Now’s the time to re-evaluate your benefits plan…)
The CareerBuilder study resulted from surveying 2,369 hiring managers and human resource specialists. It also gathered input from 3,662 private, full-time employees.
The CEO of CareerBuilder released a statement that confirmed the findings of his report. He stated that most employers were confident in their expectation of economic growth and increased need for workers.
The growing competition for skilled workers is giving job seekers a greater chance of being choosy about where they work. (Allowing them to find positions that give them greater work/life balance.)
He also went on to say that job seekers benefitted from having greater career options. Companies are rapidly trying to fill open positions and are willing to pay more to their employees. (Companies are also showing a better understanding that employees need to have positive feelings about where they work…)
Another study completed by Manpower Group further backed up these findings. According to this “Workforce Employment Expectation Study”, there are strong indications of an increase in hiring. Manpower found that U.S. companies are anticipating the hiring rate to stay favorable in the remaining months of 2017.
A survey of 11,00 companies indicated that 24% of the companies had the goal to hire new employees between July and September.
In many job areas, employers indicate that they have fairly steady plans to hire new employees. Segments with the largest anticipated growth include durable goods manufacturing.
For the last six months of the year, there are certain industries that will outpace others in hiring. This is according to the CareerBuilder survey results.
- IT companies are the ones that are most likely to hire new employees with 72% planning to increase their worker force.
- Manufacturers at 66%,
- Health care with 64%, and
- Financial services with 62%.
Manpower Group’s survey indicates solid growth in the leisure and hospitality fields. This also anticipates solid growth in:
- Retail, and
- Professional services.
The constant changes in technology are also changing the skills that are needed. Manufacturing, for example, requires workers who are more technologically sophicticated.
To remain competitive, employers are offering better benefits combined with on the job learning to support employee upward mobility.
Companies that are most likely to hire through the rest of the year are going to be in the following areas:
- Skilled trade, 15%
- Software specialists, 14%
- Cybersecurity, 13%
- Sales, 13%
- Administrative, 13%
Both of the studies indicate that the employment outlook in the United States is favorable. The greatest growth is anticipated in the Western states.
Midsize companies have the highest percentage of employee growth. Smaller local businesses are also reporting their greatest yearly growth according to CareerBuilder.
Meanwhile, more than 70% of HR supervisors told CareerBuilder they feel pressured to increase salaries. This is because of an increasingly tight and competitive labor market.
In fact 53% of survey participants intend to increase the starting salaries for new employees over the following six months. 32% intend to raise the initial salaries within job offers by 5% or even greater.
What this means for your business is that you will fight harder to attract and retain great quality workers. If you need to chat about benefits we’ll be happy to help point you in the right direction.
In 2008 Leo Welder started ChooseWhat.com. Within a year he was being sued by J2 Global for using the term “e-fax”. It was totally out of the blue and unexpected. Sadly, he found his insurance didn’t protect him from this claim. Yes, he purchased insurance but was missing coverage for intellectual property litigation.
Both companies eventually settled but only after Mr. Welder had invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees. (How many startups have that amount of capital freely available?)
After the lawsuit, Mr. Welder decided to add an E&O policy to help protect his company from these concerns.
No matter how smart you are or how diligent you are in caring for your clients, you can still find yourself in legal and economic problems. However, even with these concerns, many startups haven’t investigated getting necessary insurance for their risk profile. (Typically because they are either trying to save money or as an oversight.)
The critical thing to understand when contemplating risk management is that problems arise from gaps in protection. With that in mind, here are recommendations from business owners and insurance experts to avoid liability problems in a business.
Cover All Your Bases
Every organization needs basic liability insurance coverage. This can protect your business from a huge number of costs from libel to customer injuries. The average liability plan is one of the least expensive types of insurance protection you can own.
Most business owners admit that they avoid insurance to keep costs low. The question to ask… is it worth it? Be sure to talk to your insurance agent and review any needed changes for your risk profile.
Here are some areas of risk to ponder:
* Do you have company cars?
* Do you or employees drive personal cars for business related activities?
* Do you attend trade shows?
* Do you store client data online?
* Is your company dependent on a key employee?
The list above is an example of what an insurance advisor will walk through with you. What you’ll end up investing in insurance is going to depend a great deal on your specific risks. (If you run a business that has low liability footprint such as copywriting or consulting you’ll have a different risk profile than if you are a construction contractor.)
If you are just starting your business, take a close look at Business Owners Plan. This could include some or even all of these policies into one affordable package. In order to qualify, you’ll probably need to have a business that employs less than 100 workers and has less than $5 million in annual sales. These policies are designed specifically for start-up companies and smaller companies. They work to decrease your risk to lawsuits.
Important: Update Your Policy As Needed
Your company is always changing and insurance isn’t a one-size-fits-all situation. Be sure your insurance coverage keeps pace.
If your business size rapidly changes, if your employee count changes, if your services change… all of these are reasons to review your insurance.
The good news is that you don’t have to be a statistic. Yes, one insurance misstep can potentially damage your business. The good news is one call to our team can help you understand your risk profile and help you be certain you have the exact coverage you need for your company.
Technological advancements have revolutionized the way online advertisements, promotions, and shopping are done. This has brought immense benefits to companies, who have now found new ways to interact with the existing and potential buyers. The opportunity offered by social media alone is rich for companies that intend to conduct exhaustive marketing activities. However, social media platforms have also become avenues of cyber-attacks. This has wrought untold financial losses to all types of companies – small, medium and large. A case in point is the latest attack from “wanna-cry’’, a ransom ware that affected businesses on a global scale. Cyber-attacks can originate from almost anywhere. Businesses large and small have to be vigilant.
There are a number of ways that companies can react to the threat of cyber attacks in order to protect themselves and their clients. Some threats are avoidable through proper implementation of policies like requiring strong passwords. Others may require more advanced software and monitoring. But regardless, if you deal with clients online, or if you keep important personal information, you likely need cyber insurance.
What is the Role of Cyber Insurance Providers?
Cyber Liability Insurance Protection (CLIC) is an insurance plan that is meant to offer protection in the event of a cyber-attack. Companies face massive losses and expenses in the event of a cyber-attack and the cyber insurance plan is meant to mitigate such eventualities. The concept of cyber insurance has grown tremendously since 2005. It is projected to reach close to $8 billion in premiums within the next three or so years. Many companies in the US have realized the need for investing in a cyber insurance policy. Presently, close to 35% of US businesses have acquired cyber insurance policies of some kind, and their number is growing daily.
The cyber insurance industry is evolving at a breathtaking rate. However, the magnitude of the cyber-attacks threat has not been fully appreciated for a couple of reasons. One, many companies fail to report the full extent of the damages they face from cyber-attacks for fear of negative publicity. Second, the nature of cyber-attacks is often changing. The two reasons straddle underwriters with a challenge on how to value the financial impact of an attack.
Generally, a cyber-insurance policy will cover the following expenses:
1. Forensics Examination
Once an attack takes place, it is vital that a forensics examination is conducted. The examination will reveal the full extent of the damage and what needs to be done to rectify the situation. The forensic examiners will advise the company on what needs to be done to successfully avert or withstand any future cyber-attack threats.
2. Expenses Arising from Lawsuits and Extortion
The policy will cater for expenses that arise from lawsuits preferred against the company. Such lawsuits may be occasioned by a breach of client confidentiality occasioned by a cyber-attack. The policy also covers any statutory fines that may be imposed on the business, the cost of legal negotiations and any costs incurred as a result of cyber extortion.
3. Service Losses
The cyber insurance policy will meet the cost of loss as a result of failure by the company to deliver service due to the cyber-attack. The service interruption may be as a result of network downtime or otherwise. Other service costs that are covered by the cyber-insurance policy include those of recovering any lost data and carrying out the necessary PR activities to repair the firm’s dented image.
4. Information Alerts
The policy caters for information alerts to customers following a breach. This also includes monitoring the credit rating of customers whose credentials and identity might have been compromised during the assault.
What do you look for in Cyber-insurance Coverage?
A number of cyber insurance companies offer a list of items that are covered by their insurance policy. The buyer can use these lists to compare and contrast various providers before they settle on the one they perceive to be most receptive to their needs. You can also leverage an independent insurance agency to help you shop for the best value. For example, because we are independent, we can shop between multiple carriers for all kinds of insurance needs. Whatever the case, you must ask about the following aspects of a cyber-insurance plan:
a. Does the insurer customize the insurance coverage plan to the needs of their clients, or does it offer a one-size-fits-all kind of policy? Of course, as the buyer, you will be more interested in an insurance firm that is willing to customize their products for your firm.
b. How do deductibles compare amongst the various insurers? Be sure to compare and contrast deductibles among various insurance providers to determine the ones with the best deals.
c. Does the insurance policy include coverage for third-party providers? What are the limits? If third-party providers have cyber-insurance, how will this influence the terms of my contract?
d. Does the insurance policy cover APTs (Advanced Persistent Threats) and other network attacks?
e. Does the insurance policy offer protection in the event of a strike?
The strikes could be targeted at the company, or the company may be affected by collateral damage. How does the insurer propose to handle this?
f. Does the insurer offer E&O protection that caters for an injurious action done inadvertently by an employee?
g. For how long will the policy offer protection against the risk of APTs?
How Do Insurance Companies Determine Insurance Coverage?
A cyber-attack insurance provider expects potential clients to have put certain measures in place before they can underwrite them. For example, the buyer must ensure that they have done a risk evaluation and created a detailed cyber risk profile. They also must have solid protections against potential cyber-attacks. The insurer will request that the buyer educates its workforce on the best security practices to prevent, control, or successfully withstand a cyber-attack.
The buyer is encouraged to consult moral hackers with a view to getting an insight on the buyer’s most vulnerable spots and how to protect them.
Cyber insurance buyers may be asked to provide a detailed audit of their company’s procedures and practices. This will be to enable the insurer to assess the vulnerability levels of the company. Insurers may ask companies to change some aspects of their administrative practices if they are deemed to be a threat.
The Importance of Cyber Insurance Coverage for Businesses
Companies that partially or fully conduct their businesses over the internet need to contact a reputable insurer for a cyber-attack insurance policy. This is because such businesses stand the greatest risk of being assaulted and losing their assets. Statistics clearly show that cyber-attacks are on an upward trajectory. A shocking observation: small businesses are being attacked at a higher frequency than expected. For example, a report by two leading internet security providers found that about 30% of the cyber-attacks recorded 2 years ago targeted small businesses. Shockingly, the attacks against small businesses increased by 15% (to 45%) last year. This in itself should be a wake-up call to small businesses to safeguard their businesses against such attacks.
(It is estimated that the impact of cyber crimes on the world’s economy has skyrocketed to $580 billion per year, from the $350 billion experienced just a few years ago.)
The cost of a cyber insurance plan is dependent on how the buyer’s industry is organized. The industry dictates the policies and procedures of the firm, the kind of services offered, and their risk profile. Small businesses with profits of between $90,000 and $500,000 will have lower premiums than larger organizations.
If you have questions about cyber insurance, definitely reach out to us so that we can put you in touch with the best available resource.
Start-up companies are popping up quickly in today’s fast-paced world and entrepreneurs often find that they’ve forgotten to get essential business insurance to protect their company.
While the owner may tell the board that the business has an insurance policy, this doesn’t mean that the company has the insurance needed. Every company needs insurance that is both adequate and optimized.
To get started, business owners should take these five forms of protection into consideration:
1. Comprehensive General Liability (CGL) Insurance Coverage
This is a type of insurance that protects companies against cases brought against them for the following: Third party bodily injury, building damages, loss of personal effects, and marketing and advertising injury.
What owners should understand about CGL insurance is that it’s designed to pay for your defense when a claim is brought against the company. Ideally, you are allowed to select your own lawyer to avoid any potential conflicts of interest.
The reason why you need this insurance is that many contracts require businesses have at least $1 million in this type of insurance coverage. Even if you don’t think your business needs this level of coverage, you’ll need to purchase it for this reason.
2. Directors and Officers (D&O) Liability Insurance
Although you may have highly influential individuals on your board to help grow your business, these professionals are going to insist on increased insurance coverage.
* Essential to any startup is side A D&O insurance coverage which protects directors and officers from cases of “wrongful acts” or situations where their decisions had a negative effect on the business’s value.
* Side “B” protection protects the company by indemnifying the director or office as well as paying for the defense costs.
* Side “C” coverage protects the firm in the case of a shareholder or class action over securities concerns.
When you have the choice of coverage, many companies select only A and B. These plans leave out judgments as well as any situations where individuals performed in dishonest actions that broke the law or acted in self-interest.
3. Cyber and Media Insurance
Since there have been several high-profile hacking situations for businesses today, the need for cyber insurance is obvious. However, there is not any basic cyber plan available and each insurance provider policies contain untried provisions, terms, and multiple interpretations.
Like the coverage described, these plans offer protection for defense and indemnity. They also can provide solutions for compliance with government and disclosure needs and also crisis management in the case of a breach or incident.
Because not all policies may have a “basic” option, your startup needs to take extra measure. Governments recommend following best practices and establishing firm policies so insurance firms are withholding claims from businesses that they believe did not follow industry standard programs to protect sensitive information.
4. Property Insurance
This type of coverage is designed to protect against any physical damages to the business property. There are a few options but the best choice for coverage is an “all risk” option which will protect against the building and also material and devices inside the building.
Any startup that has a significant infrastructure is going to need this coverage. Tech companies are certainly in need of this coverage option. The policies will safeguard against any damage to web servers and companies may also include disruption protection for any losses due to downtime needed to replace or repair any devices. Inclusions in these policies may be due to damage or loss that’s caused by equipment malfunction, normal aging, and defects.
5. Employment Liability Insurance (EPLI)
This is an important insurance to have and different from the worker’s settlement insurance policy that all states require. It may be purchased in a bundle with worker’s comp or even D&O coverage.
Because discrimination insurance claims are expensive for companies and difficult to work out, this protection is essential for any startup that employs individuals who are popular as well as highly competent.
It may seem like a lot, but each type of insurance covers specific risks that most small businesses face. If you are unsure of your current protections or need someone to help you understand your current risk profile, please reach out to our team of professionals right away. We’re here to help!
Many issues face a company when they are bringing on employees. These include basic pay, family and sick leave, as well as general employee welfare.
These are critical issues but having and reviewing an employee handbook is also important. Largely how often you review your employee manual is a function of how large your firm is. The more employees you have, the more often you should review it. (Make sure it is relevant and accurate to your company’s current situation.)
In fact, one of the key things you need to do is to ensure your employee manual is customized to fit your company and that it is truly useful to employees.
As you examine your manual be sure you take current (and new) laws into consideration. New legislation that works in the employee’s favor should be brought to the attention of the worker.
At a minimum, you should review and update your employee handbook at least once a year. And if you’ve let your employee handbook lapse for a longer period than that, you may need the help of a specialist. For example, a lot of changes have taken place with regard to overtime tracking and payments. With changes at the state and federal level, keeping track of these details will keep you out of trouble.
(Another area of concern is in hiring… for example some states have barred companies from investigating a prospective employee’s criminal history…)
Some other recommendations include:
Be sure there is a mechanism in place for employees to sign verifying receipt of the manual including the date of receipt.
Electronic versions of employee handbooks should be made available with updates also being issued electronically. For these, incorporating a digital signature to confirm receipt (and to log the date signed) is also important.
Complete a review mid year and at the end of the year to ensure your company is maintaining compliance with the Fair Labor Act. Also be certain your basic pay and overtime policies are clear and compliant. And be sure you are actually providing employees with the requisite family and sick leaves.
Hopefully this has given you some great ideas. Please definitely reach out to us if you have questions about your business insurance to be sure you are taking care of things like EPLI risks as well as general business risk exposures. We’ll answer your questions and be sure you have an affordable policy in place designed to meet your unique risk profile.