As a busy owner (or manager) of a small business, the bulk of your energy is invested in ensuring your company’s success. Insurance often becomes an afterthought… something that’s at best boring and at worst confusing. Yet having the right business insurance can, in many cases, be the difference between survival and going out of business. So as we move to the end of 2018 and into the New Year, this is a good time to invest a minute on reviewing your risk profile and basic business insurance requirements.
Basics of Business Insurance
Small companies are all quite different as they reflect the unique characteristics of their owners/managers. And they each grow and contract to varying degrees based on a plethora of circumstances. The reality is that there is no such thing as a “one size fits all” insurance plan. And given the nature of change, an insurance strategy for one year may require substantial changes for the next. So the perfect insurance policy is one that’s created to fit your requirements as you see them for the next year. Some insurance such as worker’s comp may be required. Others my be voluntary. Talking with an independent business insurance specialist is the best course of action to help you understand what kind of insurance options are available an which would be best for you.
Here are some presently popular forms of insurance you should consider…
- Business Interruption Insurance.*
This insurance makes sure companies can continue to earn income following a major external disturbance. Natural catastrophes, mishaps, deliberate actions and more threaten to interrupt revenue. Keeping up with staff wages, loan payments, and more can end up being daunting without the income to pay them. With business interruption insurance, the insurance provider will compensate for lost profits while a business returns to its normalized cash flow.
- Errors and Omissions Insurance.*
If your business is one that relies on getting the details right, this should be considered as mandatory insurance. This helps to protect business owners of unintentional mistakes or omissions that eventually lead to damages. Such damages can be devastating if they have to be paid out of pocket. This insurance protects cash flow.
Business owners take on a huge amount of liability,. Whether you run a shop or work in people’s homes, liability insurance can protect you from claims resulting in individuals being injured at your facilities or job sites.
Companies that leverage vehicles as a part of their operations need commercial car insurance coverage as well. Even if employees are driving their own vehicles, commercial auto insurance is required if the vehicle is being driven for a business-related purpose.
Cyber insurance is a more recent development in commercial insurance. It is designed to protect you from liability that result from a harmful cyber attack. This could include the theft of client data, disruption to your operations, etc. In a digital world where we’re all connected, protecting from this sort of event is more important than ever.
Our commercial insurance specialists can help you find the right protection to keep your business running smoothly in case challenges arise. Reach out today for a complete business insurance review…
Business owners have a lot on their plates. It’s unsurprising that many put off getting insurance for their small business. To save time, it’s tempting to grab a quick policy “off the rack” however, that will likely fail to truly protect you from the risks you likely face as a business owner.
You’ve worked hard to build your business so protecting it to preserve your income, credit, and employees is important.
Whether it’s time to purchase a policy or if you’re aiming to compare rates, we can help match the right policy to your business. When acquiring commercial insurance, here are 4 things to remember.
Revisit Insurance Coverage Annually
As organizations grow, so do insurance coverage obligations. Launching new services, growing your sales & marketing efforts, and bringing brand-new staff into the fold adds liability and more. Given this, it’s wise to review your insurance coverage once per year. As an independent insurance agency, we comparison shop from multiple carriers to find the best rate for your situation.
Compare Insurance Policies and Rates
Maintaining appropriate commercial insurance is a continuous obligation. The kinds of policies offered, customer service, and more can differ significantly both by the insurance carrier. This is why working with our team is beneficial. We offer unbiased information about carriers to ensure you get the best policy from a carrier that you can be confident in.
Take Inventory of Risks
The same insurance policy for a dry cleaning operation would be a bad match for a bakery. A policy developed to deal with the requirements of a specific business, with deductibles set at a proper rate, will help entrepreneurs save money on insurance costs, and be better matched to risk profiles.
Bundle Insurance with a BOP
Commercial insurance policies are frequently bundled into what’s described as a Business Owner Policy, or BOP for brief. Integrating multiple insurance securities through a single carrier can save money. With a BOP you can also find other enhanced insurance coverage options to maximize your protection.
As always, we are here to help! If you have questions, call today and speak to an agent.
When developing your security and data privacy strategies for the future, there are numerous vulnerabilities which you need to consider. Here we run you through 4 common risks which you need to consider in 2018 and beyond with regard to your security and privacy regulations.
It’s easy to think of cybercriminals as tech-savvy geeks mastering a piece of code which can steal all your money, but the reality is often very different. Using nothing more than emails, many hackers pose as business contacts and company stakeholders in order to scam businesses out of money. For example, they may ask someone to pay an invoice while posing as a client. It’s predicted that these so-called BEC (Business Email Compromise) scams will scam companies out of more than $9 billion in 2018 alone, with the average BEC scam in 2017 stealing around $67,000.
2. IoT Attacks
IoT (internet of things) attacks used to be used in order to create chaos and confusion, although more and more attackers are using IoT attacks to spread viruses and ransomware. The internet of things refers to devices which use the internet to communicate with one another, such as a modern car or your Amazon Echo. These devices are more vulnerable to attacks than regular computers or laptops, meaning that hackers are now trying to hack these “things” in order to steal sensitive data and use it to make/demand money.
Unless you’ve lived in a cave for the past 6 months, you’ve probably heard of the General Data Protection Regulation, aka GDPR. Any company which conducts business of some sort in the EU (i.e. basically all large companies) has to comply with the GDPR guidelines regarding data security, although it is estimated that around 50% of companies still do not meet these standards. Companies who don’t comply could face fines of 20 million euros (around $24 million) or 4% of their global turnover, whichever is greater. Those are some seriously crippling fines, so it’s best to make sure that you’re complying ASAP.
Some hackers are now using unsuspecting companies’ processing power in order to mine cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum. This is known as “cryptojacking”, and it essentially means that your company’s websites/networks are being slowed down so that a hacker can make money off of your processing power. Although it’s arguably less dire than some other cybercrimes, it still slows down your networks and sees you losing money as you look for solutions.
Going further and further into the digital age, it’s more important than ever to safeguard your company and your customers from digital attacks. Arming yourself with cutting-edge anti-virus software (among other precautions) is a good idea, but many criminals acquire your funds and data by simply tricking staff members, such as with the email scams mentioned earlier. Systematic training and precautions are the best way to ensure your security, in addition to regular penetration testing.
Looking for insurance which covers you in the event of a cyber attack? Talk to a member of our dedicated insurance team today and find out more.
As the cost of living rises, more and more employers are looking to offer their employees group health insurance plans, keeping their costs low while still offering healthcare to their staff. Although this continues to be an economically viable means of providing health care for both the employer and the employee, there are certain challenges which your company will face when implementing group health plans. Here we have outlined some of the biggest challenges you will encounter!
Remote working issues
The website International Advisers recently claimed that workforces are becoming more remote and mobile, as evolving technology means that workers aren’t necessarily stuck in their office all the time – they are able to work away from home, perhaps even overseas. As a result, more companies are now relying on international health insurance plans to protect their global team. This can affect group health plans significantly, which are usually designed to be applicable to the US only.
Balancing costs with needs
US companies, of course, want to offer competitive group health plans as it encourages top talent to come to them over a competitor, making their workforce better and healthier overall. However, companies with fewer funds to spare are likely to require bare-bones group health coverage which might not necessarily cover the costs for employees with more complicated or chronic medical conditions.
Although in-patient and out-patient coverage are normally covered under all group health plans, with varying limits, some attractive coverage options are normally omitted from cheaper health plans. For example, maternity cover, dental plans, and other forms of cover will usually not be included in more affordable plans. How much this matters depends on your workforce and their attitude, but you may need to assess how many group health benefits you are willing to offer and how much cash you’ve got spare to pay for them and retain top workers.
Not using plans enough
Once you have settled on a group health plan that you and your employees are happy with, you better make sure that they use it! If you’re paying for your employees to have access to things such as dental care but they aren’t actually taking advantage of it, then you’re simply wasting money for no reason. Be sure to educate your employees on the benefits they are entitled to and how they can use them, making sure that you point them in the right place and tell them the process they need to follow in order to use the benefits.
When it comes time to renew your group health plan, it may be worth taking a look at your policy and how useful it has been over the past year. Do you want to adjust your benefits with the current insurer because some were seldom used? Do you want to change insurance carriers entirely? There’s no right or wrong answer, but renewal periods may force you to look at your group health plan and make some tough decisions in order to save money.
You should ideally compare your group health plan to others within your industry, assessing how valuable it is and whether you’re paying a fair price for what you’re getting. If your premiums are going up come time to renew, maybe you should look into the premiums of similar businesses and see if they are rising too. At the end of the day, you want to make sure that you are getting a good group health plan at a competitive rate, and benchmarking is one of the easiest ways to ascertain this information.
The bottom line
Group health plans worth their salt can undoubtedly put a financial strain on your business, especially if you’re strapped for cash. However, they can also make your employees happier, healthier, and more loyal to you as a company. Although you can’t explicitly purchase a boost in morale, decent employee benefits are a great way to encourage it, with increased employee morale frequently being positively correlated with boosts in productivity from workforces. The question is – can you afford to pay the costs necessary?
Contact us today if you’re looking for advice about group health plans and whether they’re right for your business. We work with dozens of insurance carriers and can advise you on the best affordable group health plans for your company’s unique circumstances.
Business insurance is crucial if you are to protect your company from unforeseen forces in the future, whether they take the forms of fraud, fires, floods, plumbing problems, or a whole host of other potential issues. However, buying the right business insurance is rather difficult, as you need to know exactly what your business is most vulnerable to. Although you could buy an expensive catch-all policy which covers everything under the sun, the premiums may bankrupt you before you even get going!
So how do you choose the right business insurance? Here we offer you some advice.
Think about your specific risks
According to various professionals who have worked in/with the insurance industry, you mustn’t give in to exaggerated fears, but fears which make sense for your industry of choice. Before you go looking for business insurance, do your homework on what perils and risks businesses in your industry usually face. This allows you to base your policies on existing data, meaning it is more likely to be relevant to you one day. For example, if you’re opening a coffee shop and you find that a lot of coffee shop businesses have to claim for problems with their plumbing due to enhanced water usage, be sure to include this in your policy.
Belinda Pillow, a former insurance salesperson, recommends that you call your relevant trade association. She explains: “ask for any risk assessment tools for, papers on, or expert opinions about your particular industry.” This information should guide you toward common types of coverage which are commonplace in your industry, providing you with good guidelines for your own coverage. Nevertheless, there can always be loopholes and confusing jargon buried within business insurance policies, so be sure to speak to an agent or legal advisor before signing off on all of the terms.
Cover yourself for the basics too
Basically every business requires workers’ compensation insurance, although the guidelines differ slightly from state to state, sometimes excluding smaller businesses. Workers’ compensation covers things such as rehabilitation, lost wages, and medical expenses if one of your employees injures themselves in your workplace. Furthermore, in the unlikely event that they die on the job, it will pay death benefits to their named beneficiaries. You don’t necessarily have to cover yourself too, but it’s probably a good idea, and it’s usually very cheap to do so.
Also remember to purchase property insurance, which protects buildings and contents, and is crucial for smaller businesses in times of disaster. Bear in mind, however, that some things such as “acts of God” and utility failures may be excluded from this policy. You should also purchase general liability coverage if you can, as this protects you if a member of the public injures themselves in your business and sues you, with the policies usually covering you for costs up to $1 million.
You can also get business insurance policies which feature a combination of these property and liability insurance models, providing you with a basic umbrella business policy. However, as with any policy, you should be sure to check the wording and confirm that there aren’t any hidden terms or clauses which could be difficult in the event of a claim.
Buy from an independent agency
Buying from an independent insurance agency means that you can shop between multiple carriers, looking for the best rates and coverage options. This is a great way to look for business insurance, as you are working with an unbiased party who can offer you bespoke advice and compare various deals from different insurance providers.
Insurance agencies also have the knowledge and expertise to explain different policies to you and explain why one policy may be more valuable than another despite not seeming so on the surface. Independent agencies are also likely to have experience working with other businesses in your industry, giving them a good idea of what kind of protections your business requires in order to operate safely and not go broke in the event of a claim.
If you’re looking for business insurance which is right for you and your industry, contact us today! We have years of experience in matching businesses with their perfect insurance policies, putting the busy minds of entrepreneurs at ease!
Being your own boss and starting a small business always sounds attractive as a prospect, but few people have the business acumen and work ethic necessary to make a small business survive in the long term. Many entrepreneurs fall into some common mistakes when starting out, and here we have highlighted a few of the most common!
One of the most essential aspects of business, and life in general, is meeting people. It doesn’t matter how independent you think you are – we always rely on other people to keep us going in our times of need. Networking is thus one of the easiest ways to meet future business partners and perhaps even secure major deals.
Having a subpar phone system
If your customers are subjected to a terrible phone system when they call you up, it’s more than likely that they’ll abandon your company in search of someone better-equipped with better customer service. When your company is new and small, you can’t afford to lose out on those initial customers – a decent phone experience can enhance their confidence in your company and see them singing your praises to other potential customers.
Not hiring an attorney
Contrary to popular belief, you should seek legal help from the inception of your business – not just when you’re facing legal troubles. Having an attorney on hand as you set up your business allows you to ensure that you aren’t making any mistakes which could land you in hot water down the road. Accidentally or unknowingly breaking federal/state laws when setting up your business could see it collapsing before it has even begun, something which no entrepreneur desires.
Not delegating tasks
You may feel the need to be a one-man-band and do everything yourself, but you should avoid doing this if possible. Once your staff is well-trained enough to deal with issues and operations, delegate tasks as appropriate, allowing yourself to relax from time to time. If you try to tackle an entire business’s problems by yourself, you’ll probably spread yourself too thin and do a poor job, perhaps even leading to a climactic burnout. Delegating tasks to your team shows that you trust their abilities, especially if the tasks are complex or important. Although it may be difficult to let go of your inner control freak at first, it’s an essential step of running a successful business as it grows.
Alas, not having adequate insurance protections in place could be catastrophic for a business of any size. Although larger companies may have backup funds at their disposal if really necessary, smaller businesses could be completely wiped out if they get taken by surprise and don’t have a decent insurance policy to back them up. Be sure to review your insurance policy and make sure that it reflects the ever-changing needs of your business.
If you’re a small business owner and you’re concerned about insuring your company’s future, get in touch with our team from a free consultation over the phone today!
We all need insurance, but it is nonetheless expensive. Commercial organizations require good insurance in order to survive, as they need to be able to weather any unexpected storms which may come their way. Whatever the size of your organization happens to be, it is essential to minimize your insurance overheads while remaining suitably protected. Here we offer your 3 tips for reducing commercial insurance costs!
1. Track incidents
You should track your incidents, even if no formal case arises from them. You may feel like you should only track claims which have become a case of their own, but incidents need to be tracked with insurers too. For example, if you have a shop and 5 people slip on one of your aisles, but only 1 decides to sue, not documenting the other 4 slips makes it appear as though it was an isolated incident. Keeping records of all incidents will make it obvious that your aisle is a hazardous area, allowing you to take preventive measures and subsequently stop your premiums from increasing.
2. Analyze data
Analyze your claim and incident data, as you may find that patterns quickly emerge. For example, analyzing your incidents and claims may point out that a certain location, team, or demographic is consistently leading to problems. This allows you to easily identify root causes and prevent them from occurring in the future, meaning you are less likely to see rising premiums as claims rack up without any attempt to stop them from happening in the first place.
3. Mitigate risks
If you were to carry out a thorough risk assessment of your workplace(s), you would find that hundreds of specific risks are ever-present. If you can analyze your trends and mitigate the biggest risks in your workplace, this helps to see your claims go down over time. Letting your insurance company know that you are identifying your biggest risks and mitigating them paints you in a good light, making it look like you’re doing everything in your power to give the insurance company (and yourself) an easy time with as few claims as possible. This makes you a lower-risk client in the insurance company’s eyes, leading to lower premiums going forward.
Sadly, there is no one-size-fits-all easy solution to cutting down your costs when it comes to insurance – the best thing you can do is to simply minimize your risk of accidents occurring in the first place, which makes you a much “safer” organization to insure, thus leading to lower premiums as you prove your organization to be one which is careful and meticulous. Of course, you should also shop around for the best insurance policies and rates available to you, but most (if not all) insurance companies will assess your risk and rate of claims as a major part of their premium calculations.
Looking for more advice on reducing insurance costs for your company? Get in touch today and see how we can help!
While most larger companies have entire departments dedicated to the protection of their business, smaller businesses are often left to tackle unique risks without the same extent of protective resources.
No matter the size of your business, protection should be a top priority, that’s why we’ve put together eleven tips for small business protection, that can easily be implemented into your current business model.
Here are our eleven tips for legal, digital, and physical protection:
- Eliminate Personal Devices
Removing personal devices/bring-your-own-devices, or putting in place adequate monitoring regulations, can help to stop weak links in overall business security. If personal devices can’t be completely removed, consider a universal security package for all employees.
- Malware Defense
Malware defense is an essential form of digital protection, safeguarding your business online. To avoid sensitive document tampering, theft, or destruction, it’s important to train employees on computer security and make sure malware is aptly protected against.
- Make Your Business Brand Unique
A business logo and name need to have no litigation potential, to avoid potentially enormous legal problems, break customer trust, and stall business growth. Research your chosen name and logo, and make sure it’s not in use before establishing your business.
- Use Strong Passwords
To prevent catastrophic hacks, password protection is a must, no matter the size of your business. Just a little extra employee advice on mixing up their passwords and incorporating numbers and symbols, instead of using simplistic passwords, can help to prevent hacks. Data breaches can cost millions on average, so changing passwords on a regular basis and using strong ones is a must.
- Secure Your System
Physical security is just as essential as digital security. Cameras can give you the edge over crime prevention and equipment recovery in the worst scenarios. Strong locks will make it more difficult to break into your premise and also deter criminals.
- Use Written Documents
Using written contracts and agreements shows that your business is professional, but also provides additional security. Everything you promise is down on paper, as are the promises of other parties in a transaction, helping you to avoid problems down the line.
- Keep Data Backed Up
From hacking to a technical malfunction, anything can come along and destroy vital business data. Keeping it backed up is essential for smooth business operation and comprehensive protection.
- Maintain a Safe Workplace
Health and safety is crucial in the workplace, both to establish a safe working environment for employees and to avoid potential lawsuits. Claims of bad treatment, harassment or discrimination should be investigated quickly, competently, and in line with relevant regulations.
- Add Arbitration Clauses
An arbitration clause in a contract can prevent major legal costs, stop long legal processes, and provide a better way for your business to handle disputes of all scales.
- Use Required Permits and Licenses
All businesses need to have certain permits and licenses, but they can differ from business to business and location to location. To avoid shut-downs and legal problems, do all the relevant research to make sure you’re adequately covered.
- Get Business Insurance
Business insurance provides multiple levels of protection, making it essential, even if you’re at the earliest stages of starting your business. Having business insurance can involve protecting your business in varying ways, like through professional indemnity insurance, home business insurance, or public liability insurance. With insurance, you make sure that you’re covered from instances like financial loss and reputation damage.
If you need extra assistance with insurance for your business, then don’t hesitate to ask us for help. We’ll make sure that you know the essentials about protecting your small business with the right insurance.
Business owners and residents in the US have faced some tough challenges in recent years, with multiple natural disasters causing chaos around the country. From hurricanes to floods, natural disasters can cause significant damage to local communities and the businesses that operate in them.
In the face of the chaos that natural disasters can cause, it’s important for businesses to be prepared for severe weather and think of safety and recovery as key priorities. The on-going damage caused by natural disasters puts a heavy toll on insurance claims – a essential finance that many businesses rely on to get them back on their feet.
Damage to local businesses during natural disasters can affect the whole community. Many residents rely on local businesses for their livelihood, and they play an integral part in the strength of the community as a whole.
Businesses that don’t have plans to deal with an unexpected crisis or adequate insurance cover, may never recover from a natural disaster. In fact, around 25% never open their doors again after a natural disaster, according to statistics from the Institute for Business and Home Safety.
With one out of every three businesses being affected by natural disasters to some capacity, according to statistics from Business Insider, it’s incredibly important to make sure that your business insurance is up to scratch.
Worried about what a natural disaster could mean for your business? Here’s are three of our best tips for ensuring that your business is safe from the chaos caused by natural disasters:
Get the Right Insurance for Your Business
In the event of a natural disaster, insurance will be a key financial safety net that you need to get back on your feet – but only if that insurance is right. There are multiple different insurance policies to choose from, and it’s essential to make sure that they cover natural calamity. There are two insurance types that you should consider:
- Property Insurance – covers you in the event of property or equipment damages. Policies can be customized to include cover for different natural disasters, such as flooding.
- Business Interruption Coverage – covers you in the event of lost income due to business interruption. Solutions should be discussed with an insurance specialist to tailor a plan that suits your business.
Keep Up-To-Date with Your Insurance
The risks that your business could face may change over time, so it’s important to make sure that your insurance changes with it. Staying up-to-date with your insurance means knowing what you’re covered for and what you’re not, and making sure that your insurance accounts for emergencies.
Understanding where your business stands with insurance, what you’ll receive and what you won’t, will help you to prepare for the worst-case scenario and ensure that your business is protected.
Create a Disaster Plan
A disaster plan is vital for helping your business to prepare for the unexpected. Key things to consider in your plan, include:
- Create and practice a plan for evacuation
- Choose a person to contact everyone in the event of a disaster
- Develop a plan to notify customers
- Invest in back-up software to protect sensitive information
- Select a potential office back-up location
- Design a plan to prepare office spaces if there is time, such as unplugging electronics and moving equipment=
If you’re concerned about the safety of your business and whether your insurance is providing suitable cover, then make sure that you contact us today and keep your business safe.
It’s essential to find the right business insurance for your company, especially if you manage a small business with limited finances. Although every insurance provider will try to sell itself to you, which one actually offers you the best deal overall? You need to ensure that you protect your business, your customers, and your employees without breaking the bank or making regrettable mistakes. Here we offer you some tips on choosing the best business insurance for you and avoiding some common business insurance mistakes.
1. Sometimes you have to pay more
If you’re running a business, you’re undoubtedly counting your pennies very carefully, ensuring that your business stays afloat financially. This can often mean that you select cheap business insurance in order to keep costs down, but this may not be a very good idea. Cheap business insurance often will not cover property damage or common injuries, leaving business owners in a pickle when it comes time to claim. Always assess your options carefully, being sure to choose business insurance that is right for you overall. You may find a policy that covers everything you need at a bargain price; you just need to compare the market thoroughly.
2. What do you really need?
With that said, you easily purchase too much coverage as well. While it may feel satisfying to know that you’re comprehensively covered, you may be wasting your money if you simply do not need all of the coverage. As an example, if you run a retail business which sells clothes, you’re probably not going to need coverage for protecting your business against slander and libelous statements. Similarly, if you run a business which manufactures equipment, you probably won’t require malpractice insurance like a doctor would, for example. Buy the insurance that will actually benefit you in areas that are relevant to you. Purchasing extensive insurance policies for the sake of it could be a waste of money unless you got an amazing deal.
3. Get professional help
Getting professional help allows you to consult with an insurance professional throughout your decision-making and insurance-purchasing processes. It can be frustrating to evaluate your insurance options alone, especially if you don’t have extensive knowledge of the industry.
Business insurance brokers can guide you through the process and offer impartial advice on the best insurance solution for your company. Business insurance brokers work independently, allowing them to pit companies against one another in order to shop around and get you the best deal from competing insurance companies. They can also offer you advice on getting coverage that protects all the essential aspects of your company, as well as for many other things too.
If you are still without adequate business insurance, you need to act quickly in order to secure yourself a policy! Accidents do happen, and they will always happen at the most inopportune moments.
Business insurance allows you to run your business while safe in the knowledge that you’re covered for any accidents and incidents which may occur. Looking for more advice on insuring your business? Get in touch today!