There are many reasons why a business may choose a less-than-adequate insurance policy. Business owners may be looking to save money, or they may simply not be taking into account the risks and liabilities attached to their operations. Despite many business owners’ hesitance, it is always a good idea to be alert of risks for your business and to patent your unique ideas. Legal proceedings can easily crush your business should they come about, especially if you’re not armed with a decent insurance policy.
So, having illustrated the importance of business insurance, what types are there? Here we give you a rundown of the different types of business insurance available.
Different Types of Business Insurance
These insurance types will be suited to certain businesses and industries more than others, so be sure to conduct a thorough assessment of the policy and read all the fine print before you come to any conclusions on which insurance is best for your business.
- General liability insurance: This insurance covers the legal liabilities resulting from injuries, accidents, or negligence claims. It is essential to have general liability insurance when operating a business. General liability insurance will cover property damage, damages incurred from medical expenses, legal defense fees, court settlements, and more.
- Product liability insurance: If your company sells, manufactures or distributes goods, then you need to have product liability insurance. The degree of risk attached to your goods will determine your premium. A company selling vehicle parts will have a higher degree of risk than a company selling clothes, for example.
- Commercial property insurance: If your buildings are vandalized, stolen from, or damaged by a natural disaster, this insurance is designed to protect your assets. You will subsequently be able to cover lost income and business interruption costs, as well as many other forms of damages.
- Errors and omissions insurance: This insurance is for companies which sell services rather than products. Numerous US states will actually require proof of errors and omission insurance before you can open your business’s doors legally. Malpractice insurance (for physicians) is a common type of this insurance.
Protecting Your Business in Other Ways
There are other ways to protect your business too, though they are more optional than they are mandatory. We would recommend, however, protecting your intellectual property with a legal patent. Being issued a patent means that your competitors cannot create or sell your product(s) within the United States.
There are two main types of patents available – utility patents, which protect machines and processes, and design patents, which protect your product’s overall ornamental design. Patents are a great way on ensuring that your competitors don’t steal your ideas or adapt them in order to siphon your customers and profits away from you.
You can also copyright, trademark, or create a registered trademark for your brand. A registered trademark is the most powerful of the three options, legally speaking, as requires you to file an application with the US Patent and Trademark Office. If approved, you’ll receive a federal registration certificate for your registered trademark.
Trademarks (regular ones) and copyrights don’t necessitate any paperwork or documentation; your intellectual property assumes copyright automatically under US federal law. Copyright does have its problems, however, and can lead to bitter legal battles as different parties claim ownership of a “copyrighted” thing.
It’s important to protect your business with the right insurance policies and documents, but it can be hard to know the best way to do this. If you’re looking to find out more about business insurance and other legal protections, get in touch with us today!
If you run a small company or a large one… you have many responsibilities. One that can cause quite a bit of headaches is taking care of pay-roll tax obligations. It’s easy to make mistakes and the penalties can be large.
So review these tips to avoid those headaches…
Misclassification of Employees
Hiring independent contractors to avoid paying typical expenses associated with employees is a growing trend. However, there are specific tests to determine whether these “independent contractors” should actually be classified as employees instead. For example, if you control what they do, when they show up for work they are not independent. (You can learn more about employee classification by visiting the IRS site here: https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/understanding-employee-vs-contractor-designation)
If you regularly repay employees for job-related expenses such as traveling on the companies behalf, you need to have a solid system in place to track these expenses and prove they are legitimate business expenses. This way your workers will not pay tax on the reimbursements.
Insufficient Payroll Records
All companies with employees must maintain consistent reliable pay-roll records. This consists of time sheets and pay-roll tax calculations along with copies of W-2s and I-9s. It is important to save these records for at least 4 years.
Making Use Of Withholdings to Pay Other Operational Costs
Never make use of withholdings to cover other company expenses. Regardless of your company’s financial condition, you must ensure those funds are kept separate and untouchable. If you do, you’ll run afowl of the IRS and face significant penalties.
Skimping on Oversight
Yes you can outsource payroll to a 3rd party company. However, you are still ultimately responsible if they make a mistake. As the business owner, you must make sure all reporting is handled properly and is accurate.
For other insights on how we can help you protect yourself from the risks of running a business, be sure to reach out to one of our professionals. We are here to help!
The job market is tightening. Finding great workers is getting more difficult. Yet if you set age aside, there’s a great pool of folks with fantastic business experience, interpersonal capabilities, and general proficiency. (And it’s important to know… studies show that for each 90 days a position remains unfilled, a company loses $14,000.)
As companies battle each other to fill open positions, a number are looking at the pool of highly experienced, talented, slightly older workers to help fill the need.
Older workers also tend to carry institutional expertise and specific abilities that expand their worth. Smart companies are capturing this knowledge and implementing programs to ensure it is passed on to younger workers via mentoring, etc.
AARP has a program to help recruit older employes. (https://www.aarp.org/work/employers/) The website helps connect workers and employers…
One critical element to attract older workers is your benefits portfolio. You could provide additional plans that cover gaps in Medicare as an example. You can do the exact same with various other benefits too ranging from dental to vision. And remember pet insurance has also become a popular benefit to offer. These various benefit programs can be added in a way that is affordable to employees with little out-of-pocket costs to the company.
We recommend speaking with our team on options you can leverage to help you build a targeted benefits program that would be attractive to more mature workers.
According to statistics, there are 28 million small businesses in the United States, which account for 54% of all sales. These businesses are driven by entrepreneurial spirit and the burning desire to introduce a unique idea to the market or offer a unique skill.
Launching a business and keeping it thriving demands great passion, robust business plan, significant capital and some other things most people usually overlook, such as insurance.
Starting a business is itself a risk, so all business owners must take the time to insure themselves, their investment, employees, and property the right way. There are lots of things to put into consideration, such as commercial auto, property, and workers’ compensation. As complicated as it seems, it is straightforward if you know where to start. Here are some tips below:
Risk abounds… understand possible threats
It is essential to understand threats that may work against your business before deciding on how to protect it. Since there are several commercial insurance options, you must first understand your needs and your level of exposure before opting for a coverage. Loss of income, slip and falls, fire, defective products, equipment breakdown, injured employees or customers are some of the threats that can affect a business. Do not just wish them away, assess every step of your business, contemplate the worst that could happen and get insurance for it.
Employment Practices Liability Insurance
Sometimes, the employer-employee relationship can go south. Although most business owners try to maintain a good, healthy relationship with their employees, disputes are inevitable. Every business owner must protect themse just in case any minor conflict translates to litigation. With Employment Practice Liability Insurance, employers are protected against wrongful acts that may occur out of their employment practices, which may include age, race, sex discrimination, failure to promote, and wrongful termination. In today’s insurance market, this coverage is quickly becoming indispensable.
Find security in a digital world
In 2017, CNBC reported that hackers had hacked 14 million businesses in less than 12 months; that is nearly half of all small businesses in the United States. So, endeavor to get insurance for any online threat your business may face. If your business requires you to conduct transactions or collect customer’s personal information online, then the Cyber Risk Coverage or Data Compromise coverage will be ideal for you. If hackers ever were to successfully steal a customer’s information or if the information leaks, such customer may want to take legal action against you. Usually, Data Compromise Coverage provides Response Expense Coverage that helps cover the cost of informing and assisting your customers after a data hack. Selecting this option also provides Defense and Liability Coverage, which takes care of third-party action brought against you by those affected by the data hack. Comprehensive Cyber Risk coverage provides coverage against electronic data damage and computer systems from a virus or computer attack. It also protects your business’s liability to third parties if there is any damage to them as a result of your business’s computer system vulnerability.
Home is where the heart is
If you run a home-based business and you have a homeowners’ policy, please note that the policy does not protect your home-based business. After assessing the risks associated with your business, you may want to add a rider to your policy to protect the primary business risks. Be sure to add business insurance to protect your home-based business.
Consult an agent
This is the most important tip. Work with our team with the aim of determining the right coverage for your business. We’ll develop a plan that will help protect your business.
And as always, if you’re on the lookout for great information about insurance topics that impact health and pocketbook… Contact us anytime for all insurance related questions.
Small business owners are constantly implementing innovative ways to increase productivity, revenue, and reviews. With so much energy dedicated to promoting the success of the business, seldom is time spent thinking about the insurance side. Businesses face inherent risk regardless of size, location, and company size. In an instant, random occurrences can damage or destroy a business. A business insurance policy can help entrepreneurs recover, yet differences in coverage, service, and rates leave many confused where to begin. Before sourcing a business insurance policy or switching insurance carriers, get to know these tips for finding the right business insurance policy.
Business Insurance Basics
Small businesses range across the board which means the same insurance policy for one business will likely be a poor match for the next. The right policy for your small business is one crafted to suit the specific needs of your organization. Some types of insurance may be automatically required such as unemployment and workers’ compensation, while others are voluntary. A number of additional options are available to help bolster an insurance policy; here’s a breakdown:
- Liability Insurance. Business owners assume a great deal of liability, including entrepreneurs operating from the security of their home. Liability insurance can protect from claims resulting from persons injured on the business premises, damage resulting from advertising, medical and legal costs, and more.
- Commercial Auto Insurance. Companies that operate vehicles require commercial auto insurance. Commercial auto insurance is necessary any time an employee utilizes a vehicle for a commercial purpose. This can include personal, company-owned, rented, leased, or otherwise appropriated vehicles. Cyber insurance must be in place any time an employee is behind the wheel.
- Cyber Insurance. The latest in commercial insurance, cyber insurance may be a match for your company. Cyber insurance can help protect businesses in case of lost customer data or malicious cyber attack. Attacks in cyberspace can have devastating effects on equipment and may lead to interruptions in operating. Cyber insurance can replace revenue for interruptions caused by cyber activity.
- Business Interruption Insurance. Business interruption insurance ensures companies can continue to earn following a disruption. Natural disasters, accidents, deliberate actions and more threaten to interrupt revenue. Employee salaries, loans, and more can become daunting without the means to pay them. With business interruption insurance, the insurance company will compensate for lost revenue while the business gets back on its feet.
- Errors and Omissions Insurance. Entrepreneurs working with details may want to add errors and omissions insurance protection to a commercial policy. For professionals offering services or advice, a small oversight can have big consequences. This insurance helps protect entrepreneurs in case of accidental errors or omissions resulting in damages.
A Business Owner Policy (referred to as a BOP) is a means of bundling commercial insurance policy options into a single policy. Other discounts may be available. Speak to an agent about saving with a BOP and other ways to save on commercial insurance.
A commercial insurance agent can help locate gaps in protection to ensure your business is prepared for anything. There are many layers to commercial insurance policies. Speak to an agent for information on comparing policies, quotes, and insurance options. An agent can help uncover more ways to save on insurance and will help your business remain current with coverage and discount opportunities.
The cheapest insurance policy may be attractive in cost, yet lacking in protection. Compare quotes for coverage, service, deductibles and more. Small businesses are in a steady state of evolution. The same policy from last year may be insufficient moving forward. Perform annual reviews of insurance policies to ensure adequate coverage and maximum savings.
For more information on getting the most from a commercial insurance policy, speak to an agent. Agents are ready to help with quotes for rates, answer questions about coverage, and help with other insurance needs. Make sure to visit often for more information on getting the most out of your insurance policy.
Entrepreneurs have a lot to think about. It’s understandable if some have yet to obtain adequate commercial insurance for their small business. Some may grab policies off the shelf, while others may lack coverage completely. Businesses are subject to many of the same risks as homes and much more atop that. Protecting a business with commercial insurance helps preserve revenue, owner credit, and the hard work placed into creating an enterprise.
Whether it’s time to purchase a commercial policy or you’re looking to compare rates, you can help match the right policy to your business. When purchasing commercial insurance, here are 5 things to keep in mind.
Take Inventory of Risks
Small businesses are unique. The same insurance policy for a dry cleaning operation would be a poor match for a bakery. Look at your business the way an insurance agent might and find where protection may be necessary. An agent can help, and be sure to remember enough liability protection.
Insurance companies take more than location into thought when determining overall risk. Entrepreneur credit, claims history, and more may affect the decision. Premiums are, in turn, affected by risk factors and may be higher or lower depending on carrier and policy options. A policy created to address the needs of a specific business, with deductibles set at an appropriate rate, will help entrepreneurs save on insurance costs, and better respond to damages.
Bundle Insurance with a BOP
Commercial insurance policies are often bundled into what’s referred to as a Business Owner Policy, or BOP for short. Combining multiple insurance protections through a single carrier can save money. With discounts for bundling, gain access to improved insurance policy options for reduced annual rates.
Compare Insurance Policies and Rates
Commercial insurance is an ongoing obligation. Overpaying for insurance will add up over time. Hesitate from leaping at the first insurance quote and shop around. Policies, options, customer service and more will vary greatly both by the insurance carrier and by the insurance agency. Insurance companies compete for customers and may offer extra discounts or incentives. An independent insurance broker can help with objective advice on obtaining the best policy.
Find the Right Insurance Agent
There’s more to obtaining commercial insurance than finding a cheap policy. For claims, having a personal insurance agent familiar with you and your business can make all the difference. The right insurance agent will create a policy based on your business, find the best rates available through reputable carriers, and be there when needed.
Revisit Insurance Coverage Annually
As businesses grow, so do insurance obligations. Launching products, starting advertising campaigns, and bringing new people into the fold adds liability and more. Meet with an agent at least once per year to look over insurance coverage for gaps. Staying proactive with commercial insurance helps with responding to damages. It’s always a good time to think about protecting livelihood and investment.
Have questions about commercial or other insurance policies? Call today and speak to an agent.
Businesses are subject to many of the same insurance risks as homes, and then some. Following a mishap, some business owners are surprised to find their small business insurance policies are inadequate. Studies show a number of small businesses carry insurance policies lacking complete coverage. The kicker is that often, the business owners find out only after filing a claim, leaving costs up to them.
Looking at a city street, a small business can mean anything from a cafe to a boutique, to a bottle shop and much more. Tailoring an insurance policy for the right coverage while excluding the rest pays off. Insurance is a many-layered cake. To get the best insurance coverage it’s recommended you speak to an agent but in the meantime, knowing the basics of business insurance can pay dividends.
Understanding the Risks
The list of potential insurance risks for a small business is lengthy. The type of business, location, and so much more affect risks businesses face. For some businesses, there are specific insurance requirements mandated by law. For others, the potential for risks calls for additional insurance protection. The same insurance policy for a bakery will be an awkward match for a yoga studio. The right insurance coverage will be ready to respond, should a claim occur.
Tailoring an insurance policy, factors which may affect levels of coverage include:
- Food and beverage service
- Customer presence
- Pollution footprint
- Public advertising
- Transportation risks and more.
An entrepreneur knows their business best. For questions about coverage, ask. An agent can help determine gaps in coverage and create bridges with comprehensive insurance. Preparation ahead of time helps secure a net of protection, allowing business to continue unhindered in case of claims.
Getting a Business Insured
Ask 4 people for the right time to get business insurance and you may receive 5 different answers. Many entrepreneurs are unsure on the right time to get insurance while starting, or making changes to a business. The most common times to start, bolster, or change a business insurance policy include:
- Launching a business. Before opening the doors, obtaining adequate insurance is an important part of launching a business. From home-based operations to retail storefronts, insurance helps protect the owner and community from the unexpected. It may be possible to bundle several types of coverage into a single policy for additional savings and ease of management.
- Renting Space. Leasing a physical space adds insurance requirements and compounds risks. Often, property agents want proof of insurance before signing a lease. Prepare with the right policy beforehand.
- Adding staff. Managing staff and volunteers can add to insurance demands. Beyond liability protection health, disability, and other insurance options are available. Speak to an agent and be ready to add to the team.
- Announcing new products. New products can create risks for consumers, as well as their accompanying advertisements. Before launch day, check with an insurance agent.
- Implementing a Board. Utilizing a board of directors is necessary for some companies and a choice for others. Directors help steer the direction of companies and organizations, yet they are human after all. If a director errs in their decision making, Directors and Officers Insurance can mitigate any legal fallout.
The best time to review an insurance policy is before it’s needed. Get protection early and respond to changes with the help of an experienced insurance agent. A local agent can help identify risks unique to the area, and help uncover risks specific to a small business or industry. Always keep insurance policy documents secure and readily accessible. For more on commercial insurance protection for small businesses, or for answers to insurance questions, call an agent today.
Security estimates suggest over half of U.S. companies have been hacked this year. If that number sounds alarming, it’s because it should be. Often, companies go to lengths keeping breaches discreet, contributing to an illusion of rarity. This helps protect the company’s reputation, retain customers, and maintain sales. As several major breaches demonstrated this past year, public outcry following a breach can be significant. Companies are always looking for ways to protect customer data. Increasingly, companies are spending more to defend against and respond to cyber attacks.
Of the companies breached, approximately 3/4 spent over $5,000 simply investigating the incident before mounting a response. That’s when it gets expensive. Approximately 1/3 of breached companies spent over $50,000 responding to a cyber attack. For 10%, the costs ranged between $100,000 and $250,000. 7% of all businesses breached paid over a quarter-million dollars responding to a data breach. These numbers have companies clamoring for better security measures. For many companies, a large-scale breach can effectively shutter the business.
This has executives a little worried. Many executives spend time thinking about defending against cyber attack. Cyber attacks can affect software and hardware. In the majority of cyber attacks, hackers trying to get away with customer data. The next most-common cyber assault is disrupting company operations. This includes distribution of malware, interference with internet traffic, ransom-ware, and much more. That’s a lot to think about, and that’s before adding the human element. Employees are another soft spot in the defensive line; disgruntled employees are responsible for a number of data breaches each year.
To take the pressure off executives, protect the company, and secure customer data more companies are purchasing cyber insurance. Cyber insurance is a layer of protection for companies and staff from attacks in the digital space. Over the next year, there will be an untold number of attempted breaches. It’s estimated thousands occur each day. Combat this growing trend with comprehensive cyber insurance. Keep operations moving along and protect your customer base. Contact an agent for more information on cyber insurance coverage.
For questions about other insurance coverage or to speak to an agent about updating an existing insurance policy to protect against cyber attack, call today.
Running a business requires a lot from the average entrepreneur. Beyond selling a product or service, there are multiple responsibilities to manage behind the scenes. Bookkeeping, inventory, licensing and more are all part of entrepreneurship and take time to coordinate. Being pulled in so many directions it can be challenging to check all the boxes. When opening a business or working from home, commercial insurance is an important safety net to have in place.
The right commercial insurance policy for your small business depends on a number of factors. In some industries, established insurance requirements may guide policy creation. For others, the right level of commercial insurance protection may be up to the entrepreneur to decide. Regardless of industry, the best commercial insurance policies are the ones tailored to the businesses they protect. Before obtaining coverage get to know the basics of commercial insurance protection.
Commercial Insurance Policy Options
Depending on the type of business, there may be different levels of insurance requirements to meet. In most cases, entrepreneurs begin with a policy built on a foundation of general liability insurance protection. From there, different coverage may be included depending on industry and risk. Other insurance protection options include:
- Commercial auto insurance covers fleet vehicles from damages related to a collision. Companies with staff using personal vehicles can add special liability coverage, protecting employee cars, trucks, and SUVs.
- Commercial Property Insurance covers business property, equipment, and inventory from potential loss.
- Interrupted/Lost Income Insurance creates a net of financial protection in case operations and income are interrupted.
- Directors and Officers Insurance protects those charged with making decisions from litigation.
- Errors and Omissions Insurance protects detail-oriented professions in case of an error or omission in on official paperwork.
- Data-Breach Insurance to protect from litigation due to malicious hacking.
An insurance agent can help tailor the right policy to suit the business. Ask about a BOP or Business Owner Policy. With a BOP entrepreneurs can bundle requisite insurance together for savings.
Getting a Commercial Insurance Policy
Before obtaining commercial insurance coverage it is important to know what is being insured. Placing a proper value on the property in question will help find the right level of coverage. Too often, entrepreneurs undervalue their business or property, resulting in inadequate insurance coverage. A qualified insurance agent can help place the correct value on property and more, helping shape the best commercial insurance policy. In many cases, local agents have an edge, as they are familiar with local risks facing entrepreneurs.
For help building a commercial insurance policy call today. Our agents can help find the right levels of coverage and shape them into a policy that makes sense. Insurance protection is available for businesses of all shapes and sizes. For more information about insurance for small businesses call today.
Caring for staff is an important part of running a company. Depending on the state, insurance regulations vary. Standard business insurance policies include worker’s compensation and other liability coverage. For small businesses starting out, this may be enough coverage. For those in the export-import field there is extra protection available:
Credit-Risk Insurance for Exporters
Several export credit-risk policies are available courtesy of the Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im). Designed to both protect the insured and encourage expansion, these policies protect in case of buyer non-payment. They can also include protection from losses due to political, commercial, and natural influences. Policy options include:
- Policies for Small Businesses. These policies are all-inclusive and available directly through Ex-Im. Umbrella policies are available and allow more-direct contact between owner and client for insurance matters. Income and export volume conditions apply; speak to an insurance agent for more information about small business policies for exporters.
- Single-Buyer Short-Term insurance policies. Policies to protect single sales are available. For insurance for single shipments, speak to an agent about short-term export insurance protection.
These policy options are designed for small-medium sized companies with any level experience in the industry.
For around one percent of the cost of transported good, cargo shipments are insurable for the worth of more than the cargo. Shipments are insured to compensate for time and profit-loss.
- All-risk policies are the most inclusive, yet some restrictions apply. To access the most from a cargo insurance policy speak to an insurance agent.
- General-average policies protect from transportation losses to other cargo from other exporters, included in the same shipment. Maritime regulations state all exporters utilizing the same ship bear the responsibility for all on-board contents. Tricky, right? Call an agent for more information.
- Contingent insurance is there to cover gaps in insurance from other parties in a shipping transaction. Contingent insurance is the safety net for two-party transactions.
New exporters may wish to start small, yet as the company size grows so will risk. Policies can grow with the company.
Keeping Shipments Safe
There are a number of ways to help protect shipments before they head to sea. This can help reduce insurance claims, reducing premiums and costs as well.
- Crate shipments for simple loading and unloading. Ports utilize forklifts, cranes, and other heavy equipment to load and unload cargo shipments. Packing shipments to withstand the loading and unloading process can limit and damages to the shipment.
- Crate shipments for the high-seas. Oftentimes cargo is kept above-decks for exposure to the weather and sea-spray. The elements can wreak havoc on unsecured shipments, prepare for nature beforehand.
- Crate shipments securely. During the transportation process, shipments may be left unattended. Reduce temptation by securing shipments with locks and other anti-theft measures.
Waterproof shipments when possible, and be liberal with the application of packing materials. Consider transportation routes and climates before crating, and always think safety first. For more information on insurance protection for exporter-importers contact an insurance agent today. Our agents are always on the lookout for ways to save money and promote health. Call anytime with any insurance-related questions.