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Posts Tagged ‘business insurance’

3 Tips to Control Commercial Insurance Costs

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!

How to Keep Your Small Business Protected

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:

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

Protecting your Business from Natural Disasters – Top Three Tips

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.

Tips that help you avoid business insurance mistakes

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!

What You Need to Know Before Buying Business Insurance

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

Patents

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.

Trademarks

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!

Watch out For These Payroll Tax Mistakes

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)

Reimbursements

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!

How to Leverage America’s Aging Workforce in Your Business

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.

Recruitment

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.

5 Insurance Tips to Help You Protect Your Small Business

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.

Get the Most from a Commercial Insurance Policy

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.

Getting More

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.

The Basics of Business Insurance

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.