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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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.
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.
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.
It is estimated that over half the companies currently operating in the United States have been the victim of cyber-attacks within the past year. 53% to be exact, according to a recent study completed by cyber-insurance carrier the Hartford Steam Boiler (HSB) Inspection and Insurance Co. This study also found that of the businesses hacked within the prior year period, 72% spend over $5,000 investigating each incident. Response to cyber attack can be costly. Attacks must be discovered, damage mitigated, and changes may be necessary to limit future exposure.
More than a third of the businesses hacked (a whopping 38%) spent more than $50,000 in their response, 10% spend between $100,000-250,000 and 7% paid more than $250,000 in associated expenses. That’s over a quarter-million dollars on disaster response for a single attack. Timothy Zeilman, Vice President with HSB, a said the increased number of cyber assaults and associated high cost have companies more concerned with protecting information. Data is what drives a business; loss or corruption can be crippling on many levels.
Seven of every 10 executives worry data will become damaged or compromised due to a cyber strike. 62% of those surveyed worry about costly equipment damage as well. This study supports those concerns. The most common casualty in a cyber-attack is a loss of data (60%), followed by a disruption in day-to-day business (55%). Malware and viruses are frequent types of cyber-attacks. An increasing number of companies also experienced distributed denial of service (DDoS) assaults, payments demands via ransomware, cyber extortion of all types, and a number of social engineering issues.
Security experts say employees are a weak link in the chain when sensitive information is on the line, and business leaders agreed. When questioned on the largest risk to cybersecurity, respondents pointed to negligent or disgruntled employees (45%) and cyberpunks (37%). Almost two-thirds of businesses purchased or increased cyber insurance coverage over the past year. 56% of these businesses purchased a cybersecurity policy for the first time. This study was completed by Zogby Analytics on behalf of HSB. Zogby studied 403 presidents, CEOs, CFOs, and other high-level executives in the United States to accumulate data. Those surveyed worked in a range of industries with incomes ranging from less than $5 million to greater than $200 million.
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Entrepreneurs spin a lot of plates. Gathering licenses, building inventory, and engaging potential vendors are several of many things involved with launching. A large number of responsibilities involved with starting a company leaves it unsurprising many entrepreneurs overlook securing effective commercial insurance policies. A grasp on specific risks helps tailor the right commercial insurance policy.
Mike Barton, with Commercial Insurance of Allstate, says the right policy changes for each company. Daycare-center operators and at-home caregivers carry different levels of risk. Policies tailored for meeting specific risks head-on limit liability. Kevin Haward of State Farm recommends general liability insurance coverage as a starting point to build upon. For home-based entrepreneurs, general liability policies cover gaps homeowner’s insurance policies may leave, such as guests attending at-home sales parties.
Commercial Insurance: The Options
Insurance requirements vary based on company size, industry, location and more. General liability protection creates a starting-point for coverage. Add extra coverage for increased protection. These additional commercial insurance coverage policy inclusions are available through a broker:
Tips for Success
The experts recommend several tips for securing the right commercial insurance policy coverage:
1. Properly Value Property. Often, entrepreneurs underestimate the value of personal effects employed for company purposes or rely on a homeowner’s policy for protection. Protect these effects using commercial property coverage.
2. Ask Around. Many resources exist online for researching insurance policies and protection before buying. Other local entrepreneurs are an additional source of information. They can give advice coverage options, share knowledge about risks, and recommend an agent.
3. Get Help. According to Barton, small operations account for nearly one-third of the American labor force. At smaller companies staff often adapts, performing multiple roles to keep operations running. Sales, accounting, and customer service take time. An agent can shoulder the task of finding and activating the right policy.
4. Find the Right Agent. The right insurance agent understands the industry, location, and objective of the company. Commercial policies differ by state, agency, and by the agent. A local agent remains attentive to needs ensuring continuous and comprehensive coverage. Gain the right coverage for the right price using a local agent.
Researching ahead of time can help save later. To learn more about commercial insurance protection contact an agent today. Protection is available for companies of all sizes. Reduce risk, limit liability, and protect property with commercial insurance.
Contact an agent for any questions about commercial insurance, or with any other questions about insurance protection. Have a great article topic to share? We’d love to hear it!
This year, hurricane season is in full effect. Businesses in the paths of Harvey and Irma dealt with significant impacts. Most small business owners are occupied running their business. Plan for natural disasters is a distant thought. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, 40% of local entrepreneurs close following a disaster. The lessons learned from this year’s hurricane season distill to one: a disaster plan is essential for commercial survival.
Recent findings from CNBC demonstrate owners are thinking about other things when it comes to disasters. A paltry 8% of respondents said the environment is a top concern when planning business matters. That number drops to 6% in the Southwest, and 5% in the hurricane-plagued south. Job creation, healthcare, immigration, and the “other” category all ranked higher for attention.
Plans can help businesses survive and recover faster. Here are 5 ways entrepreneurs can prepare for natural disasters:
1. Use Online Backup
There may be little notice before disaster strikes. thumb drives, Cloud services, and external hard drives can all store important records. Things such as:
Rebuilding will be easier if these are protected and safe.
2. Create Plans for Employees, Vendors, and Customers
A business can prepare for a disaster, but customers, employees, and vendors are essential for survival. Insurance policies may cover business losses, but planning for customers and staff can help prepare. Businesses should share information with customers and staff early about possible supply or sales delays.
Promptly address customers, employees, and vendors when disaster strikes. It may be a regional event or one specific to a single business. Sharing information with others can help a business survive a disaster.
3. Create a Continuity Plan
A continuity plan enables businesses to keep doing business following a disaster. Label key operations and assign employees to specific roles. Some staff may require cross-training for disaster relief purposes.
The government recommends the following components exist in a disaster plan:
Continuing operations can generate much-needed revenue following a disaster. Businesses able to operate quickly following a disaster are more likely to survive.
4. Evaluate Risks
There are many risks to consider when crafting an emergency plan for a business. There are events common to all businesses, and some which may be specific to an industry or area. An insurance agent can help determine areas of risk specific for an individual business preparedness plan. An agent will ask questions to help determine possible areas to prepare for, such as:
Risks common to an industry or location can help determine adequate insurance coverage for protection.
Drills help staff learn disaster plans for better implementation if needed. Businesses that drill for disaster plans are more likely to have those drills work during a crisis.
Insurance agents are knowledgeable resources for information about potential disasters and preparing for them. The world can be dynamic but with the right insurance coverage a business can survive a disaster and come out successful. A disaster plan may never be necessary but if so, it can mean closing for a storm and closing forever.
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