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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.

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.

Vehicle collisions happen each day to drivers of all ages. They are part of life in big cities and small towns. Knowing the correct actions to take following an auto collision can have a lasting impact on insurance premiums and possible legal repercussions. Take the correct measures to stay protected. Here are 6 steps to take following a vehicle collision:

1. Get to Safety

The action to take following an auto collision is getting to safety. Depending on the situation, this could mean moving a vehicle safely to the shoulder or exiting the automobile immediately. Always place safety as the top priority above all else. Create distance from moving traffic and other hazards before moving ahead.

2. Evaluate for Injury

A vehicle collision sends the adrenaline response into overdrive. Shock can distract from injuries. Check for personal injuries and encourage all others involved to do the same. If any back or neck injuries are suspected, immobilization is recommended. Any medically trained personnel can perform first aid if the situation allows.

3. Contact First Responders

After moving to safety and applying immediate first aid, call 911 and request aid. This is recommended any time there’s a vehicle collision, regardless of severity. Injuries may take days or longer to appear. Additionally, insurance carriers may reference official records following a vehicle collision.

4. Collect Information

With safety and first aid under control, it’s time to collect pertinent information from the people involved. More than driver name and car insurance carrier, thoroughly record the scene. Take photographs of the vehicles, damage, and the scene. Speak to the first responders to gather any relevant information. Trauma can affect short-term memory. Record responses for simple reference and accuracy.

5. Be Cooperative 

Following a vehicle collision, you may be in a heightened state of emotional response. This can make it challenging to be cooperative with other drivers and first responders. Other drivers are likely energized as well and may be challenging to communicate with. Be part of the solution.

6. Exercise Neutrality

One of the first gut responses following a vehicle collision or other trauma is talk it out. It’s perfectly natural yet following a vehicle collision a casual remark may cause trouble. After a vehicle collision, stay neutral with other drivers, witnesses, and responders. This includes remaining silent on social media channels. Inadvertently admitting fault may lead to increased insurance premiums and more.

Afterward, contact an insurance agent to report the collision and begin a claim. Agents are ready to help overcome vehicle collisions so you can get back on the road. Auto collisions are equal-opportunists and can happen anywhere. Prepare with comprehensive auto insurance and drive protected.

Homeowners are taking too many risks with insurance coverage. According to a recent study by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), only a small percentage of homeowners plan for natural disasters when updating insurance plans. Approximately 4/5 homeowners are lacking sufficient insurance protection. Saving a couple of bucks today may cost a lot tomorrow. The Commission encourages all homeowners to consider updating insurance plans to include adequate coverage for natural disasters.

This past year, the nation watched as Houston and the Gulf states were struck by catastrophic flooding. In the Southwest, Northern Nevada was subject to catastrophic flooding as well. Many of the local homeowners found only too late their homeowners’ insurance policies lacked coverage for floods. In California, wildfires have ravaged the landscape leaving the door open for mudslides and erosion.

For most damages caused by natural disasters, additional insurance protection is required. The Commission’s survey found over half of homeowners were unfamiliar with their insurance policy. Between 2005 and 2015, natural disasters led to $24 billion in insurance claims. For those with protection, that’s a lot of savings.

Speak to an agent to review and update your homeowners’ insurance policy. In some cases, insurance coverage will have a mandatory waiting period before taking effect. Before disaster strikes, ask an agent about extra insurance protection for:

  • Earthquakes
  • Hurricanes
  • Flooding
  • Wildfires

A local agent will be familiar with other potential hazards specific to the area.

Additional questions to think about when updating a homeowners insurance policy include:

  • Were any changes or upgrades made to the home?
  • Has the number of home occupants changed?
  • Have any valuables been added to the home?

Matching homeowners insurance protection with the property protected will ensure compensation is swift and appropriate in case of a natural disaster.

Take steps to help keep home and property safe during a natural disaster. Always stay aware of local emergency warnings and follow official instructions for evacuation and disaster response.

Drivers may be leaving some details out on their insurance policies. A lot of drivers it would seem, as a recent poll found over 80% of drivers fudge the details when obtaining a car insurance policy. There are a number of ways to save on car insurance from safe-driver discounts to policy bundling. Falsifying details to save money will likely cost more in the long run.

According to the survey, the top 5 ways drivers try to mislead insurance carriers are:

1. Misrepresenting annual mileage
2. Listing an incorrect primary driver
3. Falsifying the purpose of the vehicle (personal, commercial, etc)
4. Submitting misleading information about vehicle location
5. Omitting previous insurance claims history

For most people submitting false information, the primary motivation is financial gain. This is a risky gamble with potentially costly consequences.

Insurance carriers are on the lookout for this. Insurers are likely to void policies with intentional omissions or misrepresentations. This can be particularly risky in case of a claim as falsified policies may be dropped right when you need coverage most. That means that in case of a car accident, drivers can find themselves on the hook for extensive medical and property damages.

Falsifying insurance documents can have long-term impacts on insurance policy availability and the prices for premiums. Insurance carriers may be unwilling to carry policies for a driver with a history of telling “white lies”. Beyond higher future premiums, there is more than continuous auto insurance coverage at stake. Call it what you may, a “white lie” is an intentional omission. In the eyes of the law, this is considered insurance fraud, punishable by both fines and incarceration.

On the brighter side, it’s still possible to get great rates on comprehensive auto insurance plans. Our agents can help find the maximum number of discounts for honest coverage at affordable rates.

Entrepreneurs utilizing personal vehicles for business may want to consider extra insurance protection. Making deliveries and service calls with personal vehicles may limit insurance coverage. This can be true for accidents while working or while on personal business. A local small business owner learned this the hard way. On the way to visit a friend there was a collision resulting in significant damage to the vehicle. Although her personal policy would generally cover the damages the insurance company denied the claim. Personal auto insurance policies extend to protect many small business owners yet in some cases, vehicles employed for specific commercial purposes may be excluded from coverage.

Most small business owners are protected under personal auto insurance policies. In some cases though, the commercial purpose for the vehicle may limit or forfeit coverage. For cars and trucks performing deliveries, equipped with commercial license plates, carrying passengers and emergency vehicles extra insurance coverage is necessary. In this case, the driver owned a small business selling heaters and a small part of that included deliveries.

The owner recently switched insurance carriers online to save money. Checking the box during the quotation process, they reported 30% of the vehicle mileage related to business purposes. Reviewing the insurance claim and the business services after the collision, the claim and repayment were denied. Shocked, the business owner learned the limits of personal auto insurance protection too late. This leaves the owner with a damaged personal and business vehicle, without compensation from the auto insurer.

Business owners mixing personal and business trips with the same vehicle may want to consider extra insurance protection. For more information on personal and commercial auto insurance policies contact an agent. We’re always keeping up with insurance-related topics that may impact health or wallet. For any questions about insurance, call anytime for answers.

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.

Cargo Insurance

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.

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