Most business owners would agree that it’s important to maintain insurance to protect business assets. But, many business owners do not know that they will not be able to contract with other companies (landlord’s, vendors, large customers, etc.) without certain insurance coverage.
When they think about insurance, business owners generally consider protection against hazards such as fire, flood or theft at their company sites. This is obviously an important protection to have. However, there are other types of hazards that may not be quite as high on the list, but protection could be every bit as important to offset significant financial losses. Here are five examples that underscore the need for comprehensive business insurance protection:
Company vehicle contents
If you operate a business with employees on the road making service calls to customers, chances are there is valuable equipment contained in the company vehicles. But a typical auto insurance policy would probably not cover the contents of a company vehicle if that valuable equipment is lost or stolen.
Tenant property improvement insurance
Do you rent space to conduct your business? Have you built out the interior of your space or made improvements to accommodate your business needs? If so, you probably made a considerable investment in the improvements. But many property insurance policies don’t include the value of the improvements made by a tenant to the existing structure. If you’ve invested in improvements, it’s worth taking a look at securing coverage to protect it.
Home-based business equipment
More and more people are working at home at least part of the time, even if they maintain an office or site elsewhere. Most don’t have insurance on the business equipment they keep at home; many assume their homeowner’s insurance would cover it. However, homeowner’s insurance generally does not cover business equipment. If you have expensive business equipment at home, you may want to consider purchasing additional protection.
Business interruption insurance
Remember the series of hurricanes that hit Florida? The wild fires that damaged cities and towns in California? The flooding that disrupted life in the Midwest? In addition to the effect that disasters have on individuals, they can bring businesses to a standstill for weeks or even months. Business interruption insurance can provide a way to get back on your feet.
Key person insurance
In many companies, the knowledge and skills of a single person or a top few are absolutely essential to the enterprise’s success. Key person insurance can help a company recover if an essential employee dies or becomes disabled for a lengthy time. The coverage can provide needed funds that allow the company to continue operating during a search for a successor or until the key employee returns.
As you can see, there are many hazards businesses face that aren’t covered under a typical insurance policy. However, you can get extra protection with the types of coverage outlined here. Since you invest so much time, money and effort into your business, it pays to make sure you have the protection you need. Call us for a consultation today!
You pay premium prices for great Internet, now that you work remotely (from home). You need high speed Internet, so getting it back up to speed when it starts to slow down is a top priority. Here’s a quick troubleshooting guide to help you determine whether you can apply a quick fix, or if you might need to make a phone call:
Boosting Your Wifi Signal
The issue might not be your Internet connection, but your Wifi signal. It doesn’t matter how fast your web connection is when you’re too far away from your Wifi router or it’s putting out a weak signal. Plug directly into your Internet with a wired connection. If it runs fine, you may simply need to buy a more powerful router, switch to wired connections, or rearrange your office space so that your router can reach everyone who needs it. Also, consider a ‘mesh’ wireless system.
Someone’s Doing Some Heavy Downloading
Let others know that business-class internet doesn’t mean “Go ahead and do all your bit torrenting at the office from now on.” Downloading twenty eight movies at once while uploading fifteen others is going to slow you down.
Do a Security Check
Your network may be infected with a worm. More so than most viruses and malware, worms can really drag your connection down to a crawl. A network scan will be able to help you root out the intruder if this is the case.
See if Someone is Stealing Your Wifi
You can check your router device list to see if someone is connecting without permission. If so, you can change the password, and/or switch your security settings to WPA2-AES.
Call Your Provider
Call your provider and ask there are any issues in your area. It may simply be a temporary issue that they are already hard at work rectifying. And if that doesn’t work…
Start Shopping Around for a New Provider
Your provider might just not be up to the task of providing you with top-notch business grade Internet. If there are competing ISP’s in your area, don’t hesitate to get some quotes and compare download speeds. Brand loyalty is all well and good, but you don’t owe it to an ISP that isn’t providing.
You own your home, have your own business, and drive a new car. Though you are not rich, you are comfortable. It will be a shame to lose it all if someone sustains injuries by your car or at your home or place of business.
You have insurance you say; you have standard auto liability insurance. The limits are $100,000 for a single person and a total of $300,000 for multiple people. Suppose you are responsible for any accident involving a shuttle taking ten people to the airport. Three hundred thousand dollars allows on average $10,000 per person. That is hardly enough to cover the emergency room fees let alone any surgery, rehabilitation, lost wages and other medical expenses. If there is a fatality, you may consider bankruptcy.
Your business has a small storefront on a busy street. A middle-aged executive comes into your place of business following a rainstorm. Your floor is wet and slippery, and the executive slips and falls. He strikes his head, loses consciousness, and goes into a coma. Your general business liability insurance has the same limit as your auto insurance – $100,000. It may cover part of the hospital bill, but the official says he is permanently disabled and sues you for future wages for $1 million. Since your business is a sole proprietorship, bankruptcy beckons.
Your son invites a friend over for a swim in your pool. He dives into the shallow end strikes his head and suffers traumatic brain injury. Sadly, the damage is permanent — with standard liability limits of $100,000 — well, you know, bankruptcy stares you in the face.
The inexpensive, elegant solution to the problem is umbrella insurance. When a claim exceeds your standard liability insurance limits, your umbrella insurance policy takes over and pays up to your umbrella liability limits. Most people who buy umbrella insurance extend their liability limits to $5 million.
Though you hope never to use it, for a few hundred dollars per year, you can protect your assets, and avoid financial disaster. Umbrella insurance pays when you are responsible for an injury that exceeds your standard liability limits.
With over 3 million acres burned this year, California is reeling under the impact. This is around 10 times more acres than the state usually experiences.
While firefighters fight on, and our state’s resources are strapped – much of our wilderness and trails remain closed. As regular citizens we may feel helpless but we need to continue to do our part to prevent fires when we can.
October is National Fire Safety Month. Now is as good a time as any to evaluate your home and workplace so you can keep your loved ones and employees safe. Consider taking these steps that help you prevent fires this month and year-round.
Make sure trees and surrounding areas follow the local guidelines. Clear out flammable brush and take down flammable trees. Thin the trees (using recommended proximity guidelines) .
Organize your Space
Poor housekeeping can mean an increase in clutter and fire fuel. Plus, messy hallways and blocked exits, sprinklers or firefighting equipment can hinder escape and rescue efforts. Walk through every part of your building and perform a thorough cleanup.
Machinery, electronics and other equipment can overheat and cause a fire. Maintain all your equipment to prevent this hazard.
Prevent Electrical Hazards
Faulty wiring and other electrical hazards can spark a fire. Perform regular inspections of the entire electrical system and make any repairs immediately.
Store Chemicals Wisely
Flammable chemicals pose a safety risk. Read the Material Safety Data Sheets and labels on each container, then store and use the chemicals properly.
Allow Control Panel Access
You can turn off the electric and reduce this potential fire hazard at the control panel. Ensure the control panel is easily accessible and that key personnel know where it’s located and how to turn off the electric during an emergency.
Stock Fire Extinguishers
Based on your building’s size and occupancy, you must stock a certain number of fire extinguishers. Follow this requirement and inspect the fire extinguishers at least once a year to ensure they remain in proper working order. Also, train every staff member to use the fire extinguishers confidently.
Install Smoke Detectors and Sprinklers
Smoke detectors provide a warning, and a sprinkler system can save your building, equipment and inventory if a fire does start. Install both of these safety features, and inspect them regularly.
Designate Specific Smoking Areas
Require smoking employees and visitors to smoke only in certain areas that are far from chemicals, papers and other flammable materials. Provide ashtray receptacles and stock working fire extinguishers near the designated smoking areas, too.
Clearly Mark Exits
Post emergency exit diagrams where employees can see them. Also, mark every exit with a neon sign, and place reflective tape on the floor and doors.
Perform Regular Fire Drills
Fire drills prepare your employees for a successful evacuation. Conduct these drills regularly.
Update Contact Information
All of your employees should know who to contact during an emergency. The contact list will include the phone numbers for emergency personnel and key employees.
This October, you can celebrate National Fire Prevention Month. Take these 11 steps as you prepare your commercial property to remain safe.
Fall is officially here on Tuesday, September 22, 2020. Managing your property includes caring for the landscaping. Proactive measures this fall protect your plants and ensure vitality next spring. Implement several tips as you maintain attractive landscaping and improve the safety of your property.
Mow the Lawn
During the fall, grass will continue to grow so mow all season. During the final cutting, mow the grass as short as possible to prevent winter matting and promote lawn health all season.
Remove dead leaves, grass clippings and other debris from the lawn, flower beds and hardscape. This debris can encourage harmful disease to grow, block drainage systems and damage the environment. It’s also an eyesore.
Fertilize the Soil
Add nutrients to the soil for landscaping health. The ideal fall fertilizer is rich in phosphorus and potassium, two nutrients that stimulate grass root growth in the future.
Summer drought can affect plants long into the fall and winter. Water plants if necessary to combat water deficits.
Prune and Wrap Plants
Create a neat and tidy appearance, reduce storm damage risk and invest in healthy landscaping into the future when you prune shrubs and trees. Then wrap plants with burlap to protect them during the cold winter months.
Protective mulch prevents weeds from growing and insulates soil from water loss and cold weather damage. It’s also attractive, so spread a healthy layer of mulch around all your plants.
Insects, mites, voles, and other pests can wreak havoc on your landscaping in the fall and winter. Hire a professional exterminator to treat your property.
Plant Winter Greenery
A variety of flowers, shrubs and trees bloom during the winter and brighten your property. Consider planting greenery that adds texture, color and style to your property’s appearance.
Inspect your parking areas, sidewalks and other hardscape. Repair and seal the cracks and holes to prevent further damage, improve safety and protect your investment.
Drain the Sprinkler System
If you have a landscaping sprinkler system, drain it during the fall months. Remove the water to prevent frozen or burst pipes and expensive repairs.
Perform a Storm Damage Audit
Walk around your property and identify any areas that could be affected by storm damage. You may need to trim tree branches that hang over power lines, move dumpsters that interfere with snow removal or repair perimeter fencing. Remember to update your property insurance coverage, too, before winter storms strike.
Schedule Snow and Ice Removal
Plan for winter weather now. Schedule snow and ice removal to reduce slip, fall and accident risks.
When you take care of your property this fall, take proactive steps that enhance the landscaping. Keep it attractive and healthy all season.
This is about risk mitigation. To increase the chances that a loss will not shut operations down permanently, organizations must assess their exposures accurately by asking some questions.
- What is the most the organization could lose from a shutdown? Commercial Property insurance policies define “loss of income” as the sum of the expected pre-tax profit or loss and necessary continuing expenses. For example, if the expected profit is $300,000 and necessary continuing expenses are $100,000, the potential loss of income is $400,000. To calculate their exposure to business interruption losses, organizations should refer to their balance sheets, profit and loss statements, and cash flow statements. Insurance companies also have worksheets available to assist with the calculation.
- How much insurance should be carried? Once the organization knows the dollar amount of its exposure, it must decide how much Business Interruption insurance to buy. The key considerations are the length of time the insurance is likely to apply and the coinsurance percentage the organization must meet. Coverage usually begins 72 hours following the damage to the property and ends when business resumes at another location or when the building should be repaired with reasonable speed, whichever occurs first. If the organization decided that the coverage period would be around six months, it could buy an amount of insurance that would satisfy a 50% coinsurance requirement. If the interruption would last longer, higher coinsurance percentage and limits would be necessary.
- How long will it take business to return to normal? Even after operations resume, it could be some time before revenue returns to normal levels. Customers who had gone elsewhere during the shutdown might be slow to return. The standard insurance policy extends coverage for 30 days after operations resume, but some businesses might need more time than that, especially if their businesses are seasonal. For example, a seaside restaurant in New Jersey that makes most of its profits during the summer will need additional coverage even if it can re-open in November.
- How much of the normal payroll expense will continue during the shutdown? The organization will need the continuing services of some employees while it attempts to re-open, but other employees might not be necessary. For example, accounting staff will be needed to pay mandatory expenses such as property taxes and collect receivables earned before the shutdown. Employees who stock shelves will not be needed if there are no shelves to stock.
- Does the business depend on other businesses for revenue? A business can suffer a loss even if its own building is untouched. A loss that shuts down a key customer or supplier or damage to nearby property that causes authorities to close off access to the street can devastate a business’s bottom line (this happened to many businesses affected by 9/11). Special insurance coverage is available to protect against this possibility.
Our insurance team can help you answer these questions and identify insurance companies that can meet coverage needs. With some effort and planning before a loss happens, an organization can emerge from a shut down and return to profitability.