If you’ve ever shopped around for insurance, you’ve likely been asked if you want to bundle your policies—in other words, combine your home or renters, auto and life insurance policies with the same carrier. Although you have the option to shop around individually for each policy, it almost always makes sense to have the same carrier cover as many of your policies as possible.
Benefits of Bundling
- The discount—Most policyholders bundle their policies because of the promise of a discount. The amount varies by provider but can generally range between 5-25 percent.
- The option of a single deductible—With bundled policies, your deductible may be cheaper in the event of a claim that affects multiple policies. For example, if your home and auto policies are with two separate carriers, and a hailstorm damages your home and your car, you’re responsible for paying both your home and auto deductibles before receiving payment. But if you bundle your policies, your provider may offer you the option to pay only the higher of the two deductibles.
- Less chance of being dropped—If you’ve made claims or gotten tickets, having your policies bundled with one provider can decrease the chance of them dropping you.
When it Doesn’t Pay to Bundle
It isn’t always better to bundle your policies with one insurance carrier. Here’s when it may be better to split them up:
- If you have tickets or past claims that make your auto insurance expensive—In this case, it may be cheaper overall to buy each policy from separate providers.
- When premiums increase—Bundling discourages people from price shopping, which makes it easier for providers to increase their rates. Most assume that you won’t go through the effort of shopping around when your policies renew.
- If policies aren’t technically bundled—Some carriers may insure you with an affiliated company. Although you may get a discount with that company, you’ll lose the convenience of paying your premium with one familiar provider.
A Few Tips to Consider
Although discounts are the main reason people bundle their insurance policies, never assume that bundling is the cheapest option. Your needs and circumstances will dictate whether you should combine your policies with one carrier. Consider the following tips:
- Shop for new coverage when your policies renew, and ask for the price of the individual premiums as well as the price of the bundled premium so you can decide whether it is worth it. Just make sure you compare the same coverage when shopping for quotes from each carrier.
- Ask if the provider uses a third-party insurance company. Remember that you may save money but lose the convenience of dealing with one provider and a combined bill.
- Ask an independent insurance agent to get prices from multiple companies so you don’t have to do the legwork. An agent that is loyal to a particular carrier may be able to offer discounts that you can’t get alone.
With multiple factors contributing to the price of your insurance premiums, it is important to shop around in order to get the best rate for your insurance needs. Feel free to contact Scurich Insurance to determine if bundling is right for you and help you take advantage of all available discounts.
Inspect for Water Damage
Melting snow and ice can increase water flow around your property, so carefully inspect the entire building for water damage. Check the exterior foundation, interior walls and windows for moisture, leaks or condensation, and clear out and repair any damaged gutters and downspouts.
Check the Roof
Winter storms can damage your roof, but you may not notice the damage until the roof starts to leak. Perform a detailed inspection of the roof and note any repairs you need to make.
Touch Up the Exterior
Cold winter weather can cause paint to chip, and flying debris can dent siding. Walk around the building, note any damaged paint or siding, and fix the areas. Sometimes, a simple touch up is all that’s needed rather than refinishing the entire building.
Repair the Parking Area
If freezing temperatures created cracks or holes in the parking lot or sidewalks, fix the problem areas. You’ll also want to power wash the area to remove dirt, mud or other debris, repaint any faded lines and repair broken signs. With a clean parking area, you reduce liability and improve visual appeal.
Wash the Windows
Remove winter grime and buildup on the exterior and interior windows. Clean windows boost productivity and improve the appearance of your commercial building.
Open windows and air out the stuffy building if possible. You may also inspect and clean the HVAC system and install fans or dehumidifiers in damp areas as needed.
Improve Curb Appeal
Fallen branches, debris and litter affect your property’s curb appeal and can create hazards for employees and visitors. Remove any debris, and trim trees, shrubs and bushes to reduce hiding places for burglars and future damage risks. Consider planting flowers and grass, too, as you improve your property’s curb appeal and safety.
Perform Pest Control
Warmer temperatures may attract bugs, insects and rodents to your property, so apply a pest spray around the building’s perimeter, and close any holes that may allow animals to enter the building. You may also want to treat any ponds, bird baths or other standing water with Mosquito Dunk or a similar product.
Your commercial property insurance protects your company, so schedule an assessment. Ensure you have adequate coverage for your needs as you look forward to the rest of the year.
This spring, you can perform maintenance on your commercial building to improve its appearance and functionality. These tips also reduce your liability and protect your employees and clients.
Customer personal injury claims can be costly and very damaging to a retail establishment’s reputation. They can be much more frequent than employee claims in some types of stores, especially warehouses that allow customer access.
Employee safety programs are not sufficient to protect customers, who are at risk for many more accidents than employees for three primary reasons:
- Customers expect the store to be safe.
- Groups like children and the elderly are predisposed to injury.
- Customers do not receive safety training.
Understand to what extent you are liable for customer injuries on your premises and take steps to prevent injury.
You are required to maintain safe premises for your customers; in legal terms, you have a high duty of care. This includes the duty to warn customers of non-obvious, dangerous conditions that you know about, to use ordinary care in active operations in the business and to make reasonable inspections to discover dangerous conditions and make them safe.
Most customer accidents are preventable, so it is important to take steps to make your establishment safer and less exposed to the risk of customer injury and litigation.
Common injuries that could become your liability include:
- Slip and falls as a result of wet floors, torn carpets, poor lighting or escalators. This type of injury is extremely common.
- Head and body injuries from falling objects, retail displays, out-of-reach objects or other mishaps.
- Shopping cart injuries as a result of the cart tipping
- Overcrowding injuries, e.g., trampling.
- Parking lot injuries as a result of cracked, improperly designed lots or failure to remove ice or snow.
Methods of Prevention
Steps you can take to minimize the risk of a customer claim include the following:
- Identify high-risk areas of the facility (such as where liquids are frequently spilled or tracked), and set up an employee inspection schedule to ensure it does not become a dangerous condition.
- Install video cameras to more efficiently monitor the premises for dangerous conditions and provide proof in case of a claim.
- During snowy, icy or rainy weather conditions, take care of dangerous situations on sidewalks, stairs and parking lots promptly.
- Ensure proper lighting in all areas of the store, and check on a regular basis that all bulbs are functioning. Document your inspections.
- Ensure that displays are stable, and always put heavy items near the bottom of shelves.
- Properly maintain and inspect shopping carts, and discard those that present a risk of tipping.
- Control crowds, especially during busy seasons or large sale events, through physical methods, such as entry turnstiles.
- Design parking lots to avoid injury. Repave, repair and check for hazardous conditions regularly. Document these inspections.
Criminal accident teams can stage injuries, targeting several businesses in the same area. This fraud could cost you millions of dollars in unwarranted payouts. Evaluate this possibility in the event of a customer injury claim, and notify the National Insurance Crime Bureau if you have a suspicion.
Liability insurance addresses the cost of legal damages and claims up to policy limits. Work with Scurich Insurance to design the liability package that fits your business–you will be able to select from a wide range of coverage options that you can tailor for your unique needs.
Inventory shrinkage—a combination of employee dishonesty, shoplifting, vendor fraud and administrative error—is costing U.S. retailers a great deal of revenue.
According to University of Florida criminologist Richard Hollinger, director of the Security Research Project, the single largest larceny category occurs in retail stores, yet employee theft can occur in any industry. The survey found that the most significant source of inventory shrinkage is employee theft.
In addition, Insurance Journal claims that the most trusted employees—the ones who have been with the company for a significant period of time and who never miss a day of work—are the most likely to steal from their employers.
Protecting Against Inventory Shrinkage: Employer-Generated Solutions
Pre-employment screenings should consist of the following:
- Past employment history
- Criminal conviction checks
- Personal reference checks
- Drug screening
- Driving history checks
Employee awareness programs can help to deter employee theft:
Typically, employees do not steal from their employer once and then never do it again. Instead, employees steal small amounts over an extended period of time. When businesses finally discover the indiscretion, they have lost a significant amount of revenue.
- New hire orientation discussions
- Bulletin/poster board notices
- Anonymous phone hotlines
- Follow-up education
- Payroll stuffers
Use asset control policies to safeguard inventory:
- Refund control structures
- “Void” receipt procedure
- Employee package checks
- Trash removal controls
- Inter-store transfer policy
- Exit door controls
Loss prevention systems can help secure your business:
- Burglar alarms
- Closed circuit TVs
- Armored car pickups
- Secured display fixtures
- Electronic security tags
- Shoplifting signs posted
- Silent alarms
- Observation mirrors
In addition, businesses generally do not discover that funds are lost until the economy enters a downturn and the company examines why their revenue is not as they had expected. Only then, after questioning where the money went, do they notice that funds are missing.
Smaller companies with fewer employees tend to be victimized more than larger companies. Not only are these smaller businesses uninsured to cover their losses, they’ve built up trust and developed relationships with their employees. So, they often are unsuspecting of the criminal activity and trust their employees too much. Larger companies also have the budget for audit committees and risk managers to assess any indiscretions immediately.
Employee dishonesty insurance, also known as crime coverage, employee dishonesty bond, fidelity bond and crime fidelity insurance, offers employers protection from fraudulent acts committed by their employees. By purchasing this type of insurance, you are able to recover financial losses as a result of employee theft and robbery of the following:
- Computer fraud
- Funds transfer fraud
- Credit card fraud
- Money order and counterfeit fraud
- Other valuable property
Third Party Coverage
If your company is doing business for another organization, employee dishonesty insurance may also cover the losses of that business as your client, depending on your plan.
If you elect coverage that protects your client’s property, the policy will cover the loss of money, securities and other property lost while working for that client.
There are several exclusions to these types of policies that employers must be aware of:
- Accounting errors
- Income lost in the event that the theft had not occurred
- Governmental seizure of property
- Restatement or lost statement of profit
- Theft by yourself–coverage does extend to partners, trustees and directors
Don’t become a victim of employee theft or shoplifting. Protect your business, your assets and your profits by obtaining employee dishonesty insurance. Contact us today at 831-661-5697 to learn more about our value-added services.