Does your business need Kidnap Ransom Insurance? (image via google)

When it comes to insuring your business, there is basic coverage and what is called specialty coverage.  Basic coverage is the standard type of insurance almost every business needs to have, property, liability, business auto, and worker’s comp.  Specialty coverage is less standard and is provided to cover specific types of risks some businesses face and therefore must mitigate.

There are a wide range of specialty insurance products that are industry specific.  If you are an exporter, you will need Ocean Cargo coverage.  If you are a financial advisor, you might need special coverage specific to any fiduciary responsibilities you might have.  As these products can be very industry specific, you will want to talk to your agent, check with any professional organizations you belong to, and ask your industry contacts for more information on the specific types of coverage you need.

There are also a few specialty products that may be needed across a variety of industries.  Here is a brief overview of each of these types of coverage and information on what kind of businesses may need to secure it.

Key Employee Life Insurance

Regardless of how big your business is, there are likely people within in, including yourself, that may need separate life insurance policies in order to protect the company.  Generally when we talk about life insurance as it relates to an employee, it is the life insurance policy the company provides or arranges for the employee.  The beneficiary is chosen by the employee and the intent is to take care of the employee’s family in the event of their death.  Key employee life insurance is exactly the same except that the beneficiary is the business and the intent is to help the business recover from the loss of a key employee.

Businesses whose income is completely generated by or reliant on the participation or involvement of specific people may need to purchase this type of policy.  Law firms, doctor’s offices, financial advisors, and small business owners are all examples of the type of business that can benefit from this type of policy.   Generally, this type of policy is a term life policy and it only remains in effect so long as the employee is employed by the business.

Kidnap and Ransom Insurance

Around the world, research shows that criminal gangs kidnap an estimated 25,000 people each year with the sole intent of collecting ransom payments and making money.  In many countries, kidnap and ransom is an industry bringing in millions of dollars a year.   For businesses operating in these countries, this fact can pose significant risks to employee welfare and financial health.

A kidnap and ransom policy is designed to provide a limited amount of protection for businesses operating in these areas of the world.  The type of policy determines what expenses and costs are covered.  Most individual polices will not cover the cost of the actual ransom payments but does include the expense of negotiating the ransom and securing the safe return of the person who was kidnapped.   Most corporate policies cover negotiation expenses, ransom payments, and lost wages owed to the kidnapped employee.

Companies of any size that are operating in parts of the world where kidnap and ransom activities are prevalent need this kind of coverage.

Related Articles:

Advertisements

Does your business need umbrella coverage? (Image via FreeFoto)

When it comes to buying the insurance you need to protect your small business, the wide range of options can be confusing and overwhelming.  There are so many different types of policies and different level of coverage that it isn’t always easy to know if you have all the coverage you need, if you are underinsured, or if you have policies that provide coverage for risks you don’t face.  One of the most common questions small business owners ask about the coverage they need is about umbrella coverage and whether or not they need it.

Surprisingly, although it is the type of insurance almost everyone and almost every business should have, it is not as well understood as the other common coverage types like auto, liability, and worker’s comp.  This can have serious, long lasting consequences for business owners of all types.  To understand why Umbrella coverage is so critical to small businesses, you need to first understand what it is and what it does.

Umbrella insurance is a kind of liability coverage.  These policies extend, like an umbrella, over most of your other liability policies like your business auto and your general liability.  If there is a claim that breaches the upper limit of one of your base policies, the Umbrella policy provides coverage over and above that limit.  For example, if you or one of your employees were at fault in an auto accident where your company’s car caused damage in excess of the $50,000 property damage limit on your business auto policy, your company would be responsible for paying every dollar over that limit out of pocket.  The insurance company pays $50,000, you pay the rest.   Now, if your business has a $5M Umbrella policy, the insurance company for your base policy would pay for any damages up to $50,000 and then the Umbrella carrier would pay for any damages from $50,001 to $5M.  To break this down, having that Umbrella policy in place could mean the difference between your company paying nothing and your company being responsible for millions of dollars of damages.

When looked at from this perspective, it is clear why many businesses must have an Umbrella policy in place to protect the viability of the business.  In order to determine if your business needs this type of coverage, here are some things to consider.

If your business requires you or any employee to operate a motor vehicle as part of doing business, you must have an umbrella policy over your business auto policy.  Car accidents can lead to incredibly expensive liability lawsuits and even minor accidents can result in medical bills that exceed your business auto policy limits.  Don’t take the risk; if your business has auto coverage, you need an umbrella policy.

If your business has assets, you need umbrella coverage.  It doesn’t take much these days for someone to file a lawsuit and even if you win, the cost of defending yourself can wipe out your available cash and even your businesses assets.  If you lose, the situation can quickly compromise your entire business.  Umbrella coverage protects you from the high costs associated with getting sued.

Related Articles:

Fire

Is your business adequately insured in the event of an unplanned event? (image via public domain image.com)

One of the mostly costly mistakes business owners make is not having the right kind or amount of insurance in place to protect their business and their income.   Thinking they understand the ins and outs of business insurance, they forge ahead without working with an expert or getting a true picture of their true needs and the insurance coverage they need to mitigate their exposure.  Unfortunately, making this kind of mistake can actually cost more than just money; it can cost you your business.

Here are 6 common mistakes businesses make with their insurance.

  1. Not Buying Insurance

This is by far the biggest mistake business owners make.  Whether it seems like the benefit doesn’t seem to justify the cost or they don’t realize they need coverage, not buying insurance is the biggest mistake any business can make.  Business owners don’t realize that it only takes one lawsuit to wipe them out.  They feel that as long as they follow the rules, operate legally, and do what they are supposed to do, they will be ok.   What they don’t realize is that even if they are sued and win, the cost of defending themselves against even an unfounded lawsuit may be enough to bankrupt their business.

  1. Buying Inadequate Coverage

Many businesses that do purchase insurance don’t actually buy enough to cover their potential losses.  Business owners don’t realize this mistake until it’s too late and they are stuck paying for attorney fees and legal settlements out of pocket.  Purchasing inadequate coverage is only slightly better than not having any coverage at all.

  1. Buying the Wrong Coverage

Alongside buying inadequate coverage is buying the wrong coverage.  Business owners who don’t work with an insurance professional to assess their risk and secure the right coverage to protect their business from losses, run the risk of having to cover costs that are not covered by the policy they purchase.

  1. Going Without Business Income Coverage

Business income coverage which is also called business interruption insurance provides financial support when something interrupts your ability to conduct business.  Going without this coverage can endanger the business as much as going without liability or property coverage.  For example, there is a fire in a retail shop that destroys or damages all the merchandise forcing the shop to close for three weeks.  The business owner’s property insurance covers the lost merchandise, but without business income coverage, the business owner has no way to recover the lost income from having the shop closed for three weeks.

  1. Misunderstanding Coverage

Business owners who buy the right amount of the right coverage can still run into problems if they don’t understand what things are specifically excluded from their policy.  Most business insurance policies are full of exclusions and business owners who don’t understand these exclusions can be left holding the bag when they thought they were covered.

  1. Carrying Low Deductibles

Business owners can decrease their costs while still protecting their business by increasing the deductible on their policies.  Carrying a low deductible on your policy may seem like the better business decision because it offers more protection, but it may not be the right decision for your business.  High deductibles reduce your overall operating costs while offering protecting you from the kinds of losses that could compromise your business.

The best way for business owners to ensure they have the coverage and protection they need is to work with a qualified insurance professional.  Their agent or broker can assess their needs and then help them find the best insurance package to meet them.

Related Articles:

Liquor

Does your business need Liquor Liability Coverage? (Image via AjDele Photography on Flickr)

Liquor liability coverage is a unique type of insurance that is only needed when a business has some involvement with alcohol.  While it is extremely important that those businesses that need liquor liability coverage have it in place, many who need it don’t have it.  Some business owners forgo coverage because of the expense, but in many cases, businesses do not have coverage because they don’t know they need it, think it is already provided as part of another policy, or don’t understand the implications of not having it.

What is Liquor Liability Coverage?

This is a type of insurance purchased by businesses that offers protection from loss or damage resulting from the actions of a customer that is intoxicated.  It covers property damage and liability claims for injuries to others and for self-inflicted injuries by the drunken customer.  It can be sold as add-on coverage to a commercial general liability policy or as a separate policy all together.

One of the most common misconceptions that open business owners to huge losses is that they are not responsible for the actions of their customers including those who are intoxicated.  Unfortunately, this is not the case.  Another common misconception is that this type of liability is covered under a general liability policy.  Most business liability insurance policies specifically exclude any liability resulting from this kind of loss.

Who Needs It?

Any business that is involved in the manufacture, sale, or service of alcohol or who assists in the purchase or use of alcohol generally needs this kind of coverage.  If there is a possibility that a customer, client, or patron could become intoxicated using alcohol that a business made it possible for them to obtain, that business needs this kind of coverage.  Courts have ruled time and again that purveyors of alcohol can be held liable for the actions of their intoxicated customers which means the only way to protect the business is to have the right coverage.

What Does it Cover?

A Liquor Liability policy will generally offer the following types of coverage:

  • Liability – This coverage protects the business from losses resulting from a lawsuit filed by someone injured by the intoxicated customer.  A common example is a lawsuit resulting from a drunk driving accident.  This also covers lawsuits filed by the customer for injuries or damage they caused to themselves while they were intoxicated.
  • Property – This covers property damage caused by the intoxicated customer.
  • Assault and Battery – This covers your liability to injuries and damages caused by intoxicated patrons fighting.

What to Look for in a Policy?

When purchasing this type of coverage, make sure it includes the following:

  • Defense Costs – Make sure the policy you purchase doesn’t exclude this or decrease your limit to cover legal defense costs.
  • Employees – Make sure the policy does not exclude employees.
  • Mental Damages – Make sure that mental damages like mental anguish and stress are included in your policy.

Businesses that are involved in the creation, sale, and distribution of liquor and alcohol need to take steps to protect themselves from liability claims resulting from intoxicated patrons.  Purchasing a liquor liability policy is one of the best steps a business can take to secure this kind of protection.

Related Articles:

BOP Coverage

What kind of insurance is right for your business? Image via Grand Velas Riviera Maya on Flickr

Business owner’s policies, which are also called BOPs, can be a great fit to cover the insurance needs of many small businesses. This type of policy combines commercial general liability coverage and property coverage into a single packaged product that is generally more affordable than purchasing these coverage’s as separate policies.  Small businesses that are in the market for insurance coverage should look at whether there is a BOP available that meets their needs.

Here are 7 things business owners need to know about BOP coverage.

1.     Packaged Coverage Can Save You Money

By combining several standard coverage’s required by small businesses into a packaged product, insurers can offer that coverage at a lower price.  As long as the limits and coverage’s offered in a specific insurer’s BOP product meet your needs, this can make getting the insurance your company needs at a price that fits within your budget.

2.     Provides Business Interruption Protection

The one coverage that is frequently included in a BOP package is business continuity coverage.  This type of insurance is often overlooked but it is one of the most important kinds of insurance for small business owners.  Business interruption coverage pays you a specific amount if your business cannot be operated which can make the difference between being able to rebuild after a disaster and having to file bankruptcy.

3.     Often Excludes Professional Liability Coverage

Although BOP coverage generally provides the kinds of insurance small businesses need, one area that is not usually included isprofessional liability coverage.  This means that any business that has professional liability exposure will need to purchase that coverage in addition to BOP.

4.     Tailored to Small Businesses

BOP policies are generally only available to companies that have less than 100 employees and bring in less than $1M in annual revenue.  If your company is larger than that it may not qualify for BOP coverage and buying the specific individual policies your company needs will be more cost effective.

5.     BOP Property Coverage Will Pay to Replace Property

Most BOPs provide protection against the loss or damage of property and will cover the cost of replacing the business property.  This is an important detail to confirm with your insurance agent as the difference between replacement value and actual value can be significant.  Replacement value ensures you will have the resources to replace any lost or damaged property.

6.     Offers Protection Against Libel, Slander, and False Advertising

BOP coverage will protect your business against claims of libelslander, and false advertising in addition to shielding the business from liability for bodily injury and property damage.  This can not only save the company money in the event there is a groundless claim filed, but can also save the company in the event there is a successful claim.

7.     Lower Premium Usually Means Less Flexibility

One thing many business owners do not like about BOP insurance is the lack of flexibility these kinds of policies provide.  Business owner’s need to realize that there is a trade-off when they select BOP coverage.  Because the product is standardized and therefore easier for the company to sell and service, it is offered at a lower cost.  However, in order to maintain that standardization, BOPs don’t usually allow for any customizations or deviations from the base product.  If the BOP you are looking at doesn’t provide exactly what you need, you may need to purchase additional coverage which must be factored into your overall cost/benefit analysis.

A business owner’s policy (BOP) might be the perfect fit for your small business insurance needs.  Make sure you understand exactly what is and what is not covered and if needed, secure additional coverage to fill in any gaps.  By leveraging the cost savings provided by BOP coverage, businesses can ensure they have the protection they need at a price they can afford.

Related Articles:

Business Insurance

Is your business adequately insured? Image via cancocom on Flickr

According to the Small Business Association (SBA), small home based businesses make up more than half of all businesses in the U.S.  These types of businesses are more likely to have the wrong insurance coverage for their needs.  If you are a home-based entrepreneur, here are 6 mistakes you can’t afford to make with your business insurance.

1.     Not Having Insurance Specific for the Business
One of the most common mistakes home-based business owners make with their insurance is making the assumption that their personal insurance policies cover their business.  This is almost never true.  In fact, most homeowner’s and umbrella policies specifically exclude business activities and business property.  This means that if there is a fire in your home, your homeowner’s policy will not pay to replace the computers, equipment, and supplies belonging to your business.

2.     Not Believing that the Company Can Be Sued
It doesn’t matter if you are just starting out, don’t have any real assets, or whatever other reason you are telling yourself, if you own a business, that business can be sued.  In addition, it may be possible for you to be sued personally as well.  If you have a judgment against you, the court can seize your assets, bank accounts can be frozen, and future earnings can be garnished.

3.     Not Planning for Bad Things to Happen to Them
Another big mistake home-based business owners make is not protecting their business in the event something happens to them.  Many small business owners forego disability insurance for both the short and long term without realizing that their odds of being disabled at some point, even temporarily, are much greater than the odds of them dying.  Most home-based businesses could not withstand the loss of their entire workforce, even for a few weeks.  Most small business owners would find it difficult to pay their bills and take care of their families if a disability made it impossible for them to work in the business.

4.     Not Having the Right Insurance
Small business owners are often strapped for cash and strapped for time.  This can lead to bad decision making in the area of insurance.  Business owners cannot rush through the process of identifying their insurance needs without running the risk of buying the wrong policies and being over insured in some areas and underinsured in others.

5.     Not Verifying that All Insured, Entities, and Locations are Listed on Policy Documents
Regardless of the way you have structured your business, you need to make sure that all entities, companies, LLCs, etc. are listed on your insurance policies.  The same goes for all locations that are covered by business property and commercial general liability policies.  In order to ensure they are covered, they must be listed on the policy.

6.     Not Purchasing an Umbrella Liability Policy
Business owners, just like individuals, need umbrella coverage in order to protect themselves and their business from catastrophic circumstances.  Umbrella coverage kicks in after your standard policies hit their limits and hopefully, you will never need it.  However, this is the kind of coverage that if you need it and don’t have it, it can end your business and impact you financially for the rest of your life.
Related Articles:

Business Insurance

Is your business properly insured?

Whether you are a new business owner just starting out or an established entrepreneur looking to hire your first employee, it is important to understand what insurance coverage you need to protect your business.  However, wading through the all the available information to decide what policies and coverages are right for you can easily end with you being over or under insured.

Insurance for businesses comes in many different forms. What you need often depends on several factors including what type of business you are in, whether or not you have employees, and what state you live in.  Many business owners believe that the way the structured their business, as a corporation or LLC, provides them with the protection they need and eliminates the need for business insurance.  This simply isn’t true.  Company structure can protect your personal assets but they do not provide protection for the business itself.

The first step in deciding what kind of insurance you need for your business is to understand the different types of business insurance and the protection each kind offers.  According to the Small Business Association, these are the different kinds of insurance small business owners may need to fully protect their business.

1.    General Liability Insurance

This type of coverage offers broad protection against most legal actions resulting from negligence claims, accidents, or injuries.

2.     Product Liability Insurance

This type of coverage is important for businesses that manufacture, distribute, or sell products including both wholesale and retail sales.  It protects against legal actions resulting from injuries caused by product defect.

3.     Professional Liability Insurance

Similar to product liability insurance, this type of coverage protects businesses that provide services to customers.  It covers things like malpractice, errors and omissions, and negligence that results in harm to your client.  Depending on your profession, the state you live in may require that you carry this kind of insurance.

4.     Commercial Property Insurance

This kind of coverage protects the property and assets that belong to the company against loss or theft.  While it covers real property like buildings and office equipment, it may also cover things like loss of income and business interruption.

5.     Home Based Business Insurance

This type of coverage is specific to businesses run out of your home which are not covered by most homeowner’s policies.  You may be able to cover your home-based business with a few riders on your homeowner’s policy but you may have to purchase other business specific policies as well.

6.     Workers Compensation Insurance

This kind of coverage provides protection for your employees in the event they are injured on the job.  If you have employees, all states require that you carry this kind of coverage.

7.     Unemployment Insurance

This type of coverage is assessed in the form of a tax and is required by all states if you have employees.  It provides funds for the payment of unemployment benefits in the event one of your employees is let go and qualifies for benefits.

8.    Disability Insurance

This type of coverage provides employees with a portion of their pay if they suffer a qualified disability.  It is required for companies with employees in some states.

Now that you understand what each kind of coverage protects, you need to assess the businesses’ potential exposure for loss.  This exposure will help guide the types and amounts of coverage you need to safeguard your business.

Related Articles: