9 months ago ·
by Mrs. Mapp ·
Do you have a Natural Disaster Plan?
If disaster strikes, you have insurance to cover your costs. This is a great first step in disaster preparedness.
To take your preparations to the next level, it’s important to put proactive measures in place. A proactive approach will aid in the recovery of your business beyond simple financial reimbursement.
Consider what else is on the line when claim-worthy situations arise. Money probably won’t be your only concern.
Would you lose crucial data? Would you be able to organize employees to relocate your business? What steps do you need to take to protect your business from additional loss, crippling chaos, or potential shutdown after a disaster?
To minimize your losses and ensure your doors stay open after a catastrophic event, use the following proactive methods.
Back It Up
What record-keeping system do you use for your company data? If you have paper files, do you have a digital backup? If you have digital files, do you have backup copies or web-based servers in case the files become corrupted or lost?
Everything from customer information to billing to personnel records can be lost in an instant if you don’t have backups of all files.
Make a Plan
Do you know what you would do if you could no longer use your current location to conduct business? Could you establish communication with employees if you needed to relocate?
These are important questions to consider before disaster hits. Have a plan in place for communicating with employees after a disaster, designating responsibilities, and creating a temporary home for your business.
Run a Drill
Employee safety must be a top priority. Would your staff know what to do in an emergency?
Create a disaster response plan, including an evacuation plan, and make sure everyone is familiar with it. Include disaster response as part of standard employee training, and conduct drills twice a year to make sure everyone is on the same page.
Build a Kit
Store emergency supplies at your business. Create an emergency kit that includes flashlights, batteries, water, a fire extinguisher, nonperishable food, a first-aid kit, a whistle, and blankets. If feasible, it may also be helpful to include a generator.
Take an Inventory
If you need to report losses to your insurance carrier, do you have a list of company inventory you could provide?
This goes beyond the products that you sell. Would you be able to recall what is in every room of your office, facility, or store?
Create an inventory of all furniture, equipment, tools, and other items that you would have to replace in the event of a full-scale disaster. Maintain this inventory list, with photos and receipts, at an off-site location for safekeeping.
Place a Call
Do you know exactly what insurance coverage you have in place? Do you know how to file a claim if the need arises?
Remember to keep your insurance agent’s contact information in a place where it can be easily accessed after a disaster. Contact us to discuss your current policies and potential needs so we can help you plan for the unexpected.
2 years ago ·
by Mrs. Mapp ·
One bed was too small. One was too big. Goldilocks didn’t rest until she found just the right size.
It’s crucial that you do the same for your commercial insurance coverage. A variety of policies are available, and yours should be customized to suit the needs of your business. These needs are different depending on whether your business is home-based, small, medium, or large. Your agent can walk you through the many options to determine what is best for your company. Use the following overview to get started.
These companies are based out of the owner’s home and typically have zero to one additional employee on the payroll. This scenario is extremely common, as many businesses start out this way. Often, the business enjoys success, grows, and relocates to a commercial setting.
In the meantime, it’s important to have appropriate insurance coverage while the business is in the home. Too often, owners assume their homeowner’s policy will cover their home-based business. This coverage may offer some protection, but it will not necessarily provide the full coverage you need. It’s important to discuss the operations of your business with your agent to determine whether you need additional limits or a commercial policy.
A small business is loosely defined as one that employs fewer than 100 personnel and generates annual revenue of less than $5 million.
If this describes your business, you probably qualify for a BOP. This “business owner’s policy” combines several policies. It offers the basic coverages you need as a small business owner in one convenient policy. A BOP generally includes property insurance, general liability insurance, and business interruption insurance. Additional options are available to customize the policy further for your specific needs. This BOP provides adequate protection at an affordable rate.
If your business has outgrown baby-bear size but hasn’t reached papa-bear status, you are running a medium-sized business. This sized company typically employs more than 100 but less than 1,000 staff and earns annual revenues between $10 million and $1 billion.
Because your needs are different than those of small or large businesses, insurance providers generally offer specialized policies for medium-sized business. You may still be able to combine your property and liability coverage, but you may also need extended coverage for equipment or multiple locations. Your agent can review the specifics of your business to customize a policy that offers just the right coverage for your company’s needs.
Most businesses that have more than 500 employees are considered large businesses. Their revenues vary based on the type of business. What they have in common are multimillion-dollar risks. Many have risk management professionals on staff to assess these risks and develop plans to minimize them. An insurance professional can also assist with this task.
Large businesses often require multiple policies, and coverage must be tailored to the industry. Industry leaders often have greater liability risk. Factory-based businesses may have greater personal injury risk. Your insurance agent can customize your coverage to ensure your business has the protection it needs.
2 years ago ·
by Mrs. Mapp ·
Spring Cleaning in your business= review your commercial insurance policy today!
Spring cleaning isn’t just for homeowners. It’s also a good time to review your commercial property to check for seasonal damage, do necessary cleanup, and deal with maintenance issues. A well-maintained building can keep costs down and insurance claims lower.
Here are some tasks to tackle this spring cleaning:
Review the roof: Overlooked issues can lead to leaks and expensive repairs, and seasonal storms and general wear and tear can take their toll. Give your roof a once-over each spring, and make repairs while they’re still manageable.
Explore the exterior: Examine the walls of your building. Is it time for new siding? Is your foundation cracked or crumbling? Make touch-ups as needed to keep your property in top shape. This will help you save money, keep your building looking sharp, and reflect well on your image.
Gut the gutters: If gutters get clogged, they can’t do their job, and your property may suffer water damage. Before the spring rains, make sure your gutters are ready. Clean them out, and replace any loose or broken pieces.
Test your terrain: Spring is a good time to plan landscaping projects for the year. Is your terrain properly graded to divert water away from the building? Do you need to trim trees away from your roofline? Take some time to evaluate your property and schedule any necessary projects.
Secure your safety: Evaluate your property for potential liability issues. Ensure walkways are smooth. Replace loose railings. Inspect electrical systems for safety concerns. These simple steps could prevent lawsuits.
2 years ago ·
by Mrs. Mapp ·
It’s important to understand the crucial connection between your employee handbook and your insurance. In fact, you can think of your employee handbook as a fundamental part of your insurance coverage. Essentially, insurance is much of what the book represents, since one of the top priorities as you create your employee handbook should be to protect yourself against costly lawsuits.
Yes, you provide the handbook to deliver information to employees and help onboard them, but the information is provided to help you as well. You can include fun facts about the history of the business and contest records from company picnics, but don’t leave out the nitty-gritty information that is essential to your operations.
The handbook should clearly spell out expectations in all areas of employment, offering guidelines you can refer to if an employee accuses you of unfair treatment. If a situation escalates into a discrimination lawsuit, you have the handbook to fall back on as proof you fully disclosed your policies and properly handled the situation.
Without these disclosures and guidelines, employers put themselves at greater risk of costly lawsuits. To give your business the best protection, create a thorough handbook that covers all the bases.
Be sure to include:
Equal opportunity statement: This assures employees that you do not discriminate with regards to gender, religion, disability, etc. Therefore, it helps cover your company’s liability on a host of fronts.
At-will statement: This statement informs employees that their employment with your company is voluntary and subject to termination at will, with or without cause, and with or without notice. This will help cover many situations that could otherwise escalate into lawsuits.
Hiring and firing: Provide the details of your hiring process as well as the process for firing an employee.
Discipline: Provide an outline for disciplinary action. What happens after a first offense, second, and so on? Clearly detail what steps will be taken to correct employee behavior and at what point you will terminate.
Job descriptions: Clearly describe the expectations of each position and the skills required to meet them.
Attendance policies: Specify expectations of attendance, including hours if appropriate. Note the action that will be taken if attendance does not meet these standards.
Complaints: Inform employees of the correct procedure to follow if they need to file a complaint against a fellow worker, a manager, or the company. Let employees know what they can expect as a response.
Open-door policy: Let employees know they can report harassment, violations, or other situations without fear of reprisal. Outline the proper procedures for these actions. Make sure employees know clearly what to do if they experience a situation such as sexual harassment in the workplace.
Zero tolerance policy: State in your handbook any zero tolerance policies. Such policies typically include discrimination, harassment, and substance abuse.
Be sure to include a definitive index, but don’t worry if your handbook becomes lengthy. A thorough handbook will protect your business more effectively against potential lawsuits. It will be well worth the extra pages.
Editor’s Note: These are guidelines only. Here are two of the many resources available to help you ensure your handbook covers what is necessary: Need to Know What Goes into an Employee Handbook? https://www.thebalance.com/need-to-know-what-goes-in-an-employee-handbook-1918308 and Top 10 Employee Handbook Updates https://www.shrm.org/hr-today/news/hr-magazine/pages/0216-employee-handbook-updates.aspx
2 years ago ·
by Mrs. Mapp ·
Happy New Year, Entrepreneurs!!!
Have you listed your upcoming New Year resolutions? Here’s one suggestion that business owners may want to add to their resolution list—review your business insurance policies.
It may help boost your bottom line in 2018.
The end of the year is a good time to review your policies in light of the events of the previous year. A quick evaluation of your coverage could help you save next year. And who doesn’t want that? Here are the steps to take:
Step 1. Review your business: What changes have you made this year, if any? Has your business grown? Have you altered any policies that could affect your insurance? Did you add or remove vehicles, employees, or facilities?
Step 2. Make a list: Make a list of any changes that will affect your business going forward. Note any new procedures you put into effect this year, as well as any you will be enacting in 2018. Write down any questions you have about your coverage.
Step 3. Contact your carrier: With your list in hand, contact your insurance agent. He or she will help you review your current policies to determine if they are still the best options for your business. For example, you may have made changes that will reduce your premiums, or you may be eligible for new discounts.
Step 4. Review Your Profit and Loss Statements
This will give you a snapshot of your business financial performance and what you didn’t do well in 2017 financially. These should take place at regular intervals, such as every month, to make sure your business is going in the right direction.
When the year comes to a close, gather all of your bank statements from that year for review. A bank reconciliation can also be used to detect cases where fraud has occurred so that you can then develop better controls to govern your bookkeeping system for next year.
This easy process will ensure you have the appropriate coverage and could help you save significantly on your 2018 business insurance. And saving money is one of the best resolutions you can make. If you don’t have a carrier; give us a call to make sure you’re properly covered.
2 years ago ·
by Mrs. Mapp ·
As a savvy business owner, there’s no doubt that you’ve looked into basic commercial insurance coverage and its cost. So you may recognize the two most common business insurance policies: general liability and property damage.
Depending on the type of business you own, there’s one important thing you may have missed in reviewing the options available. That is, unless your electrical and/or mechanical equipment is damaged by one of the general perils specifically listed on your property damage policy, you won’t be covered if you have to replace or repair it.
A few examples of commonly covered perils are events such as fire, wind, hail, smoke, and civil unrest. However, the average policy usually doesn’t include any coverage for mechanical breakdown. And not having the proper endorsement to properly protect your equipment could shut down your business for days or weeks, during which time your income and profits could all but cease.
Who needs it?
If the extent of your business’s equipment is a small cash register and a phone, and/or if you rent a space where the owner provides maintenance, heat, and air, you may find that you’re not going to need mechanical breakdown coverage as an essential part of your commercial insurance coverage, providing, of course, you have saved up the money towards replacing or repairing your cash register and phone in the event of a non-covered loss.
Those business owners who should be especially concerned about equipment breakdown coverage are companies that have any or all of the following: manufacturing equipment; more than one computer; refrigeration; boiler systems; cooking equipment; generators; motors; fire and security systems.
Equipment breakdown coverage is important whether you own or lease the equipment. To protect themselves, leasing companies will often require you to carry this protection, not unlike an auto lender that insists you carry comprehensive and collision coverage on your auto insurance policy when you’re financing a car.
This policy will cover labor and other costs of repairing equipment, not just replacing it. There are other residual losses that may occur due to the breakdown that are also covered. For example, if you own a restaurant and your freezer breaks, causing you to lose thousands of dollars’ worth of frozen food, that would be covered.
Clean-up services may also be covered if the breakdown causes a mess. One of its greatest benefits is that it will also cover any loss of business you experience while getting the equipment repaired or replaced.
Some insurance companies will offer equipment breakdown as a separate policy, or it can be added as an endorsement – a special addition – to your existing commercial insurance policy.
Ask your insurance professional if there are differences in the coverage limits and options, so you can make a well-informed decision about which option would be better for you.
Prepare and protect the flow of your business to ensure minimal interruption if something or, as sometimes happens, everything breaks down. Your business account (and your personal checking account) will thank you.
2 years ago ·
by Mrs. Mapp ·
Write 31 Days Challenge
Welcome to my Write 31 days challenge this year. In the month of October bloggers from all over the world will be discussing one topic for 31 days.
This topic will help small businesses, direct sales representative’s, daycare provider or organization’s and blogger’s as well. Every small business or entrepreneur should know the importance of having the proper insurance to make sure the business is protected. This is very important especially in the time we are in today. When a small business opens their door all they can think of making their first profit, insurance never crosses their mind until the unthinkable happens.
This is why I decided to dedicate the month of October to make sure you know the importance of protecting your business, the right questions to ask your broker and have a checklist to use to make sure you have everything you need to run your business.
For the next 31 days, you’ll be learning about different insurance products that will help protect your business against theft and how to make sure your employees are protected as well. As an added bonus you’ll be receiving business checklists and a sample safety plan to help make sure your business is heading in the right direction. This is also a gentle reminder; it’s time to get your business insured before it’s too late and tax season is right around the corner. This will help save you money in the end :). I’m happy that you decided to come along with me for write 31 days.
Check this page daily or weekly to get your assignments to help get your business back in financial shape and insured. If there’s anything you would like for me to address in the upcoming week’s; please leave your comment(s) below.
Here’s an easy way to access our articles.
Article 1: I sell online. Why Do I Need Insurance?
Article 2: Five Must Have Insurance Products for Startups
Article 3: Protect Yourself…Professional Liability
Article 4: How to combat Employee Theft and Avoid Hefty Insurance Hikes
Article 5: Small Businesses Need E & O Insurance
Article 6: Prepare for Cyber Security Attacks
Article 7: Homeowners vs Commercial Insurance
Article 8: 3 Top Litigation Trends Impacting Your Business
Article 9: Is Your Business Prepared for a Disaster?
Article 10: Do I Need Holiday Insurance for My Business?
Article 11: Are You Susceptible to a Product Liability Suit?
Article 12: How to Shop for Commercial Auto Insurance
Article 13: 9 Cyber Insurance Terms You Need to Know
Article 14: What’s Your Commercial Property Worth?
Article 15: How to Prepare Your Business from Cyber Attacks
Article 16: Small Businesses Need Risk Assessments, Too
Article 17: Commercial Insurance: One Size Does Not Fit All
Article 18: Pardon the Interruption…Be Back in Business Soon!
Article 19: Stop Thief!
Article 20: Protect Your E-Business with Special Insurance
Article 21: Why All Businesses Needs Systems To Help Them Succeed
Article 22: Disability Coverage Can Save Your Business
Article 23: You Can Survive a Cash Crunch
Article 24: Business Owners Should Track These Monthly
Article 25: Simple Steps To Reduce Data Security Incidents
Article 26: 10 Insurance Terms You Must Know and Understand
Article 27: Too Small To Do Bookkeeping?
Article 28: See Your Agent to Save on Business Insurance
Article 29: Should You Share Your E&O Policy?
Article 30: Freelancers Ricks All without the Right Coverage
Article 31: Insurance is a Must when Storing Flammables
I hope this inspires you to join us next October for the write 31 days challenge.
2 years ago ·
by Mrs. Mapp ·
Employee theft is anything but harmless.
It is a problem of considerable size for many companies.
Many corporate security experts estimate that 25% to 40% of all employees steal from their employers.
The U.S. Department of Commerce estimates that employee theft of cash, property, and merchandise may cost American businesses as much as $50 billion annually.
Not only does employee theft detract from potential profit and destroy trust, but it may actually increase insurance rates due to the loss of inventory, clients or even liability should data fall into the wrong hands.
Unfortunately, almost every small-business owner is likely to confront employee theft at some point and time.
Follow the three tips below to reduce the risk of employee theft, maintain profits and avoid insurance rate hikes:
Whether you use an internal system or work with a third-party vendor to screen employees, preventing a problem from taking place is the best way to deal with employee theft. Positions that deal with sensitive data or expensive items may require an additional security clearance or bonding.
Proper security goes beyond a few door locks. It may involve computer encryption, asset management, the phone and email surveillance, or even simple inventory controls. Depending upon the position, job duties and type of industry served, you should compare the cost of implementing security features against the potential damages in the event of a loss.
It may involve computer encryption, asset management, the phone and email surveillance, or even simple inventory controls. Depending upon the position, job duties and type of industry served, you should compare the cost of implementing security features against the potential damages in the event of a loss.
Depending upon the position, job duties and type of industry served, you should compare the cost of implementing security features against the potential damages in the event of a loss.
Employee theft is often associated with other underlying issues, such as substance abuse problems, mental or emotional health issues, or even anger control concerns. Have a written plan in place to address these concerns, then implement it equally. It is also important to have clearly defined job descriptions and protocols in place for access to critical information such as client lists or inventory.
Have a written plan in place to address these concerns, then implement it equally. It is also important to have clearly defined job descriptions and protocols in place for access to critical information such as client lists or inventory. Ask us how to write your employee theft plan today.
3 years ago ·
by Mrs. Mapp ·
A good benefits package can enhance your business by attracting employees and retaining current staff. But there’s a downside: errors in the administration of benefits can result in lawsuits against your company. If this happens, your employee benefits liability (EBL) policy will kick in. How? Here are some FAQs on this important coverage.
What is employee benefits liability coverage? Employee benefits liability insurance protects your company against suits that result from administrative errors. If someone managing your employee benefits makes a mistake and this error results in a lawsuit, EBL protects you from the associated costs. Some types of suits are not covered by general liability policies, making this additional coverage a very important add-on; EBL coverage is typically added to your general liability policy as an endorsement.
What kinds of mistakes? Employee benefits packages can be extremely complex. From life insurance policies to maternity leave, these benefits involve minute details and significant administration. When an error is made, affected employees can suffer major financial losses. EBL is available to cover these situations, including:
- Descriptions of benefits and eligibility. When explaining coverage to your employees, you or your benefits manager may convey incorrect information, and the employees are more than likely to make benefits choices based on this erroneous info. This decision could cost them down the road, and they may hold you liable for their financial burden. If a lawsuit is filed because of your error, EBL has you covered.
- Losses of electronic and/or paper records. Maintaining records of all benefit information is essential. If your HR department accidentally loses a benefit file, the loss could prove costly. If your employee suffers because this information is missing and sues you, your EBL insurance covers the costs.
- Enrollment, maintenance, and termination of employees and beneficiaries. If your benefit packages are complex, it can be easy to miss a detail. One mistake on a form could omit an employee’s beneficiary from that person’s plan. Mistakes such as these are covered by EBL insurance.
What plans are covered? EBL offers coverage for a full range of benefits. These include insurance benefits, financial benefits, disability and worker’s compensation benefits, and other fringe benefits such as tuition reimbursement and maternity leave.
Who needs EBL insurance? If your staff includes a large number of employees and you offer a full benefits package, it’s wise to have this policy in place. If you have few workers and offer few benefits, you may not need it, although it’s always wise to check.
As the goal is to provide coverage against large claims by employees or their dependents should they suffer financial loss due to your mismanagement of their benefits, the size of your risk will determine the coverage required. When in doubt, discuss EBL coverage with your agent, who will help you review your insurance policies and decide whether EBL coverage is necessary for your business.
Mistakes happen. If they do, EBL can provide you with peace of mind. And it may prevent the unthinkable: a suit that will sink your company.