Archive for the ‘Commercial/Business’ Category

Insuring a Church or Non Profit Organization   Leave a comment

Churches and non-profits often suffer naive misconceptions that parishioners or populations they serve are too grateful for their service or charity to sue when something goes wrong. Times have changed. Adequate insurance is necessary.

It is important to choose an agency with experience insuring churches and non-profits. Most churches are small, independent entities lacking the resources to self-insure. In this case, choosing a local agent with commercial and property insurance experience is a prudent choice. The agent should be able to place the policy with an established insurance company which has experience covering church or non-profit entities.

Below is a list of some types of coverage to consider. There may be additional factors to contemplate before deciding on which policy to purchase. Always consult your insurance agent!

Property Insurance:

Church authorities need to decide whether to insure for actual or replacement cost. In old, historic churches containing hard-to-replace or irreplaceable structures, treasures or artifacts, actual replacement may be hard to calculate. The cost of insurance may be difficult to price or prohibitively expensive. Newer churches can get by with replacement costs. All real estate owned by the organization should be covered.

Professional Liability, Acts/Errors/Omissions Coverage:

Many clergy and staff provide professional counseling or professionally licensed services to their constituents. Failure to provide appropriate professional coverage may not only be foolhardy, but illegal.

Liability Insurance:

This covers a church for property damage caused by the church to another person. Volunteers are a particularly difficult variable to consider. Consult with experienced agents and even legal counsel to choose appropriate insurance policies covering volunteers. Many insurers have special rules regarding volunteers. These rules can be extensive and costly. Compliance requires extra documentation and oversight to avoid voiding coverage.

Directors and Officer Liability Insurance:

Many churches have auxiliary service organizations that are non-profit in nature; such as, shelters, soup kitchens and schools. These entities often have independent boards and officers. When choosing this coverage, tailor it to be sure it is appropriate.

“Our blogs are for general education information only and may not represent your unique needs. Coverages will vary. Please contact your insurance agent to verify your specific policy terms and conditions.”

Posted September 4, 2012 by leecountyinsurance in Commercial/Business, General Info

How to protect your business commercial auto risks in three easy steps   Leave a comment

Your business is only as safe as the tools you use. One of the best tools your business can use to protect your assets is a commercial auto insurance policy.

Understanding insurance can be tricky. That is why you should consult an independent insurance agent since one of the first steps toward making informed decisions is to understand your coverage and service options. Here are some easy steps to help you figure out your commercial auto insurance risks and needs:

1. Make sure you choose an insurer with the right combination of price and service options to suite your needs. Insurance isn’t just about price. It’s about the service, too. How are claims handled? How fast are they settled? How long will it take to get your vehicle back on the road? Do you have access to someone to assist you outside of business hours or online, and do they know the answers to your questions?

2. Research all of your policy options. Having the correct coverage is important. Most standard commercial auto policy generally includes coverage for the following:

•Injuries or damage that you create or cause.
•Your driver’s injuries.
•Injuries and damages caused by uninsured or underinsured drivers.
•Damage to, or theft of, your vehicle(s).

When it comes to the damage that you may cause, you may be required by your carrier to purchase certain limits based on who you work for. For instance, if you work for a certain company, you may be required to carry $2 million in liability limits. You will need to consider how much you are willing to pay out of pocket if your liability in an accident is more than your policy limits.

3. Know how your policy is underwritten and priced. You most certainly can control your insurance costs. To get the best rates, run MVRs (motor vehicle reports) on your potential drivers. If you let your insurance lapse (expire), you’ll probably pay more for your next policy. Ask about discounts, including paid-in-full and renewal discounts.

Just like your customers rely on your professional skills, call an independent insurance agent who will be your trusted advisor who will research your options and recommend the best options for your business!

“Our blogs are for general education and information only and may not represent your unique needs. Coverages will vary. Please contact your insurance agent to verify your specific policy terms and conditions.”

Small Businesses: Don’t Let Business Risk Share Your Home   Leave a comment

The diversification of the U.S. economy over the past generation has meant that millions of Americans have started their own businesses. Americans still chase the dream of being their own boss by starting their own business—and the trend may pick up during the economic slump of 2009 because of hiring slowdowns and spikes in corporate layoffs.

Small businesses are the biggest driver of job growth, generating 60 to 80 percent of net new jobs annually over the last decade, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. Small firms employ half of U.S. workers.

And the sole proprietor is alive and well: In 2005, there were six million firms with employees but a whopping 20.4 million firms who had no employees other than the owner, according to the Small Business Administration.

Of all small businesses, 52 percent are home-based. That means millions of Americans are earning their business income where they live. But business owner beware: Don’t expect homeowners insurance to cover business risks.

Business insurance offers protection from liability and property risks. Often these coverages are combined into a package policy called a BOP or business owner’s policy. Millions of small and mid-sized business owners purchase or renew their BOP every year.

Typically, a BOP includes the following coverages:
Property insurance for buildings and contents of the business. Home-based business might not need coverage for their property, since it’s already insured against risks of fire, lightning and windstorm. But if there are additional risks to the structure because of the presence of business operations, those won’t necessarily be covered by homeowners insurance. Your Trusted Choice® insurance agent can help determine if a special endorsement or a separate policy are most appropriate.

Home-based businesses might not have adequate coverage through homeowners insurance because homeowners policies often have “sublimits” restricting coverage for business property. For instance, the homeowners policy may cover business property, but typically only up to $2,500 while it is “on premises” and up to $500 while the property is “off premises.”

One example of inadequate coverage was a home-based retail cosmetics/personal care business that kept $20,000 of inventory in a garage that caught fire. The inventory was covered only up to the sublimits of the homeowners policy. Another instance: Coverage would be limited to the “off premises” limit of $500 if a laptop computer valued at $1,500 that is stolen while the business owner has it away from home.

Property insurance for buildings and contents of the business. Home-based businesses might not need coverage for their property, since it’s already insured against risks of fire, lightning and windstorm.

If there are additional structures on a residential property where the homeowner operates a business, those won’t necessarily be covered by homeowners insurance. For example, a detached garage that serves as a small-engine repair shop would not be covered by homeowners insurance; that business owner would need a policy endorsement to gain coverage.

Business interruption insurance. This protects against loss of income resulting from a fire or other covered event that disrupts the business. This coverage can also include the extra costs a business shoulders while it works from a temporary location. A fire in a home can be double trouble for a home-based business.

Liability insurance.
This protects the small business for legal responsibility for the damage it causes to other people or entities. Liability insurance is usually priced according to the risk of the industry in which the business operates. A business that manufactures toys, for example, faces different risks than a consulting firm. Liability insurance shields a business and its employees if they cause bodily injury or property damage.

Not included in a BOP are professional liability coverage, automobile insurance, workers compensation, medical insurance and disability insurance. All can be covered with separate policies.

Check with us. We are a Trusted Choice®  insurance agent and can help you with insurance protection of your small business—especially if it is a home-based business.

Posted September 4, 2012 by leecountyinsurance in Commercial/Business