WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 26, 2020
No one wants to think of an employee stealing from them, but it’s unfortunate risk that all businessowners have to consider. Even with the most strict background checks, the unexpected can happen. If an employee does decide to steal a work vehicle, that vehicle should be covered as long as you have the right insurance.
Commercial auto insurance comes with a lot of different facets of coverage. The main type of coverage is liability, which is required by most states. Liability covers bodily injury and property damage that you may cause someone else.
It is the optional coverages, however, that can prove invaluable to your company. Employee theft won’t be covered by basic liability coverage. Just like with personal auto insurance, theft is covered under comprehensive coverage. Comprehensive coverage provides compensation to your business in case a work vehicle is lost or damaged to fire, hail, wind, theft and vandalism. Thankfully, theft under comprehensive coverage does cover employee theft.
There are a few reasons an employee might steal the vehicle. Some disgruntled employees may hold the vehicle “hostage” and refuse to return it until their demands are met. Other employees may simply not have another mode of transportation, so they refuse to return the vehicle. In a few cases, especially with ex-employees who believe themselves to be wrongfully fired, the employee may steal the company vehicle simply out of anger or spite. Whatever the case, it’s important to notify police if an employee refuses to turn a work vehicle. If the employee causes damage to the vehicle either on purpose or on accident, the damages should be covered under your commercial auto insurance’s comprehensive coverage.
You can hope that your company will never have to deal with this, but it’s best to be prepared no matter the case.
Other optional coverage available under commercial auto insurance includes:
- Collision Coverage: Collision coverage provides compensation if the vehicle is damaged due to a collision with another vehicle or object.
- Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist: This coverage provides compensation if the driver crashes with a motorist who isn’t carrying auto insurance.
- Medical Payments Coverage: Medical payments coverage provides compensation for medical bills for the driver and their passengers no matter who caused the accident.
- Hired and Non-Owned Coverage: This provides coverage for vehicles hired, leased or borrowed by the company in case they are damaged in an accident.
THURSDAY, JANUARY 23, 2020
Your workers compensation insurance rates usually depend on how many injury claims you've had. To keep your insurance rates low and your employees healthy, take these preventive measures.
Train Your Employees On Safety
One of your most important tasks is training your employees on how to do the job safely. Even if they're experienced, you likely still have some processes and equipment that are either unique to your company or that the employees may not have encountered before.
To make sure that they get all the information that they need, have a standardized training process rather than assuming they'll learn on the job. By making this training a focal point — rather than something done in passing — you're also emphasizing that safety is part of your culture.
Give Your Employees The Tools They Need
Many injuries result from old equipment or employees trying to make do with something that isn't quite right for the job at hand. If you require them to buy their own personal protective equipment, there's a chance that they either won't get it — or that they won't maintain it properly when they want to spend their money on other things.
Whenever tools or equipment are important to safety, your company should take on the responsibility of providing them.
Document All Incidents
Document all potential injuries, no matter how minor. This does a few things. First, it allows you to identify safety problems that you can fix with new procedures, training, or equipment before someone is seriously hurt.
Second, when you make it normal to report all injuries, workers won’t get the impression that doing so is bad. This makes them less likely to tough out injuries.
Finally, if you record that an employee reported a minor injury and immediately went back to work, it can protect you from an embellished or fraudulent workers compensation claim.
Take Disciplinary Action For Unsafe Incidents
If employees fail to follow your safety procedures, take the level of disciplinary action you feel will prevent a repeat of the same problem. Pay particular attention to supervisors who may be pressuring employees to cut corners to make the supervisor look like they're getting more out of their team. If you don't enforce safety and prevent accidents, associated workers compensation insurance rate increases could be far more than any cost savings.
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 31, 2019
Your commercial property insurance policy will cover most of the hazards likely to befall your place of business, but it won't cover everything. There are some common exclusions that you will find in more policies than not. These are as follows:
There may be other exclusions that apply based on your industry, where you live, and who you're buying insurance from. Take the time to read through your policy, ask your insurer any questions you might have, and don't make the mistake of simply assuming something is covered.
- Flooding. Just as with home insurance, your basic policy isn't going to cover floods. You can invest in a commercial flood insurance policy to help cover the gap, of course.
- Earthquakes. This is similar to the scenario with flooding. Most home policies do not cover earthquakes. The same goes for most commercial property policies. Again, you can invest in an additional policy to bridge the gap.
- Commercial auto accidents. Your commercial property insurance policy may cover the store, the warehouse and the office. But it's not going to cover your autos. Insuring vehicles and insuring buildings are two completely different things. Sometimes, a company outfitted to do one might not even be equipped for the other. You might be able to buy commercial auto and property insurance as part of the same package, but they're going to be two separate policies.
- Equipment breakdown. Insurance is intended to cover things that might happen. Equipment breakdown is something that certainly will happen. So, you may find that while your insurer is more than willing to buy you a new pizza oven when yours is damaged in a fire, they're not going to pay for a new one just because the old one is getting on in years. Equipment breakdown is not a risk to be managed. Instead, it’s something that is just about guaranteed to take place over time.
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 19, 2019
Commercial insurance protects your company from the risks associated with being in business. It's important to keep your personal and commercial risks separate. It's the general liability portion of your policy that affords the most protection for your business — and by extension your personal — assets.
Here’s more about general liability and other coverage available for your enterprise.
Who Needs Business Liability Insurance?
If you own a business, you probably need general liability insurance. Annual premiums fall between $750 to $2,000, depending on what kind of business you have and what you wish to cover. That beats the thousands or millions of dollars a single court case can cost you.
You can buy general liability insurance as a standalone product or combine it into a bundled Business Owner’s Policy, or BOP, that includes property insurance. Either way, it's important to know your liability coverage limit. If needed, consider supplementing your coverage with other commercial policies.
Types Of Commercial Insurance
Besides general liability insurance, other commercial insurance policies cover specific risks. You can protect your business assets by choosing the policies that best match your needs. This could include property damage, bodily injury, slander, libel, advertising, and medical expenses.
Here are the available types of commercial insurance to augment general liability insurance.
Along with general liability insurance, consider these and other options that your agent can help you understand.
- Product Liability: This suits businesses that wholesale, distribute, sell or manufacture products. This protects your business if a defective product injures someone.
- Commercial Property: This coverage is ideal for businesses with physical assets — such as a building and its contents. This covers your company for property damage caused by fire, hail, smoke, vandalism or civil disobedience.
- Professional Liability: This is for customer service businesses and covers negligence, errors and malpractice.
- Home-Based Business Insurance: This insurance is designed for companies run out of your home. It's beneficial if you meet clients at your house. Protection includes business equipment and liability coverage for injuries. This may be written as a rider to your homeowner's insurance.
- Business Owners Policies: Purchase this type of policy if you have a small business or home-based business owner. It bundles different types of policies to help you save money.
MONDAY, OCTOBER 14, 2019
If you already have commercial insurance to cover liability and property damage, you may think you are good to go. However, you should carefully consider whether the payout caps on your regular business insurance policy adequately cover your risks. If you cannot increase your business coverage to a satisfactory amount, commercial umbrella insurance can help you fill the gap.
What Is Commercial Umbrella Insurance?
This type of insurance gives you an extra layer of protection because it pays for expenses that go above your regular liability limits. For example, if your commercial liability limit is $100,000 but you are held responsible for $250,000 in damages, your commercial umbrella insurance can cover the difference, up to your umbrella liability limit.
Extra Layer of Protection
This insurance provides additional coverage above the limits of existing coverage types, including:
- employer’s liability policies
Typically, commercial umbrella insurance pays for legal costs and settlements over and above the amount on your underlying policy. Umbrella insurance is only available if you have regular coverage for the area you want additional coverage for. For example, if you want additional coverage on your commercial fleet, you must first have traditional commercial auto insurance.
Why It's Important
Commercial umbrella insurance safeguards your business assets with extra coverage on policies such as auto, liability and errors and omissions insurance. An umbrella policy is often more affordable than raising the underlying claim limits. In some cases, however, you might also have to carry the highest liability limits available on that policy for it to qualify for umbrella protection in the first place.
Commercial Umbrella Insurance in Action
You can customize your umbrella coverage to cater to your business or industry. The risk you experience may be unique from other businesses. For example, if you own a brewery, you might need additional liquor liability insurance. If you rent boats and jet skis, your umbrella should include additional watercraft liability coverage. Your agent can help you determine if a certain policy qualifies for umbrella coverage.
Read Your Commercial Umbrella Insurance Policy Carefully
Speak with your agent and review your commercial umbrella policy carefully. Look for exclusions that vary from your underlying policies. An umbrella policy may be written with wider exclusions that you may not notice at first glance. For example, the injury exclusion for your basic liability coverage includes an exception for the use of force to protect your property, other people or yourself. The exclusion in the coinciding umbrella policy might not cover these exceptions.