By Catherine Powell
|Image courtesy Pixabay|
Owning a successful business is nothing to take lightly. It takes the vision to see a need that begs to be fulfilled. Then it takes the guts to risk your hard-earned money to enter a competitive marketplace to acquire a piece of the pie. It also takes a long-term commitment of personal time to make sure your ship of commerce stays afloat. Even if all of the above are accomplished to perfection, a successful business still needs to avoid many obstacles that can derail or destroy it without warning. That's why business insurance was created. If you own a business, or are thinking of starting one, you need to understand the perils that potentially lay ahead of you as well as the products that can protect your venture from calamities large and small. Below are ten ways business insurance can help you protect your enterprise.
#1: Property Insurance - Many business owners think they don't need property insurance if they rdon't own the building in which they work. This couldn't be further from the truth. Business property insurance covers much more than the office space in which you work. It also covers the contents, including office equipment, furniture, inventory, and tools. If your office should ever be broken into, consumed by a fire, damaged by a burst pipe or a passing storm, do you have the money to make it whole again? If not, you need to talk to your insurance agent about commercial property insurance.
#2: General Liability Insurance - Business owners need to contend with the possibility that sometimes something can go wrong with which they have no control. A customer could injure themselves while on the premises. A guest at your company party may become inebriated and later sue you should they injure themselves or others. You or one of your employees may damage someone else's property in the course of doing business. In short, should your firm wind up being sued, it could cost you money even if you're found not guilty. If you don't carry general liability insurance, court costs and attorney's fees could put a big dent in your company's bottom line.
#3: Professional Liability Insurance - Not only can a company be sued for damages done to others, it can also be sued for the services it performs. That's right, if a client feels that the work your firm did for them wasn't up to snuff or the advice you or one of your employees gave them caused financial harm, you could wind up being dragged into court. Likewise, if your firm fails to deliver a product or service in a timely manner, it could result in a lawsuit. Breach of contract, errors and omissions, or malpractice claims are just a few terms used in court to take companies or individuals to task when damage other than to property or a person's body occur. Professional liability insurance can help you defend your business against these claims in a court of law.
#4: Worker's Compensation Insurance - Many employers lament that it's hard to find good help. But what happens when your employees get injured while performing the tasks you assigned them? That's when worker's compensation insurance comes into play. Instead of being sued, an injured employee will be compensated for their injury and lost wages by insurance that can even be required by law. Before you start a business, you should consult your insurance agent about worker's comp requirements.
#5: Disability Insurance - Have you ever considered what would happen if one of your employees couldn't work should they become temporarily or permanently disabled other than in a work-related incident? Disability insurance picks up where worker's comp leaves off to help employees replace lost wages should they be unable to work. (This can include maternity leave.) Available on either a short or a long term basis, such plans can be offered as an employee benefit or available for employees to purchase through the company.
#6: Key Man Insurance - Far from being sexist, key man (or key person) insurance can be taken out on any individual within a company that is considered irreplaceable. In short, key man insurance is a life insurance policy designed to pay out to a company in order to help them recover from the loss of an individual who contributes directly to the bottom line and whose loss would cause a financial hardship. Such policies can be issued to everyone from key executives and partners, to department heads and engineers. If your business would suffer financially due to the loss of a member of your staff, you owe it to yourself to look into key man insurance.
#7: Business Interruption Insurance - While you may have done a great deal of research to determine how to position your business for success, have you ever considered what would happen if happenstance of Mother Nature stopped your business from operating for an extended period of time? Think about what would happen to your enterprise should a fire, a hurricane, or some other unexpected occurrence cause you to shut down your business for a month or more. How would you be able to pay your staff or replace the revenue that was lost until you could get your business back on its feet? You wouldn't have to worry so much if your firm was covered by business interruption insurance which is designed to help your business recover from such events.
#8: Cyber Insurance - Does your business use computers for business purposes? Have you ever considered what would happen should they get hacked and your company's data should be stolen or destroyed? Do you lose sleep at night wondering how your business could function should they be held hostage by ransomware? Not only can any company wind up losing money by getting hacked, this in turn can unleash a torrent of nasty after effects including lost income from lawsuits filed by customers whose data was compromised. On top of that, your company may be required to not only fix the problem, courts have been known to levy fines and/or require expensive audits be carried out to determine the extent of damages done due to a data breach. If you don't want to put your company at risk of the consequences of being hacked, the solution is to look into acquiring cyber insurance designed to cover many of the expenses that could occur by such a breach.
#9: Product Liability Insurance - If your company produces or distributes products, have you ever considered what would happen should a customer be injured by one of them? Product liability lawsuits have not only been known to put a big dent in a company's bottom line, the negative publicity that surrounds them can harm or destroy a business' reputation. This can result in a firm having to cover everything from court costs and legal fees to settlements or judgments, plus expenses related to covering medical expenses for any customer who sustained an injury from the use of a product. Product liability insurance can be useful in recovering many of these costs whether you win or lose a lawsuit.
#10: Employee Practices Liability Insurance - Nowadays not only can a company be held liable for harm done to its customers, it can also wind up being sued by its employees. Companies get sued every day for such things as sexual harassment, discrimination, wrongful termination, failure to employ or promote, infliction of emotional distress, and mismanagement of employee benefit plans, just to name a few. If you don't want to walk blindly through the minefield of employee grievances that could result in having to defend your business in a court of law, there's an insurance product for that. Employee Practices Liability Insurance or EPLI is designed to help businesses recover the costs associated with defending a company in court, as well as reimbursing a company for settlements and judgments excluding punitive damages or criminal fines.
Catherine Powell is the owner of A Plus All Florida Insurance in Orange Park, Florida. To find out more about saving money on all your insurance needs, check out her website at http://aplusallfloridainsuranceinc.com