First Community Financial Group, Inc. Blog
Are you a business owner? Here are two alarming statistics about natural disasters for you: As many as 4 of 10 businesses that experience a natural disaster never recover.
Worse, at least 1 in 4 businesses that are forced to close in the wake of a disaster never reopens. And if your business is small, or if all of your operations are in one location, the outlook worsens.
If your business is located in a hurricane zone, you need to have a disaster plan in place.
Luckily, you have an abundance of resources. You can find step-by-step help for disaster planning, response and recovery in FEMA’s Emergency Management Guide for Business and Industry. Other sources include ready.gov and the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS).
Once the hurricane has passed, you may need quick access to funds to:
1. Repair damage to your business property.
2. Mitigate lost income.
Does your business have insurance to provide the funds necessary to survive a disruption in your income? What should you consider when reviewing your business’s insurance plan?
Direct Hurricane Damage
Review your property insurance for common threats. Be sure your policy includes coverage for the threats commonly associated with hurricanes, such as wind damage and falling trees. Note that many standard property insurance policies do not include coverage for common threats such as damage caused by flooding, power outages, or the cost for repairs specifically associated with building code compliance. (For example, if the electrical wiring in your building is not up to code, any additional cost incurred during storm repair to update the electrical system to meet code would not be covered).
Don’t assume coverage is perfect. Even if you see that a threat is covered by your policy, note that the coverage for some items may be limited. For example, many policies will cover damage caused to your property by a fallen tree, but the cost of removing the fallen tree may be limited or not covered at all.
Your policy may also may include coverage limitations for outdoor property such as fences and signs as well as personal property (like tools, equipment or stock) that is left outdoors.
To help identify coverage and limitations, consider scheduling a policy review with your Trusted Choice® Independent Insurance Agent at First Community Financial Group.
Review your deductible.
Some policies include a separate deductible for claims caused by a hurricane or named storm. Such a deductible is typically higher than the policy’s deductible for other types of claims like fire or theft.
A hurricane deductible may be calculated based on a percentage of the value of property at the time of the damage. For example, say your building is valued at $100,000. Your policy includes a standard deductible of $1,000 and a separate “hurricane deductible” of 4%. If your building is partially damaged by a fire, you are responsible for the first $1,000 before the insurance company will kick in any funds. However, if your building is partially damaged by a hurricane, you are responsible for the first $4,000.
Note that some states have laws regarding the application of such deductibles. To see if your state has special rules regarding deductibles, contact your Trusted Choice® Independent Insurance Agent.
Floods, a Consequence of Hurricanes
Floods are the most common and costly natural disaster in the U.S., according to FEMA. The definition of “flood” encompasses many sources of rising or flowing water and includes torrential rain and tidal surge. It’s no surprise that flooding usually accompanies a hurricane, and the damage it causes can be costlier and more widespread than that caused by a hurricane’s winds.
It’s essential for you as a property owner to know that most property insurance policies do not cover flood damage. Flood insurance is typically available through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and may be available from other insurance companies as well. Your Trusted Choice® Independent Insurance Agent is the best source to assist you in putting together a flood insurance plan for your business.
It’s easy to see how significant property damage from a storm could harm your business. But here’s something you may not know: The resulting loss of continued income is the leading reason so many businesses are never able to reopen after the storm has passed.
The good news is that there’s a type of insurance designed to help businesses like yours maintain an income stream after the storm. It’s called business interruption insurance, and it provides income for your business to fulfill its financial obligations (like bills and payroll) as well as to mitigate financial losses due to fewer customers.
Unfortunately, all too few business owners know about business interruption insurance, or they make the costly decision not to purchase it.
Business interruption insurance can also mitigate supply chain disruption caused by a hurricane. For example, say your restaurant survived the storm with little or no damage, but your primary food supplier’s warehouse was destroyed. Even though your restaurant was not directly damaged, the financial consequence of the hurricane to your business is still significant. Ask your Trusted Choice® Independent Insurance Agent if it may be possible to amend your business interruption insurance policy to include coverage for your business should another business on which yours depends suffers crippling damage.
Include Insurance in Your Disaster Plan
You need a disaster plan for your business, and no disaster plan is complete without a review of your insurance coverage. For assistance, call your Trusted Choice® Independent Insurance Agent today at First Community Financial Group 936-327-4364.
Content provided by Trusted Choice®.
If you’re a beauty industry professional, you might feel challenged when you start your search for the right commercial liability insurance benefits. Many in the industry automatically assume that they wouldn’t have a reason for a customer to file a lawsuit. But the fact is that this risk exists in all aspects of all businesses at all times. Here are a few things to know about purchasing business liability insurance as a hairdresser or beautician.
Professional Liability Insurance for the Beauty Industry Professional liability insurance isn’t just for doctors or lawyers. It helps those in the beauty industry protect themselves in any situation where a customer sues due poor treatment or service.
For instance, imagine a situation where a hairdresser leaves a chemical on a customer’s hair for too long. This can cause significant and long-lasting damage. It’s the day before the woman’s wedding, and she sues for emotional distress. Your professional liability insurance would pay for attorney’s fees and court costs to defend against the lawsuit. Additionally, if you have to settle with the impacted individual, your liability insurance can provide the settlement money. This example shows the importance of carrying professional liability coverage.
General Liability Insurance for the Beauty Industry It’s imperative for beauty professionals to carry a high amount of general liability insurance. This coverage helps in the event of an incident that causes a client to sue you for property damage, slander or bodily injury.
Consider, for example, a customer who burns themselves on a hot curling iron while at your salon. Or perhaps there’s a situation where you’re helping a bride get ready for her big day, and a hair straightener malfunctions, causing a fire that damages the venue. General liability insurance protects you against lawsuits and claims in these instances.
Deciding How Much Coverage You Need
When purchasing insurance for your salon, determining how much coverage you actually need is essential. The professional liability and general liability policies should be sufficient in most cases, but extra coverage may be beneficial. Talking with an agent can help you choose the coverage to fit your particular needs best.
Do you own a hair salon, beauty parlor or makeup studio? Contact us today at First Community Financial Group 936-327-4364 to discuss your business insurance needs and options.
If you’re a small business owner who is looking for the best way to ensure your company, then a business owners policy—better known as a BOP—is a great way to start. It makes sense for many companies to carry this coverage because it offers several types of commercial insurance in one place. As a result, this single plan can often substantially reduce your overall cost for coverage.
All the same, BOPs are not all-inclusive. In their standard forms, they generally only offer commercial property, general liability and business interruption coverage. As a result, the pragmatic policyholder should always consider expanding upon their benefits portfolio.
Adding Benefits to Your BOP
By adding coverage into your BOP, you’ll be able to account for the fact that you sometimes might face liabilities that are separate from those covered under standard BOP benefits.
The following are four types of critical benefits to commonly added coverage to BOP plans. In most cases, workers’ compensation and commercial auto insurance benefits must be purchased separately from BOPs. However, EPLI and E&O benefits are sometimes available as BOP endorsements.
1. Professional Liability Insurance
Often, professional service providers—lawyers, CPAs, doctors—need this benefit because it is their services themselves that might cause harm to clients. This benefit covers more than just someone slipping and falling in your store. Rather, it covers instances like one where a CPA makes a mistake on a client’s taxes and then gets sued over the resulting burden. This benefit is sometimes known as errors & omissions (E&O) insurance.
2. Employment Practices Liability Insurance
Businesses are required to conduct their hiring, retention, review and termination practices in compliance with employment law. Failure to do so might result in allegations of harassment, discrimination, failure to hire or promote, or unfair termination. Should legal action arise as a result of these incidents, then an employment practices liability insurance (EPLI) policy, will help you defend against the claims.
3. Commercial Auto Insurance
If your business owns or operates vehicles of any kind, then you will need to insure those vehicles in compliance with both state and interstate auto insurance laws. A commercial auto insurance policy will offer you the necessary liability, physical damage and related benefits for your needs. It will ensure that you will have protection if you ever face unexpected vehicle damage or losses.
4. Workers’ Compensation Insurance
Another insurance benefit that most businesses are required by law to carry is workers’ compensation insurance. It will provide supplementary income, medical benefits and other assistance in the event that one of your employees gets injured or becomes ill as a result of their work.
Our agents are happy to work with you to optimize your BOP’s benefits and your other policies in the most efficient ways.
Most small business owners choose to invest in business owners policies—also known as BOPs. Put simply, BOPs can help business owners easily optimize their commercial insurance. BOPs usually contain several types of insurance, including commercial property coverage. This is an important form of coverage, as it can protect your business assets and possessions when damaging incidents occur.
Why BOPs Are Valuable
BOPs generally cater to the needs of small businesses. Through BOPs, business owners can obtain several types of coverage all in one package, thus ensuring cohesive insurance. BOPs are usually more affordable than separate policies.
To start, most BOPs usually offer commercial property, general liability and business interruption insurance. However, policyholders can usually add extra coverage to work in conjunction with their BOPs. Doing so can allow them to properly expand their business insurance benefits.
Commercial Property Coverage in a BOP
The commercial property insurance within a BOP can help protect any property owned by your business. Some items this policy might cover include:
Should a hazard damage or destroy this property, your BOP’s commercial property coverage can pay to help you rebuild, restock or replace lost items. A variety of hazards might qualify for claims under your coverage, such as:
Commercial property insurance can then indemnify you for the costs caused by the lost property. This means you won’t have to spend hard-earned income trying to recover from a loss. That way, you can easily get your business back on its feet.
Limits, Exclusions and Deductibles
Keep in mind that your BOP’s commercial property insurance won’t cover every type of property from all potential losses. Consider these policy limitations:
Policy limits—When you sign up for your BOP, you can choose the value of commercial property coverage that you want to carry. This reflects the maximum amount that your policy will pay for your physical property losses. It’s important that you choose a value that reflects the cost of the property you own—including buildings, inventory and equipment, among others. Be sure to verify the cost and value of your property through appraisal or research.
Exclusions—Commercial property insurance will not extend to all property-related losses. For example, this coverage might not insure certain specialty equipment or outdoor items. Such a policy also won’t cover damage from certain hazards, such as floods or any intentional damage you may cause.
Deductibles—Most commercial property coverage comes with a deductible. The deductible is a flat amount that your business agrees to pay for property damage before your insurance pays out for a claim. If the damage falls below the cost of your deductible, then you will not receive coverage for your losses.
When putting together your BOP, remember to talk to one of our agents about how to optimize your commercial property coverage. By carefully crafting your policy, your business will receive maximum financial benefits.
What is professional liability insurance?
Professional liability insurance protects individuals and companies from assuming the full cost of defending a lawsuit that claims negligence of the individual or business. A claim of negligence, malpractice or misrepresentation is not covered under a general liability insurance policy, which makes professional liability insurance crucial for those who provide a service or advice for a fee. Depending on the profession, professional liability insurance may take on different forms and names, like malpractice and E&O insurance.
The number of liability lawsuits against professionals has increased in recent years. Many professionals within a variety of industries are at risk of being sued, whether the charges are valid or unfounded. Such lawsuits can mean financial ruin both professionally and personally, including the loss of cars, homes and careers. Professional liability insurance helps with the financial burden of these events.
Who benefits from professional liability insurance?
Any professional who provides a service, expertise or advice to clients for a fee can benefit from coverage against liability lawsuits. Even with quality employees and risk management practices in place, people still make mistakes. A general liability policy may not cover mistakes that could be made. Professional liability insurance will protect your business and its finances if such an event arises.
Get started today
The agents here at First Community Financial Group will evaluate your business to determine its unique insurance needs and find you the professional liability policy with the necessary coverage. Call us if you have questions or want to get started. We are happy to help you get the protection you need.
Your business would not be able to succeed if the equipment, materials, stock and products that it utilizes were to become compromised. Damage, theft or destruction of property might interrupt your operations and put you in a significant financial bind as you work through the recovery process. Indeed, if the loss of property is too great to bear, then the business might fold.
If you are committed to bracing your business against this threat, then you should consider commercial property insurance to be indispensable. This benefit might be required in some circumstances, but it’s critical to have in all cases. Any business that owns property—which is more or less any business—can benefit from this plan.
What Does Commercial Property Insurance Cover?
A commercial property policy is designed to help you repair assets damaged by unexpected, unavoidable accidents that impact your operations. It might apply to losses stemming from:
This insurance may cover the physical location and all of its contents including decorations, furniture, equipment, products and more. Make sure to speak with your insurance agent to ensure that your business’ valuable assets are covered appropriately.
Do You Need Commercial Property Insurance Without a Physical Location?
The days of the brick-and-mortar business are over, and today you can run a successful enterprise even from the comfort of your own home. However, commercial property insurance remains essential for your operational needs. Indeed, your standard homeowners insurance will not cover commercial property except in very limited cases.
Commercial property insurance can cover items specifically used for your business, whether they are housed in a physical location or in your home. There are property damage risks everywhere, and all of them could impact your operations. You can rely upon your commercial property insurance to help you cover the costs of repairing, replacing or recovering these items so that you can sustain as little of a financial loss as possible in the meantime.
How do I Get the Right Commercial Property Insurance?
In some cases, you will have to buy your commercial property insurance as a stand-alone plan. In others, however, this benefit will come as part of a business owners policy (BOP). BOPs provide several essential commercial benefits, including commercial property insurance, in one place. Therefore, by having your commercial property coverage as part of this plan, you’ll be able to both coordinate your benefits and pay a lower price for your coverage overall.
It is never too soon to consider protecting the physical assets of your business. Keep your eyes peeled, compare quotes and speak to one of our insurance agents about protecting your business’s property with the right coverage.
Everyone has seen a few online videos of someone slipping and falling in a random store (overturning a shelf in the process). We might laugh at the video, but we are forgetting to realize that after the camera stopped rolling, the victim might have sustained a severe injury. The ramifications of these accidents might represent a true threat to any business.
If a customer were to fall in your store, then they could choose to sue the business owner over the accident. This could cause your business significant financial challenges, regardless of whether the fall was an accident. That is why you need general liability insurance to help you respond to such issues.
What Are Common Fall Risks in My Business?
You cannot constantly blame a person’s fall just on them being clumsy. Usually, something (I.e., a hazard) must create a scenario for the fall to occur in the first place. That is why when someone falls in your business, it might be due to several existing problems, such as:
When you fail to mitigate these risks, they could threaten anyone who enters your premises. Potential victims might range from customers and clients, to vendors, employees, and yourself. It is your customers who you must actively work to protect with the highest level of conscientiousness.
Negative Impacts of Fall Injuries
Every business owner doubtless is aware that they must take responsibility for negative occurrences in their space. As a result, if someone were to get hurt in your business, such as by slipping and falling in a puddle, then the affected party might place the blame on the business.
Slip and fall accidents might result in painful, incapacitating injuries. Plus, they could also cause the victim to face lost income, significant medical bills, and other financial strains. As a result, they might demand that your business compensate them.
Covering Slip and Fall Damage
If someone were to slip and fall in your business, then you will need to help the injured party. Still, you should not put yourself in a strained financial situation by trying to meet this obligation. At this point, general liability insurance can come in handy. A general liability policy could help businesses compensate others if they made mistakes that harmed these third parties. Therefore, the business will not have to pay critical internal funds just to meet its obligations to others.
Take the time to invest in a well-funded business insurance general liability policy. It might prove instrumental in protecting both your business and injured parties. Talk one of our agents today about how to tailor this value more expressly to your needs.
A certificate of insurance matters a great deal in the business insurance industry. Sometimes referred to as proof of business insurance, this certificate is a snapshot of a company’s current insurance policies. Customers, vendors and landlords commonly request to see a business’ certificate of insurance.
This document helps such parties verify the business has the proper coverage. If an insurance claim arises, the customer will rest easy knowing the proper remedy may be available.
Certificate of Insurance HoldersEach certificate of insurance applies to a single holder. The holder is the business or entity requesting the certificate of insurance. A certificate of insurance is not applicable to other businesses. Each unique certificate of insurance solely applies to its individual holder.
A Certificate of Insurance is a Snapshot in TimeIt is important to stress that each certificate is a snapshot of current business insurance coverage. These documents are valid for a single day. A business can cancel its insurance coverage at any moment. It is also possible for a business to modify its insurance policy at any point in time. For these reasons the certificates often are only temporary.
Obtaining a Certificate of InsuranceBusinesses should periodically request a certificate of insurance. This document helps generate a rapport with prospective clients. It makes the business appear legitimate and trustworthy.
An insurance agent can usually generate a business’s certificate of insurance upon request. A nominal fee may apply, but many reports are free. Some prospective customers will specifically ask to see a business’s certificate of insurance. It is advisable to hang this important document in a highly visible area of the business.
A Certificate of Insurance is a Must-Have for Every Type of BusinessIf a company can’t prove it has business insurance, it may suffer competitive disadvantage. It does not matter if you own a sporting goods store, a hair salon, a construction company or another type of business. You should periodically update your certificate of insurance as a gesture of good faith.
This simple update may inspire customers to do business with your company. It may alleviates concerns regarding potential accidents and other incidents that might arise during the course of business. Obtain your certificate of insurance today. Display it prominently to prove you have business insurance. This important document just might help your company establish a slew of new profitable business relationships.
Need a certificate of insurance? Call us at First Community Financial Group today for a policy quote.
Whether you drive a company vehicle or your personal one for business, it’s important to have Commercial Auto Insurance.
Learn more about what this kind of insurance will cover and how it works. Call our office today for a free consultation or quote -- and click the links below to find out more about what types of insurance are available to your business!
Commercial Vehicle Insurance 101 | FAQ | Trusted Choice
Commercial Auto Insurance 101 | Travelers Insurance