9 Business Resolutions for Your Small Business

Your Business New Years ResolutionsThere are so many things you need to look at as a small business owner. You often wear so many hats that it’s difficult to really cover all your bases. So we gathered a quick list of things to look for regarding your Commercial and Employee Benefits Insurance.

Commercial Insurance
  • Know your risks: Employees and automobiles. Do you have employees using company time to drive to the bank to make a deposit, grab lunch for your office, pick up a package, etc.? This is a huge exposure that you don’t necessarily think of. If your employee is in an accident during that time, your business will suffer. Hired and Non-owned Auto coverage can be obtained for these situations.
  • Look for holes in your security system. Big-box security breaches are in the news all the time, but you may not know that most cyber-crimes happen in small businesses. Why? Small businesses are often easier targets for thieves as they have less sophisticated security systems and/or processes. If you store customer information or complete credit card transactions, you are likely at risk for attacks. Cyber Liability Insurance is an often overlooked coverage. Without it, it can prove very costly for your business.
  • Develop a disaster plan in case of a natural disaster. In Florida, we have a very real risk of storms and flooding causing significant damage to our businesses. Even if you have property damage coverage, your business will likely be unable to operate during the repairs. Would your business survive months of not making any income? Business Income Insurance, coupled with a good disaster plan, is a necessity for all businesses in Florida.
  • Take a closer look at your key people. Most organizations employ at least one individual who is essential to the company’s success. This person may be a partner, owner, majority stockholder or another individual crucial to the business. If this person unexpectedly leaves the organization—due to a death, disability or immediate resignation—it may be hard for the organization to survive. In this instance, Key Person Life Insurance can help ensure that your business is protected.
  • Make sure that mistakes don’t cost you your business. In today’s litigious society, no one is safe from lawsuits. A simple mistake can cause you, as an owner, to be sued for what is deemed a “wrongful act”. A Directors’ and Officers’ Liability (D&O) policy specifically provides coverage for a “wrongful act,” such as an actual or alleged error, omission, misleading statement, neglect or breach of duty. Errors and Omissions Insurance (E&O) is another coverage that can help protect your business. E&O coverage kicks in where your Commercial General Liability policy does not provide coverage, such as for service errors, contract performance disputes or any other professional liability issues.
Employee Benefits Insurance
  • Explore alternate funding. Policies issued prior to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will begin to be phased out this year. Some employers still have these policies because they are less expensive than new ACA compliant policies. Alternate Funding of policy premiums can save a company from unnecessary rate increases.
  • Ask an agent about alternative networks in your area. HMO’s can save a company 5-10% on premiums without any loss of providers in a metropolitan area such as Tampa Bay.  Due to Florida law, they also have increased protections for your employees to safeguard against balance billing. In short, these are not your grandmother’s HMO’s
  • Update salaries with your life and disability insurer. Salaries often change yearly, so be sure their benefits match.
  • Resolve to review carrier invoices monthly. Often carriers have a 30 day limit on making adjustments… and mistakes can be costly.
  • Count your employees every January. The magic numbers for different applications of Cobra laws is 20, for IRS 1095 reporting it’s 50. But these are counted differently – we can help.

Wallace Welch & Willingham is here to help you! Please contact us if you have questions about any of these business resolutions.

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Are you Covered for a Business Interruption?

Business Interruption Insurance - Be AwareRecent heavy rainfall reminds us that not all natural disasters are brought on by hurricanes. Due to heavy and constant rains, flooding has damaged much of Florida’s roadways. Last week, Governor Rick Scott declared a state of emergency for five counties. This included three bay area counties; Hillsborough, Pinellas, and Pasco.

Damage like this creates an immediate need for all for all companies to take a closer look at their insurance coverage. Would you be sufficiently covered in case of a natural disaster? States like Florida and other coastal locations are particularly susceptible to devastating losses from flooding, tropical storms, hurricanes.

“75% of businesses suffering major property damage are out of business within three years because they did not have a contingency plan or the proper financing to see them through the period of recovery.”

What is Business Income Insurance?

When it comes to managing your property risk, business owners should be concerned not only with a loss to their tangible property but also to their income. Natural disasters, fires, and other insured perils often result in an interruption of the operations of a business, which typically lead to a loss of income.  Business income insurance is designed to cover your economic damages when you experience a covered loss that results in a suspension of your business. A suspension of your business can mean either a slow down or a cessation of your business activities. Loss of income is defined in most policies as your net profit as well as continuing expenses, including payroll.  Extra expenses that you incur to recover from a disaster can also be covered.  You might think of it as disability insurance for your business!

What is Included in a Business Interruption Insurance Policy?

  • Compensation for lost income if you are no longer able to operate your business due to a disaster-related damage that is covered by your current property insurance policy.
  • Profits that would have been earned had the disaster not occurred. These numbers are based on previous financial records.
  • Operating expenses that must be paid even if the business is temporarily closed. Examples are utilities, rent, etc.
  • Expenses from a temporary location for you to operate out of while repairs are being made to your permanent location.

Business interruption insurance is one of the most valuable policies a business can have, yet it is often overlooked. Contact us today to learn more about this valuable policy.

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Workplace Safety and The Human Factor

Workplace Safety and the Human Factor

Many things are needed to keep a workplace safe and your costs down. You can train employees, policies can be put in place, you can hold monthly safety meetings, but an often forgotten variable is what is being called the “human factor”. Human factors refer to environmental factors, job factors and characteristics that influence employee behavior at work and the affect that has on safety.

According to a study conducted by BLR and SafeStart, 80% of those surveyed said that their biggest injury challenges involve human errors. How are these employees getting injured? The top reasons include slips, trips, falls and not following procedures. Another interesting statistic from the same survey says that when asked how often workers take shortcuts, 55% said “occasionally.”

There are different types of human factors. General errors such as mistakes can be made when an employee genuinely forgets to follow a safety procedure. Mistakes are made when the employee believes that they are doing the right thing when they are not. Violations are intentional errors or mistakes that come from employees taking shortcuts or skipping steps to save time or from a general noncompliance. The human factor is just that, human error. Managing these errors is key to maintaining an effective safety program and keeping employees safe and healthy.

The best way to combat the human factor is through a strong safety program that includes employee engagement and hands-on training. A good safety management program includes a risk management assessment that takes your employee’s human nature into consideration when looking at risks in your workplace. Our team takes the time to help develop and manage a safety program and suggest improvements for keeping your program effective. Contact us for a review of your current safety program.

Download A Sample Safety Manual Today!