Bed Bug Insurance

Perhaps while you were growing up, your mother or grandmother or father would tuck you in and say, “Sleep tight. Don’t let the bedbugs bite.” Fortunately, most children are not horrified at such a suggestion because they don’t know what a bedbug is. Thankfully!

Lately, bedbugs have been in the news again. Yes, these bugs, which were at one time nearly extinct, are making a comeback, primarily because more people travel more extensively, both here and abroad. Sleeping in even the most posh hotels puts us at risk for “letting the bedbugs bite.”

So how do insurance companies handle these little devils?  Well, several ways, it turns out.

They are covered by the commercial general liability, but it’s complicated.

Businesses which are insured, for example, hotels, motels, inns, bed & breakfasts, and hostels  are excluded from damages that are incurred from an infestation of rodents or insects.

Clearly there is a a duty to defend and even indemnify a guest of one of those establishments, and the courts have underscored that of late with some pretty hefty settlements from the courts.

While this sort of claim is still being felt out, the insured would be wise to find ways to mitigate the damage these pests can cause by taking steps to make them vacate the establishment.

Small Business Liability Insurance: Yes or No?

The question we hear fairly frequently is this: “I’m not mandated to have small business liability insurance. Why should I spend the money on it?”

Far more frequently, we see business owners who do not have this important coverage or simply let it lapse. Usually, this is an attempt on the part of the business owner to save money in a tight budget situation.

In this day and age, and in this business environment, lawsuits are routinely filed over the seemingly most insignificant things, and running your business without liability insurance is like driving to work with your eyes blindfolded!

Trying to defend even the most frivolous lawsuit without this insurance can and does result in the death of a business, or at the very least its bankruptcy.

If you are concerned about the high premiums, don’t let it lapse! Be proactive about lowering the premiums.

Shop around to find the best company to buy it from. Look at exclusions and deductibles. Ask your licensed insurance professional to help you implement a risk management plan. And together the two of you can research your industry to figure out what the average claims and settlements might be and adjust your coverage accordingly.

This is a cost of doing business, and an important one. The importance of this coverage in order to protect your business from risk cannot be overstated.

Business insurance can offer you the peace of mind that your business can withstand a frivolous claim or the settlement.

Liability Insurance: What Does It Cover?

A general liability insurance policy is something all businesses need. Such policies reduce your risk of exposure by protecting the business from personal injury and from property damage which is caused by your business causes by either not doing or not doing properly.

General liability insurance is meant to cover personal injury, bodily injury, property damage, and unforeseen circumstances which affect your business or work product.

What general liability will not cover, however, are such things as failure to perform duties to your industry standard, professional negligence, or product liability.

Now, you may be saying to yourself, “I am an excellent worker in my craft. I go above and beyond all the time.” But accidents do happen. You may be distracted or clumsy one day, and that’s all you need in order to be wiped out if you have no coverage.

Aside from that, even if you are always perfect at your craft, it is not outside the realm of possibility that a client or customer says that your work or product caused them pain and suffering. That client or customer could be 100% wrong or just filing a claim in the hopes that you’ll settle, but that in itself is enough to cost you a pretty penny in lost time from work, lawyers’ fees, or court costs. And that could be enough to drive you to bankruptcy.

Realtors, doctors, accountants, soap and candle makers, and computer repair people are only a handful of the types of businesses which will likely need errors & omissions policies.

As we so often counsel you, talk to your licensed insurance professional for help in determining what coverages you need to protect yourself from risks.

Business Owner’s Policy

In this new economy, one thing for certain is many people find themselves downsized, re-assigned, or facing a cutback in hours and benefits. Most of us know several people in these situations or maybe it’s you.  For some people, they begin to look at running their own business or becoming self-employed.  If this is a possibility for you, or you have already started a small business, it’s imperative to understand how important insurance is to your business.

As a new or start up business, it is possible a Business Owner’s Policy may be a great way to protect your business and its assets.  A Business Owner’s Policy can offer affordable coverage to protect what you have while not breaking the bank out of the blocks.

Most Americans today who are starting a business do not have a large amount of assets such as vehicles and equipment, machinery and a large number of employees.  Without being a large business, your insurance needs should be fairly easy to determine.

This is where a Business Owner’s Policy can be a good decision.  Even though you don’t have much in terms of assets, operating a business without the proper insurance can put all your personal assets at risk.  Too many new entrepreneurs make the mistake of thinking their homeowner’s insurance will cover any issues.

A Business Owner’s Policy normally covers all the basics for your new start up or existing small business.  This includes basic property and liability protection for your small business.  More often than not, your Business Owner’s Policy can be added to and coverage(s) extended as your business grows.

As always, it is important to review Business Owner’s Policies with a commercial insurance agent. Before sitting down, make sure you have taken the time to determine where your business could suffer a loss and determine with your agent if coverage is available.  In many cases, a Business Owner’s Policy is a great way to protect your new business.

Choosing a Commercial Insurance Agent

You took the plunge and opened a business.  You may be just starting out, or have been in business for awhile.  Now, your hearing about agents, brokers, carriers and agencies and aren’t sure which you should choose for your business.

An agent will represent an insurance company as an intermediary.  They may be captive, meaning they represent just one insurance company, or an independent, representing a number of insurance companies.  In broad terms, the agent’s liability to the customer is administrative in scope.

Commercial Insurance Brokers work as independents with a broad scope of products to offer.  Brokers hold a different license which often indicates a higher level of education and certifications than those of an agent.

Brokers in most cases have a higher standard of accountability to the customer.  They have a duty to analyze and determine the scope of coverage required by your business.  Often, a broker will charge administrative fees or higher premiums to help pay this increased level of expertise.

Brokers usually have a full range of coverage for businesses and may have specialists in their firm.  They may also offer services like safety education, safe driving education and the more.

The larger your business is, the more important you should consider using a broker.

If you have a large number of employees, a large number of vehicles and drivers on the road, or work in a high risk business segment, it probably makes sense to use a broker.

If you have a small business, just a few employees, a couple of vehicles, and in a standard or low risk business segment, its fine to use an agent who specializes in business coverage.

Before deciding whether you will deal with an agent or broker, get as much information to make your decision.  Other or similar businesses can offer insight, as can you trade organization or association.  Your state department of insurance can also be a great resource.