Top 5 Insurance Products All Startups Must Have

Start-up companies are popping up quickly in today’s fast-paced world and entrepreneurs often find that they’ve forgotten to get essential business insurance to protect their company.

While the owner may tell the board that the business has an insurance policy, this doesn’t mean that the company has the insurance needed. Every company needs insurance that is both adequate and optimized.

To get started, business owners should take these five forms of protection into consideration:

1. Comprehensive General Liability (CGL) Insurance Coverage

This is a type of insurance that protects companies against cases brought against them for the following: Third party bodily injury, building damages, loss of personal effects, and marketing and advertising injury.

What owners should understand about CGL insurance is that it’s designed to pay for your defense when a claim is brought against the company. Ideally, you are allowed to select your own lawyer to avoid any potential conflicts of interest.

The reason why you need this insurance is that many contracts require businesses have at least $1 million in this type of insurance coverage. Even if you don’t think your business needs this level of coverage, you’ll need to purchase it for this reason.

2. Directors and Officers (D&O) Liability Insurance

Although you may have highly influential individuals on your board to help grow your business, these professionals are going to insist on increased insurance coverage.

* Essential to any startup is side A D&O insurance coverage which protects directors and officers from cases of “wrongful acts” or situations where their decisions had a negative effect on the business’s value.
* Side “B” protection protects the company by indemnifying the director or office as well as paying for the defense costs.
* Side “C” coverage protects the firm in the case of a shareholder or class action over securities concerns.

When you have the choice of coverage, many companies select only A and B. These plans leave out judgments as well as any situations where individuals performed in dishonest actions that broke the law or acted in self-interest.

3. Cyber and Media Insurance

Since there have been several high-profile hacking situations for businesses today, the need for cyber insurance is obvious. However, there is not any basic cyber plan available and each insurance provider policies contain untried provisions, terms, and multiple interpretations.

Like the coverage described, these plans offer protection for defense and indemnity. They also can provide solutions for compliance with government and disclosure needs and also crisis management in the case of a breach or incident.

Because not all policies may have a “basic” option, your startup needs to take extra measure. Governments recommend following best practices and establishing firm policies so insurance firms are withholding claims from businesses that they believe did not follow industry standard programs to protect sensitive information.

4. Property Insurance

This type of coverage is designed to protect against any physical damages to the business property. There are a few options but the best choice for coverage is an “all risk” option which will protect against the building and also material and devices inside the building.

Any startup that has a significant infrastructure is going to need this coverage. Tech companies are certainly in need of this coverage option. The policies will safeguard against any damage to web servers and companies may also include disruption protection for any losses due to downtime needed to replace or repair any devices. Inclusions in these policies may be due to damage or loss that’s caused by equipment malfunction, normal aging, and defects.

5. Employment Liability Insurance (EPLI)

This is an important insurance to have and different from the worker’s settlement insurance policy that all states require. It may be purchased in a bundle with worker’s comp or even D&O coverage.

Because discrimination insurance claims are expensive for companies and difficult to work out, this protection is essential for any startup that employs individuals who are popular as well as highly competent.

It may seem like a lot, but each type of insurance covers specific risks that most small businesses face. If you are unsure of your current protections or need someone to help you understand your current risk profile, please reach out to our team of professionals right away. We’re here to help!


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Why a Good Driver May Still See Auto Rates Go Up

Many motorists have noted, with justifiable concern, that car insurance costs went up by a significant margin in 2016. A closer look at the market trends gives the indication that auto insurance costs have been steadily rising for the last 5 years across the U.S.

And the reason for this is quite understandable: there are more accidents happening on our roads every year. This is directly because there are more cars on the road combined with an increase in accidents caused by driver inattention.

Insurance underwriters have had to raise the premiums on insurance as a result. Unfortunately, this increase in the cost of insurance has affected all auto owners – even those who have a clean, accident-free history. Many auto insurance policyholders are quite perplexed by this.

Why Has There Been a Rise in Cost of Auto Insurance?

a. Increase in auto accidents

Certainly, everyone understands that insurance firms are for-profit business entities. They need to ensure that they are giving profits to shareholders. But insurance firms primarily exist to protect clients from risk.

Insurance counts on the precise understanding of costs and risk and then creates rates based on that understanding. The goal is to ensure that an Insurance company can always meet its obligations to its insureds.

So a dramatic increase in claims related to auto accidents will translate into massive unexpected payouts. As a result, insurance companies have to raise rates to be sure they will always have the funds available to meet their obligations.

b. Medical Costs

The good news is that cars are getting safer. However, there are still many older vehicles on the road that lack the advanced safety features found in the latest automobiles. Injuries and death arising from motor vehicle accidents have been noted to be some of the biggest contributors to the increased auto insurance premiums.

People often assume that their medical costs are covered by their health insurance but the laws that govern this vary state by state. In many states, health insurance is specifically excluded from being responsible for covering the costs of auto accidents and medical costs are resolved through auto insurance.

c. Expensive Repairs and Replacements

Auto insurance costs are also guided by the cost of repair of the car or truck involved in the accident. As cars have become safer they have also become more expensive. The average cost for a family sedan today is what individuals paid for luxury cars not too many years ago.

Additionally, the “crumple zones” that are necessitated by safe car design mean more cars will likely end up being totaled. While this saves lives and reduces injuries, it also results in more vehicles that are unable to be repaired after an accident.

d. Government Policy

The government requires that every auto insurance company must have adequate reserves of funds to cover claims in case of unprecedented level of accidents resulting from disasters. Government agencies are always on the look-out to enforce this rule, and where they find the funds are too low they will advise the company to look for ways to raise it. Often, auto insurance companies realize the dangerously low level of their reserves when they conduct their own internal audits. Under such circumstances, the insurer has no alternative but to raise the level of reserves by adjusting the cost of auto insurance.

e. Unusual Weather

Nature can also negatively impact on the cost of insurance. In states that are prone to catastrophic climatic conditions and other freaks of nature, the cost of auto insurance is bound to be high. For example, American states that are to the South and South-East of the country are prone to tornadoes, hurricanes, and hailstorms. Customers in the states that are disadvantaged by nature will pay more auto insurance premiums… and will see rates climb in their markets if insurance carriers have had to make a significant number of payments resulting from recent, unanticipated bad weather.

f. Poor Credit Rating

Insurers have found that poor credit is a leading indicator of people making claims. In fact, 77% of individuals with poor or low credit will invariably make claims. If a carrier discovers your credit rating is low or has declined your rates may go up regardless of your driving history. Some states such as Massachusetts, Hawaii, and California restrict auto insurance providers from using the credit rating to profile customers.

What’s The Best Way to Handle to A Rise in Auto Insurance Premiums?

Even though insurance firms have every legal right to increase auto insurance premiums, there are two things you can do to ease the situation:

a. Seek an Explanation

If you see an unrealistic rise in your cost of auto insurance, call and talk with your independent insurance agent to review your specific situation. Sometimes insurance companies make computing errors as they factor in credit histories. Sometimes there are other computer glitches that fail to give you credit for the discounts you deserve.

Also, remember that not all insurance carriers are the same. What really matters is how you are treated during a claim process. Switching to a “cheaper” carrier to save 15% off the cost of your auto insurance isn’t helpful if they are notorious for bad claims processes.

b. Hunt for the Best Deal

Remember that your independent insurance agency is able to shop around to compare the auto insurance costs offered by different insurance carriers for packages that are similar. They may be able to help you find a better deal for your particular situation.

c. Adjust Your Policy

You may have coverages on your vehicle that you are paying extra for that may no longer be needed. For example, some policies have added riders in case you are underwater in your vehicle. (In case it is worth less than you paid for it.) But if your car isn’t underwater, you needn’t pay for that protection. Likewise, if your finances can afford a larger deductible, this can reduce your costs. Finally, if you are driving your car less than before, or if the car is no longer being used for a long commute into the city, all of these elements can be taken into consideration by your carrier when determining your rates.

d. Always Talk With Us

We’re here for you to serve your auto insurance needs. Our team of highly skilled insurance professionals is here to help you get the right insurance for your needs and budget. If you ever have questions about your policy or need money saving tips, let us know. We love helping our clients!


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How to Keep Fit While Traveling

Summertime is a great time to move around and see the world. As a result, many people try keeping fit in readiness for summer. They exercise and “eat clean” for that perfect Summer body. And while many embark on their trip in tip-top shape, failure to remain vigilant while traveling can cause weight gain. So here are some tips to keep fit while on the road.

1. Regular Exercise

Exercise is one of the best ways to keep a check on your weight while traveling. The good news is that this exercise does not need to be overly ambitious or vigorous. All you need is about 20 to 30 minutes, at least 4 times a week. Use this time to work out in the gym or outdoors. You can do some light weights, cardio, yoga or just jog outdoors. The benefits of doing this are immense. Regular exercise will not only help you maintain a trim figure but also it will help release the ’feel good’’ hormones that will buoy you for the remainder of the day. Indeed early morning exercising can increase your enjoyment of your vacation. And if you can’t find a gym or go outside? Bodyweight exercises in your hotel room can still help.

2. Keep Hydrated

Keeping fit in hot weather can be tricky as dehydration takes place pretty fast. It is even harder if you are traveling through a country or area that does not have a good supply of clean drinking water. Dehydration is usually accompanied by the swelling and stiffening of fingers, and often a feeling of thirst. To combat dehydration, ensure that you carry small containers of water whenever you go outdoors. A bottle of clean water would come in handy as you take your stroll – regularly sip from it to hydrate your body and ensure that you remain fit.

3. Choose to Walk

Walk as much as you can in the course of your travels. Instead of taking a cab to move from point A to point B, choose to walk if the distance is manageable. It is healthier to sight-see around a city on foot than using motorized means. It provides you with the opportunity to absorb more of what the city has to offer – from discovering hidden alleyways, visiting places of worship, or to simply admire some captivating landmarks. If the distance is a bit long, you may choose to rent a bicycle. The bike will help you travel faster; while at the same time help you in keeping fit.

4. Go Slow on Alcohol Intake

Taking too much alcohol is detrimental to your keeping fit effort. Alcohol will only help you build up on calories – something that you would want to avoid. Teetotalers need not worry about this, but those who regularly take a glass or two of wine before or after meals may want to consider re-evaluating their priorities. Apart from building up on calories, alcohol is a diuretic. This means that it makes the body dehydrated very fast. This is counterproductive to remaining hydrated.

One way of avoiding alcohol is to allocate ’off’ days. These are the days that you decide to totally abstain from alcohol consumption. On these days you may decide to choose a healthier indulgence like getting a massage.

5. Visit the Spa

Visiting the spa for a massage therapy is one of the greatest ways to decompress while traveling at home or abroad. The effects of jet lag from the long trans-Atlantic flights can easily be reversed by a well-timed visit to a spa for well-deserved massage therapy. Indeed, a variety of spas targeting travelers exist across the globe.

6. Get Adequate Rest

There is nothing that will help you in your keeping fit effort like having adequate rest. Ensure that you get enough sleep every night in an environment that is comfortable and kind on your body. Avoid late night traveling whenever possible. Should it happen that you do not get enough sleep at night, make plans to compensate during the daytime. Schedule your travel itinerary in a manner that allows you to have time to relax and get some rest.

7. Go Slow on Treats

Treats like candy and cake should remain as treats. Avoid the attitude that “it’s OK because I’m on vacation.” Splitting deserts and limiting your intake of sweets will help you avoid unwanted calories that are counterproductive to your goal of keeping fit while traveling. Save the treats for special occasions when you are likely to appreciate them even more, as opposed to having them routinely with every meal.

8. Eat Healthy Breakfasts

Many believe breakfast is the most important meal of the day. As such, what comprises this meal should be chosen with a lot of care. Eat a well-balanced diet, which has the foods necessary to provide you with the energy necessary to fuel you for the better part of the morning. Resist the temptation to pile up on fatty or sugary foods as these will reverse any gains made in your keeping fit program.

9. Try Meditation

Meditation is one of the better-known stress busters. In addition, it works very well If you become agitated or irritated by the seemingly unnecessary delays that you are likely to experience in some airports. Meditation is also highly recommended if you are unable to sleep. To fully grasp the art of meditation, some measure of practice is required. The good news, however, is that there are apps in the market that can be downloaded to help a newbie with the practice of meditation. The apps offer 5-20 minutes of simple step by step instructions that anyone can follow to apply meditation for peace and tranquility.

10. Use Sunscreen

Protect your skin against the harmful effects of the sun’s ultra-violet rays. The tan from the sun may look good in the short time, but it creates a long term problem by making the skin prone to sagging and cancers. Get sun blocks that offer both UVB and UVA protection. Most of the European countries have provided a rating for these products in order to protect the consumer against marketing gimmicks. Most countries have set the SPF rating at 50+ and anything beyond this should not be taken seriously. Even though similar measures have not been taken in the US, it is advisable that you choose a rating of at least SPF 30+. It is even better if you can get a product that is multi-spectrum – one that has incorporated both UVA and UVB defense to help you in keeping fit.

11. Enjoy Yourself

Don’t let “keeping fit” prevent you from trying new foods. Don’t let workout obsessions keep you from spur of the moment activities that could build memories for a lifetime. Be flexible and enjoy each moment as it comes for what it is.


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Diesel Exhaust Dangers

Equipment that runs on diesel is quite common in a number of industries. This includes construction sites, mining, farming, maritime and several other such sectors.

Workers in these areas are exposed to a great deal of carcinogen exhausts from such machinery. This is typically in the case where machines are not properly handled and maintained.

Emissions from such equipment are made of “Diesel Particulate Matter”. ,This is a substance that “is made of soot and is comprised majorly of metallic particles, ash, carbon, silicates and sulfates” according to OSHA.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), classified exhausts from diesel machinery under “Well-known Hazards for the Human Health” in 2012.

Even temporary exposure to exhausts and emissions from diesel equipment can lead to issues. These include constant headaches, dizziness, and irritation in the eyes, nose & throat. Long-term exposure could cause the development of more serious issues. These include breathing conditions, cardiopulmonary and cardio conditions, and even lung cancer.

Given the health threat, managing the exposure to such emissions is highly necessary.

First, make sure there is adequate supervision in place to limit the exposure of any workers. OSHA further suggests that equipment receive regular maintenance. It also suggests aging equipment be swapped out for cleaner burning engines. These should be equipped with better air filtration systems.

Second, be sure adequate safety controls are in place. For example, creating “Off-limit” areas is a great way to limit the pool of people at risk for exposure. Likewise, limit the times when machines are running so the fewest workers are around when the machinery is operational.

Smart preventive measures like these can reduce the exposure to diesel exhausts to a great extent. Plus, they can be implemented in a way that still allows a team to work at maximum efficiency.

A side benefit: By limiting diesel exposure you can help reduce workmans’ comp claims. You’ll maximize worker availability. You’ll also have a positive impact on your overall operational costs.


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Do You Need Disability Insurance?

Imagine for a minute that you run quite a bit as a part of your daily routine. You think you’re healthy. Because you value your time and independence you are self-employed. You’ve bought life insurance and health insurance but have never considered disability insurance…

You turn another year older and are suddenly diagnosed with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), a condition which is often called Lou Gehrig’s disease and eventually leads to paralysis. Some of the common symptoms of ALS include difficulty in performing daily activities and walking, tripping and then falling, hand weakness, clumsiness, trouble in swallowing, slurred speech, weakness in the ankles, feet, and/or legs, twitching of tongue, shoulders, and arms, muscle cramps, difficulty in holding the head up, difficulty in maintaining a healthy posture, etc.

What would you do? How would you cope?

Many individuals are offered a long-term disability benefit by their employer. But if self-employed, you may not have given much thought to this important coverage. Likewise, even if an employer offers a disability insurance program, sometimes the best benefits are achieved by purchasing a disability insurance policy of your own.

One advantage of this strategy is that you remain properly covered even after leaving a job. Buying a policy early in life is a good decision as older people usually pay bigger premiums for coverage. Another advantage of buying disability insurance is that if you ever need to submit a claim, all benefits earned through the policy will be tax-free.

It’s important to remember that once you are over 50, you may spend up to around 4% of your annual income for coverage. For instance, if you are a 50-year-old individual and have an annual income of $100,000, you could end up paying $4,000+ per year.

But for many, this is a small price to pay for the peace of mind that their income will be protected in case of a disability.

And like other forms of insurance, the best strategy is to talk with your insurance advisor for tips on how to address this topic.


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Tracking Down Life Insurance of a Loved One

The Insurance policy Commissioner’s Office is trying to make it much easier for Georgians to track down as well as submit life insurance policy cases.

The Life Insurance Plan Locator Solution has actually helped greater than 100 Georgians receive regarding $750,000 in benefits up until now.

If you aren’t sure where a life insurance plan is, if your loved one had life insurance coverage or if you’re a recipient, you can submit a request to discover. It’ll then send out an alert to insurance provider to check if they hold a plan because name, and also the business will let you understand if they do if you’re a beneficiary.

Deputy Insurance coverage Commissioner Jay Florence stated you need to have a couple of things before you send a demand.

” The even more details you have, the better,” he said. “So if you have a life insurance policy number, undoubtedly that’s a great idea, and also if you recognize the business, that excels. However as a standard, you wish to make sure you have the individual that died, their date of birth and also day of fatality, along with your name if you’re asking for the insurance provider to examine to see whether you’re a recipient.”

If you have this details handy, Florence stated it must take about 15 mins to finish the demand, and if a company holds a plan in the name you’re looking for, it needs to inform you within a couple of weeks.

He added that in this process, time is important.

” Regarding 2 years after a life insurance policy company learns that somebody has passed away, they hold on to the cash,” Florence stated. “And also after that two-year period runs, they really transform it over, it’s not to us, yet to the Unclaimed Residential property Department of the state. Then the state holds on to it for, I think, 6 years, and also afterwards duration runs, the state then deposits it into the general fund, and you shed the possibility to claim it.”


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Time to Review Your Employee Handbook?

Many issues face a company when they are bringing on employees. These include basic pay, family and sick leave, as well as general employee welfare.

These are critical issues but having and reviewing an employee handbook is also important. Largely how often you review your employee manual is a function of how large your firm is. The more employees you have, the more often you should review it. (Make sure it is relevant and accurate to your company’s current situation.)

In fact, one of the key things you need to do is to ensure your employee manual is customized to fit your company and that it is truly useful to employees.

As you examine your manual be sure you take current (and new) laws into consideration. New legislation that works in the employee’s favor should be brought to the attention of the worker.

At a minimum, you should review and update your employee handbook at least once a year. And if you’ve let your employee handbook lapse for a longer period than that, you may need the help of a specialist. For example, a lot of changes have taken place with regard to overtime tracking and payments. With changes at the state and federal level, keeping track of these details will keep you out of trouble.

(Another area of concern is in hiring… for example some states have barred companies from investigating a prospective employee’s criminal history…)

Some other recommendations include:

Be sure there is a mechanism in place for employees to sign verifying receipt of the manual including the date of receipt.

Electronic versions of employee handbooks should be made available with updates also being issued electronically. For these, incorporating a digital signature to confirm receipt (and to log the date signed) is also important.

Complete a review mid year and at the end of the year to ensure your company is maintaining compliance with the Fair Labor Act. Also be certain your basic pay and overtime policies are clear and compliant. And be sure you are actually providing employees with the requisite family and sick leaves.

Hopefully this has given you some great ideas. Please definitely reach out to us if you have questions about your business insurance to be sure you are taking care of things like EPLI risks as well as general business risk exposures. We’ll answer your questions and be sure you have an affordable policy in place designed to meet your unique risk profile.


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