Have an Import Export Business Get This Insurance

Caring for staff is an important part of running a company. Depending on the state, insurance regulations vary. Standard business insurance policies include worker’s compensation and other liability coverage. For small businesses starting out, this may be enough coverage. For those in the export-import field there is extra protection available:

Credit-Risk Insurance for Exporters

Several export credit-risk policies are available courtesy of the Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im). Designed to both protect the insured and encourage expansion, these policies protect in case of buyer non-payment. They can also include protection from losses due to political, commercial, and natural influences. Policy options include:

  • Policies for Small Businesses. These policies are all-inclusive and available directly through Ex-Im. Umbrella policies are available and allow more-direct contact between owner and client for insurance matters. Income and export volume conditions apply; speak to an insurance agent for more information about small business policies for exporters.
  • Single-Buyer Short-Term insurance policies. Policies to protect single sales are available. For insurance for single shipments, speak to an agent about short-term export insurance protection.

These policy options are designed for small-medium sized companies with any level experience in the industry.

Cargo Insurance

For around one percent of the cost of transported good, cargo shipments are insurable for the worth of more than the cargo. Shipments are insured to compensate for time and profit-loss.

  • All-risk policies are the most inclusive, yet some restrictions apply. To access the most from a cargo insurance policy speak to an insurance agent.
  • General-average policies protect from transportation losses to other cargo from other exporters, included in the same shipment. Maritime regulations state all exporters utilizing the same ship bear the responsibility for all on-board contents. Tricky, right? Call an agent for more information.
  • Contingent insurance is there to cover gaps in insurance from other parties in a shipping transaction. Contingent insurance is the safety net for two-party transactions.

New exporters may wish to start small, yet as the company size grows so will risk. Policies can grow with the company.

Keeping Shipments Safe

There are a number of ways to help protect shipments before they head to sea. This can help reduce insurance claims, reducing premiums and costs as well.

  • Crate shipments for simple loading and unloading. Ports utilize forklifts, cranes, and other heavy equipment to load and unload cargo shipments. Packing shipments to withstand the loading and unloading process can limit and damages to the shipment.
  • Crate shipments for the high-seas. Oftentimes cargo is kept above-decks for exposure to the weather and sea-spray. The elements can wreak havoc on unsecured shipments, prepare for nature beforehand.
  • Crate shipments securely. During the transportation process, shipments may be left unattended. Reduce temptation by securing shipments with locks and other anti-theft measures.

Waterproof shipments when possible, and be liberal with the application of packing materials. Consider transportation routes and climates before crating, and always think safety first. For more information on insurance protection for exporter-importers contact an insurance agent today. Our agents are always on the lookout for ways to save money and promote health. Call anytime with any insurance-related questions.


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Hacking on The Rise

It is estimated that over half the companies currently operating in the United States have been the victim of cyber-attacks within the past year. 53% to be exact, according to a recent study completed by cyber-insurance carrier the Hartford Steam Boiler (HSB) Inspection and Insurance Co. This study also found that of the businesses hacked within the prior year period, 72% spend over $5,000 investigating each incident. Response to cyber attack can be costly. Attacks must be discovered, damage mitigated, and changes may be necessary to limit future exposure.

More than a third of the businesses hacked (a whopping 38%) spent more than $50,000 in their response, 10% spend between $100,000-250,000 and 7% paid more than $250,000 in associated expenses. That’s over a quarter-million dollars on disaster response for a single attack. Timothy Zeilman, Vice President with HSB, a said the increased number of cyber assaults and associated high cost have companies more concerned with protecting information. Data is what drives a business; loss or corruption can be crippling on many levels.

Seven of every 10 executives worry data will become damaged or compromised due to a cyber strike. 62% of those surveyed worry about costly equipment damage as well. This study supports those concerns. The most common casualty in a cyber-attack is a loss of data (60%), followed by a disruption in day-to-day business (55%). Malware and viruses are frequent types of cyber-attacks. An increasing number of companies also experienced distributed denial of service (DDoS) assaults, payments demands via ransomware, cyber extortion of all types, and a number of social engineering issues.

Security experts say employees are a weak link in the chain when sensitive information is on the line, and business leaders agreed. When questioned on the largest risk to cybersecurity, respondents pointed to negligent or disgruntled employees (45%) and cyberpunks (37%). Almost two-thirds of businesses purchased or increased cyber insurance coverage over the past year. 56% of these businesses purchased a cybersecurity policy for the first time. This study was completed by Zogby Analytics on behalf of HSB. Zogby studied 403 presidents, CEOs, CFOs, and other high-level executives in the United States to accumulate data. Those surveyed worked in a range of industries with incomes ranging from less than $5 million to greater than $200 million.

We’re always searching for fantastic insurance information that may affect health and pocketbook. Call anytime with any insurance-related questions.


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Always Work With a Net

Entrepreneurs spin a lot of plates. Gathering licenses, building inventory, and engaging potential vendors are several of many things involved with launching. A large number of responsibilities involved with starting a company leaves it unsurprising many entrepreneurs overlook securing effective commercial insurance policies. A grasp on specific risks helps tailor the right commercial insurance policy.

Mike Barton, with Commercial Insurance of Allstate, says the right policy changes for each company. Daycare-center operators and at-home caregivers carry different levels of risk. Policies tailored for meeting specific risks head-on limit liability. Kevin Haward of State Farm recommends general liability insurance coverage as a starting point to build upon. For home-based entrepreneurs, general liability policies cover gaps homeowner’s insurance policies may leave, such as guests attending at-home sales parties.

Commercial Insurance: The Options

Insurance requirements vary based on company size, industry, location and more. General liability protection creates a starting-point for coverage. Add extra coverage for increased protection. These additional commercial insurance coverage policy inclusions are available through a broker:

  • Commercial Property Insurance. The artwork in the office, computers, machinery and more gain protection through commercial property coverage.
  • Lost-Income Insurance. This policy compensates for revenue lost due to an insurable event, rendering the company unable to operate. Weather the storm with the right insurance protection.
  • Omission/Error Insurance. Dealing with small details is challenging; the occasional oversight may occur. This policy protects lawyers, doctors, and other professionals against damages due to unintentional data omission.
  • Compromised-Data Insurance. Corporate espionage is alive and well. Protect customer information, company secrets, and other sensitive information with a data compromise inclusion.
  • Cyber insurance protects companies using Cloud, internet, and other connected platforms for sharing data. Any entrepreneur with an internet connection is at risk, ransom-ware targets companies of all sizes.

Tips for Success

The experts recommend several tips for securing the right commercial insurance policy coverage:

1. Properly Value Property. Often, entrepreneurs underestimate the value of personal effects employed for company purposes or rely on a homeowner’s policy for protection. Protect these effects using commercial property coverage.

2. Ask Around. Many resources exist online for researching insurance policies and protection before buying. Other local entrepreneurs are an additional source of information. They can give advice coverage options, share knowledge about risks, and recommend an agent.

3. Get Help. According to Barton, small operations account for nearly one-third of the American labor force. At smaller companies staff often adapts, performing multiple roles to keep operations running. Sales, accounting, and customer service take time. An agent can shoulder the task of finding and activating the right policy.

4. Find the Right Agent. The right insurance agent understands the industry, location, and objective of the company. Commercial policies differ by state, agency, and by the agent. A local agent remains attentive to needs ensuring continuous and comprehensive coverage. Gain the right coverage for the right price using a local agent.

Researching ahead of time can help save later. To learn more about commercial insurance protection contact an agent today. Protection is available for companies of all sizes. Reduce risk, limit liability, and protect property with commercial insurance.

Contact an agent for any questions about commercial insurance, or with any other questions about insurance protection. Have a great article topic to share? We’d love to hear it!


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Why Continuity Planning Matters: Only 60% of Businesses Recover From Disasters

This year, hurricane season is in full effect. Businesses in the paths of Harvey and Irma dealt with significant impacts. Most small business owners are occupied running their business. Plan for natural disasters is a distant thought. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, 40% of local entrepreneurs close following a disaster. The lessons learned from this year’s hurricane season distill to one: a disaster plan is essential for commercial survival.

Recent findings from CNBC demonstrate owners are thinking about other things when it comes to disasters. A paltry 8% of respondents said the environment is a top concern when planning business matters. That number drops to 6% in the Southwest, and 5% in the hurricane-plagued south. Job creation, healthcare, immigration, and the “other” category all ranked higher for attention.

Plans can help businesses survive and recover faster. Here are 5 ways entrepreneurs can prepare for natural disasters:

1. Use Online Backup

There may be little notice before disaster strikes. thumb drives, Cloud services, and external hard drives can all store important records. Things such as:

  • Invoices and contracts
  • Agreements
  • Employee documents
  • Accounting and tax papers
  • Insurance paperwork

Rebuilding will be easier if these are protected and safe.

2. Create Plans for Employees, Vendors, and Customers

A business can prepare for a disaster, but customers, employees, and vendors are essential for survival. Insurance policies may cover business losses, but planning for customers and staff can help prepare. Businesses should share information with customers and staff early about possible supply or sales delays.

  • Customers: Helping customers by sharing information can aid preparations. Staying in touch with regular and important customers helps strengthen relationships. Open lines of communication with customers will let them know when the business is back open.
  • Employees: Help employees prepare by outlining clear instructions for pay and leave during a disaster. Keep and update employee contact information for updates during and after a storm or event.
  • Vendors: Vendors and distributors are a vital part of the commerce. Disaster-related delays may force them to shop elsewhere unless they’ve been informed.

Promptly address customers, employees, and vendors when disaster strikes. It may be a regional event or one specific to a single business. Sharing information with others can help a business survive a disaster.

3. Create a Continuity Plan

A continuity plan enables businesses to keep doing business following a disaster. Label key operations and assign employees to specific roles. Some staff may require cross-training for disaster relief purposes.

The government recommends the following components exist in a disaster plan:

  • Find the most-important company operations.
  • Develop techniques for filling emergency supply and staffing gaps
  • Test the plan for areas to improve on
  • Educate staff members

Continuing operations can generate much-needed revenue following a disaster. Businesses able to operate quickly following a disaster are more likely to survive.

4. Evaluate Risks

There are many risks to consider when crafting an emergency plan for a business. There are events common to all businesses, and some which may be specific to an industry or area. An insurance agent can help determine areas of risk specific for an individual business preparedness plan. An agent will ask questions to help determine possible areas to prepare for, such as:

  • Is the business in an area prone to extreme weather?
  • Is there a history of flooding in the area?
  • Is the company in a city at risk of terrorism?
  • Does the business produce volatile products?

Risks common to an industry or location can help determine adequate insurance coverage for protection.

5. Practice

Drills help staff learn disaster plans for better implementation if needed. Businesses that drill for disaster plans are more likely to have those drills work during a crisis.

Insurance agents are knowledgeable resources for information about potential disasters and preparing for them. The world can be dynamic but with the right insurance coverage a business can survive a disaster and come out successful. A disaster plan may never be necessary but if so, it can mean closing for a storm and closing forever.

Our agents are always looking for insurance related topics for better health and better savings. For any insurance-related questions please contact us for answers.


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Underinsurance in Small Business

Recent studies many small businesses have inadequate insurance coverage. Often, business owners don’t find out until they need to make a claim. The ins and out of business insurance can difficult to navigate for small business owners who simply don’t know enough about coverage. Knowing the types of coverage needed will help you ensure you have the right insurance protection for your small business.

There are 3 ways you can prepare before speaking to an insurance agent. This can help you ensure you get adequate coverage for your own unique operating situation. When shopping for insurance it can be helpful to:

1: Know your risks

Understanding the risks specific to your business will help you determine what level of insurance coverage you need. Your business may face any number of operating risks, such as:

  • Customer traffic
  • Public advertising
  • Transportation of goods or people
  • Property agreements
  • Food service and more

Approaching risk head-on with proactive business insurance coverage will help you avoid headaches and costs later on.

2: Determine your own concerns

No one knows the daily operation of your business better than you. If there’s something you think you may need coverage for, ask. Your insurance provider will tell you if coverage is necessary and what policies may be available.

3: Do the research

Try to find out what types of coverage are required for businesses like yours. Do you serve alcohol? Rent property? Certain businesses have additional coverage required by law. A web search can help you determine the levels of coverage required for your own business.

Shopping for Business Insurance

There is no set of rules stating the order of operations when opening a business. This leaves many business owners wondering when to begin or change their insurance coverage. Listed below are the most common reasons to begin or change a business insurance policy:

  • Starting a company. Business insurance is part of starting a small business. Small businesses – even home-based ones – need equipment, tools, and/or retail product to thrive. These items can be costly to replace if stolen, damaged, or lost. Additionally, businesses interacting with the public either face-to-face or through advertising will want insurance coverage before opening their doors. For many business owners, a Business Owner’s Package plan (BOP) is a good place to start. These policies generally bundle property, service responsibility, and company disruption policies into single plans.
  • Renting Office, Storage, or Retail Space. When you lease any physical location or building you must generally provide evidence of business insurance coverage. You can avoid a lot of extra work by obtaining coverage before shopping locations. When looking at spaces ensure your policy coverage is appropriate for the location.
  • Hiring New Staff. If you have employees you’ll need additional unemployment, salary, and (for many businesses) disability insurance. You may also wish to consider including extra coverage (such as a medical insurance plan) for your employees.
  • Introducing New Products or Services. When developing a new product, check with your broker to ensure your policy sufficiently covers any risks. For small businesses providing services, insurance coverage can help protect against employee errors or omissions. Insurance coverage can help shield you from customers perceiving injury or loss due to your products or services.
  • Raising Capital. Growth is great, but an increase in size means an increase in risk. Companies raising capital through the sale of shares may want increased coverage. In fact, any company operating with a board should consider Directors and Officers (D&O) insurance. Directors and Officers insurance protects board members from business legal matters. Candidates may request this be in place before accepting the position.

Knowing your risks and the coverage you need can help you find the right insurance policy for your small business. Protect yourself from the start by finding the right plan to cover your risks. Small businesses are unique – your own business may require extra coverage built into your plan. Businesses in areas prone to natural disasters are highly encouraged to check their own policy for protection. After a disaster occurs, it’s too late.

Finding and managing business insurance doesn’t have to be difficult. Plan ahead, ask questions and compare plans before buying. Keeping your insurance documents accessible will ensure you have them if, and when, you need them.

We’re always on the lookout for great information about insurance topics that can impact your health and your wallet. If you have any insurance-related questions, please reach out to us for answers.


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