Thanks to the infinite diversity of human beings and the unique ways in which we all go about things, there is always something to set one company apart from another. Read the full entry
It’s an oversimplification, but remains true: businesses need to spend money in order to make money. However, there’s no reason that a savvy business owner can’t save on some of the things that he needs in order to run his business effectively.
It’s imperative that your business is connected, so consider how you can go about saving money on high speed internet, for instance.
Depending on the size, scope and location of your small business, you may be required to carry workers compensation insurance. If that is the case, do you know the ins and outs of this coverage?
For small businesses in the state of California, workers comp coverage in recent years has been nothing short of a headache. High rates have sent a number of smaller companies fleeing the state to places like Nevada and Arizona where they could better afford to provide the necessary coverage for their workforce.
In other states, the rates have been affordable, but people trying to cheat the system have led to issues.
In its most basic terms, workers comp insurance is in place to cover an employer should a worker be injured on the job. For the employee, it is peace of mind knowing that if they are injured while on the clock, they have coverage to pay for what can be high doctor bills.
For the employee to have access to workers comp coverage, they will need to prove that their employer was responsible for their injury or illness.
In the event an employee does suffer an injury or major illness due to work and are turned down for coverage or medical care, they should discuss the matter with a workers comp attorney to see what they are eligible for.
For any small business owner who is not up to speed on workers comp insurance, they are required to supply the funds for workers comp benefits through a policy, with the expense of the coverage not being taken out of an employee’s paycheck.
Most employees nationwide are covered through workers comp insurance, with some exceptions in some states being those in agricultural, domestic or independent work situations.
So, do you as a small business owner fully comprehend the need and the facts behind workers comp insurance?
If not, keep these factors in mind:
1. How workers comp is determined – The premiums get decided through an equation centered on the amount of payroll per job function within the company’s business. In most states, the agency in charge of workers comp payroll and guidelines sets the rates, while there are some statutory states whereby only state-run funds are allowed to write coverage. The most important factor here is to make sure your payroll figures are as up to speed as possible;
2. Rates can vary – Given the fact that insurance carriers utilize various underwriting companies, what businesses are charged for coverage can and oftentimes do differ. The key here is to locate a carrier seeking to write coverage in your industry, therefore allowing you to find the best rates;
3. The better the employee the less paid for coverage – It is a no-brainer, but emphasize to your employees that the better shape and condition they are in, the less chance for injuries on the job. Remind your employees that it behooves them to be in good shape, thereby lessening the chances they will be out with a serious work injury or illness. Also make sure that you reinforce training for your employees therefore decreasing the chances of any of them getting injured;
4. Be on the lookout for fraud – While it is not the norm, there are oftentimes cases of workers comp fraud, so employers need to keep their eyes open for such actions. Especially given the tough economic times that many employees find themselves in these days, some turn to unlawfully collecting comp benefits. An example would see an employee who was injured at work and takes time off while collecting benefits, then is spotted during an investigation exercising or doing something else they supposedly would not be able to do due to their injury.
While workers comp insurance will cost you differently from the next guy depending on the state your business is in and its size, not having it can be much more costly.
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In today’s litigious society, it is important for all business owners, both big and small; to make sure their employees using company vehicles for business are properly insured when they leave the parking lot.
From companies with employees using trucks to haul goods and services to businesses where employees use company cars to transact business, it is important that business owners make sure the proper insurance is in place in order to avoid a potentially damaging lawsuit.
Among the things to take note of are: Read the full entry
For any small business to go without errors and omissions (E&O) coverage, they run the risk of potentially dealing with a major financial issue should their company be sued.
That being said, is your small business properly covered should it have to deal with a lawsuit from an unhappy customer or other individual or entity?
Whether you are an insurance expert or not, your small business needs to make sure it is protected, especially in today’s litigious society. Read the full entry
It isn’t just stores that receive goods through trucks, as gas stations, construction sites, hospitals and more also oftentimes pick up supplies courtesy of the trucking industry.
In order to deliver those goods, trucking companies need to make a profit, something which can be harder to do in a bad economy.
If your trucking business has seen a spike in expenses in recent years due to higher gasoline and maintenance costs, reviewing your company’s insurance policies to operate your vehicles on the road can lead to savings.
As with any insurance coverage purchases, businesses are best-served when they do their share of research on both insurance policies and companies, especially given the fact that companies insuring drivers and different trucks are not all the same.
Among the differences are:
- A number of companies insuring the trucking industry work via independent agents, while others work in-house through sales personnel;
- Some companies focus on big fleets or owner-operators, while others work with smaller, independent businesses;
- Some companies selling insurance will offer quarterly or monthly payments, while others may require a one-time yearly fee;
- A number of companies only sell in certain states, so check to make sure coverage is provided in your locale.
Now that you know some of the differences, make sure you also understand some of the questions you should be able to answer when deciding on an insurer.
Among the questions to ask are:
- What is the cost for basic trucking insurance as opposed to the costs for riders? ;
- Is the company’s insurance good in all states? ;
- How long has the company been around and do they have a good track record? Have they had a number of claims filed against them? ;
- What is the company’s FSR (financial strength rating) and has the company had monetary issues in the past?
Along with the basic trucking insurance coverage you and your drivers will require, you also need to ask your agents about uninsured motorist (UIM) coverage, personal-injury protection and cargo coverage.
For those companies who continue to search for financial savings, there are ways to lessen your expenses over time.
Among the ways to reduce expenses are:
- Make sure your drivers maintain a clean driving record;
- Joining a trucking association where members have access to both group and association rates;
- Make sure your workers are aware of your safety policy, including what can happen if there are accidents or drug and substance abuse;
- Increase your deductibles in order to save some green on your premiums.
As an owner/operator of a trucking fleet large or small, it pays to do your homework and get the best deals on insurance, insuring yourself and your employees a more successful company.
Photo credit: bciincorporated.com
Businesses have enough to worry about, the least of which should be getting sued if someone is injured on company property or one of their top employees suffers a major injury or illness and is out of work for a substantial time.
In order to protect a company, business insurance coverage adds to the company’s value, making it more attractive to both potential customers and buyers, should it go on the market some day.
When reviewing policies, company owners should be sure to follow several key steps. Read the rest of this entry Read the full entry
Your business can run the tightest ship in town, but it just takes one allegation of wrong doing directed at your company that can sink you financially and/or your reputation at the same time.
With that being the case, Errors and Omissions coverage (also known as professional liability insurance) can be invaluable for your business. If you don’t have the right E&O policy in place, what will you do if your business finds itself fending off an allegation?
According to the National Association of Professional Agents (NAPA), one of every seven professionals will be named in one form or another of an E&O claim at some moment in their careers. Making matters worse, the average expense to settle a claim exceeds $16,000.
When purchasing an E&O policy, there are a number of things to consider: Read the full entry
If your business gets whacked by severe weather, take heart. A standard business owners policy, called a BOP, provides coverage for a wide range of weather-related disasters, such as burst pipes, wind and rain damage, and damage to buildings caused by heavy ice and snow, among others.
Business owners who suffer damage due to power outages may also look to their property insurance coverage or a type of business insurance called a “boiler and machinery” policy (which actually cover all kinds of items) to recover losses. These policies may even cover personal effects of you and your employees up to the policy limit (usually $2,500), but only if you’ve added “Personal Effects and Property of Others” coverage to your policy. This coverage does not include theft, however, even if theft is a covered cause of loss under the policy. Here are other critical things to know: Read the full entry
As small businesses struggle over health insurance, a National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) survey finds that two out of three business owners feel clueless about health insurance choices and costs.
Here are your basic options, from full-featured major medical plans, to HMOs, PPOs, health savings accounts (HSAs) and more — plus what you can expect to pay right now for a small group plan, and some of the best ways to control the costs of providing health coverage at your business: