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Commercial Insurance

AN ARTICLE FROM OUR PARTNERS AT AUTO-OWNERS INSURANCE:

Don’t Allow Your Business to Fall into these Common Coverage Gaps

With the daily grind of project management, subcontractors, and employees, many entrepreneurs simply do not have the time to consider which commercial insurance is best for their business. This is especially true given all of the, often contradictory, information available online. In many ways, it is next to impossible to know “who you can trust.” This is where a local independent insurance agent can help! They will take the time to sit down with you, face-to-face, and will explain the policies and coverage options that will fit the exact needs of your business.

Here is a list of dos and don’ts to review with your local independent agent:

Do – Use your agent to shop around. This is one of the most important benefits of working with a local independent agent. Unlike captive insurance agents, who represent one insurance company, an independent agent sells policies from a wide variety of trusted providers. They do the shopping for you by utilizing their expertise to select a policy that offers the best coverage for your business.

Don’t – Focus solely on cost. This is one of the leading causes of gaps in coverage for your business. As a general rule, if one policy’s premium is significantly lower than competing policies’ premiums, you should ask why it’s so low. Comparing between responsibly priced polices from reputable carriers can be complex, but your independent agent will help you understand the differences.

For example, if you are a mechanic who is purchasing commercial insurance to cover your shop, you can often choose between coverage for the actual cash value (ACV) or the replacement cost (RC). At first glance, these two types of coverage look the same, but the premiums for a policy that covers the RC are always higher than those that cover the ACV. With ACV, there is a deduction in coverage to account for any depreciation of value over time. For example, if an expensive piece of equipment gets damaged, a policy with ACV would reimburse you only for the depreciated value of the machine. This is a coverage gap you might not notice on your own, but it’s one that an experienced independent agent would bring to your attention.

Do – Inform your independent agent about changes in your business. Success is a two-way street. It’s great when your business grows, but you have to remember that your insurance coverage must grow, too. The more your operation expands, the more vulnerable you are to risk. This is why it’s important to meet regularly with your agent and keep them updated about all the continual changes in your business.

Don’t – Assume hackers won’t target your business. Nearly half of all commercial cyber-attacks target small businesses, which can be costly. However, many small-business owners still assume that, because their work is not directly associated with the digital world, they don’t have to worry about cyber insurance. Why would hackers attack a small plumbing business? The answer is simple: because small businesses are easy targets. The reality is that large corporations have extremely sophisticated cybersecurity operations, while small businesses usually have none.

Maybe you don’t conduct any business online, but if you store any personal information on a computer, and that computer is connected to the internet, you are open to an attack. Remember, if any personal or financial information is stolen from an employer’s network, the employer is liable. Commercial cyber insurance from a reputable insurer is an essential part of doing business in the 21st century.

Throughout the year, Kasmann Insurance has focused our efforts on educating our clientele about commercial insurance. To wrap this year up, we would like to dedicate December to people who work from home.  According to Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, more than two-thirds of businesses in the United States start from home, while more than 59% continue operating from home.  Staying in the comfort of one’s home to earn a living may sound enticing, but it does come with risks.

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As a business owner, you have already purchased insurance to protect your liability, property, autos and workers.  Throughout this year, the agents at Kasmann Insurance have stressed the importance of certain commercial coverages that we receive a lot of questions about, or feel are often overlooked.  Commercial Umbrella insurance is one of those products that is not required for businesses, but should definitely be considered.  It provides an extra layer of liability coverage above and beyond the underlying liability limits of the general liability, auto, and employment practices liability policies and it will protect your business in the event of a lawsuit. The agents at Kasmann Insurance did not invent lawsuits or rainy days, but we know how to sell you the best Commercial Umbrella!

What Are They?

We live in a very litigious society where lawsuits are commonplace and the monetary awards can be astonishing.  Commercial Umbrella policies are offered at limits beginning at $1 million, and can be written rather effortlessly up to $5 million (higher limits are available subject to underwriting approval).  Coverage is designed to “kick-in” when the underlying general liability, auto, or employment practices liability limits have been exhausted due to a claim.  The policy can also help with your legal defense costs, possibly appeals, and will protect your business assets against a large financial judgment.

Depending on the specific language they incorporate into their Commercial Umbrella policy, most companies will even protect a business owner from suits brought against them for things like libel, slander, false arrest, mental anguish, defamation of character, invasion of privacy, false imprisonment or wrongful eviction.

You will find that most Commercial Umbrella policies exclude certain situations.  The most common exclusions are:  liquor liability, worker’s compensation, employers liability and employment related practices, pollution, aircraft, watercraft, or racing, product recalls, and electronic data.  One of many reasons that Auto-Owners Insurance is our preferred carrier, is that they do not explicitly exclude liquor liability under their Commercial Umbrella policy.  Click here for more information about Auto-Owners specific coverages.

Why Do I Need One?

Your company needs a Commercial Umbrella policy to ensure that it will not only be around tomorrow, but through the coming years.  Anyone who operates a business is vulnerable to legal action and significant lawsuit settlements arising from the condition of your location, employee auto accidents, or the negligence of your employees.  Certain types of Commercial Umbrella policies will even protect business owners for claims excluded on their underlying liability policies.  This protection is not just for large corporations; it has been designed to be comprehensive and affordable for the smaller business owner, as well.

Examples of Covered Commercial Umbrella Claims:

A landlord failed to install carbon monoxide detectors in his rental dwellings with natural gas heating.  A furnace malfunctioned resulting in one fatality and three injuries among the tenants.

To avoid hitting a truck and trailered boat pulling out onto the highway, the insured truck veered left, crossed the median, and crashed head-on into a Ford Escort killing the mom and dad in the front seat and injuring the children in the back seat.

An insured was refinishing the floor in a home. When the insured flipped a light switch, a spark caused the vapors from the stripping chemicals to ignite and the house was engulfed in flames, catching an occupant on fire.

Insure With the People You Trust

The Kasmann Insurance Agency is contracted with several different carriers who offer Commercial Umbrella polices.  We are happy to assist you in determining an appropriate level of coverage to protect your assets and we can get a plan in place for you today.  Commercial umbrella quotes are relatively quick and easy, and can range anywhere from an average of $500-$1500 annually for million(s) of dollars in coverage.  Don’t get caught in a litigation downpour! Contact us to help you select the right umbrella for your business’s needs.

Equipment breaks. We’ve got a coverage for that!  What would you do if your business equipment experienced a mechanical breakdown and your production and business income suffered as a result?  Let the agents at Kasmann Insurance Agency help you mitigate your commercial losses with a wide variety of coverages and options, including Equipment Breakdown.

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Are you a business owner with a commercial auto policy? Or, are you an employee furnished with a company car? Do you know if you have proper coverage when you drive a rented or borrowed vehicle? Let Kasmann Insurance Agency help!  Let us answer your questions to clear up any confusion about whether you, your spouse, and/or your employees have the coverage they need, when they need it.

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