How To Make Your Insurance Work For You

Every year people make resolutions to improve their financial position. Part of that process means looking at your business and personal insurance program and determining if it still works for you. We pride ourselves on attempting to provide the best quality insurance for all of our clients. But the truth is, proper insurance coverage and healthy financial habitats are in large part due to the actions of the clients. Here are a few lessons we have learned to help you make your insurance work for you.

Personal Insurance Tips

  1. Make a home inventory of all your personal property and place a replacement value on it.
  2. Replace your hot water heater if it is old.
  3. Clean our gutters annually.
  4. Meet with your agent to have an annual insurance review. As your life changes, so should your insurance.
  5. Have your roof checked on a regular basis.
  6. Make sure to check washing machine hoses and dishwasher hoses in case they need to be replaced.

Commercial Insurance Tips

  1. Check your workers’ compensation rates and classifications.
  2. Make sure you have written agreements with all contractors.
  3. If you rent or lease equipment, let your agent know.
  4. As your business changes, it is essential to communicate with your agent so proper coverage can be reviewed.

We Believe…

  • in the dignity and importance of people.
  • that every person and business should have the best insurance protection they can afford.
  • that the Independent Agency system will offer the best selection for all people with their various needs in the changing world we live in.
  • in responsive customer service and ongoing education for our agents. This allows them to best serve the customer with the proper protection and appropriate amounts of insurance.

Managing Risk In Uncertain Times

We are living in uncertain times. COVID-19 and all that goes with it have created a new set of operating rules and risks. There is a number of new risks that have emerged as a result of these changing times.

 

It is vital that your business insurance program have the flexibility to respond to the changing and uncertain times we are living in. Your business insurance program needs to be designed to give your business the best possible coverage at a reasonable price from an agent who understands your individual needs.

 

Remote Workers 

COVID-19 has changed the way we think about remote working. Most businesses are having employees work from home, and even if there is a vaccine, the work from home trend is likely to continue. In general, employees are covered for work-related injuries that occur outside the office or other workplaces. Generally, employers are still responsible for injuries that occur during a detour, such as when an employee physically departs from his or her job duties that are considered minor activity, getting coffee, etc.

 

New Cyber Risks

Commercial businesses to become more dependent on the internet with an increase in remote workers. This new normal now requires special procedures and policies to protect your organization, its data, and network. When workers feel secure, you can nurture productivity and enhance collaboration.

Finance, Social Life And Health Of Employees

Because of the requirements and arrangements following the pandemic, employees have been faced with unexpected expenses related to travel, digital needs, accommodation (home workspaces) health concerns, and protective measures. Employers need to find ways to address these needs on a long-term basis, possibly through smaller in-person gatherings, remote learning opportunities, and even allowances for home office improvements.

Employees With Disabilities

Disabled employees need additional support to adapt to changes. Specific measures are required to address their needs and ensure their access to remote works issues.

As with any risk, you want to get out in front of it quickly. The longer you wait, the harder it is to mitigate the damage. The most successful companies are those that put systems and processes in place to help them quickly recognize the warning signs and navigate the best path forward.

In 1989, Oakwood’s founder, Bruce L. Sogn, set out to establish a business that would give him the opportunity to serve the community and to fulfill a need in the marketplace. Today as an independent insurance agency, Oakwood does just that.

After researching the insurance industry, he found that by becoming an independent insurance agent, he could offer a comprehensive range of insurance products and services to his clients. By maintaining focus on competitive products, Oakwood has kept its commitment to service, professionalism, and the highest integrity.

Even Small Businesses Need Commercial

Liability Insurance Coverage

 To protect a small business from potential lawsuits, liability insurance is necessary. Policies vary greatly, and they cover different classifications of risks for varying costs. Before shopping for a policy, it is important to educate yourself about liability insurance.

Commercial General Liability, which is also called CGL, is a very broad insurance product. It covers claims from accidents, injuries, or negligence when the business is at fault.  Small businesses may face a wide array of damage charges. Personal injuries, property damage, libel, and slander are just a few examples.

Product Liability insurance covers legal fees for litigation involving a faulty product.  It also covers any personal or property damage charges caused by the defective product.

Professional Liability coverage pays for damages caused by services.  It is also called “errors and omissions” coverage.  This is for companies that market a service instead of a product. For example, professionals in medical clinics must have medical malpractice coverage.

An Employment Practice Liability Insurance policy offers insurance protection against claims and lawsuits that are brought against a business, its officers or directors, or its employees and managers, against harassment, wrongful termination, breach of employment contract, discrimination, invasion of privacy, compensation issues, and employee benefits administration.

Oakwood operates as an independent insurance agency, selling an extensive spectrum of insurance to businesses, families, and individuals.  Our competitive advantage comes from the objective and professional service that we provide our access to a wide range of carriers, and our extensive knowledge of the insurance marketplace.

 

What Does Your Agent Talk To You About?

When you meet with, or talk to, your insurance agent, what are the topics of conversation?  Do you only talk about your bill, or why your premium has increased?  Is the only time you hear from your agent when they try to sell you additional coverage? Some agencies even try to dissuade you from talking to your agent!

We are here to provide a different approach.  We recommend talking to your agent at least once a year—or even more if needed.  Communication is the key to all good relationships. We will reach out to you and talk to you about the following:

  1. How is your claim being processed?  Can we assist you with the process?
  2. Did you receive a copy of your policy?  Do you have any questions?
  3. Have you made any major purchases like a new car, boat, or other high-end items?
  4. I know you have a wine collection; did you purchase any new bottles that need to be insured?
  5. Your son Travis is heading off to college; we might want to review your auto coverage.
  6. How is your new job going? Do they offer life insurance, or would you like to look at some options?
  7. Have you thought more about identity theft coverage?
  8. These days, many people are driving for a ride-sharing company, is there anyone in your house doing this?

These are just some examples of what our conversations might look like. Of course, we always start our conversations with “Good day it is great to connect,” and end with “Thank you for your business, we value our relationship and love serving you.”

In 1989, Oakwood’s founder, Bruce L. Sogn, set out to establish a business that would give him the opportunity to serve the community and to fulfill a need in the marketplace. Today as an independent insurance agency, Oakwood does just that.

After researching the insurance industry, he found that by becoming an independent insurance agent, he could offer a comprehensive range of insurance products and services to his clients. By maintaining focus on competitive products, Oakwood has kept its commitment to service, professionalism, and the highest integrity.

What Keeps You up at Night?

 

Every one of us has certain things that occasionally prevent us from getting a good night’s sleep.  These concerns might be a job, kids, an illness, or other problems in life.  Our goal is to make sure that protecting your family with the right insurance is one thing that does not keep you up at night.

Here is how we help you get a good night’s sleep:

  1. We never just sell you a policy.  We ask questions and educate you so that the coverage you select is the right fit for you.
  2. Insurance is a complex transaction, so we work hard to make sure you understand how insurance works before you make a decision.
  3. Our team is licensed, and we have years of experience which helps us better educate and guide you in your insurance needs.
  4. We are here to answer any questions you may have regarding your insurance decisions.

According to an Insurance Journal article, here are the top issues that keep people up at night:

  • Floods and other natural disasters
  • Identity theft
  • End of life issues
  • Eldercare

We can provide valuable information regarding each of these concerns so that you can make the right decision for you and your family.  Our team will never push you into a hasty decision.  That is because we will only offer you an insurance solution after we fully understand your needs.

Connect with us and let us show you how we do it—and help you get a good night’s sleep.

 

Are You Starting A Home Based Business?

COVID-19 has created an interest among many people in starting a home-based business. This would be different from just working remotely.

Did you know that there are over 26 million home-based businesses in the United States today? Many of the world’s most successful enterprises started out in garages as home-based businesses. Disney, Amazon, Yankee Candle Company, Hewett Packard, and Apple are just a few examples of businesses that started out of a home. 52% of all small businesses are home-based, and home-based businesses generated over $5 billion dollars in sales in 2019. Do you own and operate a home-based business? If so, you will want to read this important article.

Just because you don’t have a building or employees does not mean that you do not have the same risks as larger businesses. In fact, home-based business has just about the same risks as any other business, including protecting client information, providing incorrect advice to clients, client lawsuits, product injury, client injuries while conducting business at your home, property losses, and even auto losses.

Some home-based businesses have risks that other businesses do not. What if you become ill or injured and can’t perform your work? Who will step in? What if you die, do you have a contingency plan?

Don’t rely on your homeowner’s insurance to cover your business. Most, if not all, homeowner’s insurance policies will exclude your home-based business. The good news is that a home-based business insurance policy can cost as little as $150.00, depending on the revenue and the kind of business you have.

Here is a sample list of the coverages that you may need as part of your business owner’s policy.

  • General Liability Insurance
  • Business Personal Property
  • Loss of Business Income
  • Personal Advertising Injury
  • Products and Completed Operations
  • Professional Liability
  • Health, Life & Disability

Insurance for small businesses provides protection and peace of mind in case of an injury, damage or lawsuit, and can protect important assets such as your home and family savings from being included in any litigation damages.

 

Flood Insurance And Your Commercial Property Insurance

If you operate a business, you know your building or property is the center of your operations. Commercial Flood Insurance protects one of your biggest investments–your business from damage caused by rising water. Floods often strike without warning‐destroying buildings, equipment, and inventory. Your business is your dream and your legacy, and you protect it with commercial property insurance so you can continue operations in the event of a fire or some other claim.

Have You Considered Flood Insurance?

According to the Federal Government, at least 25 percent of businesses that close after disasters, like a flood, never reopen. From 2010 to 2019, the average commercial flood claim was more than $82,000. Over 80% of all disasters involve flooding.

What Does Flood Insurance Cover?

  • Buildings
  • Contents
  • Equipment
  • Inventory

Standard Commercial Flood Insurance

Your standard flood insurance policy can be provided by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), and your property must be insured for the maximum amount.

Excess Commercial Flood Insurance

Excess commercial flood insurance provides protection against damage caused by flooding. This coverage is over and above your standard flood Insurance policy (NFIP), extending your limits beyond the $1,000,000 available.

Final Thought

Having a formal disaster plan for your business is also very important. Having a plan can help your business weather the storm and resume operations. There are a number of resources for businesses to consider:

 

 

The Future of Risk

Business Insurance Trends

The business insurance world is changing at a fast pace. Technology is continually evolving and businesses must change or die. New technology also brings change in claims and litigation. Often lawsuits filed today are indicators of business liability claims tomorrow.

Business Insurance

Business or commercial insurance coverage is available for almost every conceivable risk your business might face. The cost and amount of coverage of policies vary among insurers.  Also the type of business you are in also impacts cost and coverage.  You should discuss your specific business risks and the types of insurance available for your business with us.

Future Business Insurance Risks

Intellectual Property

This is one of the fastest growing areas of litigation. The average defense cost in 2019 was over $500,000. With more information being disrupted over the internet, claims are sure to increase. Intellectual property insurance coverage protects companies for copyright, trademark or patent infringement, and claims arising out of the company’s operation.

Cyber attacks

Recent news that Russian cyber thieves stole billions of passwords should create heightened awareness about the risks and need for cyber insurance. The problem, Munich Re explains, stems from the fact that “most traditional property and liability policies provide no cover for cyber risks” although there still may be a duty to defend until such time as coverage is determined.

Social Media

Social media is becoming popular with many businesses, and this increases the liability risks. The combination of personal use and business use combined with privacy laws increases the risk to business of being sued by employees and other third parties. There is definite increased risk of defamation, libel and slander for firms who don’t outsource the service.

Directors & Officers Liability

Most business owners don’t believe they can or will be sued despite statistics that show otherwise. The latest number by Chubb Insurance Company shows that about 20% of firms have been sued for directors and officers negligence. Claims can be made by shareholders, regulators, family members, customers, vendors and competitors.

 

COVID-19 And Your Business

COVID-19 And Your Business

Most of us are doing our best to comply with the COVID-19 stay at home order.  However, there are also many of us who still must go to our place of work.  Here are some things you can do to help maintain safety and financial health for your business, employees, and clients in the workplace during this time of uncertainty.

We recommend you check with your City, County, State, OSHA, Department of Health, and other agencies for provided employer guidelines, as during this COVID-19 event, policies can change daily.

COVID-19 Workplace Safety Tips

  • Do not leave any valuables clearly visible or accessible.
  • Mandate all employees wash hands frequently and provide antibacterial supplies.
  • Develop an Infectious Disease Preparedness and Response Plan.
  • Restaurants that offer takeout services should remove all tables and chairs.
  • Provide gloves for staff to use when cleaning, and frequently clean rooms and any areas to which people have access.
  • Limit food sharing.
  • Disinfect surfaces like doorknobs, tables, desks, and handrails regularly.
  • Use videoconferencing for meetings when possible. When not possible, hold meetings in open,       well-ventilated spaces.
  • Add COVID-19 information and updates on your webpage and social media sites.
  • Consider regular health checks including temperature and respiratory symptom screening, of staff and visitors entering buildings (if feasible).
  • Require workers who are ill to stay home.
  • Consider posting “NO TRESPASSING” signage.

Oakwood operates as an independent insurance agency, selling an extensive spectrum of insurance to businesses, families, and individuals.  Our competitive advantage comes from the objective and professional service that we provide our access to a wide range of carriers and our extensive knowledge of the insurance marketplace.

 

Small Business Insurance

As a small business owner, you wear many hats, including owner, manager, human resource manager, sales manager—and even window washer.  Because there is so much to do, you may not spend time thinking about your business insurance, but you should.  Recent studies by the Insurance Information Institute found that over 50% of small businesses never reopen after a severe loss.

Commercial General Liability & Auto Insurance covers claims from accidents, injuries, or negligence when the business is at fault.  Small businesses can face a wide array of  damage charges like personal injury, property damage, libel, and slander.

Cyber Liability Insurance covers the risk posed by conducting business over the Internet, over other networks, or using electronic storage technology.  It covers third party losses from hackers, theft, and loss of information including sensitive client or individual personal information.

Directors and Officers Liability covers costs, damages, and defense protection for directors and officers of a company for lawsuits and judgments arising out of poor management decisions, employee dismissals,    shareholder grievances, and other such acts committed in good faith.

Employment Liability Insurance provides protection for an employer against claims made by employees, former employees, or potential employees.  It can cover discrimination (age, sex, race, disability, etc.),  wrongful termination of employment, sexual harassment, and other employment-related allegations.

Professional Liability Insurance is designed to cover third party claims and damages arising out of providing professional advice.

Workers’ compensation insurance is usually required by law for small businesses with employees.  This insurance provides benefits for employees who are injured or die from job-related causes.

Oakwood operates as an independent insurance agency, selling an extensive spectrum of insurance to businesses, families, and individuals.  Our competitive advantage comes from the objective and professional service that we provide our access to a wide range of carriers and our extensive knowledge of the insurance marketplace.