Your Private Business Is Exposed to Directors and Officers Claims

 

Directors and Officers (D & O) Liability Update

Every business, no matter what the size, has a D & O exposure.  Some people may mistakenly think that D & O risks are just for large firms, but actual court cases tell a different story.  D & O claims come about because of decisions made by the firm’s officers and employees.  Claims can come from employees, competitors, investors, and the government.  Most of these kinds of claims are not covered under a standard commercial insurance policy.

Here are some interesting facts brought to you by the Insurance Information Institute:

  • Over 53% of privately held firms have had D & O related claims.
  • Twenty-five percent of companies have had an employment related claim.
  • The average defense cost for a D & O claim is around $75,000.
  • Firms with less than 50 employees have the same percentage of claims as larger firms.

Here are some of the kinds of claims to which your business is exposed:

Misrepresentation

If you misrepresent your company’s services, financials or other information, third parties may sue you for your actions.  This can include services you say you provide on your webpage or financial information you provide to a lender.

Breach of Duty

Your firm’s officers and employees are required to carry out their duties with a standard of honesty and professionalism.  If these legal duties are breached, you are subject to litigation by the injured party.

Employment Issues

Your employees can sue the business for a variety of employment issues that can be covered under a D & O or employment practices liability policy.

 

The Nuts and Bolts of Contractor’s Insurance

A Contractors Insurance Update

The success of your business depends on the quality of your business insurance.  Business insurance is designed to protect your business in the event of an unexpected claim.  We can create a contractor’s insurance program that is designed for your unique operation.  Here are a few of the kinds of contractor insurance you need.

  • The basic contractor insurance program should include property, commercial liability, auto, equipment coverage, and excess liability.
  • Contractor’s bonds. A contractor’s license bond is a license and permits bond that is designed to assist all types of contractors.  In many states, contractor bonds are required and help ensure that the contractor will operate in compliance with the local statutes as well as laws.
  • As an independent contractor, you may need to have worker’s compensation insurance. Worker’s comp regulations are mandated state by state.  If you are in business for yourself and you do not have employees, you are most likely not required to buy worker’s compensation insurance.
  • Contractor tool/equipment coverage. Your tools are part of your business; make sure they are insured to full replacement cost.
  • Contractors Errors and Omissions coverage. Every contractor has this exposure.  If you provide any advice on your job, you have professional liability risk.
  • Employment Practices Liability (EPLI) coverage. An EPLI policy covers claims made against directors, officers, employees, the company, and its subsidiaries.  The policy can cover a long list of claims, including wrongful dismissal/termination, sexual/racial/disability harassment, sexual/racial/disability/religious discrimination, employment-related libel, slander, defamation, invasion of privacy, wrongful failure to employ or promote, and retaliation.
  • Workers’ Compensation. Workers’ compensation insurance is insurance that provides lost income, medical benefits, disability benefits, and rehabilitative services for workers injured on the job or while performing work-related duties.

Your business needs protection provided by a company and insurance advisor that you can trust.

Personal service combined with depth of knowledge in the insurance marketplace, and access to a wide range of carriers is the combination of factors that sets Oakwood Insurance apart from its competitors. We not only work in the north metro, but it’s also our home. We strive to support the vibrancy and growth of this community. We want it to thrive, and we want you to thrive. We will review your insurance coverage and help you understand what you have and ensure that it’s the best fit for your goals.

Proven Ways To Build Strong Insurance Relationships

The partnership between an insurance agent, an insurer, and a client is one of the most important in the industry. Carriers and the underwriters create policies and take on risks for insureds, whereas brokers assist their clients in finding the best insurance policies and carriers for their needs.

The independent agent and broker are the industry’s backbone. They are the primary channel of distribution for commercial property and casualty insurance.

How To Build And Maintain Strong Relationships

Don’t base your relationship on technology

Technology is good and effective tool for both the agent and their clients. But don’t make technology so important that any personal communication is lost.

Follow Through

Agents should build strong relationships with their clients by following through on their commitments and being communicative in the event that something changes, in addition to offering services and advice that help insureds avoid losses. If you say you’re going to do something, you must do it. If you can’t do it, you say, ‘I’m not going to be able to meet the commitment,’ and then you set a new expectation.

Focus on more than just pricing

When it comes to building a strong relationship with insurance agents, one thing that stands out above all else is the need to add value that goes beyond offering competitive insurance prices. When comparing options today, insureds should look for an agent who will not only provide the coverages they require but will also serve as a risk management partner.

Be Consistent

Consistency is essential in all aspects of communication and service. It establishes a pattern that customers can expect, which helps to highlight your value proposition and enhance the customer experience. Simply personalize interactions by framing conversations and messaging in less “scripted” ways. According to one survey, most marketers fail to personalize communication beyond digital channels. Get more customer-specific the next time you pick up the phone. It should contribute to the relationship’s strengthening.

The customer, regardless of the insurance company, ultimately looks to you, the agent, for advice, service, and responsiveness. Regardless of the shifting strategies and focuses in today’s insurance markets, remember to prioritize your customer relationships first, and you’ll find yourself building a book of business that will last for a long time.

 

Commercial Auto Insurance

Commercial auto insurance can cover various vehicle types (trucks, cars), drivers, and motorized equipment. It covers bodily injury liability and property damage when driving a work car, as well as medical payments or Personal Injury Protection (PIP) for the policyholder’s driver and passengers.

Auto Liability (hired/non-owned)

Do your staff drive their own automobiles, or do you rent them? This coverage protects your business against certain liabilities stemming from the usage of a rented or leased vehicle (hired) or a non-owned vehicle (employee using their own vehicle on company business). This coverage is frequently affordable when added to a company auto policy or, in certain situations, a general liability policy.

When Your Business Vehicle Is Also Your Personal Vehicle

Sometimes employees or executives of a company or other persons who are supplied with a vehicle owned by the company have only that vehicle. They do not own a personal vehicle nor do they obtain personal automobile coverage. The BACF does not cover personal use of the vehicle in this situation. To close this coverage gap, you need to add the Drive Other Car Coverage Endorsement to your BACF. This provides insurance while the named individual or a member of his or her family is driving a car borrowed from a third party.

Keeping Premiums Down

The best way to keep your business auto premiums down is to avoid accidents. Driving safety should be emphasized. Drivers should not be so pressured to produce that they feel compelled to drive unsafely. All vehicles should be well maintained.

Ask your agent whether your insurance company has business auto safety resources that you can use to help your organization be accident-free. For more information on reducing the risk of auto accidents.

When you own or run a business, you have a lot at at-risk and much to protect, and having the right business insurance coverage can be crucial to your long-term success. When it comes to protecting your business, fortunately, there are a variety of coverages to choose from. We represent a variety of carriers and are dedicated to assisting you in protecting your company from damage and liability. When you work with the team at the Oakwood Insurance Agency, you will receive personalized advice from an experienced agent who will assist you in developing a plan that includes all of the coverage you may require.

Business Owners Policies

For small to medium-sized firms, a business owner’s policy, or BOP, is an excellent insurance option. This type of policy is popular since it combines the most frequent coverages into a single policy with a single payment rather than paying for individual policies. This package is totally customizable and, in most cases, less expensive than purchasing individual policies.

If your company employs less than 100 people and generates less than $1 million in annual revenue, you may be eligible. For home-based business owners, this is also a popular option. Property and liability coverage is included, as well as your choice of the following alternatives (with some insurers offering extra options):

Property insurance protects a company’s physical assets, such as its buildings, furniture, equipment, and inventory.

Loss of income insurance pays out for income lost due to a covered business interruption, such as profits and expenses like rent and wages.

Third-party bodily harm or property damage while on your business’s property is covered by liability insurance.

Equipment breakdown insurance covers equipment that fails or is damaged as a result of a covered incident, such as computers and phone systems.

Third-party medical expenses incurred as a result of a liability claim are covered by medical payments insurance.

Most BOPs do not include worker’s compensation or commercial auto insurance, which must be acquired separately if they are needed.

Data breach insurance protects digital assets like databases and customer records from hackers, data spills, identity theft, and other disasters.

Employment practices liability insurance: Covers your company’s liability charges in the event that discrimination, harassment, wrongful termination, or other law violation-related claim is made.

When you own or run a business, you have a lot to at-risk and much to protect, and having the right business insurance coverage can be crucial to your long-term success. When it comes to protecting your business, fortunately, there are a variety of coverages to choose from. We represent a variety of carriers and are dedicated to assisting you in protecting your company from damage and liability. When you work with the team at the Oakwood Insurance Agency, you will receive personalized advice from an experienced agent who will assist you in developing a plan that includes all of the coverage you may require.

Coverage Gaps You May Have In Your Commercial Insurance

A Commercial Insurance Update

If it has been over a year since an agent has reviewed your commercial insurance program, you may have several coverage gaps. A lot has changed in the last 12 to 18 months, and your commercial insurance must keep up with your risks.

Most risk and insurance experts have identified the risks that will impact your business in 2022 and beyond. These are in no particular order. We can offer commercial insurance solutions that will help your business manage risk keep moving forward.

  1. Cyber risk
  2. Supply chain and business interruption
  3. The great resignation
  4. Increase awareness regarding pollution issues
  5. General safety

Cyber Risk

Did you know that the average small business is more likely to experience a cyber breach than a fire? This is correct, and your commercial insurance policy will most likely not cover cyber liability losses.

Technology has made it possible for the average criminal to enter the world of cybercrime. Small businesses are a prime target because most have little or no protection. Criminals can buy programs that can be configured to hack dozens of businesses at the same time. It is important that your company has business insurance, including cyber liability insurance.

Every state has enacted legislation requiring notification of all customers affected by a data breach, regardless of whether their information was used maliciously. In most cases, the notification also requires the customer to choose between one year of credit monitoring services and a new card or account number. Each individual affected by the breach may incur costs of up to $250.

Supply Chain and business interruption

As previously stated, COVID-19 has caused widespread havoc, particularly throughout the supply chain. One recent report suggested supply chain issues could be in place through Christmas, and a computer chip shortage has hindered production in the auto industry for months. These, along with a normal loss, can create business interruption losses. Business Interruption Insurance (BII) is designed to protect businesses from these types of risks. BII is often part of packaged commercial insurance policies or is purchased in conjunction with business property insurance.

One reason for this is that the perils, or causes of loss, are usually the same for property insurance as for business interruption insurance. A variation in BII designed for those enterprises that depend heavily on outside suppliers is called contingent Business interruption insurance. Loss in business income due to the inability of a supplier to provide goods or services can be insured against in many circumstances.

The great resignation

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 4.5 million Americans quit their jobs of work by July 2022. Resignations peaked in April and have remained unusually high in recent months, with a record-breaking 10.9 million open jobs at the end of July. In the face of such a tidal wave of resignations, how can employers keep their employees?

Two things your business can do to better manage the employment relationship is to;

  1. Offer a variety of employee benefits like; flexible hours, remote work, benefits, Classes, and special programs that enhance employees’ lives and broad health care options.
  2. Make sure your business has employment liability insurance coverage. EPLI protects against many kinds of employee lawsuits, including claims of:
  • Sexual harassment
  • Discrimination
  • Wrongful termination
  • Breach of employment contract
  • Negligent evaluation
  • Failure to employ or promote
  • Wrongful discipline
  • Deprivation of career opportunity
  • Wrongful infliction of emotional distress
  • Mismanagement of employee benefit plans

Pollution Liability

Pollution liability coverage is available to businesses that emit hazardous waste emissions during manufacturing, such as oil, agribusiness, construction, manufacturing, excavation, waste depositories, and asbestos abatement contractors. Policies cover bodily injury and property damage claims, as well as clean-up costs caused by toxic waste contamination. The need for pollution liability insurance is evident for businesses whose operations involve hazardous waste exposure risks, such as asbestos abatement or waste depository. If you own an industrial site that does not generate hazardous waste, pollution liability insurance may still be a good investment.

General Safety

There is no doubt that COVID-19 changed the way we did business. But most people will continue to implement safety protocols, such as. Make certain that your facility is completely clean, disinfected, and equipped with a plan for maintaining safe conditions.

Provide a support system for employees as they return to work and adjust to the new realities and emotional challenges posed by the post COVID-19 pandemic.

Developing a plan for a safe work environment that protects employees and

How To Get The Most Out of Your Business Insurance

There are just so many alternatives when it comes to choosing the correct insurance for your company. When it comes to commercial company insurance, one of the most important things to think about is how to get the most out of your policy. Start making the most of your commercial business insurance, consider the following suggestions:

Keep your policy current, review and update it on a regular basis with your agent.

Examine your policy every few months to see whether your business requirements have changed. Talk to your agent about the policy at least once or twice a year. This can assist you in safeguarding your interests.

Take Precautions to Safeguard Your Business

It is critical to ensure that your company is a safe and healthy place to work. Keeping things orderly, wiping up spills, and repairing any damage may go a long way – and could even help you save money on your insurance.

Reduce the chances of a customer being injured in order to cut down on claims.

The less likely consumers are to get injured and file a lawsuit, the safer your store is. Maintain a clean environment for consumers by keeping aisles clear, walkways clean, and spills cleaned up.

Do you want to work from home? Your homeowner’s insurance may not protect you

You probably still need commercial business insurance if you’re one of the millions of Americans who run a          home-based business. Exclusions for home-based companies are common in homeowners insurance plans. Make sure to double-check your coverages and exclusions with your insurance broker.

Work with your agent to find the best commercial insurance for your company.

Your agent is an excellent first line of defense against purchasing incorrect insurance. You’ll want to pay close attention to what they recommend so that you can receive the greatest commercial insurance policy for your company’s needs.

Ensure that the most crucial areas are covered.

Clients may rest assured that all of their major insurance needs will be covered when they choose our agency. Contact one of our representatives today to determine the appropriate level and type of insurance coverage for your company. This would include property, cyber liability, EPLI, liability, and excess liability coverage.

Oakwood Insurance 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.   This information in to be considered general in nature. All claims will be settled based on your actual policy terms and conditions. 

 

2022 Insurance Planning

It may be imperative to evaluate your personal insurance program now that 2022 is approaching. Before buying insurance, most consumers don’t take the time to consider their exposures, options, or present financial situation. It’s critical to take stock of your own finances in order to plan for the future. Here are some ideas to get you thinking about your personal insurance. Of course, we always advise that you contact our office for additional information.

  • Make Sure That You Are Dealing With A Licensed Insurance Agent – Insurance companies and agents are both required to be licensed by the state, and their information may be found online at the state’s insurance department. Most state insurance departments have resources online to aid you in choosing the correct insurance and ensuring that the person or organization you’re dealing with is an expert in that field.
  • Examine Your Automobile Limits – If your policy limits are less than $100,000, you won’t be able to cover your medical expenditures in the event of a major accident. Anyone with any assets or income to protect should get minimum liability coverage of $500,000 to $1 million or more.
  • Look for Discounts – Many insurance firms offer a 10% or higher discount to customers who have other insurance contracts with them (such as auto or RV insurance). Consider getting an insurance quote from the same company that provides your homes insurance for other forms of insurance. You might be able to save money by bundling.
  • Recognize The Risks And Coverage You Require – Every property is unique and comes with its own set of risks. The type of insurance required will also be determined by whether the property is utilized as a primary residence, a long-term or short-term rental, or a condominium. In general, homeowner’s insurance is intended to protect against dangers beyond the owner’s control, such as rain, wind, fire, vandalism, pipe bursts, falling objects, theft caused by broken glass, and so on.
  • Keep a Home Inventory — Keeping an accurate inventory of your personal belongings will help you recover faster in the event of a loss.
  • Bundle Your Insurance – Save money by combining your vehicle, house, and umbrella policies with one insurer.
  • Choose the Right Deductible – A greater deductible lowers your premium, but you’ll be responsible for more out-of-pocket expenses in the event of an accident. If you have a clean driving record and no accidents, you might choose to take a chance and pay a higher premium. The benefit for taking this risk might be as much as a 40% discount.
  • Consider Identity Theft — One of the fastest-growing crimes in the United States is identity theft.
  • Read Your Policy – I’m not referring to the 1-2 page Declarations Page that serves solely to demonstrate coverage, but rather the 20-30 page insurance Binder or Policy that provides the specifics of the coverage and exclusions. Nobody enjoys reading insurance policies, so don’t be surprised if you don’t comprehend them.
  • Purchase from a financially stable business — Your insurance coverage is only as good as the firm that backs it up. The insurance firm should be rated “A+” or better.
  • Be willing to make changes as your lifestyle and requirements evolve.

Commercial Insurance Myths

In today’s atmosphere, business insurance is a must, but many owners are unaware of the fundamentals of this sort of policy, such as why it’s important, what it covers, and how to get the correct coverage for yourself and your company. Here are four typical business insurance myths, as well as the myth-busters you should be aware of.

Myth: All you need is a basic policy.

Truth: This may be the case for a few business entrepreneurs. However, every firm is different: some may rely on incredibly valuable equipment or inventory, others may deal in sensitive data, and still, others may be more likely to be sued. It’s critical that you comprehend how typical insurance will or will not function for your own organization and situation. Then, with the help of an independent insurance firm like ours, you can figure out the best ways to fill in the gaps.

Myth: If you or your workers drive their own cars, you can avoid purchasing auto insurance.

Truth: Having a car insurance policy is a must if you or your staff drive for business purposes, whether you have one or numerous designated business vehicles. Accidents or injuries that occur while doing business are unlikely to be covered by your standard auto insurance policy, so don’t overlook this crucial coverage if it applies to what you do.

Myth: If you don’t have staff, you don’t need business insurance.

Truth: Having business insurance is a must for any serious business owner, whether you manage a workforce of 5 or 15, or you’re a one-man or woman show. Many of the hazards that come with running a business are simply not covered by standard homeowner’s insurance. If you’re an independent contractor working in a high-risk field like contracting, you’ll need specialist coverage to protect yourself and your clients.

Myth: Commercial insurance is prohibitively expensive.

Truth: On the contrary, business insurance may be very reasonable, and it’s a little thing to pay to secure your livelihood and the firm you’ve worked so hard to develop. A well-rounded insurance coverage will provide you peace of mind, allowing you to focus on your goals.

Call or email our staff immediately if you have any questions about business insurance.

Remote Workers And Cyber Security Risks

There are more remote workers in American today than at any time in our recent history. Many employers are embracing this trend, but there are new risks to consider. As a result of this distant work environment, a crucial problem arises in new security threats. In our digital age, businesses have had to improve their cybersecurity, yet cybersecurity dangers have increased significantly due to remote labor. Employees who work from home are at a significantly higher risk than those who work in offices.

Ransomware attacks are also a big concern for more than two-thirds (69%) of IT executives, who anticipate that the hybrid workplace will be a target for ransomware. Targeted organizations faced a threat to their business continuity as a result of these attacks.

Sharing a computer and using it for personal purposes are two different things. It may seem self-evident, but sharing a business computer with family or roommates can be a security concern. This should be avoided at all costs, especially if your work result contains sensitive customer information.

Cyber Tips For Remote Workers

  • Keep devices patched and up-to-date.
  • Accommodate the increase of remote VPN workers.
  • Proved employee training.
  • Require passwords to be updated regularly, use PW managers.
  • Use cloud software for file management.
  • Use only secure Wi-Fi.
  • Have good backup systems

Have a good cyber liability insurance plan in place. Cyber liability insurance is a type of insurance that offers a variety of coverage choices to help organizations protect themselves from data breaches and other cyber security risks. It’s not a question of whether, but when your company will be hacked. Policyholders with cyber insurance can also use tools and services to manage and minimize cyber risk both before and after a breach.

For remote employees, cybersecurity necessitates ongoing monitoring. Give us a call if you’re concerned about your present remote security practices. We’ll examine and put safeguards in place that will allow your remote workers to work securely and productively.