The Keys to a Business Continuation Plan

The Keys to a Business Continuation Plan

Businesses face an array of challenges in today’s ever-changing world. Disasters, economic downturns, and unexpected events can threaten the very existence of a company. A well-thought-out business continuation plan is the key to ensuring the resilience and survival of your business. In this article, we will explore the essential elements of a business continuation plan and why it is crucial for long-term success.

Comprehensive Risk Assessment

The first and most critical step in creating a business continuation plan is to conduct a comprehensive risk assessment. This process involves identifying potential threats to your business, such as natural disasters, economic downturns, cybersecurity breaches, supply chain disruptions, and even sudden leadership changes. Once you’ve identified these risks, you can prioritize them and determine their potential impact on your business. Understanding these risks is the foundation for building a robust plan.

Clearly Defined Objectives

A business continuation plan should have clear and specific objectives. It should outline what your organization aims to achieve during a disruption. These objectives may include minimizing financial losses, ensuring the safety of employees and customers, and maintaining customer service or product delivery. Having well-defined objectives helps keep everyone on the same page and ensures that your response efforts align with your long-term goals.

Communication Strategy

Effective communication is a critical aspect of any business continuation plan. Your plan should clearly outline how you will communicate with employees, customers, suppliers, and other stakeholders during a crisis. This includes the use of various communication channels, such as emails, phone calls, social media, and, if necessary, press releases. The speed and accuracy of your communication can significantly impact the perception of your business’s competence during a crisis.

Leadership and Decision-Making

A successful business continuation plan should designate key individuals responsible for decision-making during a crisis. This includes defining leadership roles, responsibilities, and the chain of command. It’s vital to ensure that those responsible for making critical decisions are well-prepared and have the authority to act swiftly. A clear hierarchy and decision-making process will prevent confusion and expedite responses.

Resource Allocation

Your plan must include details on how resources will be allocated during a disruption. This covers everything from human resources to financial assets. Consider how you will ensure access to essential supplies, technology, and facilities, as well as the welfare of employees and their families. By having a resource allocation strategy in place, you can prevent bottlenecks and efficiently use available resources.

Continuity of Operations

Business continuation planning is not just about responding to a crisis but also ensuring the continuous operation of your business. Your plan should address how you will maintain essential business functions during the disruption. This may include relocating operations, implementing remote work arrangements, or outsourcing critical tasks. The goal is to minimize downtime and maintain productivity as much as possible.

Testing and Training

Creating a plan is not enough; it must be regularly tested and updated to remain effective. Conducting drills, training sessions, and simulation exercises will help your team become familiar with the plan and improve response times. Regular testing allows you to identify weaknesses and make necessary improvements to your business continuation plan.

Regulatory and Compliance Considerations

In many industries, there are specific regulations and compliance requirements that businesses must adhere to during a crisis. Your plan should address these obligations, including reporting, documentation, and any specific procedures mandated by industry regulations. Failure to comply with these requirements can lead to legal issues or fines.

A well-structured business continuation plan is the lifeline that keeps your business afloat during challenging times. It provides a framework for handling disruptions, mitigating risks, and ensuring the long-term survival of your organization. By conducting a thorough risk assessment, defining clear objectives, implementing effective communication, and addressing all the key elements mentioned above, your business can build a strong and resilient foundation for success, even in the face of adversity. Remember, a plan is only as good as its execution, so continuously refine and update your business continuation plan to adapt to changing circumstances and emerging threats.

Who Needs Commercial Property Insurance

 

Commercial property insurance is essential for a wide range of businesses and property owners. It provides protection for physical assets and property used in the operation of a business. Here are some entities that typically need commercial property insurance:

Business Owners: Any business, whether it’s a small startup, a retail store, a restaurant, or a large corporation, can benefit from commercial property insurance. It helps cover the cost of repairing or replacing physical assets such as buildings, equipment, inventory, and furnishings in case of damage or loss due to events like fire, vandalism, theft, and more.

Property Owners: Owners of commercial real estate, including office buildings, warehouses, retail spaces, and industrial facilities, require commercial property insurance to protect their investments from potential risks.

Landlords: If you lease or rent out commercial space to other businesses, having commercial property insurance can help protect you from liabilities arising due to property damage. It can also cover lost rental income if the property becomes uninhabitable due to a covered event.

Manufacturers: Businesses involved in manufacturing rely heavily on specialized equipment and machinery. Commercial property insurance can help cover the cost of repairing or replacing these assets in case of damage or breakdown.

Retailers: Retail businesses have valuable inventory, fixtures, and equipment that are critical to their operations. Commercial property insurance safeguards these assets against various perils.

Restaurants and Hospitality Businesses: Restaurants, hotels, and other hospitality businesses have unique assets like kitchen equipment, furnishings, and decor. Commercial property insurance can help them recover from events that could damage these assets.

Medical Practices and Clinics: Healthcare facilities often house expensive medical equipment and technology. Commercial property insurance can provide coverage for these assets in case of damage or loss.

Professional Offices: Businesses like law firms, accounting firms, and consulting companies might not have a lot of physical inventory, but they have valuable equipment and documents. Commercial property insurance can help protect these assets.

Technology Companies: Tech companies rely on computers, servers, and other specialized equipment. Commercial property insurance can cover the cost of repairing or replacing these assets in the event of damage or loss.

Nonprofits and Organizations: Even nonprofit organizations often have physical assets like office space, equipment, and supplies. Commercial property insurance can be important to protect their resources.

It’s important to note that the specific coverage needs of each business may vary based on factors such as the type of business, location, industry, and the value of assets. It’s recommended to consult with an insurance professional to determine the appropriate level of coverage for your specific situation.

General Liability Insurance vs. Professional Liability Insurance: Do You Need Both?

As a business owner, you understand the importance of protecting your company from unexpected events. One of the ways to do this is by purchasing insurance. However, with so many types of coverage available, it can be challenging to determine which policies are necessary for your business. In particular, you may be wondering whether you need commercial general liability insurance, professional liability insurance, or both. In this blog post, we will explore the differences between these two types of coverage and help you determine whether you need both.

What is Commercial General Liability Insurance?

Commercial general liability insurance, also known as CGL insurance, is a policy that protects your business against claims of bodily injury or property damage caused by your products or services. This policy can cover expenses related to legal fees, settlements, and judgments if a third party sues your business for damages.

For example, if a customer slips and falls in your store and they sue your business for medical expenses, commercial general liability insurance can cover those costs.

What is Professional Liability Insurance?

Professional liability insurance, also known as errors and omissions insurance (E&O insurance), is a policy that protects your business against claims of negligence or errors related to the professional services or advice you provide. This type of coverage is essential for businesses that provide services such as consulting, construction, accounting, or legal services. Any business that provides advice to clients needs professional liability insurance.

For example, if a client sues your business for financial damages resulting from your professional advice, professional liability insurance can cover the costs of the lawsuit.

Do You Need Both?

Whether you need both commercial general liability insurance and professional liability insurance depends on the nature of your business. If you provide professional services to clients, you should consider purchasing professional liability insurance. This policy can protect your business against claims of negligence or errors related to your professional services, which are not covered by commercial general liability insurance.

However, even if you don’t provide professional services, you may still benefit from having both types of insurance. Commercial general liability insurance can protect your business against claims of bodily injury or property damage caused by your products or services. This type of coverage is essential for businesses that sell products or operate in a physical location, such as a retail store or restaurant.

In some cases, you may be required to purchase both types of insurance by law or contract. For example, if you rent commercial property, your landlord may require you to carry both commercial general liability insurance and professional liability insurance.

Commercial general liability insurance and professional liability insurance are two essential types of coverage that can protect your business against unexpected events. While professional liability insurance is essential for businesses that provide professional services, commercial general liability insurance is necessary for all businesses that sell products or operate in a physical location. Ultimately, the decision of whether you need both types of insurance depends on the nature of your business and your specific risks. Speak with an insurance agent or broker to determine the best coverage for your business.

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.

Product Liability Insurance

If you are in the business of designing, manufacturing, selling, and distributing a product, you understand that it can be exciting, involve hard work, and can even be a bit risky. When the product you represent causes injury or damage to a third party, you need and deserve protection. Depending on the coverage you have, you may not be adequately protected from a product liability claim. Many “standard” insurance policies have limitations for product liability claims. For example, a contractor installed windows in a custom home and 9 months later the windows leaked, causing thousands of dollars of damage. The window manufacturer said their windows are fine; it was the installation that was done incorrectly. The contractor may be held responsible for the damage. Product liability insurance would provide protection in this case.

Our experienced staff will work with you to help find the right insurance and risk solutions for your business. Our knowledgeable team can work with any business; we know and understand your industry.

What is product liability insurance?

Product liability insurance can provide protection from damages, claims, and other liability arising out of the selling, distributing, manufacturing, and design of products. Damages can include bodily injury, property damage, and even death.

An important feature of product liability insurance is legal defense coverage. The cost to defend an allegation can create a strain on your firm’s resources.

Claims can come from any of the following:

  • Poor workmanship
  • Breach of warranty
  • Failure to warn
  • Defect in design or manufacturing
  • Material defect
  • Failure to provide adequate instructions

Classes of businesses we work with:

  • Contractors
  • Artisan Contractors
  • Manufacturing
  • Restaurants
  • Distributors
  • Food Processors
  • Wood Products
  • Automotive
  • Sporting Goods
  • And More

We have a number of highly-rated insurance companies to select from. Call us today for more information.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.

2023 Commercial Insurance Outlook

Many businesses have experienced profit reductions due to economic pressures over the past few years. The pandemic and the supply chain problem have exacerbated this unpredictability. Having the right kind of commercial insurance is one method to keep financial losses and risks under control. Business owners and risk managers must thoroughly evaluate their insurance and risk management program in 2023.

Forecast for Commercial Lines in 2023

The market for property and casualty insurance and risk management is expanding as company risks rise. The huge vaccine rollout helped to contain the pandemic after its peak in 2022, but there is still a chance of new outbreaks. There are many excellent insurers ready to help you manage your risk in 2023.

Companies that provide insurance for business risks make up the commercial lines industry. The two primary categories of commercial lines are general liability and commercial property insurance. But others can include cyber, employment, earthquake, directors and officers liability, and more. AM Best, a rating organization, reported that the pandemic’s influence on commercial lines had decreased in late 2022. Even in 2023, the government issued a warning about potential obstacles that could fuel more litigation and inflation. The rating agency described the commercial lines market outlook as “stable” on average.

Since the fourth quarter of 2020, in 2023, it is less expected that interest rates will rise at the same rate they did a few years ago. However, insurance businesses will probably continue to expand their needs due to rising business risks even as rates flatten as a result of more market competition. Due to rising cyber threats, the market for cyber liability insurance is anticipated to expand. The supply chain issues will continue well into 2023.

Consumers of commercial insurance can obtain affordable rates by engaging with brokers who have developed connections with reliable insurance underwriters. Giving customers advice on lowering their risks promotes trust, renewals, and fewer claims. Using an agent that understands your risk is the best way to obtain the best possible combination of coverage and price.

2023 Casualty Renewal Strategy

The US commercial insurance market has seen an increase in underwriting capital of over $150 million since 2020. Get to the market early and have a well-established risk management program. Be able to show underwriters how your risk is the one they should select out of the hundreds they will review over the year.

What Kind of Businesses Need Professional Liability Insurance?

If you’re a business owner, you spend most of your time thinking about how to grow your business. But it’s easy to remember one of the fundamental building blocks: professional liability insurance. What is it? Why do you need it? And what does it cover?

Why Does Your Business Professional Liability Insurance?

  • You may be sued.
  • You may be held responsible for your actions or the actions of someone who works for you.
  • If you give advice to customers, you might be sued.
  • You may be held responsible for the actions of other people on your property or in your building/office space. 

What Does Professional Liability Insurance Cover?

Professional Liability Insurance can help protect you against claims of negligence. It covers legal costs in the event that a lawsuit is brought against you and can even cover damages or injury to third parties. It also helps pay for legal fees, and it will pay for your defense if you are found not guilty of any charges. Professional liability insurance can cover the costs of lawsuits over:

  • Work errors or oversights
  • Undelivered services
  • Missed deadlines
  • Budget overruns
  • Incomplete work
  • Breach of contract
  • Accusations of negligence 

Who Needs Professional Liability Insurance?

Professional Liability Insurance protects professionals from claims and lawsuits. If your advice or work injures someone, or if they believe their property has been damaged by something you did, a claim can be made against you. Professional liability insurance helps protect you from these claims and ensures that your business stays protected. Firms like these should have professional liability insurance.

  • Accountants
  • Lawyers
  • Contractors
  • Consulting agencies
  • Real estate firms
  • Architects, designers, and engineers
  • Real estate brokers
  • Financial consultants
  • Accountants and bookkeepers
  • IT professionals and programmers
  • Marketing and advertising professionals

 Conclusion

When you’re starting a business or running a current business, it can be tempting to focus on marketing and sales. However, there are many other aspects of the business that you should be equally concerned about. Professional liability insurance is one of those aspects that need careful consideration because it will protect your business against lawsuits and claims of negligence.

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.