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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 Value of Giving Back In Business

The truth of being a business owner is that juggling day-to-day operations with long-term objectives consumes the majority of your time and energy. It’s easy to let giving back fall by the wayside if you don’t have a solid plan in place to truly incorporate it into your business strategy. Do you recall your first experience sharing as a child? Most parents educate their children that they must share their toys if they want others to play with them. This is a crucial lesson that we often overlook as adults, and it applies to a wide range of situations.

There are so many ways to incorporate this idea into your business. It does not have to be giving a lot of money. Often giving of your experience or expertise can add significant value to others.

Here are a few ideas

  • Find ways to offer your services pro bono. Maybe as an agent, you can offer to review a local business’s insurance without any obligation on the business’s part.
  • Be willing to speak at the local Chamber or other nonprofit.
  • Engage your team. Creating a giving culture at work has its advantages regarding employee engagement. It also gives employees a greater sense of ownership in the organization they work for.
  • Join a nonprofit board. Nonprofits are continuously looking for successful executives to join their boards of directors. A position like this allows you to control the organization’s course while also allowing you to leverage your network to collect funding for it.

The potential to make a difference is the most basic benefit of donating or setting aside money for community welfare. There’s nothing like seeing your neighborhood or community improve to make it a better place to live. Communities that can improve their lives will be able to make a good contribution to the economy as a whole.

Personal service combined with the 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 go

 

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.

 

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

What’s Trending In Insurance For 2022?

Changing consumer expectations, employment issues, supply chain issues, political unrest, and remote working will all have an impact on the insurance landscape in the coming year. Let’s look at some of our predictions for the most interesting trends that will emerge in the insurance industry in 2022.

2022 Predictions

  • When it comes to where and how to buy insurance, consumers will have more options than ever before.
  • Cyber-attacks will increase for both individuals and businesses in 2022.
  • Remote work will continue to grow in 2022.
  • More people will start home businesses, requiring a review of personal insurance coverage.
  • Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) and linked vehicle technologies are on the rise.
  • COVID-19’s disruption of supply networks is expected to last well into 2022. However, with the reinvention of traditional freight and cargo insurance products, the related business disruptions and frustrations may be alleviated.

Recommended Actions

  • Start the renewal process early with your agent.
  • Collect precise information on your risk with your broker. This will help you stand out in the crowd.
  • Use an agent that desires to build a relationship and provide education on your risk and how best to manage it.
  • For commercial accounts, address loss control advice and talk to your underwriters about your efforts. Underwriters appreciate proactive loss management because it displays a commitment to risk mitigation.

Oakwood is involved with numerous local, state and national insurance associations and communities. The agency encourages employees to devote time to these endeavors. Oakwood’s approach is one of total risk management, encompassing the areas of property & liability insurance, automotive insurance, worker’s compensation, professional liability, individual or group accident & health insurance, life insurance, contract surety bonds, and personal insurance. Oakwood provides an in-depth range of insurance products and services to assist in securing our clients’ future. We are an agency committed to excellence, founded on the principle of integrity.

The best way to solve a problem is to first understand it. To understand a problem involves asking questions, reviewing agreements, and visiting the facility or business. We believe that a professional agent must do more that merely issue insurance on the client’s behalf. Besides determining and placing proper coverage with reputable insurance companies, we seek to educate our clients on coverage and to reduce, or transfer risk to the insuring company, and working closely with management team to protect and preserve assets.

How To Select The Right Insurance Agent For Your Needs

When it comes to protecting your financial assets like your home or auto, you can’t trust just anyone with your investment. Finding a trustworthy and trained insurance agent/broker could mean the difference between having enough coverage for your property following a catastrophic loss and being stuck with a large repair bill. An insurance agent/broker is a specialist who works on behalf of clients to find the best policy or insurance provider for their needs.

Consider the overall fit, not just the price, as the price can be deceptive. Be careful of someone who sells at low cost, generally, it means poor coverage. The same method you used to choose a doctor or dentist can be applied to choose an insurance broker. You want someone with a pleasant “bedside manner,” as it were.

Understand the differences in agents

Direct Writers vs. Independent Agents: There are two ways to obtain insurance coverage from a company. Direct writers are insurance companies that hire their own salespeople to write exclusively for them; they work for the company that employs them. Independent agents work for the insured rather than the insurance company. They do, however, have contracts with multiple insurance companies and can usually provide you with more options.

Signs It Is Time To Find A New Agent

  • They are responsive to calls and requests
  • You are the one that indicates all conversations
  • Requesting a quote is complicated
  • When a claim occurs they are nowhere to be found

Qualities of a Good Agent

  1. Trustworthy
  2. A good Listener
  3. The desire to teach you rather than sell you
  4. Someone who view insurance as a promise not a product
  5. A good agent will want to develop a relationship with you not just sell you then move on.

How To Start The Process

Testimonials: Yelp, LinkedIn, Facebook, and other social media platforms can help you determine whether or not a business provides good service. These websites can be useful, but meeting with an agent or broker in person is one of the greatest methods to determine whether or not they will take good care of you.

Personal Recommendations: Consult with your coworkers, people you trust, and your circle of friends. Asking a complete stranger is preferable to relying on advertisements or the yellow pages. People are more likely to refer others with whom they have had a good encounter.

Ask Questions

Consider this like an interview, where you are selecting a person and agency to represent you.

  • How long have they been in operation?
  • What are their certifications if any? Look for agents with advanced designations such as Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU), Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC), Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU) or Accredited Adviser in Insurance (AAI).
  • Which companies do they represent?
  • How will the renewal processes work?
  • If you’re going to have a personal account manager?
  • How will they help if a claim occurs?
  • What experience do they have with risks like yours?
  • What they charge for services and/or how they are compensated?
  • Ask them to review your current policies and make recommendations?

Conduct interviews with the contenders to determine which one is the best fit for you. Selecting a broker with strong communication skills will allow you to find an agent who is easy to relate to and who can provide you with information you need to understand your risk and how to best manage it.

Oakwood is involved with numerous local, state, and national insurance associations and communities. The agency encourages employees to devote time to these endeavors. Oakwood’s approach is one of total risk management, encompassing the areas of property & liability insurance, automotive insurance, worker’s compensation, professional liability, individual or group accident & health insurance, life insurance, contract surety bonds, and personal insurance. Oakwood provides an in-depth range of insurance products and services to assist in securing our clients’ future. We are an agency committed to excellence, founded on the principle of integrity.

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. 

 

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.