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Mitigating Common Business Risks with Proactive Responses

In the dynamic landscape of modern business, risks are as inevitable as they are varied. From financial pitfalls to cybersecurity threats, these challenges can derail even the most robust business plans. However, proactive preparedness can turn these potential obstacles into manageable aspects of a successful strategy. In this blog, we’ll explore five common business risks and how to effectively mitigate them.

  1. Navigating Financial Risk

Financial instability is a significant concern for any business. Cash flow issues, market volatility, and unexpected expenses can all pose serious risks. To safeguard against these, diversification is key. This could mean exploring new markets or developing additional products or services. Maintaining a stringent budget and an emergency fund can provide a cushion against unforeseen costs. Regular financial analysis and forecasting are also vital, enabling businesses to anticipate and prepare for financial fluctuations.

  1. Overcoming Operational Risks

Operational risks, such as supply chain disruptions or system failures, can significantly impact a business’s ability to function. Quality control and efficient process management can help mitigate these risks. Investing in reliable technology and having backup systems in place are crucial steps. Additionally, fostering strong relationships with suppliers and having alternative options can safeguard against supply chain issues.

  1. Protecting Against Cybersecurity Threats

In our increasingly digital world, cybersecurity is a paramount concern. Data breaches and hacking can lead to significant losses. Businesses must stay ahead of these risks by regularly updating their cybersecurity protocols. Educating employees on best practices for digital safety is equally important. Utilizing robust security software and frequent data backups can help protect sensitive information.

  1. Staying Compliant with Legal Regulations

Legal and compliance risks are ever-present in the business world. Changes in laws or facing lawsuits can be challenging. To navigate these waters, staying informed about industry regulations is crucial. Regular compliance audits, possibly with the help of legal experts, can prevent future legal troubles. Strong internal policies and continuous training ensure that a business remains on the right side of the law.

 

  1. Addressing Human Resource Challenges

Human resource challenges like employee turnover and workplace conflicts can undermine a business’s stability. Creating a positive work environment is essential for retaining talent. Offering competitive benefits, opportunities for professional growth, and regular training can enhance employee satisfaction. Team-building activities and open communication channels foster a collaborative and harmonious workplace.

Risk management in business is not just about reacting to challenges as they arise. It’s about being proactive, anticipating potential issues, and having strategies in place to handle them effectively. By adopting a holistic approach to risk management, businesses can stay resilient and adaptable, ready to face whatever challenges the market may bring.

We encourage our readers to share their experiences or strategies in managing business risks. Your insights can be invaluable to fellow entrepreneurs and business leaders. For more tips and insights on effective business management, don’t forget to subscribe to our blog. Let’s navigate the business world with confidence and preparedness!

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.

Insurance For My Small Business

Introduction

Your small business is important to you, and it should be protected. That’s where insurance comes in. If you’re like most small-business owners, you probably already have some insurance. But maybe your current policy doesn’t cover everything your business needs—or maybe it does but at a price that’s simply too high for your budget right now. You may not even realize how much insurance could help protect your business when disaster strikes, or a major event occurs that threatens its well-being or financial stability.

Commercial property insurance

Commercial property insurance covers the cost of replacing your building and its contents in the event of damage or loss, as well as protecting against theft. This type of cover is particularly important if you are renting or leasing space for your business.

Commercial liability insurance

Liability insurance protects your business from claims arising out of your premises and operations. Coverage can include:

  • Bodily injury
  • Property damage
  • Personal injury
  • Professional liability
  • Employment liability
  • Cyber breach

Business interruption insurance

Business interruption insurance provides compensation for lost profits and other costs associated with the temporary closure of a company due to a covered event such as a fire or flood. The coverage can also include additional expenses like relocation costs and legal fees if someone files suit against you for damages caused by the event that led to your business being shut down temporarily.

Commercial auto insurance

Commercial auto insurance is a type of business insurance that covers your fleet. If you own a business, chances are you have employees who drive company cars to and from work. Commercial auto insurance is designed for these vehicles, so if one gets damaged or stolen, there will be no out-of-pocket costs for the owner. The coverage includes:

  • Bodily injury liability coverage
  • Property damage liability coverage (PDL)
  • Comprehensive and collision coverage

Make sure to check with your agent about deductibles, limits, and other details before signing up for commercial car insurance in order to get the best rates possible!

Workers’ compensation insurance

Workers’ compensation insurance is a state-mandated insurance policy that protects you from injuries and illnesses sustained by your employees on the job. This coverage pays for medical bills, lost wages, and other costs associated with these injuries and illnesses. It also applies to death benefits for dependents of deceased workers who have been covered under workers’ comp.

In conclusion, it’s important to remember that your business needs to be properly insured. Make sure you have the right coverage for your company, and don’t forget about things like workers’ compensation or employment practices liability insurance!

 

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.

 

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.

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.

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.