Posts

Five Things People Should Know About Insurance

For many people, insurance can be difficult to understand.  Most people know that insurance is needed, but often they do not fully understand what they are buying or if they are properly covered.  That is why it is important to have an insurance agent on your side.  A good agent will help you determine what your insurance needs are, educate you about your options, and help you understand the specifics of the insurance you are buying.

Here are five things that you need to know as you consider your insurance options.

  1. You cannot add coverage for a claim that has already occurred. For example, if there is flooding in your area, you cannot buy flood insurance during an event.
  1. Coverage gaps can be costly. Having a gap or lapse in coverage can be costly. Always pay your premiums on time, or ask for a grace period from your insurer.  You will end up paying more if you have lapses in your policy.
  1. Insurance is not intended to cover everything. Insurance is designed to provide financial recovery after an accident or unforeseen loss. Every policy has exclusions which are important to understand. Remember, insurance is not intended to cover regular maintenance.
  1. An agent can be a valuable resource. A licensed agent can help you find the best possible combination of coverage, price, and service that fits your individual needs. A good agent will be willing to answer any questions you may have and be there for you when a claim occurs.
  1. Do not skimp on liability insurance. The cost of litigation these days underscores the need for everyone to have an adequate amount of liability insurance.  The greater your assets are, the greater your need is to have your assets covered.  To protect yourself and your family financially, buy enough liability insurance on your auto and home insurance policies to cover above your net worth.  We can help you determine how much coverage your individual needs require.

 

The Future of Risk

Business Insurance Trends

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

Business Insurance

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

Future Business Insurance Risks

Intellectual Property

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

Cyberattacks

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

Social Media

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

Directors & Officers Liability

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

 

Are You Starting A Home Business?

Do you want to start a home-based business? Having a home business of your own is a good way to make a living. Keep in mind that if there are risks involved. Most home-based businesses do not have the same risks as other businesses, including buildings, employees, production machinery, and a fleet of vehicles.

However, home-based businesses do have many risks that need to be considered.

Do Some Pre Planning

  • Check with your local zoning to see if home-based businesses are allowed
  • If you are planning on having customers visit your home, you may need special permits.

Home Based Business Risks Can Include

  • Product liability
  • Professional Liability
  • Injury or damage to customers
  • Auto accidents
  • Disability
  • Cyber breach
  • Property loss and damage
  • Crime and dishonesty
  • Cyber liability
  • Web page copyright liability
  • Employees or contractor’s issues

The key is to understand what these risks are so you can take the necessary actions to make sure that your business is protected. It’s important to carry the right commercial insurance to protect your business in case of an unforeseen event. Hire a reputable insurance provider to help you assess the potential risks and determine which types of policies meet your business needs.

As an independent insurance agency we are affiliated with multiple industry-leading companies. It is these partnerships that allow us to provide our clients with better coverage at a competitive price. Our staff is knowledgeable and committed to providing a quality customer service experience to our valued clients.

 

Managing Risk In Uncertain Times

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

 

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

 

Remote Workers 

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

 

New Cyber Risks

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

Finance, Social Life And Health Of Employees

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

Employees With Disabilities

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

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

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

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

Personal Insurance for High Net-Worth Individuals

For many people, standard insurance products like home, auto, life, and personal umbrella insurance are adequate to protect their families and their assets.  However, for high net-worth individuals there is much more to consider.  There are millions of households in the U.S. with a net-worth of more than one million dollars, and almost one million of these households are in California, according to CNBC.com

People with a high net-worth need to look at insurance in a different way than others do.  No longer are they trying just to insure a home or car, but instead they should be protecting their many assets through insurance.  High net-worth individuals also have a different lifestyle that creates new risks that should be managed.  Affluent individuals have unique property and casualty insurance needs due to their exposure to risk and to the types of assets they own.  Individuals with money become targets when anything goes wrong.  It is important not only to insure your property and other tangible assets, but also to protect your financial wealth.  Here are some of the products and solutions that may help high net-worth individuals protect themselves and their assets.

Personal Umbrella Coverage

High net-worth individuals need a competitive personal umbrella insurance policy with a limit of at least one million dollars.  In some cases, depending on your wealth, you may need liability limits of up to five million dollars.  A personal umbrella is able to go over many different insurance policies, and help protect assets with defense coverage as well.

Domestic Employees Insurance

Individuals who employ cooks, housekeepers, nannies or others to work in their homes need to have insurance coverage for their employees.  Having this kind of insurance helps protect you if your employee sues you for damages.  It is also important to carry workers’ compensation insurance on your staff.  This policy may also cover certain medical expenses that may be paid to the employee, and can help to replace any wages lost.

Coverage For Wine

Many high net-worth people have wine collections.  A standard homeowner’s policy may not be adequate to respond to a loss.  Wine insurance can cover the entire dollar amount of the wine with a limit for each bottle.

Fine Art Insurance And Other Collections

Fine art insurance can cover the full market value, or appraised value, on any art you own.  Most standard homeowner’s insurance policies have limitations on the amount of coverage offered.  Fine art insurance also covers the art when it is purchased; even it is away from your home. Here are other items you may need to insure.

  • Precious jewelry
  • Fine art
  • Musical instruments
  • Rare postage stamps and coins
  • Sports memorabilia
  • Fine china and silverware
  • High-end electronics
  • Other antiques and collectibles

Property Coverage for High-End Homes

High-end homes often have unique construction that requires special property insurance coverage.  Custom construction drives the replacement cost higher.  It is very important to have full replacement coverage that addresses all the custom and unique types of property in the home.

Coverage for Home-Based Businesses

Many high net-worth individuals operate home-based businesses.  A standard homeowner’s insurance policy will not cover this risk.  A commercial insurance policy is needed to protect the risks of operating a home-based business adequately.

Serving on For-Profit and Non-Profit Boards

Many high net-worth individuals serve on for-profit and non-profit boards.  Some of these positions have indemnification and insurance included with serving on the board.  However, some do not adequately protect the individual, and a separate policy is needed.

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.

 

Small Business Insurance

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Business Insurance Planing

Is Your Business Ready For 2020?

The world is changing, and we understand the issues your business faces every day. There is constant competition for your customers, there are challenges in attracting and retaining top employees, and your cost of goods keeps going up. Part of your planning should include an annual commercial insurance review. Your business changes, and so do your exposures. Here are some of the major kinds of coverage found in most commercial insurance programs.

Commercial Insurance for Businesses

Liability Insurance– Covers your business against claims of negligence that resulted in loss or injury to a customer or visitor to your business.

Worker’s Compensation– Protects your business when an employee becomes injured on the job. It is required by law.

Commercial Auto– Covers against loss for your business vehicles and any liability your business incurs as a result of an accident.

Property– Insures against loss for your buildings and equipment.

Employment Liability– Covers your business and managers from claims of harassment, discrimination and other civil rights as afforded under state and federal laws.

Cyber Liability– Protects your liability interests when data or sensitive client information is stolen or accidentally lost by your business.

Professional Liability-Protects your business when a third party accuses your business of being negligent or making a mistake in providing professional services.

An Independent Agent Who Understands Commercial Insurance

When you purchase business insurance through an independent agent you are working with a licensed professional who specializes in the products and services you need. We have access to many insurance companies and know which ones are designed just for your business. Independent agents are local business owners who employee your neighbors to serve your needs.