Insurance Considerations for Going Green

More and more small businesses are going green for ethical reasons. They want to protect the environment by reducing their use of paper and water and even curb their emissions. But there are insurance considerations (and costs) involved.

Over the long term, many small businesses that are moving to more sustainable practices save money (for example, by lowering their electricity and water bills). In the short term, however, setting up sustainable business practices can be costly.

For example, replacing outdated or damaged equipment with more environmentally friendly equipment is typically not fully covered under commercial insurance policies. Any reimbursement available is generally based on the value of the original equipment, and that value is usually less than the equipment’s greener counterpart.

If you are looking to go green when replacing equipment, there are some ways to save money. Insurers also want to be mindful of sustainable practices, and in keeping with that, many now offer green equipment and materials endorsements that small businesses can add to their commercial property insurance policies.

What is a green endorsement? It is an addition to an insurance policy. It specifies that when your property is damaged and needs replacing, there will be coverage for the higher cost of environmentally friendly materials and equipment. In other words, it covers the gap between the original cost of your old equipment and the cost of your new environmentally friendly equipment.

Green endorsements do not just apply to materials and equipment. If your building is damaged by a disaster (such as a flood, hurricane, tornado, fire or earthquake), the endorsement may also allow you to elevate your building to green certification status when it is repaired or rebuilt. The green endorsement will typically cover all costs involved in sustainable construction. These might include design, engineering, certification and recycling of old materials.

Green endorsements may also apply to vehicles. Do you have insurance coverage on a delivery truck and want to replace it with an electric or hybrid car if it is damaged or stolen? If so, you might be able to get a green endorsement on your auto policy.

What are the costs of a green endorsement? It varies from insurer to insurer and policy to policy. For example, some policies may require small businesses to increase their coverage. Because green construction typically takes longer than traditional construction, if you are rebuilding in a sustainable fashion, you may want to extend your business interruption coverage.

Additionally, once you have gone green, you may want to increase your coverage in general to cover the added cost of replacing your green materials, equipment or building’s cost.

In summary, increasing numbers of small businesses are trying to reduce their carbon footprint, and your business can go green by planning for replacement property to be more sustainable, but it comes with a cost.

We’d be happy to review your business insurance needs and determine if you are adequately covered for going green. Please call or email us today to get your insurance checkup going.

Taking a Tax Deduction from an Unreimbursed Loss

When disaster strikes, small business owners often experience property damage that leads to an unreimbursed loss. While in and of itself that is bad news, there is a silver lining. You may be able to recoup at least part of the unreimbursed property loss when you file your taxes.

A property loss, according to the IRS, can result from the damage, destruction or loss of property from any unexpected event (versus normal wear and tear or progressive deterioration). That might include disasters such as floods, hurricanes, fires and earthquakes. It may also include theft.

IRS rules require small businesses to reduce the loss by salvage value and insurance reimbursement. But the rest of the loss, which is considered unreimbursed, may be included in your itemized deductions come tax-filing time. So if a storm destroyed your store roof, a fire damaged your equipment or a burglar stole your delivery truck and insurance didn’t fully reimburse you, you may be able to deduct some of the loss on your federal income tax return.

Of course, there are rules. Generally, losses must be substantial (exceeding 10% of your gross income), and the year the deductions apply can also vary. It is also critical to document your deduction with receipts, police reports, insurance claims and any other records involved.

Of course, the best way to avoid unreimbursed losses is to have solid insurance coverage. Give us a call today to see how we can support you in finding the best policy!

Still Smoking? Your Health Insurance May Help You Stop

With the new year around the corner, perhaps you have been thinking about changes you want to make, and quitting smoking is one of them. Maybe you’ve attempted to quit smoking. Or maybe you were successful but, with the stressors of the last few years, began to smoke again. Today there are more ways than ever to quit smoking. Your health plan may be the partner you need.

Health costs are about 40 percent higher for smokers than nonsmokers, according to the New England Journal of Medicine. This gives health insurers a big incentive to help their members quit smoking.

Since the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), most health insurance plans now cover smoking cessation treatments at various levels. Medicare plans offer at least four individual counseling sessions with no cost share as well as medications, such as nasal sprays to help reduce nicotine cravings. Both the American Lung Association and www.smokefree.gov offer interactive programs that can guide you through smoking cessation.

For employed individuals, smoking may be more of a hassle than it’s worth. Going outside, especially if you work in a high-rise or in congested areas, may make you appear less productive than your nonsmoking colleagues. It’s in your employer’s interest for you to quit or cut back, so ask your human resources department what your work health plan offers to help you quit.

If you’re ready to try to stop smoking, there’s no time like the present. If you have questions about what your healthcare provider can offer to help you quit, call or email us today, and let’s get you on your way.

First Time Buyer’s Guide to Health Insurance

With open enrollment just around the corner, are you considering buying health insurance for the first time? You continue to be healthy, but these last few years have made you rethink whether the cost of coverage is worth the peace of mind. Here are three things you should think about during this decision process.

Should I select the least expensive plan? There are many different levels of coverage. If you prefer a lower monthly cost, then selecting a plan with a higher deductible could be the route to go. If you see the doctor more than a few times a year or require additional services, such as lab work, then a plan with a fixed office visit co-pay or flexible coinsurance percentages and a lower maximum out of pocket might be worth the additional premium cost.

Are there particular health care providers I want to see? Even if you consider yourself healthy, there may be doctors you would prefer to see if you do need care. Not all networks of doctors are the same, so you will want to know whether your doctor will be in network or out of network when considering your plan choice. If your doctor is a specialist, do you want the flexibility of seeing them without a referral?

Does my employer offer health insurance? If you work for a company that offers health insurance, find out when their open enrollment period begins. Compare their plans and rates to the offerings you are considering. Typically, a group plan can be less expensive than purchasing coverage on your own based on their group rates.

We all get caught up with too many things to do during these busy holiday times. Call or email us so we can eliminate one item on that to-do list and take the stress out of insurance decision-making.

The Ins and Outs of Who Needs Life Insurance

Life insurance is designed to protect the people who depend on you for financial support, but how much life insurance you need (and what kind) depends on the people you are supporting. Ask yourself the questions below to determine if life insurance is right for you, depending on your circumstances.

Does your child need life insurance?  No. Broadly speaking, because no one depends on income from a child, a child does not need life insurance.

Do you need life insurance as a young single adult?  No. The exception would be if you help support someone, such as an elderly parent. But you may want to consider life insurance when you begin thinking about starting a family. It is likely less expensive then than it will be when you get older.

Do you need life insurance if you have family?  Yes. If you have a family that depends on you, you almost certainly need some amount of life insurance. If each spouse earns an income that could support them without the other spouse’s income, life insurance may not be necessary. But if you rely on both incomes, you should get life insurance. Be sure to get enough, though. If one person is a stay-at-home spouse, his or her contribution needs to be covered as well, because it can be costly to replace someone to take care of children and help around the home.

Do you need life insurance if you are older?  Maybe. If you do not have people depending on your income for support and you can cover funeral expenses, life insurance at this stage in life may not be necessary.

If you decide you need life insurance, purchasing it costs more as your age increases. Before doing so, then, you should talk to us. Call or email us for more information.

Am I Covered by Homeowners Insurance if I Work from Home?

After the last couple of years, working from home has become a way of life for many more businesses, but are your work items covered by your insurance policy? Many home-based businesses assume their insurance will pay out if they were to suffer a loss, but this is not necessarily the case. Here’s some information to help you decide if you need small business insurance.

Remote worker. If you are contracted as a remote worker, you may be covered by your company’s insurance, even from a home office. This is not always true if you are not a full-time employee or you’re a freelancer. Business equipment damage, compensation if injured in your home and even auto coverage may be covered by your employer.

Visiting clients. If your clientele regularly visits your home, you will probably not be covered by homeowners insurance if they were to injure themselves. We recommend looking into a business policy if this sounds like something that could happen to you.

Equipment. While some homeowners policies cover personal technology such as laptops, there are generally restrictions limited by value or use. If you use your kitchen for a catering purpose or cut hair in your living room, you may need separate business insurance.

Cybersecurity. If you have access to your company’s sensitive data or even clients’ private data, you may be open to liability if you experience a breach. Again, you may be covered by your company’s insurance. Otherwise, you’ll need small business insurance.

Liability. If you run a small business that offers advice to your clients, you’ll most likely need business liability insurance. That way, if you offer guidance that turns sour, you’ll be covered against loss of reputation and/or money.

If you’re a small business, get in touch with us. We can help you find the perfect policy.

 

Do Your Gifts Include Jewelry? Here’s How to Protect Them

Holidays bring a flurry of fun, food and festivities. Holidays also bring gifts, big and small, including jewelry. When we are wrapped up in the holiday spirit, we may forget to check on our insurance coverage for these baubles. Here’s a quick guide.

Do you need it?

Point blank, it covers you against losses if your jewelry is lost or stolen. You may be able to add a few pieces of jewelry on your home insurance, so check with us, but if you have an array of items you want to insure, you can add a jewelry rider to your insurance.

How does it work?

Although insurance can never replace the sentimental value, it can provide for the estimated worth of your items. You may need to have your pieces appraised by a professional, especially if they are antique. If the worst happens and you need to make a claim, you must file a police report, and then the claim can be investigated.

Can jewelry be covered by homeowners insurance?

The short answer is yes, because jewelry is a personal belonging. However, we recommend checking with us, as your policy may have a coverage limit. If your jewelry is worth a significant amount of money, you may have to purchase extra insurance. There are also different variations of coverage to consider, such as mysterious disappearances and replacement costs.

Whether you need to add a jewelry rider onto your insurance or you just need some help deciding, call or email us today. We can assist you in choosing what’s best for you.

 

Moving? Here’s What to Do about Your Car Insurance

Moving around the corner or to a street closer to a better school district is stressful enough. There are the boxes to sort, addresses to change and new bedrooms to assign.

But when you move out of state, do you have to change your car insurance? The short answer is it depends.

If you have any doubts about what your car insurance coverage entails, the best thing to do is call us and ask any nagging questions you may have. But we can also help you figure out where to start.

Not only can different states have some slightly different laws when it comes to the road, but some also require an increased level of coverage.

Your new state might have lower coverage limit requirements, but that also means you’re increasing your risk. Think carefully if you decide to do this.

If you’re moving to what’s called a no-fault state, you’ll have to check to see if your insurance policy covers this.

No-fault insurance means that all medical bills, funeral bills and income losses due to a car accident are covered no matter which side caused it.

There are 18 states that require no-fault insurance, including New York, Oregon and Washington.

You’ll also need to register your vehicle in a new state once you move. Make it a priority so you don’t get caught out on the road.

If you’re having trouble figuring out what you need, call us. We’re the experts, and we can help you find the best policy for you.

Do You Need Whole or Term Life Insurance?

Life insurance doesn’t always last for your whole life. For some individuals, it could last for a specified period, perhaps 10 or 15 years. That type of policy is referred to as “term” life insurance. So how is it different from whole life insurance?

Life insurance policies that stay in effect for your entire lifetime are called “whole” life insurance policies. As long as you continue paying premiums, you have insurance until you die.

On the other hand, there are term life insurance policies. These policies provide coverage for a limited period of time. If you choose a 15-year term, for example, the insurance company will pay your beneficiary the death benefit if you die during the next 15 years.

The type of policy that is best for you depends on your needs. Whole life policies generally work well for people who want to take care of spouses or dependents if they die, even if their beneficiaries’ circumstances change. But people whose beneficiaries will only need financial support for a limited period of time may prefer term life insurance policies.

Let’s say you have coverage primarily for your children, and you expect your children to grow up and provide for themselves. If this happens, you may not need life insurance anymore, and a term life policy may be a good choice because it probably costs less than a whole life policy.

Generally, the longer the term, the higher the cost. But you should consider other factors when choosing between a whole and term policy, such as reinsurability. If you fall ill during the term of a policy and want a new policy, it may be hard to get one.

Let us help you navigate what’s best for you. Please call or email us if you want to better understand your life insurance options.

Important Considerations for 2022 ACA Open Enrollment

If you choose coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), open enrollment is a critical deadline you won’t want to miss. Open enrollment is that time when new members can enroll and existing policyholders can switch plans to provide a different level of coverage.

While your state’s open enrollment dates may differ, national open enrollment for the policy year 2022 begins on November 1 and ends December 15. Some states, such as California, Colorado and Connecticut, offer slightly longer periods.

And while you may request a change on day one of open enrollment, those changes aren’t effective until January 1, 2022.

What Can I Do in Open Enrollment? 

During open enrollment, you can initiate ACA coverage for yourself and/or your family. Absent a “qualifying event,” which means a major life event like a divorce, marriage or loss of group health coverage, open enrollment is your only time to obtain coverage.

During open enrollment, you can also change plans. There are four ACA plans, from the leanest to the richest benefit offerings: Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum.

Additionally, you can choose from several access plans, from a preferred provider plan to a health maintenance plan. You may have initially chosen a Bronze plan with a health maintenance organization due to its lower cost. If you find that plan too restrictive, you may want to consider a richer plan with a wider range of providers.

Choosing the right insurance plan for your unique health needs is one of the most important decisions you will make this year. As you can see, choosing the best plan for you and your loved ones is more complex than just punching a few computer keys. Call or email us today, and we can help you make the better choice for your insurance coverage.

Here Are 4 Things You Should Know about Medicare

Are you about to reach that magical age of 65? Are you receiving material making you feel like some decisions need to be made? The information can be confusing, so here are a few things you should know.

Original Medicare is not free. Individuals who meet the work history requirements do not usually pay a monthly premium for Part A coverage. The standard monthly cost for Part B coverage in 2021 is $148.50. Some will pay an extra monthly cost based on their modified adjusted gross income.

Enrolling in Medicare is not automatic. Unless you are collecting Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board benefits or are disabled, you will need to sign up for Medicare. Applying for these benefits can be done online at www.ssa.gov or by calling Social Security at 800-772-1213.

Do I need additional coverage? In addition to Original Medicare, you may want to add a Part D prescription drug plan and supplemental coverage to help pay out-of-pocket costs. Others might prefer a Medicare Advantage Part C “all in one” alternative to Original Medicare. These plans usually include the Part D and use doctors who are in specific plan networks.

Should I enroll in Medicare if I am still working? If you are actively employed and have health coverage through your employer, contact your benefits administrator to ask how your coverage works with Medicare. You might be able to delay your enrollment until your active enrollment ends.

We are just a phone call away and available to assist you in navigating the various options and answer your unique questions.

How Additional Insured and Loss Payee Differ

It can be easy to confuse additional insureds and loss payees because both can be added to your business insurance policy, but they are not the same thing, and you should understand the difference.

Additional Insureds

An additional insured is a person or a business that is exposed to liability in its business relationship with you. To reduce that risk, that third party asks you to name it as an additional insured on your insurance policy declarations page.

That is still complicated, so let’s use an example. Imagine that you own the building out of which your company does business, and you hire a cleaning company to clean your premises. If a visitor is hurt after tripping on some equipment left in a hallway, the cleaning company could be sued. To protect itself, the cleaning company asks you to list it as an additional insured on your general liability insurance or business owner’s policy.

You can also be the additional insured. For example, you may own the cleaning company. In this case, you would want to think about asking for additional insured status any time your own business’s legal liability increases as a result of working with a third party.

Loss Payees

A loss payee, on the other hand, is a person or business that has first rights to insurance payments made after a property loss. That may sound complicated, so let’s use another example. Say you’re a plumber, and you take out a loan to purchase a truck. The bank requires you to use the truck as collateral against the loan, so if you stop making payments, the bank can repossess the truck.

Now, what happens if you damage the truck in an accident and file a claim with your auto insurance company? In theory, you could stop making loan payments, refuse to repair the vehicle and keep the insurance money. The bank would be out of luck (and money).

So the bank asks you to name it as a loss payee on the declarations page of your auto insurance policy. When you file a damage claim, your auto insurance company must notify the bank, and any check issued to pay for repairs must be made out to you and the bank. Both you and the bank are protected.

Next Steps

It is not possible to add a loss payee or an additional insured to every small business insurance policy, but we can help you determine whether someone’s request to be added as an additional insured or loss payee is appropriate and what coverage is right for the circumstances.

How much does this cost? Adding an additional insured increases your premium, but it will be a relatively nominal charge compared to the cost of the policy itself. And adding a loss payee typically will not increase your premium because it creates no additional risk.

We’d be happy to review your business insurance needs and determine if you are adequately protected. Please contact us today to get your insurance checkup going.

Why Protecting Your Reputation Is Important

Reputational harm is one of the greatest business threats today. How can business owners best protect their companies?

Your business reputation is simply what others think and feel about your business. Those thoughts and feelings could be based on experiences with your business or on what people have heard about your business. And these experiences could be true or not.

Your reputation is important because potential customers don’t wait until they’ve verified accurate information about a business to decide whether to engage with it. They make decisions based on whatever information is available to them.

Your reputation can be created both online and offline. Online, it is created through your business website, your social media posts and online customer reviews. Offline, it is created through the appearance of your office or store, your events and your phone calls.

How can you maintain a good reputation? Carefully craft the appearance of your store. Maintain your offices. And think about how your behavior may be perceived. We hate to sound like a nagging mother, but if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.

If you aren’t careful, more than your reputation could be at stake. Libel and slander claims are pervasive, and the average cost to defend and settle these types of claims is more than $750,000.

For small businesses without proper coverage, these suits can prove devastating, so make sure you have the right insurance in place. Give us a call today to see how we can support you!

Make Your Next Claim Easier with These 4 Tips

Even when you are insured, claiming for minor mishaps and small collisions can be a major stress to handle. However, there are ways to make it easier. Follow these four tips to make your next claim a breeze.

Keep it together

Put all your insurance documents, from policy to ID cards, in one place, and make sure you keep checking that they’re there. Don’t move them unless absolutely necessary. Keep auto insurance documents in your glove compartment for easy access in case of a collision.

Know what you’ve got

Make sure you’re aware and up to date on your insurance policy. What are the policy details? What can and can’t you claim? Knowing this before you call your insurance agent will make the process easier.

Gather information

If you’ve already done your homework, the claiming process will go a lot smoother. Keep all your important receipts in the same place, and make sure it’s safe! If it’s an automobile claim, find out everything you need to know about the driver as soon as the accident occurs, such as name, license plate and insurance information. If extra information is needed, be sure to respond promptly.

Take photos

Be sure to take pictures of whatever you’re claiming against, especially on the road. Videos are even better. Try and do this as soon as possible, and you should have no issues with your claim. If you have to ask yourself whether or not you have enough, chances are you need more. Better safe than sorry.

Of course, the best scenario is a claims-free one. To avoid accidents and claims, use best practices for driving and home safety. If you do need to file a claim, do so as soon as possible. Contact our office immediately following an incident for assistance with starting your claim.

Make Sure Your Halloween B.O.O.s Are Covered

It’s the spookiest night of the year, and if you’re not careful, the tricks could lead to more than just a little fright. We all love a good scare, but on Halloween night, it’s possible to get a little more than you bargained for. Don’t be scared. Your homeowners and renters insurance policies are there for you.

If you have these in place, you’ll be covered for the most common Halloween B.O.O.s.

Breakage. Trick or treat might seem like a fun game, but Halloween is a top time for vandals. If your property is at all affected by acts of vandalism, make sure you contact your insurance agent straight away. We may be able to “treat” you if you’ve been “tricked.”

O’ lanterns. Halloween is the fifth worst night of the year for candle fires. Try swapping real candles for battery-powered ones in your jack-o’-lanterns. But if your pumpkin does go up in flames, your homeowners or renters policy will cover the damage.

Offenses. Whether you’re throwing a party or just opening your doors to hungry trick or treaters, it’s possible many little feet will be entering your property. If any guest gets injured while partaking in the festivities, you will be covered by the liability portion of your insurance. This also includes four-legged friends who may get overexcited.

Get the costume and get the coverage. Contact your insurance agent to verify your policies are current and include the necessary coverage for this season.

Tips to Stay Well During Cold and Flu Season

Last year’s flu levels were low, due in large part to measures such as social distancing, hand hygiene and masking. What does the 2021–2022 cold and flu season have in store for us? Here’s what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) predicts for this year’s cold and flu levels.

Experts warn this year’s flu season could be difficult. Due to last year’s mild flu season, medical experts believe flu virus immunities have likely diminished, leaving more Americans at risk. According to CNBC News, last year’s lowered rate of flu infections will leave many without immunity to this year’s flu virus. Returning to a more normal lifestyle without masking will also leave people more exposed to others’ cold and flu viruses.

The CDC predicts flu and pneumonia will increase, but because of the lack of firm data for last year, it cannot effectively model and predict this year’s outbreak levels. However, the CDC does predict that flu levels will “return to pre-pandemic levels” in 2021–2022, according to CNBC News.

What can you and your family do to prevent colds and flu this year? Hand hygiene will help, as will donning masks, avoiding the touching of eyes, nose, and mouth, staying home if sick and getting the most recent flu shot when available. The CDC expects no delays in obtaining the flu vaccine this year. The CDC anticipates manufacturers will increase production this year, considering the expected high flu levels. Call your health provider or pharmacy to ensure availability

This year’s vaccines will protect against four viruses, A(H1N1), A(H3N2), B/Victor and B/Yamagata. Unless you have any health considerations, the CDC recommends flu vaccines for all those aged six months and older.

3 Little-Known Risk Factors for Life Insurance Applications

You may think your physical health is the main criteria when applying for life insurance. Think again. Numerous other factors could raise your premiums, at times significantly.

Life insurance companies, which payout when their clients pass away, try to identify people who are at the highest risk for death. Some of the ways they do so are obvious. For example, when assessing risk, most life insurance companies divide people into two groups: smokers and nonsmokers.

But it doesn’t stop there. Life insurance companies then further subdivide both smokers and nonsmokers into three risk categories. From lowest risk to highest, these are Preferred Plus, Preferred and Standard. Sometimes the category names are different, but the concept is the same.

And what a life insurance company considers “risky” may be surprising. Having high blood pressure is risky, but it can be managed with medication, so a life insurance company may consider the following activities even riskier: antidepressants or therapy (because after two years, most policies are required to pay if someone commits suicide); a poor driving record (for obvious reasons); and a poor credit history (because people who struggle financially might not pay their insurance premiums or might commit suicide due to financial stress).

Can’t you just lie on your application? Yes, but it’s a bad idea. If your death is related to something you lied about and the life insurance company finds out, it won’t pay your benefit.

A better way to keep your rates low is to shop around. Different life insurance companies view risk differently, and many change their risk criteria from year to year.

Let us help you navigate what’s best for you. Please call or email us if you want to better understand your life insurance stability and options.

Here’s How You Should Prepare for Open Enrollment

Open enrollment is just around the corner. Are you ready? Whether you are reviewing your group or individual health plan options, there are some key areas you should review closely.

Will my plan benefits change? Typically, plans change each year. It is important to review the plan summary of benefits. This review will detail how your plan will change in the upcoming year. Most changes come in the form of deductibles, co-pays, co-insurance and drug formularies.

Do I need to verify my providers are still in-network? Provider networks can change from year to year. Never assume a provider is still in-network, even if the insurance carrier has not changed. It is best to contact the provider’s office to confirm their participation each year. In-network providers can also apply to the pharmacies you use, which can affect the price you are charged for prescriptions.

Conduct a health expense audit. Take a look at the annual expenses you pay when using healthcare. Are you aware of any potential increases or decreases in healthcare needs expected in the new year? Calculate how these changes may affect your annual out-of-pocket expenses.

What if my employment income has changed? If your employment status has changed or you are no longer eligible for group health insurance, check your state or federal exchange programs to see which options are best for you. You may be eligible for subsidy premium assistance under the Affordable Care Act.

When you need assistance in gathering benefit information to make the decision that is best for you, we are just a phone call away.

Do You Have an IT Disaster Recovery Plan?

Losing data from an information technology (IT) disaster is potentially devastating. It could disrupt or even permanently shut down your business. That’s why it’s critical for your business continuity planning efforts to include an IT disaster recovery plan and the right insurance.

IT-related disasters can take a variety of forms. You’ve probably heard of cyberattacks and malware, but IT-related disasters can also involve hardware failures, human error and even natural disasters (such as earthquakes and hurricanes).

These disasters can be devastating. According to McAfee, cybercrime costs the world economy more than $1 trillion annually, which is 1% of the global gross domestic product. The average ransomware demand is more than $100,000, according to Bank Info Security, and a third of companies attacked by ransomware paid that price, resulting in an average of 16 days of downtime. Knowing that, it’s easy to see why a company that suffers an IT disaster might have to close shop.

This makes it critical for you to include an IT disaster recovery plan and the right insurance in your business continuity planning efforts. Let’s look at both topics separately.

First, what is an IT disaster recovery plan? Fundamentally, it’s a set of instructions that guide your business in responding to an unplanned IT outage. The goal is to have clear, repeatable steps that allow you to return to normal operations as soon as possible. While that sounds simple, it can be complicated because you’ll need a variety of tools and processes in place.

For example, you’ll want to take inventory of your entire IT infrastructure because the failure of even one critical system could affect the others. You’ll also want to ensure that all your critical data is being backed up regularly.

Then you’ll want to determine what happens in the event of a disaster. What critical functions do you need to get up and running first? It’s important to create a plan for restoring those systems, either from the cloud or from other off-site servers, to reduce any downtime.

To do all this, you’ll want to put together a team consisting of key IT and operations employees. They should all be briefed on the disaster recovery plan and be ready to take action when necessary. And you’ll want to have a plan in place to communicate with your employees. If your IT systems aren’t working, you’ll need to have another way to contact and update your employees.

You’ll also want to protect your business with insurance. Commercial property insurance, for example, can pay to fix damaged property and replace equipment needed to get your business back up and running. Business interruption insurance can replace your revenue when your business is forced to close. And cyber liability insurance can protect your company against liability and expenses due to the loss of data or privacy and security breaches.

We’d be happy to review your business insurance needs and determine if you are adequately protected from IT disasters. Please contact us today to get your insurance checkup going.

Product Liability Suits and How You Can Prevent Them

Think you don’t need to worry about product liability? If your business manufactures, sells or even distributes products, you do, because the awards for liability suits can be high, making consumers more and more litigious. But you can head off the damage with product liability insurance.

Product claims can vary, but they generally involve one of three complaints: a design defect, which means your product design is unsafe; a manufacturing flaw, meaning your production process resulted in a defect that made the product unsafe; or a defective warning or instruction, meaning your labels provided insufficient information regarding the risks related to your product. If you were involved in placing the product in the consumer’s possession, you can be held legally liable for its failure.

That’s where product liability insurance comes in. Product liability insurance is a business policy that protects your company against claims for loss or injury due to defects in the products you manufacture or sell or the failure to provide proper warning about your products. It generally covers legal fees, medical costs and awarded damages.

The product liability insurance coverage a business needs depends on many factors, such as your industry, the products you design, produce or distribute and your location. To ensure your coverage is appropriate, you should provide accurate and detailed information to your insurance provider. Don’t underreport!

While getting product liability insurance may seem cumbersome, it’s important to plan ahead for possible problems. Give us a call today to see how we can support you on your journey!