Proactive Steps to Protect Your Business

If disaster strikes, you have insurance to cover your costs. This is a great first step in disaster preparedness.

To take your preparations to the next level, it’s important to put proactive measures in place. A proactive approach will aid in the recovery of your business beyond simple financial reimbursement.

Consider what else is on the line when claim-worthy situations arise. Money probably won’t be your only concern.

Would you lose crucial data? Would you be able to organize employees to relocate your business? What steps do you need to take to protect your business from additional loss, crippling chaos, or potential shutdown after a disaster?

To minimize your losses and ensure your doors stay open after a catastrophic event, use the following proactive methods.

Back It Up

What record-keeping system do you use for your company data? If you have paper files, do you have a digital backup? If you have digital files, do you have backup copies or web-based servers in case the files become corrupted or lost?

Everything from customer information to billing to personnel records can be lost in an instant if you don’t have backups of all files.

Make a Plan

Do you know what you would do if you could no longer use your current location to conduct business? Could you establish communication with employees if you needed to relocate?

These are important questions to consider before disaster hits. Have a plan in place for communicating with employees after a disaster, designating responsibilities, and creating a temporary home for your business.

Run a Drill

Employee safety must be a top priority. Would your staff know what to do in an emergency?

Create a disaster response plan, including an evacuation plan, and make sure everyone is familiar with it. Include disaster response as part of standard employee training, and conduct drills twice a year to make sure everyone is on the same page.

Build a Kit 

Store emergency supplies at your business. Create an emergency kit that includes flashlights, batteries, water, a fire extinguisher, nonperishable food, a first-aid kit, a whistle, and blankets. If feasible, it may also be helpful to include a generator.

Take Inventory

If you need to report losses to your insurance carrier, do you have a list of company inventory you could provide?

This goes beyond the products that you sell. Would you be able to recall what is in every room of your office, facility, or store?

Create an inventory list of all furniture, equipment, tools, and other items that you would have to replace in the event of a full-scale disaster. Maintain this inventory list, with photos and receipts, at an off-site location for safekeeping.

Place a Call

Do you know exactly what insurance coverage you have in place? Do you know how to file a claim if the need arises?

Remember to keep your insurance agent’s contact information in a place where it can be easily accessed after a disaster. Contact us to discuss your current policies and potential needs so we can help you plan for the unexpected.

You Mean That’s Covered by Business Insurance?

Fires. Storms. Theft. These are the situations you might think of when considering commercial insurance. You know you’re covered if one of these disasters strikes your business. Did you know business insurance covers many other situations that you might not have considered? You might be surprised at what insurance can cover.

Spoiled food: A power outage can prove costly to businesses that handle perishables. How much might you lose if your refrigeration systems stopped working for a day? If you have spoilage coverage on your commercial property policy, you can recoup the cost of any lost merchandise.

Ransom fees: Most business owners aren’t at high risk of getting kidnapped, but if you ever were abducted, a kidnap and ransom endorsement on your professional liability policy would have you covered! This might be a good option for those who travel to volatile parts of the world for business.

Machinery malfunction: If your machinery breaks down, the necessary repairs can drastically affect your bottom line. Machinery breakdown insurance covers the cost of repairing or replacing machinery. The policy can also cover the cost of renting temporary equipment and expedited delivery of replacement parts.

Product recalls: Recalling a product can involve complex logistics and expensive follow-up, including destroying defective items. Product liability policies offer coverage for these costs.

Tax audits: No business owner wants to hear the word audit. Fortunately, if you must undergo this process, the costs you incur from the audit and investigation can be covered by tax audit insurance.

Why Millennials Need Insurance, Too

In today’s “gig economy,” the need for young adults to consider life and disability insurance has never been more evident. According to the Social Security Administration, for someone who is 20 years old today, the odds are one in four that disability will strike by age 67. Young adults should start planning now for that possibility.

Younger parents (those in their 20s and 30s) are especially in need of sound financial planning. This planning includes the need for life insurance and disability insurance.

Several scenarios make this need for sound planning a top priority. For young parents, the inability to work or premature death of either parent can result in a burden on older generations, who may not be financially or emotionally prepared to raise or support their grandkids. Once a couple has children, one parent may decide to stay home with the kids. When this happens, the group health and disability of the homebound parent disappears, making reliance on the working spouse’s insurance perhaps too high.

Additionally, many of today’s companies are scaling back group benefits. A separate life insurance or disability policy can help ensure debt does not burden the family if the working spouse becomes disabled.

To remain prepared, make it a habit to meet with an experienced life insurance agent after any work status change to analyze what might be missing from your insurance portfolio as a result of those changes.

Keep in mind, the younger a person is when buying disability or life insurance, the lower the premiums. Buying when young helps lock in much more favorable rates.

If you are a grandparent, it’s essential to talk with your children now about the need for life and disability insurance. This talk will ensure that the savings you depend on for a comfortable retirement will not be eaten away by the care of your grandchildren if something happens to your child.

Many families balk at discussing finances. These conversations can be difficult, but it costs nothing for you to meet with us and go over what’s best for you. We will help ensure that you have the rounded insurance coverage you need to protect your family.

Medical Tourism: Are the Savings Worth the Risks?

Medical tourism is a term that describes the increasing practice of traveling abroad for surgery. Due to the increasing cost of surgery in the United States, the number of Americans choosing this option continues to grow.

Patients Without Borders estimates that about 1.4 million Americans went outside the U.S. for medical care in 2016. Cosmetic surgery, heart transplants, and orthopedic surgery are among the most popular treatments sought by medical tourists.

If you become one of these travelers, you’ll want to understand the pros and cons of traveling abroad for surgery.

The number one reason people travel for surgery is cost. In Brazil, you can save 20 to 30 percent of the cost for surgery in the U.S. In Thailand, savings range from 50 to 75 percent. Mexico offers 40 to 65 percent savings. India offers the highest range of savings, from 65 to 90 percent.

Other positives of traveling abroad for surgery include receiving a treatment not yet approved in the U.S. and experiencing shorter wait times for surgeries.

Keep in mind that traveling abroad for medical care also comes with risks. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) cautions that medication may be subpar. Additionally, some countries may not screen their blood supply as well as the U.S. does, putting you at risk for infectious diseases. Errors can also result from language differences. Lastly, other countries may use unsafe practices, such as reusing needles, which could also expose you to risk.

For suggestions to overcome these risks, visit the CDC website.

How Young Is Too Young for Life Insurance?

Traditionally, parents buy life insurance policies for themselves to provide for their children in their absence. However, there are times when parents may want to consider purchasing a life insurance policy for their child.

The most cited reason why you might want life insurance for your child is the payment of final expenses, such as outstanding medical bills and funeral costs. While that is a good reason for insurance, other scenarios may also make life insurance advantageous for the young (and may be a bigger concern, financially, than end-of-life expenses).

For example, when your child turns 18 and goes to college, you might incur significant debt by cosigning loans.

Today, a private college costs an average of $38,589 per year, more than $150,000 total. It’s likely you’re expecting your child to pay off that debt when he or she graduates. But what if he or she cannot, due to an unfortunate illness or accident? Life insurance would help you pay those loans.

As this scenario suggests, there are a number of moments in an individual’s life when life insurance may be needed, regardless of the person’s age. That being the case, feel free to reach out to our office to discuss your individual financial situation, so we can help you keep your children in mind as part of a comprehensive financial plan.

Typically, life insurance premiums on a child are very low, so you can purchase a lot of insurance for a long period of time. Moreover, when you purchase life insurance for a child, you guarantee his or her insurability, and that can be important as the child ages.

Note that each insurer likely has guidelines on when life insurance can be purchased for a child and how much may be purchased. For example, the child may need to be at least a few days old, or the amount of insurance on the child may be limited to less than that of the parent’s personal policy.

Contact your insurance provider for more details.

Modern Homes Can Outsmart Disaster

The internet of things has taken home protection to the next level, empowering homeowners with new tools to keep their homes and loved ones safe. While homeowners might not be able to prevent every disaster, these innovative smart home features can reduce their risk.

Fire Alerts

Traditional smoke detectors are helpful for alerting residents to a fire. This is great if someone is home. What happens when no one is around to hear the alarm?

With smart fire detectors, the homeowner can receive an alert via a Wi-Fi-connected device anywhere in the world. This can decrease emergency response time, potentially reducing damage to the home.

Water Alerts

One of the most common homeowners insurance claims is water damage. Burst pipes and leaky appliances can cause extensive damage to a home. Smart leak-detection sensors can mitigate or even prevent these calamities. The sensor will alert homeowners immediately when a leak is detected, allowing them to take action to stop the water invasion.

Burglar Alerts

Smart technology has enhanced security measures on many fronts. Homeowners can keep tabs on their property by monitoring video surveillance from anywhere, deter thieves with timed lighting, and use smart door locks to maintain tighter security of their entryways.

Plus, affordable, wireless technology makes installing security systems easier than ever before.

Smart Devices

Technology is becoming so prevalent that there are few items that aren’t available with smart features these days.

Appliances offer improved safety and efficiency. Garage doors are better at detecting motion. High-tech irrigation systems can prevent overwatering and flooding. From attic to basement, homeowners can access a host of smart features to protect their homes and prevent insurance claims.

Don’t hesitate to reach out so you can learn more about how you can prevent disaster in your home. Be sure to ask about any discounts you may be eligible for if your home is equipped with smart technology.

Animal Invasion: Are you covered?

Your dog ate your couch. Birds destroyed your gutter. A family of racoons overran your garage.

Will your homeowners insurance cover these animal invasions?

Yes and no. Here’s the scoop:

Infestation: If your home suffers damage at the hands (or legs) of insects, rodents, or vermin, the cost probably won’t be covered by your homeowners insurance. Whatever damage these unwanted guests cause, including nesting and infestation, is not usually covered. However, this varies by policy, so be sure to check with your insurance agent to confirm.

Destruction: If your personal property is destroyed by an animal, this usually does not fall under your homeowners policy coverage. If the animal damages the property itself, this is probably covered. So, if a bear breaks into your garage and mauls your tools, you might be on your own to replace your saw, but the damage Mr. Grizzly caused to the garage door should be covered.

Liability: Coverage for damages caused by pets varies based on where the damage occurs. If your cute kitten ruins your new loveseat, you’ll have to hold Fluffy responsible. Your insurance company probably won’t pay for that. But if you bring Fido to your friends’ house and he eats their loveseat, the liability portion of your policy will kick in and cover this damage.

Do you have concerns about potential animal-related damages? Let us help you review your policies and determine what specific coverage is best for you and available in your area.