How the Goldilocks Method Works

How big is your enterprise? Whether you’re running a small, medium, or a large business, you need insurance coverage that’s “just right.”

But as your business grows, it might be difficult to determine where you fall on that spectrum and exactly what your insurance needs are. Here’s a simple guide that will help with this process.

Small Businesses

If you run your operations with fewer than 50 employees, you have a small business. Typically, companies that employ fewer than 100 employees fall within this group. However, the Small Business Administration includes any business with fewer than 500 employees in this category. According to the Chamber of Commerce, these modest enterprises make up 99.9% of businesses in the United States.

If you find yourself among the more than 30 million small businesses in the nation, your typical insurance needs can be covered by a Business Owner Policy or BOP. This package policy covers standard liability and property insurance risks. If you offer unique services or products you suspect might not be covered by this basic policy, we can explore additional options for your company.

Medium-Sized Businesses

The waters that separate small and medium-sized businesses are a bit muddy, but generally, any company that employs between 100 and 500 staff and generates between $10 million and $1 billion annually is considered a medium-sized business. (If you employ between 101 and 499 employees, you’re likely to be lumped into the general category of SMEs, which are small and medium-sized enterprises.)

The important aspect to focus on is that higher employee and revenue numbers mean you’ll need additional insurance coverage. If you’ve grown beyond your initial startup phase, it’s time to reevaluate your insurance needs.

Policies specifically designed for medium-sized businesses are available that combine liability and property coverage. It’s also important to note that you may need specialized policies if you have expensive equipment or locations in multiple states.

Large Businesses

Businesses that employ more than 500 people are considered large. At this level, the company is exposed to various multimillion-dollar risks. Commercial insurance policies for these businesses must be designed to mitigate those risks. With more moving pieces, the business needs more types of insurance coverage and higher policy limits. Common policies include commercial vehicle insurance, professional liability, workers’ compensation, product liability, and business interruption insurance.

Home-Based Businesses

Entrepreneurs who are just starting out have insurance needs too. Even if you’re still operating from a card table in the garage, you may have liabilities that require coverage.

Homeowner’s policies don’t always cover these needs. If you’re in this situation, we should review the size and scope of your business to determine if you should set up a separate commercial insurance policy.

Still not sure which category fits? If you have special services or circumstances, you might not fit neatly into any of these classifications. Feel free to contact me to review your options. We can work together to ensure your business has the protection it needs, whatever its size.

Are Your Business Liabilities Covered for 2020?

Liability insurance is a fundamental need for small businesses. It provides coverage in the event your business must pay damages due to legal claims made against it.

However, the type of liability insurance a business should carry varies from company to company. To determine what specific liabilities you have, ask yourself four key questions: Is my industry high-risk? Do I sell products? Do I offer services? Do I have employees?

The answers to these questions will help you decide which of the following types of liability insurance you need.

1. General liability: This is the basic coverage any small business should have. It covers libel and slander claims, physical damage to others’ property, and injuries to others.

2. Professional liability: Also referred to as errors and omissions insurance, this covers professionals who offer consulting or advice-type services. If a client is unhappy with the results of your services and decides to sue, this insurance covers your legal fees.

3. Product and completed operations liability: This insurance covers damage caused by your products or work completed off-site and not on the company premises.

4. Employment practices liability: If you are sued by an employee for unfair practices, sexual harassment, or discrimination, this insurance will cover the costs involved.

5. Commercial excess liability: This policy insures your other policies. It offers coverage in the event a claim exceeds the limits of other coverage.

Not sure if your current policies cover all your liabilities? Give me a call to discuss your options, and we’ll make sure all your bases are covered.

What Auto Insurance Do I Need in 2020?

Liability. Collision. Comprehensive. What exactly do these insurance buzz words mean, and which coverage do you actually need? The right type and amount of coverage vary by individual. To determine your personal needs, first familiarize yourself with the options available.

Liability

This protects you in the event you are held responsible for bodily injury or property damage to another party.

This coverage is required by law, but the minimum amount required varies. A good rule of thumb is to carry a bodily injury liability policy with a minimum of $100,000 per person/$300,000 per accident plus enough property damage liability coverage to cover the cost of a new car. Considering the cost of medical bills and potential lawsuits today, it’s often recommended that you bump up your limits to $250,000/$500,000.

Collision

This type of insurance is not required by law, but it covers the cost of damage to your car after an accident.

If you have a new and/or valuable car, collision is typically worth the investment to protect your asset. However, as a car ages and drops in value, you may want to consider whether collision coverage is necessary. For example, if your car is worth $1,000 and you have a $500 deductible, it might make sense to invest your insurance dollars elsewhere.

Comprehensive

This coverage protects you from various damages that aren’t included under collision. Common comprehensive claims include fire and theft. If you lease a car, this coverage may be required. Otherwise, you can decide whether you’d like this extra protection and what deductible you prefer. The higher the deductible, the lower the premium.

Many vehicle owners choose to add this coverage. It’s often only a few extra dollars, but it provides peace of mind that virtually any type of damage to the car is covered. Is it time to make adjustments to your auto coverage? Feel free to contact me with any questions about your current and future insurance needs.

Does Your Hobby Need Insurance Coverage?

Gary and Nancy Doss of Burlingame, CA have been collecting Pez dispensers for two decades. They now have more than 500 of the small candy containers. The rarest product, a “Make a Face” Pez from the 1970s, is worth $5,000.

Do you have a hobby that has grown larger than you may have anticipated? You don’t have to be as dedicated as the Dosses to find yourself heavily invested in a hobby. A model locomotive could be valued at $300. One guitar can easily cost $1,500.

Whether you collect, build, or play, funding for hobbies can quickly add up to significant amounts. If you think you’ve invested quite a bit in your hobby, do a quick review.

Consider the value of your items and supplies. Is it more than $500? If you have invested more than $500 so far, you should make sure it is properly protected.

Review your insurance policies to make sure the items are covered under your homeowners or renters policy in the event they are damaged or stolen.

Keep in mind there are certain limits to most policies, and high-value items might max out the coverage. You may need to purchase a rider to add a particularly valuable piece of equipment to your insurance coverage.

If your hobby investment is less than $500, you should still make sure any high-priced items are included in your home inventory.

January is the perfect time to update this list. Be sure to add any recent holiday gifts to the inventory!

If you have any questions about your insurance coverage or needs, feel free to contact me. I’m just an email or phone call away.

How Millennials Are Changing the World of Healthcare

Our younger generation of health consumers is reshaping the face of healthcare. Of Millennials (ages 23 to 38), 93 percent don’t routinely seek preventative health visits, instead relying on retail health clinics. Further, Millennials’ heavy reliance on technology is compelling traditional hospitals and health systems to change how they offer and deliver care.

Kaiser Family Foundation statistics indicate Millennials represent a move toward self-diagnosis and on-demand healthcare over more careful scheduling with a physician. Younger medical consumers want convenience, online availability to discuss care with providers via email, fast service, and transparency in pricing, according to Kaiser Health News.

Millennials choose technology innovations such as online symptom checkers that match symptoms with health problems. They seek health portals to communicate with providers, prefer online appointment scheduling, and want the availability of 24/7 telemedicine over traditional doctor visits. Before visiting doctors, Millennials often seek reviews of clinics, hospitals, and physicians as well as blogs and online newsletters, where they find and examine healthcare information. They often arrive at appointments with research notes and questions in hand.

Holistic healthcare, preferred by many Millennials, does not separate the physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual when addressing health needs. In fact, Forbes reports 71 percent of Millennials believe mental and physical health are both part of being healthy. Adding Eastern medicine to the West’s approach, holistic techniques include massage, aromatherapy, meditation, and acupuncture.

Examples of healthcare facilities responding to Millennial demands include the Cleveland Clinic, where, in one year, about one million clients made same-day appointments, many by email. Another healthcare network in Nevada, Renown Health, instituted a telemedicine program they call telehealth. Telehealth lets clients talk with health professionals using their computers or smartphones.

Which model do you prefer? Whether you choose traditional methods or the new wave of care, contact us to help you find the best plan for your preferences.

The Life Stages of Life Insurance

How do you decide if you need to buy life insurance based on where you are in life? It’s simple: you remember the purpose of life insurance is to protect the people who depend on you financially.

That’s why children typically do not have life insurance purchased on their behalf. No one depends on income from them. The situation is similar for young single adults: if you’re newly independent, the only reason you would typically need life insurance is to pay for your own funeral costs or help support an elderly parent.

The situation begins to change as we grow up and get married. If you’re newly married, you’ll need to decide if either spouse needs life insurance. If each of you earns an income that could support one spouse without the other, then life insurance would only be necessary if you want to cover your funeral costs.

What about established families with dependents? Once you have a family that depends on you (whether a spouse or children), you need life insurance. And it’s unwise to purchase life insurance only on behalf of the partner working outside the home because the cost of replacing someone to handle domestic chores and childcare can cause significant financial problems.

Finally, do you need life insurance when your children have flown the coop? If you do not have people depending on your income for support and you can cover funeral expenses, you may be able to avoid life insurance at this stage in life.

Note, however, that if you decide you need life insurance, purchasing it costs more as your age increases. Your rates will likely be cheaper now than when you get older.

If you need assistance making this decision, we would be happy to help you. Our insurance experts are ready to walk you through your options and determine which coverage makes the most sense for your life stage.

Aging Parents: How You Can Keep Them Safe

When aging parents begin to show signs of decline, you want to keep them safe. A little extra help may be all they need. But first, you must decide if the issue is mental or physical.

When you suspect mild cognitive impairment, simple fixes such as medical alerts or security cameras may be enough to keep them safe. In some cases, more is needed.

Occasional word loss is usually benign, and misplacing keys happens to everyone. But difficulty forming sentences, confusion, going out and getting lost, or forgetting to turn off the stove are signs you shouldn’t ignore, especially if the onset of symptoms was sudden.

A professional mental status assessment will tell you if a regular drop-in visitor is a sufficient solution or assisted living or constant care is required.

If mobility is impaired, it could be due to poor balance, loss of flexibility, or impaired ambulation. Bathroom grab bars and a bath seat may be sufficient. Walking sticks, a cane, or a walker may prevent falls. Help with dressing or simple dressing aids such as sock stretchers and elastic shoelaces are often helpful. Replacing buttons and zippers with Velcro may do the trick.

When you’re unsure, get professional help. Have an occupational therapist or Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist (CAPS) assess activities of daily living and address any safety and medical concerns.

Check with Medicaid for financial aid for long-term care. Speak with community care services, the Alzheimer’s Association (https://www.alz.org), seniors associations, local hospitals, and visiting nurse associations. These services can help you make the best choices to keep your parents safe.