4 Types of Identity Theft and How to Prevent Them

With most of our transactions happening online and the vast majority of our records accessible through Internet-based services, it’s no wonder identity theft is rampant. Below are four types of identity theft and how to prevent them.

Existing account identity theft. Thieves will hack into your existing bank or credit accounts and either steal your cash or use your available credit to make purchases or cash withdrawals. Protect your personal information by never giving out your bank account number to anyone except an authorized representative of a business or other professional. If you doubt someone is who they say they are, hang up and call the business directly.

New account identity theft. Thieves will open new accounts in your name using your Social Security number and begin to draw on the lines of credit or loans to acquire as much as possible before being caught. Never give your Social Security number out to anyone except a trusted professional, such as an accountant, a human resources manager, or another similar person.

Tax identity theft. Thieves will not hesitate to file a fraudulent return on your behalf and claim your refund. Unlike with credit accounts, you will not know until you go to submit your legitimate tax return and the IRS rejects it.

Employment identity theft. Some people will resort to stealing your Social Security number to get a job, and, to your surprise, you will owe taxes on the money they earned.

It’s vital to protect yourself from identity theft. Many credit cards offer free alerts so you can stop unauthorized transactions and theft. Consider investing in a paid identity monitoring service, which looks at your credit and finances. Protect your personal information. Never give it out over the phone to out-of-the-blue callers. Secure documents with sensitive information, and shred them when you no longer need them. Check your credit reports regularly. Call us today so we can work with you on finding the best product that fits your budget to protect yourself from and prevent identity theft.

Taking a Road Trip in Your RV? Here’s How to Prepare

Summer is in full swing, and that means road trips in your RV to enjoy the season. Below are a few tips to make sure you’re prepared for your road-tripping fun.

Before you go anywhere, check that your RV is in tip-top shape with this maintenance checklist:

1. Check your RV’s batteries to ensure they are fully charged

2. Check appliances and tires (including the spare) and inspect all seals

3. Check engine and generator fluids and change as necessary

4. Flush and refill the water system

5. Do a full safety check

6. Thoroughly clean the inside of the coach and freshen up toiletries

What to pack:

For an RV trip, pack what you’d need for a regular trip (clothes, shoes, accessories, and the like), but also pack as if you’re furnishing a home. Include items such as towels (bath and kitchen), plates and mugs, cups, silverware, cooking pots and utensils, sheets and pillows, cleaning supplies, and anything else that makes you feel at home.

What to do if you break down:

Breaking down happens to even the most experienced RV owner. The important thing is to have a plan that you follow. Make sure you have phone numbers you need to call for emergency and accident services. Have our office’s number handy, too, and be sure to share your itinerary with a relative or friend so someone knows where you are.

Not all RVing is the same. Before you hit the open road, contact us to discuss your travel plans and how to properly protect your RV so there’s nothing to worry about.

Out-of-Network Medical Bills Can Hit Your Budget Hard

Seeing a doctor or undergoing a medical procedure is stressful enough without adding an unexpected medical bill to your worries, especially since once you face a hospital admission, you can’t always choose your medical providers.

Some surprise bills can be mistakes. For example, you make an appointment with your primary care physician, but she’s not available when you arrive, so you see another provider. If that doctor or nurse practitioner is not an “approved provider” for your health plan, you may face an unexpected bill. Or if the anesthesiologist the hospital uses for a surgery you’ve scheduled is not approved by your plan, you may receive another unexpected bill.

How do you avoid surprise medical expenses? When you schedule surgery, talk to your insurance carrier to make sure all who will care for you are approved providers. Don’t ask if your health insurance “accepts” each provider; instead, ask if the providers are in your “insurance network.” Following this procedure can help ensure that your health plan approves all your providers.

If you do get an unexpected bill, call that provider’s billing office and ask if they are network providers. If they are, they will resubmit the billing to your insurance for proper payment. These errors often happen upon the first submission of a medical bill.

If your provider sends you out of network, you have a case for payment by your provider. Your providers should verify they make referrals only within your plan’s network if possible. If you must see an out-of-network provider, ask for an estimate of all costs before you see that provider.

If all else fails, your state department of insurance may have some solutions. As many as 28 states have enacted legislation to fix this costly problem, and both the US House and Senate have considered similar legislation.

Disability Insurance Can Protect Your Income and Your Home

With many Americans losing their jobs and the population aging, the need for disability insurance has never been greater. If you or your loved one experienced a job loss from a benefited position, you’ve lost your disability insurance. If you’re a sole practitioner and you can’t work, you may fall behind on your bills.

Many Americans rely on Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) when they become disabled. However, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to qualify for SSDI. Even if you qualify without the lengthy wait for a hearing, the waiting period for benefits once Social Security approves you is five months. Most Americans don’t have the resources to pay their bills for that long.

While you may have group-sponsored disability insurance through your employer, many thousands have recently lost their disability coverage through layoffs or plant closures. Losing your job can mean losing your disability, life, and health insurance coverage. Without your annual income, your home, bills, even your children’s education may be at risk. A disability policy can help partially fill the income gap should an illness or injury lead to your inability to work.

As a small business owner, you may not carry workers’ compensation coverage. A disability policy can help you continue to meet payroll and other continuing expenses, even if your business closes temporarily.

The Types of Disability Coverage

There are two types of disability insurance: short-term disability (SDT) and long-term disability (LTD) coverage. STD insurance covers you when you’re temporarily unable to work due to an accident, injury, or illness. LTD covers you for longer, more prolonged injuries or illnesses. You can purchase SDT, LTD, or both.

In today’s world, disability insurance coverage can help protect your future income and prevent bankruptcy. Contact us for more information about disability coverage.

Two-Factor Authentication: Why Is It Important?

Businesses today face a litany of threats from attackers, both within and outside the organizations. In one fell swoop, what used to take months or years to cripple a business can be done in a matter of minutes or seconds. One of the most crucial and commonplace ways to protect your business’s secrets and preserve your IT infrastructure is incorporating two-factor authentication into how you and your employees access email, data, company websites, and other Internet or cloud-based resources.

What is two-factor authentication?

Two-factor authentication requires two methods of verification to ensure that one compromised passcode does not expose your network to a hacker or other malicious attacker. The first step is always fairly common: providing a username and passcode for the device or to access the necessary files. Next, another factor of authentication is implemented, such as:

Secret question: questions only the user would know, such as where you were born, who your second grade teacher was, or the make and model of your first car.

Verification code: a code sent to your mobile device that you must enter within a specified time period.

Biometrics: in some cases, a fingerprint scan may be necessary.

This second step is crucial to stop someone who may have guessed a username and passcode or obtained it through untoward means from accessing all data available to you. No matter which method you choose to secure your business using two-factor authentication, any method is preferable to no method at all.

Why is two-factor authentication a good idea for my business?

As corporate espionage increases and hackers try to attack IT infrastructure to exploit weak points, two-factor authentication is one of the catch-all safeguards that can stop an attack before it happens. Hackers will log into your system and cripple it or ransom your data for a large payment. Without paying the ransom, your business is effectively stopped dead in its tracks. If you pay it, you still run the risk of the hackers not delivering on their promises.

If a rival business obtains your sensitive information, years of planning may go to waste in a few minutes as your trade secrets, product lines, and plans for future acquisitions or expansions suddenly become de facto public knowledge. There are many software and hardware options available to a business looking to protect its investment and development plans. Not instituting two-factor authentication can cost you quite a bit of money in the short term and millions in the long term.

How can insurance help?

Insurance is here to help ensure your business doesn’t miss a beat, even if the worst happens. Working with our office, we can help you identify the right insurance products for you, from business interruption insurance to cyber insurance and everything in between. Call our office today so we can review your needs and make sure you are covered.

Consequences of Letting Business Insurance Lapse

When your business suffers an unexpected financial setback, the first place you look is where to cut expenses. If you haven’t had the need to use your business insurance policy, you may be tempted to let your business insurance policy lapse to save on the payments. Below, we’ll detail the reasons why this is a short- and long-term mistake.

No safety net. Without insurance, you totally and completely own any mistake and the liability that comes from it. There is no one to turn to in times of trouble and no way to get reimbursed for something that your business insurance policy would have easily covered.

Loss of discount. When you decide to restart your coverage, you may be surprised to find out you start from “zero” again and your long-term customer discount is gone. The clock may have restarted, and your original coverage might cost you much more without more benefits.

No long-tail coverage. Maintaining constant coverage with the same insurance company has its advantages, such as long-tail coverage. If you carry a liability policy that includes a standard completed operations portion, the work your company performs is typically covered for the entire duration of the policy.

Reputational harm. Uninsured businesses are often viewed as “fly by night” and not as trustworthy as insured businesses. Ask yourself: Would I want to do business with an uninsured merchant? There can be consequences much larger than just saving money at play for your business when you let coverage lapse.

Even if you find your business in a desperate financial situation, we’re here to help. Call us today so we can work with you on the right amount of coverage for your business and your pocketbook.

Why Life Insurance Makes Sense, Even for Retirees

Many people believe there is no reason to continue carrying life insurance later in life, but there are reasons to keep a policy alive even in retirement.

You are still caring for a child. Some children have greater needs than others, even in adulthood. Maybe the child is disabled; maybe he or she wants to return to school. If your child or grandchild needs support, you may want to consider coverage that is sufficient to pay for those expenses.

You are still working. Many retirees continue to work part-time during retirement. Others stop working, then get bored, take a part-time job, and come to rely on that income. If you fall into one of these situations (or think you could), you may want to protect your loved ones from the loss of that part-time income if you die.

You are in debt. If you are still paying off loans (from mortgages, credit cards, or failed business ventures, for example), you may want to consider a term life insurance policy that will cover the period until the loans are paid off. Be sure you have just enough coverage to eliminate your debt.

You are leaving a charitable legacy. Some people buy life insurance for the purpose of leaving a charitable legacy. For example, instead of making small annual donations to your college, you might buy a significant life insurance policy with the equivalent of those annual donations and make the charity the beneficiary.

You are estate planning. Proceeds from a life insurance policy can be an immediate source of cash for your heirs. That’s important because it allows them to settle your funeral expenses and pay any estate taxes due without having to sell assets, such as property.

We can help you determine if you need life insurance. Please reach out to us today to discuss your option.

Make Sure You’re Prepared for Travel When the Time Is Right

Americans love to travel. Most have family scattered throughout the US and abroad. The pandemic has cramped vacation plans, unfortunately. From cruises to flying, travelers are taking a cautious approach, while airlines are updating their safety policies.

With this increased focus on safety, when is the time right to plan again? First, watch for the State Department to lift its warning against international travel. Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will post an “all clear” when the State Department lifts its coronavirus restrictions.

For your safety, consider masks and other protective equipment, such as gloves and antibacterial lotions. Travel insurance will be another important element in travel safety. Some policies let you cancel for any reason, while others are more restrictive. Viral outbreaks are typically not a reason for travel cancellation, according to travel experts. However, many other problems can cause you to cancel: for example, your illness, bad weather, or terrorism.

Buying travel insurance online is risky. You rarely see the policy and its exclusions before you buy. Working with a licensed travel insurance agent will help you buy travel insurance that fits your needs and helps you understand coverage limitations. For example, travel insurance usually includes medical care and evacuation or repatriation in emergency scenarios. Most travel policies offer helpline advisors who can find a healthcare provider if you’re abroad.

Dollar for dollar, travel insurance is the best investment you can make to safeguard your trip and your health. Contact us for information before you plan that next trip, whether stateside or abroad.

The Growing Use of Smart Thermometers and Other Smart Devices

From watches to thermometers, more Americans are turning to smart devices to improve their health. Smart infusion pumps can deliver medication to you or your loved ones. Features we love in our smart phones we may embrace more readily in our search for solutions to issues such as weight loss, heart monitoring, or blood sugar management. What are the pros and cons of these smart devices?

On the upside, smart thermometers that send your temperature to a national database can alert doctors to an early flu season. You can also share your medical history with your primary care physician. One recent study found smart thermometers can offer insight into flu trends three weeks in advance of the traditional in-office temperature check that might indicate you have the flu.

In 2016, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first pump that could read blood glucose and, from that reading, adjust the insulin dose in type 1 diabetics. Specialists hailed this first pump as “an artificial pancreas.” However, doctors warn patients not to rely too heavily on the pump. User intervention is still critical in insulin management.

Even medical devices such as smart watches have downsides. From data breaches to device overreliance, many Americans believe smart devices need more safeguards. As one of the agencies that approves and oversees smart devices, the FDA struggles to keep up with smart device innovation. Europe has a faster approval process, so many medical designers seek approval there first.

Would you wear a smart device to check or enhance your health? How comfortable are you with the privacy aspect? Is your primary care physician equipped to help check the data when needed? Consider some of these questions when adopting a smart medical device as part of your health routine.

Types of Insurance Your Contractors Should Have

When you and your company embark on a building project, you work to get the best quality you can afford: an architect with a reputation for excellence, materials that will stand the test of time, and, ideally, a contractor that is fully insured and can take point on any issues that arise on the jobsite. While some contractors promise good work on the cheap, the minute something goes awry, you will be left holding the bag. That’s why you need a contractor with the right insurance because it’s not just a sign of quality, it’s a down payment on your peace of mind.

General liability insurance. When something goes wrong on the jobsite or related to the job that lies within the scope of the contractor’s work, general liability insurance saves the day. From construction defects leading to harm to any other occurrence, even the bizarre, such as a wrench falling on a passerby’s head, this type of insurance will come into play in order to pay the bills created by the contractor’s actions or lack thereof. Should any adverse incident occur, this type of insurance will also cover any court judgments and medical or funeral expenses that emanate from an occurrence related to your project.

General liability insurance will also cover job completion. Thus, if a contractor fails to meet the deadline or does work that was not contemplated in the plan, the insurance policy will cover the cost of fixing the mistake. Given the number of incidents that can occur, you should insist that any contractor you hire carries a quality general liability insurance policy.

Workers’ compensation insurance. Jobsites are dangerous places, even when the most stringent precautions are taken. Employees can be trained in safety procedures, and signs can be placed reminding all workers of the dangers they encounter on a daily basis, but workplace-related accidents can and do occur despite prior preparation. Workers’ compensation insurance ensures that bills arising from a workplace-related accident are able to be paid by the insurance company instead of impacting your bottom line. Verifying a potential contractor’s workers’ compensation insurance coverage is an important step toward protecting the investment you’re making.

Both of these types of insurance go hand in hand with a valid contractor’s license, and a contractor wanting to work on your project without one or the other, or both, should be an immediate red flag. In some cases, your own insurance policy on a property may refuse to pay an otherwise valid claim if you do not hire a contractor who is licensed and carries insurance. Some may want to skirt the cost of hiring a more expensive contractor, but paying for cheap work in the short term often carries hefty long-term consequences.

If you’re considering engaging a contractor for a commercial building or construction project, the more information you have before you sign on the dotted line, the more informed you’ll be. Contact our office for professional input on the types of insurance your contractor should carry. We’re happy to help.

The Ins and Outs of Cyber Liability Insurance

When considering types of insurance to buy, many people gloss over an important type of insurance for their businesses: cyber liability. While some may think a slip and fall or other workplace accident is the most likely reason they need insurance coverage, cybercrimes and data breaches are becoming increasingly common workplace “accidents” that require insurance as well. Below are two types of cyber liability insurance that every business should consider obtaining before they’re the victim of a cyberattack.

First-party coverage. When hackers strike your secure server and wipe out business records and other crucial online documents, there is a real cost to that. Coupled with the cost of informing your customers, purchasing equipment, upgrading software, and engaging information technology professionals, there is the likelihood of a substantial financial loss. First-party coverage pays for damages directly suffered by your business.

Third-party coverage. A cyber breach can impact your clients and partners in ways not foretold. Unfortunately, this sometimes leads to litigation or other claims for damages from others, which can take a larger toll than the breach itself. Third-party coverage helps ensure that you have a policy in place to cover others’ losses as a result of a data breach impacting your business.

Let us help you review your cyber liability policy in order to make sure you have the coverage you need to safeguard the business you’ve worked so hard to build.

Protect Your Home with These Fire Safety and Prevention Tips

With summer in full swing, we think about the joys of warm weather and BBQs but not always about the possibility of home fires, which can cause severe damage. Below are just a few fire safety and prevention tips that can keep your home and family safe to help ensure the worst never happens.

Install smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. Few preventative methods are as effective as battery-powered smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors at alerting you to a true emergency. For the hearing impaired, alarms with bright flashing lights are a necessary purchase.

Have a fire extinguisher at the ready. Most fires that occur in homes do not start out as five-alarm blazes. From kitchen fires to mishaps in the garage, having a fire extinguisher nearby can mean the difference between a burnt stovetop or workspace and the loss of your home and property.

Invest in a home fire sprinkler system. For fires that accelerate quickly, a home fire sprinkler system can quickly spring into action and douse the affected areas with water in order to control the spread of the fire and protect your loved ones.

Check your home for fire hazards. Oftentimes, simply checking your home for fire hazards makes a crucial difference in the likelihood of a fire occurring. Old or frayed cords, extension cords that are overloaded, decaying or corroded batteries, and other hazards are easy to take care of before they cause a fire in your home.

Make sure your family has a fire preparedness plan. Speak to your children about fire safety, plan ways to exit rooms, and determine a meeting place outside your home should a fire occur.

When thinking about how to protect your home from a fire and the lengthy recovery process, reach out to our office so you can be sure you have the best insurance coverage possible and have covered all your bases so that you and your family are fire ready.

4 Reasons You Should Only Hire Insured Contractors

Any home project job site can become a place of danger that can harm you, the contractor, or any other people working onsite. Here are four reasons why you should only hire insured contractors.

Damage liabilities. When job-related damages arise, uninsured contractors may not be able to foot the bill. This leaves you with the double headache of solving the underlying problem and seeking to collect from a contractor or other responsible party. Working with an insured contractor ensures that there will be an insurance company that is able to cover the damage up to the limits of the policy, giving you peace of mind.

Contractor responsibility. When evaluating contractors, it is difficult to make a true determination of a contractor’s level of responsiveness and responsibility toward clients and their obligations. While a person can rely on online reviews, a contractor who is licensed and insured demonstrates that the person and his or her employees take their obligations seriously.

Property value. Working with an uninsured contractor may impact the value of your property. If the work was not up to code, you will have to disclose that information to potential buyers.

Correcting errors. Sometimes, even the most well-meaning contractors can make mistakes that end up costing you down the line. An insured contractor will be more likely to fix their mistake or at least have the funds to enable you to fix it.

If you have an upcoming home project, call us so we can walk you through the types of insurance contractors should have to make sure you are protected.

Homeowners Insurance: What It Does and Does Not Cover

Homeowners insurance is crucial to protect your home (and your pocketbook) against losses. However, it may surprise you to know what is covered by homeowners insurance and what is not. Below are some of those things.

Structure of your home. Whether it is your roof, walls, windows, or other parts of the physical structure of your home, a standard homeowners insurance policy likely covers damages caused by hail, lightning, fire, or other insured disasters. Garages, sheds, and other detached structures are also covered by most policies.

Floods and earthquakes. Many people assume that these natural disasters will be covered with a general homeowners insurance policy, but that is not the case. If your home is in a flood or earthquake zone, it would be wise to consider obtaining flood or earthquake insurance to protect your home.

Personal belongings. Most homeowners insurance policies will cover 50-70% of the value of insurance you have on the structure of the house for personal belongings, such as furniture, clothes, and appliances if they are damaged by insured disasters or theft. However, if you have items of special value, such as jewelry or expensive art, you may wish to consider purchasing additional coverage, as there can be limits on the dollar amount if these items are stolen.

Additional living expenses. If your home is rendered uninhabitable due to a disaster, your hotel stays or restaurant bills above and beyond your usual cost of living will be covered.

Home business expenses. Most homeowners insurance policies do not cover any incidents arising from business activity. To ensure maximum coverage, consider obtaining a business insurance policy as well.

We are here to help make sure that your home is protected. Reach out to us today to assess your needs and to help you choose any additional policies that you may need.

Making the Claims Process as Easy as PIE

There’s been an incident and you need to start the claims process. For many, this scenario can feel intimidating and bewildering. Whether the situation involves property damage, an auto accident, or an employee injury, to make the process faster, easier, and more manageable, follow this PIE recipe:

Photograph. Take photographs of the scene, damages, injuries, the location of the incident, and any other relevant images. If you’re unsure of whether you need a photo, take it and err on the side of too many instead of too few photos.

Inscribe. Take copious notes about the incident. Your memory will fade, and details that you take for granted as unimportant may actually be key to determining liability for the accident. Clear notes regarding the people involved, where and what time it happened, what the circumstances were, and any other relevant information are key. These notes may form the foundation of your future insurance claim.

Expedite. File your insurance claim as soon as possible, when the details are still fresh in your mind. The quicker you file with your insurance company, the quicker you will be on the path to ensuring your claim is processed.

Your partner in this process is your insurance company, which can help guide you through all the required steps so your claim can continue to advance.

If you have any questions, contact us as soon as possible, and we’ll help you through every step of the process. We’re just a call or email away.

5 Things to Consider When Buying Life Insurance

Buying life insurance may seem like a simple proposition, but it is not always as easy as it may seem, given the complexity of terms used in the industry. Here are five things to consider when looking into life insurance.

Determine why you need life insurance. You may think of life insurance as providing financial support for your dependents if you are not able to do so. But different people need life insurance for different reasons. Do you need to pay for a child’s college education, for example? Or do you need to pay off your mortgage to help a nonworking spouse?

Determine how much life insurance you need. Understanding why you need life insurance before you begin shopping will help you determine how much of it you need. Conventional wisdom, such as twice your salary, may not apply. How much money does each of your dependents need, and for how long? Remember, your spouse and children will likely have different needs. And if your children are different ages, each of them might have different needs.

Know the difference between permanent and term life insurance. Permanent life insurance provides coverage for life. Term life insurance provides coverage for a limited period of time, such as 10, 15, or 20 years, and it, therefore, may be less expensive. Depending on how long your dependents will rely on you financially, a term or permanent life policy may be the best option.

Research providers. Some life insurance companies are better than others. You will want to choose one on solid financial footing because the lives of your dependents may depend on it.

Find a good agent or advisor. Answering these questions can be challenging. An experienced financial professional (like us) can help you.

Reach out to us today if you would like to explore life insurance.

How Big Life Changes Can Impact Your Health Insurance

Life changes, including divorce, relocation, chronic illness, and even pandemic layoffs, can result in health coverage changes. Some of these changes, like layoffs, mean losing healthcare benefits. If you lose your job, here are some options to ensure your continued coverage.

Spouse’s or parents’ policy. Some states and organizations will allow that, but you must apply within 30 days of layoff.

The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA). COBRA lets you maintain your health coverage with your former employer if that employer continues to offer healthcare benefits and has at least 20 employees. With COBRA, you do not have to requalify, so your insurance covers preexisting conditions. However, you must apply within 62 days of a layoff, and you can use COBRA for only 18 months. Additionally, COBRA is more costly because your former employer pays none of the cost and you pay 100% plus a 2% administrative fee. Some states offer COBRA plans for smaller companies and with different time span coverages.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA). ACA offers a special enrollment period of 30 days after you lose healthcare coverage. Have your tax returns and an estimate of your yearly medical costs before going to healthcare.gov or calling the helpline at 1-800-318-2596. The ACA puts no time limit on coverages, covers more, cannot deny insurance because of preexisting conditions, and greatly reduces prescription costs. However, it is more costly for many people.

Private insurance plans. Most people qualify for these plans, but they work best if you make too much to qualify for ACA subsidies. Private insurance covers basic care and may offer other benefits, like a wider choice of prescription drugs.

As experienced health insurance agents, we can help you investigate these options to help you through the difficulties of a major life change before you make important healthcare decisions.

Top Tips for Getting Your Denied Medical Claim Paid

When your health insurance carrier denies all or part of your medical claim, what should you do? Here are some steps you can take to help get your claim paid. According to some insurance experts, insurers pay approximately half of denied insurance claims once appealed.

The first step is to determine why your insurer denied the claim. Most explanations of benefits (EOBs) contain a code that explains the denial. If you’re unclear after deciphering the code, call your insurer to discuss the denial in more detail. Then try to right the situation if possible. Some of the standard reasons for denial include a lack of preauthorization and incorrect coding by your physician.

Next, if needed, call your doctor’s office and speak with its insurance department. Generally, they are very experienced and may talk to your insurer on your behalf.

Resubmit your claim if the carrier denies it one time. Often, the insurer will pay the second billing or the third. Your EOB may outline procedures for appeal. However, you may have to review your health insurance policy for appeal procedures.

Finally, if you don’t get help through the appeals process and you believe your insurer owes the claim, you can appeal the denial to your state’s department of insurance (DOI). In many states, filing a DOI complaint is as simple as completing a one-page form. You’ll need to attach your records to support your appeal.

We may be able to help. Contact us if you have questions about a denied healthcare claim.

Which Business Insurance Policies Should You Consider?

Businesses are often focused on a variety of priorities, chief among them growth. Most owners or managers try to outfox the competition but sometimes ignore life’s occurrences as a real possibility. For many, they believe one insurance policy will cover them all the way through, but the sad reality is one policy is not enough. Below are a few of the policies that can keep your business safe and functioning.

General Liability Insurance

This important insurance is for any claims made against your business in addition to covering any legal defense. From slip-and-fall accidents to employee allegations and much more, this is a must-buy policy for any business owner. This insurance covers slander or libel and even data breaches.

Commercial Property Insurance

For businesses that have large or costly footprints, commercial property insurance is a must. This insurance covers the physical structure and any contents inside in case of incidents such as fire, theft, hurricanes, and other natural or man-made disasters.

Workers’ Compensation Insurance

This coverage is often required by law. Businesses that carry workers’ compensation insurance are able to pay for lost wages and medical care for employees who are injured on the job. Depending on your state, you may also be required to pay for disability insurance or unemployment insurance.

Commercial Flood Insurance

For many businesses in low-lying or otherwise flood-prone areas, commercial flood insurance is a smart move. This insurance pays for damage to property caused by flooding.

Commercial Umbrella Insurance

Sometimes, large accidents or severe lawsuits can ruin a business, even if every insurance policy pays up to the maximum allowable limit. However, an umbrella policy works to fill those gaps and ensure that your business survives in addition to potentially covering other incidences that your other insurance policies don’t provide for.

Professional Liability Insurance

For many professionals, such as doctors, lawyers, accountants, and others, there is a need for specialized insurance covering their business activities. Professional liability insurance can help protect professionals who cause a client harm through an error or inadvertent act or omission.

Business Interruption Insurance

When unforeseen events such as natural disasters occur, your business may need to shutter for days or even weeks while the debris clears. Business interruption insurance helps replace lost income, make payroll and bills, and help ensure that your business can meet its financial obligations when the dust settles.

Commercial Auto Insurance

Some businesses rely on vehicles to accomplish their objectives. For those, a commercial auto policy can mean the difference between an employee’s traffic accident being calamitous or just part of the course of business. Some states require this type of insurance, but even if they do not, it could mean the difference between success and ruin.

Different types of businesses need different insurance policies and coverage. When you work with us, we can find the policies and coverage levels that best suit you and your business.

Contact us today so we can help insure your future. We are just a phone call or email away.

The Importance of Managing Risk in Small Business

Small businesses are the lifeblood of local communities. From the local baker’s shop to the auto mechanics, small businesses abound and provide jobs and services for many. However, unlike their much larger brethren, they do not usually have dedicated risk management departments to protect them from unforeseen consequences. Thus, a small business owner must act as a risk manager and work to prevent any negative occurrences.

First, a small business should look at potential losses or other liabilities. This means determining what could happen if you lose your stock, physical structure, or data, are the subject of a lawsuit by an employee or customer, and other issues.

Once you have listed the risks, you should attempt to assign them probabilities and damages. For example, although it will cause heavy damage, how probable is it that your building will spontaneously collapse? On the other hand, it is likely more probable that you will have to endure an adverse weather issue leading to the closing of your business for a few days.

Following that, taking steps to mitigate any potential damages is key to preventing negative long-term effects. This could include, for example, paying for hurricane shutters in an area prone to severe storms or paying for employee training on the proper way to serve hot food items to customers.

Whether you’ve created a risk management plan from day one of your business or find yourself in need of one now, contact us so we can help provide the right insurance coverage for your business.