Do You Know What Business Insurance You Really Need?

Are You Prepared Question Ready Evaluation AssessmentEven though most small business owners consider their business their main source of income, only about one in ten understand what it takes to fully protect their livelihood with the proper business insurance.

If a disaster occurred tomorrow, are you confident that you could get your business operational in time to financially survive?  The first place to start is to protect your assets.

Check to ensure your coverage protects assets including:

  • Fire and other damage- covers your building, business contents, and inventory for specified events including fire, storm, explosion and earthquake.
  • Accidental damage- covers accidental loss or damage to your business’s property.
  • Burglary- covers theft of your inventory or equipment following forced entry at your business premises.
  • Glass- covers the replacement costs of broken glass or signage at your premises.
  • Equipment failure- covers the cost of repairing or replacing mechanical or electrical equipment after accidental failure which results in damage.
  • Goods in transit- covers goods in transit for loss or damage caused by collision, fire, derailment or theft.

But there is more to business insurance than protecting physical assets. Public liability claims can run into the millions and it is important to consider what would happen to your income if your business was suddenly out of action following a claim.

Other coverage necessary to protect your business includes:

  • Business Interruption- helps ensure your businesses can survive periods of trading disruption by covering the loss of profits caused by an interruption to the business following an insured event.
  • Public and Products Liability- covers legal liability to third parties for personal injury or damage to property caused by an occurrence connected with your business.
  • Fraud- covers loss of money or goods as a result of an act of fraud or dishonesty committed by an employee.
  • Security Breach – covers loss or liability for a data breach including your personal data and that of your clients or customers.
  • Cash- covers loss of money kept in your building, in transit or at your residence.

A common mistake made by business owners is renewing their policies without accounting for growth or enhancements in their business. Research says that only 63 per cent of small to medium businesses believe they have adequate insurance.

Don’t leave yourself, your business, or your family unprotected. Contact NEC Insurance for an Insurance Health Checkup today at 636.271.2481 or contact Joe Bosse,President for more information.

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NEC is one of the largest independent insurance brokers in Missouri offering business and personal insurance, risk prevention, and financial services.  Contact us today for more information at 636.271.2481 or visit NECins.com.

 

Has the New Year Brought on New Business Risks?

New year 2015 diggits on sport track. Good start, growing busineThe only constant in life is change. It happens in your business every year and if you don’t pay attention you may find yourself with new and increased risks which you are not adequately protected. On the other hand, if you’ve seen a decrease in revenues or streamlined overhead, you may have decreased your business risk exposures and may be paying for more coverage than you actually need.

A Commercial Insurance Checkup is recommended at least once a year. And Q1 is a perfect time to do it. You’ll review what you currently have based on your current needs and make the adjustments that could be critical to your business. A Commercial Insurance Checkup examines aspects of your business such as:

Changes in Property Exposures

Your property exposures should be updated frequently. This includes taking into account:

  • Increases and reductions of inventory
  • New and upgraded real estate—or a decreased physical footprint
  • Changes in your physical plant and equipment values

Business Income Insurance Coverage

If your Business Owner’s Policy (BOP) includes business income coverage, it’s important to have your policy reflect your true revenues and risks. Otherwise, you’re either underinsured—or paying more than you need.

The Special Needs of Business Growth

Growing businesses don’t just get bigger, they become more complex. As your business evolves, you’ll want to create a comprehensive risk management strategy. In addition to insurance planning, this should include loss control efforts—such as safety training and equipment, strong employee programs, business contingency planning, and IT safeguards.

Believe it or not, simple things like picking a new name for your company, making improvements to your property or expanding your product or service line can affect the types and amounts of insurance you need to protect your business.

Contact Joe Bosse, President today at 636.271.2481 to schedule your Commercial Insurance Checkup or visit www.necins.com for more information on how our BizAssure tools can help you plan for the future.


NEC Insurance is one of the largest independent insurance brokers in Missouri offering business and personal insurance, financial services, and risk prevention. For more information visit www.necins.com or call 636.271.2481.

Three Tips to Help Your Business Grow for 2015

As this year comes to a close, you may already be thinking about what you can help your business. The economy is stabilizing, the employee landscape is changing, and companies are looking for a competitive edge. Here are three tips to help your business grow for 2015:

  1. Get the Money You Need – now that the worst of the latest recession is over, banks have more money to lend and are once again open to discussions. This is the time to get the money you need to:
    ♦   Expand by buying a company, expanding your product or service line, or hiring new employees
    ♦   Refinance higher rate loans with loans at the current, lower interest rates
    ♦   Establish a line of credit for you temporary cash flow challenges
  2. Outsource Rather than Hire – Consider outsourcing to independent consultants in areas outside your core business. Don’t take on additional overhead for a fluctuating or part-time position. Outside consultants provide you with perspective and advice gained from best practices of a variety of industries and may be able to provide unexpected insight.
  3. Stay Lean – Before expanding into a new product or service; test the waters. Sample testing is still the most cost-effective way to expand your business. Don’t expand on a hunch. Testing allows you to determine what products or services your clients and customers need, and most importantly – what they’ll pay for.

The last five years have been challenging for small business. Now that the economy is improving, you’ll have better opportunities to help your business grow if you position yourself correctly. For answers at your fingertips, learn more about NEC’s BizAssure program, or contact Joe Bosse at 636.271.2481. You’ll have access to experts from a variety of areas that affect your business every day.


NEC Insurance is one of the largest independent insurance brokers in Missouri offering business and personal insurance, financial services, and risk prevention. For more information visit www.necins.com or call 636.271.2481.

Does My Commercial Insurance Cover the Damages Resulting From a Riot?

In light of the recent looting and violence experienced in Missouri and across the country, the question on the minds of business owners is “Does my commercial insurance cover the damages resulting from a riot?”.Does Your Insurance Cover the Results of a Riot

The National Underwriter’s Commercial Property Coverage Guide defines a riot as any tumultuous disturbance of the public peace by three or more persons mutually assisting one another in execution of a common purpose by the unlawful use of force and violence resulting in property damage of any kind. And in most cases, the answer is Yes, according to a spokesperson for the Missouri Insurance Coalition, Merchandise stolen and property damage would typically be covered.

It is recommended however, that temporary repairs be made to commercial property to prevent further damage such as additional water damage in the event of rain. This ongoing damage may not be covered. Any expense incurred for these temporary repairs is refundable providing you have receipts for the materials and/or labor costs.

Businesses forced to close due to a disturbance of this type may only be able to recover lost revenue if they have an additional business interruption insurance policy. Without this type of policy, lost revenue may not be recoverable.

Though the costs of recent riots and looting in our area have just begun to be assessed, it is obvious that business owners who are fully protected will have a better chance of financially surviving this event. For a free evaluation of your current business protection, or more information contact Joe Bosse, President, NEC Insurance at 636.271.2481, or jbosse@necins.com.

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NEC Insurance is one of the largest independent insurance brokers in Missouri offering business and personal insurance, financial services, and risk prevention. For more information visit www.necins.com or call 636.271.2481.

How Much Protection Does a Hold Harmless Clause Provide?

macro gavelA hold harmless clause is a legal statement in a contract that defines exactly what a party will do if a lawsuit arises from the contract. It is a positive, proactive statement, stating that one of the parties will indemnify and agree not to sue if a negative or unexpected event happens in the course of carrying out the business outlined in the contract. The one party agrees to hold the other party harmless.

Exceptions

While the hold harmless agreement is legally enforceable and will generally be upheld in a court of law, there are exceptions to the agreements and instances where the hold harmless agreement may be nullified by the courts. If one of the parties was negligent, the hold harmless agreement probably will not apply, as the agreement assumes that the party is acting in a normal manner without being negligent. Matters of public policy are usually exempt from hold harmless agreements.

Insurance Considerations

All of the hold harmless agreements and disclaimers may still not protect you from a lawsuit. Even if you are not liable for damages, someone can still sue you because they believe you are responsible. Liability insurance is critical for these situations. A general business policy should protect you if a lawsuit arises from business activities. Be certain to have enough coverage to protect all of your business assets, and consider an umbrella liability policy if you need further protection or your business activities place you at an unusually high risk.

For more information about a  NEC Insurance’s umbrella liability policy, contact Joe Bosse at jbosse@necins.com, 636.271.2481

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NEC Insurance is one of the largest independent insurance brokers in Missouri offering business and personal insurance, financial services, and risk prevention. For more information visit www.necins.com or call 636.271.2481.

Five Tips to Make your Employee Performance Review Less Stressful & More Productive

Performance Review Conducting an employee performance review can be stressful even when an employee is doing great. It’s always hard having a face-to-face with employees in a situation where confrontation may occur.

However if you’ve kept the lines of communication open throughout the year, nothing you say throughout the employee performance review should come as a surprise. If you only discuss growth opportunities on an annual basis, employees may not remember the specific instances you are referring to, and the learning opportunity is lost.  If you use the employee performance review process correctly, it can be a valuable tool that improves job performance, motivates your employees and facilitates an honest conversation about the employee’s future.

Here are Five Tips to Make Employee Performance Reviews Easier:

  • Do your homework. Hopefully, you have an employee handbook that outlines employee expectations and describes your company culture. Don’t count on your memory for specifics, refer to the handbook if it’s relevant. Make sure to tell your employee the areas in which they excel as well as areas where they need improvement. Create a Review Form for each job classification that has measurable standards so that employees are all being measured against the same benchmarks. TIP: Have each employee fill out a self-evaluation so you can see how they think they’re doing.
  • Be specific. Leave general feelings about performance and ability out of the review. Stick to the facts. Don’t say, “You seem like you don’t care”. Instead, say, “I’d like to see you take initiative and offer your own ideas about how to improve the process.” TIP: Throughout the employee performance review make sure you document all the specific tasks or behaviors that need improvement in the event termination is necessary at a later date.
  • Be honest about positives and negatives. You aren’t helping your company or your employee if you gloss over the negatives and only focus on the positives. Unless your employee is performing well below average, spend more time on their positive traits if possible. You want your employee to feel the employee performance review process was a positive experience. TIP: Go over the review with a spouse or friend before you deliver it. They can help you determine how balanced your review will be.
  • Encourage feedback. Don’t do all the talking. Emphasize that the review should be a conversation. (However, if you don’t want the person to talk until the end of the review, say so at the beginning.) Ask the employee if they need clarification on any points you made or actions you requested. TIP: If the employee is too shy to talk, ask specific questions about each of the employee performance review points to get the conversation started.
  • Focus on the future. Make sure the employee knows what you expect to happen by specific milestones, and ask them to share ideas on how to improve. TIP: Provide them with one or two obtainable goals and a deadline so you can easily monitor their progress.

For more information about employee performance reviews, ask about NEC Insurance’s BizAssure program or contact Joe Bosse at jbosse@necins.com, 636.271.2481

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NEC Insurance is one of the largest independent insurance brokers in Missouri offering business and personal insurance, financial services, and risk prevention. For more information visit www.necins.com or call 636.271.2481.

Rieva Lesonsky, GrowBiz Media

 

Do Foreign-Born Workers Pose Unique Safety Challenges?

Foreign Born WorkersProtecting all your employees from injury is a top priority for employers, however protecting a culturally diverse workforce creates a unique set of challenges. As an American employer, what are you legally required to do? What are the most effective and affordable methods of training a diverse workforce in safety practices?

The good news is that there are resources from employers across regions and industries to help.  Safety and medical professionals are spreading the word about the best way to adapt the safety culture within their professional communities. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has funded many projects to develop specialized safety training resources, drawing upon labor organizations and research centers. There are resources available, if you search for them,  which will help you maintain worker safety, provide medical care for multi-cultural workers, and provider service lists for translation and interpreting.

Safety First. Recovery Fast

As a group, these workers are at greater risk of work injury than U.S.-born workers, even if they are working the same jobs because of:

  • Limited experience
  • Language communication barriers
  • Less formal education
  • Cultural differences

When employers and employees don’t speak the same language, the need for customized safety training is obvious. However, even those foreign-born workers who seem fluent in English may also be at higher risk and require specialized training due to cultural differences such as:

  • The worker’s country of origin may not promote worker safety as a high priority. And those workers could be unaware that they can legally demand a safe workplace.
  • He or she may be unaware that U.S. employers and safety professionals are required by law to comply with many government safety requirements.
  • Even though foreign born workers can speak fluent English, they may have limited capacity to read English. This may result in their inability to participate in any written training programs.

Without the proper safety training and injury response methods to protect your entire workforce, you may be exposing yourself to an unfamiliar business risk.  To control these risks, develop the process you need to make sure all your employees, including those from different cultures , remain as injury-free as possible on the job, and are medically treated to return to work safely and quickly.

For more information about culturally diverse training programs, ask about NEC Insurance’s BizAssure program or contact Joe Bosse at jbosse@necins.com, 636.271.2481

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NEC Insurance is one of the largest independent insurance brokers in Missouri offering business and personal insurance, financial services, and risk prevention. For more information visit www.necins.com or call 636.271.2481.

Reproduced from Work Safe: An Employer’s Guide to Safety and Health in a Diversified Workforce.

How Much Money Can an Employee Wellness Program Save Your Company?

healthA true employee wellness program can improve employee morale which in turn impacts productivity and improves your spreadsheet. According to national research, 70-75% of health care costs to an employer are directly related to lifestyle-related illness, disease or conditions. The CDC says it’s as high as 90% of all medical claims. The financial impact of an employee’s poor nutrition, obesity, smoking, lack of exercise, and substance abuse is staggering.

A serious, well-executed and permanent wellness program can provide your company with:

  • 28% reduction in sick days
  • 26% reduction in health care benefit claims
  • 39% reduction in workers’ compensation claims
  • 30% reduction in disability claims
  • Plus the intangible benefits of improved morale

Employee wellness programs that are just talk or purely education typically don’t work. Programs that are management-supported, multi-faceted, and long-term will yield positive results. Here are the seven basic steps to a successful employee wellness program:

  • Get senior management buy-in and support. Everyone needs to be involved.
  • Create an internal wellness team from all levels of employees.
  • Survey the needs and interests of your employees and build a program around those.
  • Develop an operating plan for a focused wellness program.
  • Choose appropriate interventions suited to your environment.
  • Create and maintain an environment that supports your program.
  • Track your results and revise your program as needed.

It’s no surprise that it takes time and money to implement a strong employee wellness program. However, it’s been proven that your return-on-investment is greater than the cost. Studies show that your reduction in absenteeism equates $5.07 in savings per $1 spent and your reduction in medical costs comes to $3.93 per $1 spent.

Once you have a good employee wellness plan in place and operating, you can move toward the last step in cutting health care costs – and that is to connect employee wellness to insurance premiums. You can’t offer premium discounts based on employee health. But you can offer incentives, inducements or reductions in premiums that are tied to measurable, verifiable targets such as Body Mass Index, cessation of tobacco use, regular exercise, cardio health and cholesterol levels.

Remember, educational programs alone don’t work. You need action steps that can be implemented by all levels of employees to really get a strong ROI.

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NEC Insurance is one of the largest independent insurance brokers in Missouri offering business and personal insurance, financial services, and risk prevention. For more information visit www.necins.com or call 636.271.2481.

 

What Are My Options When Purchasing Worker’s Compensation Insurance?

Worker's Compensation Insurance

Purchasing worker’s compensation insurance can be costly and confusing. Many companies aren’t even sure if they need it.

As a general rule, companies with five or more employees must provide worker’s compensation insurance coverage. Contractors, however, need coverage if they have one employee or more. Missouri defines an employee as full-time, part-time, seasonal or temporary. Exposures outside of Missouri must be insured through a traditional workers’ compensation policy or an acceptable alternative.

Farm laborers, domestic servants, certain real estate agents and direct sellers and commercial motor-carrier owner-operators are exempt by The Missouri Worker’s Compensation Act. If you are a sole proprietor or partner, you aren’t personally covered unless you elect to be.  On the other hand, close family member-employees and members of limited liability companies are presumed to be covered unless they opt out.

Employers that don’t have the required number of employees, or who have employees in the exempt categories may nevertheless “elect” to come under the law. Exempt employers that decide not to purchase workers’ comp insurance, or self-insure, remain exposed to civil lawsuits brought by employees who are injured during work.

What are My Purchase Options?

You have two options when you purchase worker’s compensation insurance. You can buy workers’ comp insurance from a private insurer or, if you can meet the requirements of the Division of Workers’ Compensation, or you can self-insure as an individual business or a member of a self-insured group.

Traditional Insurance Carriers

Many employers purchase worker’s comp insurance from an insurance carrier just like they would buy other liability insurance. The remaining employers who are not self-insured may potentially be insured through the residual market, commonly known as the assigned risk pool or “pool.” Employers in the pool usually consist of those employers who have trouble finding coverage in the voluntary market and those with small premiums (under $10,000).

Self-Insurance

An alternative to purchasing a worker’s compensation insurance policy, employers and groups of employers may apply to the Division of Workers’ Compensation to self-insure their workers’ compensation obligations. Application can be made through the Division’s Insurance Unit. The Insurance Unit functions as the chief underwriter, regulator and auditor for the self-insurance program. There are two types of self-insurance, individual and group trusts. An employer wishing to self-insure must have the financial capability to meet financial obligations of work-related injuries. If not, it will directly impact the entire financial stability of the company. A potential advantage of self-insuring is reduced costs.

Before deciding to self-insure, here are some considerations:

  • You must be committed to controlling workers’ compensation costs. Self-insurance is a long-term method for funding an employer’s workers’ compensation liability. It may take you a few years to realize the benefits.
  • Examine the financial feasibility of self-insuring. For some, it may be more costly than a traditional workers’ compensation policy.
  • Does it fit into your corporate philosophy?  Are you willing to assume the risk?
  • Consider your exposure. Some exposures are extremely high risk and better handled through a traditional insurance policy.

Pros & Cons of  Self-Insuring Your Worker’s Compensation Insurance

Pros

  • An employer that successfully self-insures has active loss control program and services. These programs provide employees with safer work environments and help improve the employer’s profits through reduced losses.
  • You hire a third party claims administrator, which may help reduce overall costs of a case
  • There is potential cost savings associated with self-insurance. You keep the underwriting profit.
  • You may improve your cash flow and realize the time value of money since funds are paid out as bills and benefits payments, instead of lump sum premium payments.
  • You have great control over your workers’ compensation costs, and are in a better position to be proactive.

Cons

  • As a self-insurer, you may have to bear the cost of a catastrophic injury or higher-than-expected loss. This can directly affect your bottom line.
  • There is an application process and annual filing requirements contained in the regulations in which you need to comply.
  • Before self-insurance is granted, you must provide security in an amount determined by the Division of Labor, but not less than $200,000. This must be in the form of a surety bond, letter of credit, or the deposit of certain securities in escrow.
  • There may be loss of tax deductions. You can only deduct your actual expenses and paid losses. Reserves for future workers’ compensation payments must be listed on your balance sheet as a liability.

For more information about how you can obtain the most cost effective worker’s compensation insurance, contact Joe Bosse at NEC Insurance at jbosse@necins.com, 636.271.2481, or visit NECins.com for more information.

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NEC Insurance is one of the largest independent insurance brokers in Missouri offering business and personal insurance, financial services, and risk prevention. For more information visit www.necins.com or call 636.271.2481.

 

What Will Business Income Insurance Protect When Your Building is Damaged?

missouri-tornadoBusiness property insurance is designed to protect your physical dwellings in event of damage or natural disaster. But what it doesn’t protect is the business itself; and the income it produces. Unless you have business interruption
or business income insurance, your business could suffer while the physical damage to your building is being repaired.

Business income insurance insures the profits which would have been earned during the repair time of the physical damage. Typically, business income insurance is not sold as a stand-alone product, but can be added to a property insurance policy.  This extra policy provision applies to all types of businesses. It is designed to replace your revenue as if no loss had occurred.

What is typically covered with business income insurance?

  • Profits – Which would have been earned, based on prior months financial statements
  • Fixed Costs – Operating expenses and other costs still being incurred by the property, based on historical costs
  • Temporary Location – Expense of moving to, and operation from, a temporary location
  • Extra Expenses – Reimbursement for reasonable expenses, beyond fixed costs, that allow your business to maintain operation
  • Civil Authority/Ingress/Egress – Government mandated closure of a business premises which directly relates to lost revenue. Examples include: government issued curfews or street closures related to covered events.

Business income insurance coverage will cover the business interruption for the time determined by the insurance policy. Most policies define this as from the day the interruption occurred until the day you can resume business as usual.

In addition to this, businesses can also purchase contingent business interruption coverage which pays out when a vendor or supplier of the business experiences damages that prevent it from regular trade.

If you are a business operating in the state of Missouri, you understand the vulnerability you have due to natural disasters. We operate in an area that experiences floods, tornadoes, ice storms, and excessive heat. Any one of these can render your physical property uninhabitable. While rebuilding can takes months, can your business survive without incoming revenue?

For more information about our business income insurance programs, contact Joe Bosse at jbosse@necins.com or call 636.271.2481 and visit www.necins.com for a complete listing of our business and personal service offerings.

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NEC Insurance is one of the largest independent insurance brokers in Missouri offering business and personal insurance, financial services, and risk prevention. For more information visit www.necins.com or call 636.271.2481.